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01 Express wins the 5th Thousand Islands Race

by SCOR 25 Sep 2017 10:16 BST 14-24 September 2017
01 Express wins the 5th Thousand Islands Race © SCOR

The Czech crew of Pavel Belehrad with 01 Express are the winners of the 5th Thousand Islands Race. The second leg that started on Thursday 21st September from Porto Montenegro in Tivat and finished on Sunday, 24 September in Rijeka demonstrated again how conditions on the course of 279.7nm among more than a thousand Adriatic islands may be unpredictable and varied, requiring a lot of patience, strength and stamina.

The exit from Bay of Kotor with favourable wind was this year a bit faster then last year. Immediately after passing Prevlaka, the most southern point of Croatian land, the fleet encountered stronger north to north-west winds of up to 20 knots, requiring beating upwind with increasing waves as one would expect in such an offshore regatta. The crew of Lucia X experienced difficulties after their main halyard broke. A crew member climbed up the mast in an attempt to fix the failure, but the wind was too strong to perform such a repair and they were forced to return to leeward of Prevlaka where they successfully repaired the damage but at a cost of a significant time loss.

Although wind predictions for the second lap were not promising, everybody kept hoping that good condition would last and they did for half of the second leg. After that, the conditions utterly changed. The wind died and the fight with drifting conditions started for about 100nm. Sometimes at a standstill, and sometimes moving slowly, boats tried to use every breath of the wind and achieved speeds of 3-4 knots in two strenuous and stressful days and nights.

The time limit in Rijeka is set at 72 hours which means noon on Sunday 24 September. The rule allows, if the first boat finishes after 56 hours, a 16 hour extension of the time limit. However, for this to happen would require that first boat to cross the finish line inside the 72 hour time limit. On Sunday morning the fleet was from 9 to 20nm away from the finish line and at 9 o'clock in the morning the whole Kvarner Bay was in the lull and it seemed impossible that anyone would finish before 12 o'clock. However, like mana "Nevera from Kvarner" (a summer storm typical for Kvarner bay) saved the day and brought the "Bura" (north-easterly wind) that first helped Mardivino helmed by Miguel Gonzales to cut the finish line first at 09:45:47 hours, thus validating the second leg and enabling all the other boats to finish by 1400 hours.

With little real time finishing differences, under corrected time the best placed were the three boats that crossed the finish line last. Overall results show how the race was very even and the winner was decided by just minutes.

The Czech crew of Pavel Belehrad with their yacht 01 Express, chartered in a Croatian charter fleet, won the second leg, and with their fifth place in the first leg, were awarded the winner's title with 6 points ahead of Chilean Mardivino of Migule Gonzales on 7 points (2nd and 5th place), the same as third placed Slovenian Macropus with BoĊĦtjan Jančar (4th and 3rd place) followed by Lithuanian Hispaniola also with 7 points (3rd and 4th place) where the tie was broken in favour of Macropus for the better results in the last race.

One more Czech crew on the yacht Sultan, also chartered in Croatia, finished in 5th place with 8 points (6th and 2nd place) which rounded the first five places having only two points difference.

In the multihull division Proteus of Werner Stoltz had no competitors after the other boats did not sail the second leg. Proteus finished in Rijeka at 12:52:10 hours.

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