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2019 D-Marin ORC World Championship at Sibenik, Croatia - Day 1

by ORC Media 4 Jun 20:25 BST 3-8 June 2019
XIO and Air is Blue were leaders in Class A during the 126-mile long offshore race at the 2019 D-Marin ORC Worlds © Max Ranchi

In elapsed times that ranged from 14 hours 45 Minutes to well over 25 hours, the 110-boat fleet at the 2019 D-Marin ORC World Championship has completed the 126-mile long offshore race today, earning their crews their first points on the event scoreboard. Two offshore and six inshore races are planned through Saturday 8 June, with ORC World Champion titles awarded in each of three classes.

In Class A, two Italian teams led throughout the race: Roberto Monti's 2008 Judel/Vrolik-designed TP 52 Air is Blue and Marco Serafini's newer and faster 2011 Botin-designed TP 52 XIO. Their rated difference in speed was not much using the Offshore scoring model - an average of 6.6 seconds/mile, or only 2 boatlengths per mile of course length - so the two seemed destined to be match race sailing.

Yet at the halfway point XIO had extended their lead by over two miles, so on the long final leg to the last turning mark Visovac Monti's team decided to split with the leader, opting to go east of a string of small islands south of Zmajan while XIO stayed west. This helped close the gap, because XIO's lead was cut in half when the two converged again north of the island, then reduced even further to only a few hundred meters at the gate at Kukuljari.

At about 11 PM, XIO rounded the final mark at Visovac with Air is Blue not far astern, a narrow margin they managed to keep until they both drifted to the finish line at Zlarin island at about 1:45 AM. Air is Blue's winning margin in corrected time was 9:13 after almost 15 hours of racing.

The largest winning margin in corrected time was 34:38 after almost 20 hours of racing in Class B, with Massimo De Campo's Swan 42 Selene-Alifax from Italy defeating another Italian Swan 42, Alberto Franchi's Digital Bravo. The next two boats in the rankings, Michalis Belegris's GS 42R Code Zero Mastihashop from Greece and Diego Zanco's X 41 Nube from Croatia skippered by Mate Arapov, were within another 5 minutes of corrected time from Digital Bravo.

Like the leaders in Class A, Selene-Alifax and Digital Bravo were close most of the race, except in the last leg. "We had a narrow lead when the wind stopped after rounding at Visovac," said De Campo, "and our tactician saw something on the water. We went for this patch and just sailed away from the others."

In Class C the racing results were too close to call for most of the race, with Ott Kikkas's mixed Estonian-Italian team on his new Italia 11.98 Sugar 3 winning by only an astounding 30 seconds after the Czech runner-up - Zdenek Jakoubek's M 37 Hebe - sailed for over 23 hours. In third place 9 minutes back was Jose Maria Vila Valero's GS 37 BC Tanit 4 - Medilevel from Spain.

Sugar 3 designer Matteo Polli reckoned their success came in part from about 2 hours of use of their headsail-set-flying sail tacked on the bowsprit, a masthead specialty sail legal for use in ORC that has a midgirth dimension of <75% but >55%. This sail is designed and rated for use at close reaching angles between an asymmetric spinnaker and a non-overlapping jib.

"With this sail we were as fast as the Melges 32 [Holger Streckenbach's Old Jug by Imagine] in light air, so we feel it has paid for itself in this race because both offshore races are non-discardable," he said. "Maybe we will see it again on Friday in the short offshore race."

Inshore racing starts tomorrow at 11:00 with Classes A and C sailing windward-leeward courses on the Bravo area west of Sibenik, while Class B will race on the Alpha area to the south. Principal Race Officer Ariane Mainmarie says the current forecast looks promising for 10-15 knots of southerly wind, suitable for two races.

For complete results from the long offshore race, visit the event's results page at data.orc.org/public/WEV.dll?action=index&eventid=WORLDS19.

For more information, visit www.orcworlds2019.com.

More on ORC rating systems, ORC certificates and events can be found at www.orc.org.

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