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An international fleet prepares for the Roschier Baltic Sea Race

by Louay Habib 23 Jun 06:36 BST 21 July 2022
The Roschier Baltic Sea Race starts in a month's time and the Supermaxi Tokolosh VII, skippered by the legendary Finnish sailor Ludde Ingvall is favourite for Line Honours © James Tomlinson

With the new Roschier Baltic Sea Race starting from Helsinki Finland on 21st of July, the international fleet is preparing for the Royal Ocean Racing Club's inaugural 630-mile offshore race.

Over half of the teams on the current entry list come from countries on the Baltic Sea, including the host nation Finland, plus Denmark, Germany, Norway, Poland and Sweden. Teams from Great Britain and Spain will be sailing to Helsinki to take part in the race.

The overall winner of the Roschier Baltic Sea Race will score the best corrected time under the IRC Rating Rule. Two British JPK 1180s can be considered favourites for the overall win. Tom Kneen's Sunrise, overall winner of the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race and Ed Bell's Dawn Treader; both making the trip to Helsinki. Tilmar Hansen's German TP52 Outsider, overall winner of the 2021 RORC Caribbean 600 will also be in contention.

Hot favourite for Line Honours will be the Supermaxi Tokolosh VII, skippered by the legendary Finnish sailor Ludde Ingvall who was born in Helsinki. The 100ft canting keel boat has undergone huge transformations over the years and has enjoyed tremendous success, including twice taking Line Honours in the Rolex Sydney Hobart and also the 2017 RORC Transatlantic Race. The biggest threat for Line Honours to Tokolosh VII will be two Volvo 70s; I love Poland and the Spanish VO70 Hypr.

Finland's Arto Linnervuo will be racing his Xp44 Xtra Staerk, however, Arto was intending to enter two boats for the race until his brand new Infiniti 52 Tulikettu hit an object and was damaged in the North Atlantic. The crew was safely rescued and miraculously Tulikettu was salvaged intact over a month after the accident.

"Tulikettu will not be ready to race due to the repairs we have to undertake," commented Arto Linnervuo. "We will be returning as soon as possible, but the Roschier Baltic Sea Race will start too soon, which is a shame as our Finnish fan base was waiting to see the boat in action, but the Xp44 Xtra Staerk will be racing."

"The goal set by Tulikettu Racing is to become the first ever Finnish sailing team to win one of the world's most legendary offshore races organized by the Royal Ocean Racing Club," continued Linnervuo. "Finland is a proud seafaring nation and it is fantastic to have Ludde Ingvall taking part in the race. He is one of three Finnish skippers that I have followed closely since I was a child. Tulikettu Racing will try to do the same with all-Finnish corinthian based crew. Ludde is a source of inspiration to many; a much respected person in our offshore circles. It is great that he still wants to bring his project to the Baltic Sea."

Jens Lindner's VO70 Hypr set sail from Vigo in North West Spain on Monday 20th June; their destination was Stockholm, Sweden; 1,500nm away. Hypr will be competing in the Gotland Runt before sailing onto Helsinki for the Roschier Baltic Sea Race.

"We do not have a very good forecast for the delivery to the Baltic Sea, but we expect to take about a week," commented Hypr's Jens Lindner. " The race will be a new experience and we are looking forward to sailing in the Baltic. The conditions may be light for the race, but if it's windy like in the Mediterranean, we can have choppy seas which can be very uncomfortable! Hypr is chartered by a Swedish team and 50% of the crew will be our regular professionals, mainly from Spain, including Volvo sailor Diego Fructuoso."

The Volvo 70 I Love Poland has been a regular competitor at regattas the world over, but the Roschier Baltic Sea Race gives the Polish team the rare opportunity of racing against top competition in their home waters.

"Last year, I Love Poland did race in the Gotland Runt, but it is rare for us to have a great competition in the Baltic Sea," commented I Love Poland's navigator Konrad Lipinski. "We have been in Poland for over a month and we are training to choose the best team. Our goal is to race with a full Polish crew who are as young as possible. The boat is in good condition, we will have a good team and we have time to prepare. It is great to sail in our home waters but to be honest we will pray for wind, as a Volvo 70 is best in good pressure. With IRC-developed sails we can fight for the overall win, but obviously we will have to beat Hypr and not beat ourselves!"

Six teams have entered racing in IRC Two-Handed. The smallest boat is Anders Lundmark's Danish Figaro 2 The Spirit. Anders is Swedish but has lived in Denmark for over 20 years and has competed at the very highest level in the Finn and Star Class. Anders will be racing doublehanded with his partner Louise Edgren who owns her own cruising boat but is a relative newcomer to racing. The pair met when racing together in the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race.

"We will sail the boat from Denmark to Finland and we have already sailed many miles together," commented Anders Lundmark. "This race will improve our understanding of the boat and how to race her. Our ambition for the future is to take the boat to Cowes to race two-handed in the 50th Rolex Fastnet Race. This race will give us qualification for the great race in 2023."

Tapio Lehtinen will be racing his Classic S&S Swan 55 yawl Galliana which was built in Finland in 1970. Tapio was navigator on Skopbank of Finland in the 1981 Whitbread Round the World Race and more recently completed the 2018 Golden Globe Race solo around the world with S&S 36 Asteria. Tapio's 'journey' with Galliana started with her delivery from Southampton to Helsinki. After the Roschier Baltic Sea Race, Galliana is entered for the Ocean Globe Race, where Tapio will once again race around the world.

"We want to partner with companies on our way towards carbon neutral circular economy," commented Tapio. "The Ocean Globe Race will be sailed with a young Finnish team. In addition to highlighting solutions for saving the climate and the oceans, I want to make sure that the Finnish ocean sailing legacy, dating back to the times of Erikson square riggers, will be taken further for the coming generations."

The Roschier Baltic Sea Race will start and finish off Helsinki in the Gulf of Finland, incorporating the Swedish island of Gotland on July 21st, 2022. The official race supporters are the City of Helsinki, the Nyländska Jaktklubben (NJK), Finnish Offshore Racing Association (AMP), Helsingfors Segelklubb (HSK), FINIRC and the Xtra Stærk Ocean Racing Society.

To enter the Roschier Baltic Sea Race and for more information visit here.

Entry List and Expressions of Interest can be found here

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