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Zhik 2022 Choice of Champions LEADERBOARD

Another perfect inshore race day at the 2022 ORCi European Championship

by Offshore Racing Congress 11 Aug 21:47 BST 6-13 August 2022
2022 ORCi European Championship © Trond Teigen - KNS

The sunny summer weather in southern Norway continued to deliver perfect racing conditions in today's second day of inshore racing at the 2022 ORCi European Championship, hosted by the Royal Norwegian Yacht Club (KNS). Southwesterly winds increased slightly today from 14-18 knots in strength with a corresponding increase in wave heights to challenge the 58 teams from 7 nations competing here this week in Hankø.

Two races were completed to bring the total to six sailed thusfar, with the worst inshore race score now discarded for each team. This has slightly compressed the cumulative result totals with only two races remaining in the series: a 12-hour coastal race tomorrow and a final inshore race on Saturday.

In Class A the top teams continue to dominate the top three places, with Michael Berghorn's Mills 45 Custom HALBTROCKEN 4.5 (GER) continuing her clean sweep of bullets on the scoreboard. However, the team cannot be complacent: in the hour-long race courses her victory margins are still less than one minute in corrected time.

The two TP52's in the class - Per Ottar Skaaret's JOKERMAN (NOR) and Holger Streckenbach's IMAGINE (GER) are now tied on points, with the Norwegians breaking the tie to be in second place.

Like yesterday, the 21 competing teams in Class B provided plenty of action on the start line, producing recalls and even black flags for three teams in the first race of the day. Once off the start, however, the two Landmark 43's - Jens Kuphal's INTERMEZZO (GER) and Torkjel Valland's WHITE SHADOW (NOR) - were still able to punch out ahead of the crowd in the first upwind leg, stay ahead of the crowd for the rest of the race, and earn them both first and second place scores in both races.

The two are now tied at the top of the standings with 12.5 points each...expect these two to continue to battle it out for who will emerge as the leader after racing on Saturday.

The third place team in Class B - Tiit Vihul's modified X-41 OLYMPIC (EST - shown above to leeward and below) - continues to turn in respectable scores to remain in third place in this tough class, a feat made more remarkable for them being an all-amateur Corinthian team with no professional talent aboard, unlike their closest rivals. How do they do it?

Vihul explained their boat has evolved from one-design trim to having small changes made to be more optimized for ORC racing. "We stripped all the wood out of the boat [saving dozens of kilos], stripped the paint off the carbon spar saving 5 kilos, and made the cockpit more efficient." They also made changes to the rudder and keel and fitted a fixed bowsprit for asymmetric spinnakers.

These improvements to the hardware may, however, not have the same contribution to their performance edge as their "software:" the people on their team.

"We have raced together for 10 years," admitted Vihul, "first in X-41 One Design racing, and now in ORC racing."

When asked if the system is doing a good job in keeping fair racing among the different designs in the class he said "Yes, the ratings are fair, this is why the racing is so close and we have to make no mistakes."

The next nearest Corinthian entry in Class B is 13 points behind: Soren Junker's X-41 NEXUS (DEN), with Aasmund Drolsum's King 40 MAGIC (NOR) another 6 points back.

Class C is similarly dominated by two strong teams who also traded first place and runner-up scores in today's two races, but by unbelievably close margins: after over an hour of racing this was 1 second in the first race and 3 seconds in the second race. In overall scoring Aivar Tuulberg's Arcona 340 KATARIINA II (EST - shown above) is just three points ahead of Juss Ojala's J-112E MATILDA 4 in their fight for dominance of this class.

Meanwhile it is a Corinthian entry in third place overall that continues to stay in close touch with the leaders, even winning two of the six races sailed. Patrik Forsgren's modified First 36.7 TEAM PRO4U (SWE) is only three points behind MATILDA 4, and has an 8 point lead over the next Corinthian entry in 4th place, Harles Liiv's J-112E SHADOW (EST).

The third-placed Corinthian entry in Class C is from yet another Baltic state - Lithuania - and after a rough start with their result in the Mills Long Offshore Race they've been steadily improving in the inshore racing to have earned impressive 3rd and 4th place finishes today.

Tauras Rymonis's NEO 350 DIA (LTU - shown above) has been campaigning their boat since the 2019 ORC Worlds in Sibenik, Croatia where the boat was new, and unlike their rivals they do not yet have decades of experience.

"We feel good because we are finally learning the boat and are now trying to get our team better coordinated," said crewman Ramunas Bloze. "We just need to continue to improve by minimizing mistakes. I think we'll be in much better shape for next year's Worlds [in Kiel]."

Tomorrow at 10:00 CET will be the first start of the short offshore race, designed to be a tour of the Oslofjord, similar to the race held on Monday but shorter distance and duration.

The action in today's race conditions was fast and close for all classes.

For more information visit the ORCi Europeans website, www.orcieuro2022.no.

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