27 April 2023 — Ta’Xbiex, Malta – From the late morning start yesterday of the Long Offshore race, the fleet of 38 entries from 11 nations experienced a wide diversity of conditions in this suitable test of skills to open the 2023 ORC European Championship, co-hosted by Royal Malta Yacht Club and Yachting Malta. Elapsed times ranged from 19:41:46 for the Class A winner, Karl Kwok’s (HKG) TP 52 BEAU GESTE who raced 186 miles, to George Greer’s (USA) Arcona 380 KIBOKO TATU whose team from SWE raced 151 miles in almost 29 hours.
Results are expressed in corrected time using the ORC PCS All-Purpose scoring model, and for Class A BEAU GESTE was the clear winner over runner-up Claudio Terrieri’s (ITA) Swan 45 BLUE SKY by over 2.5 hours. In third place in Class A was Malta-based ELUSIVE II, a modified First 45 owned by Aaron, Maya and Christoph Podesta.
“We got lucky in being fast enough to avoid some of the transition holes in the wind that our slower rivals felt,” said BEAU GESTE tactician Gavin Brady. “We like the ORC system because its fair for all boats, which means we have to race hard to not lose to the others in corrected time. And this race was a significant challenge, with every possible condition: light air, heavy air, flat seas and very choppy seas. It tested all our skills.”
The first to finish in Class B was Renzo Grottesi’s (ITA) Club Swan 42 BE WILD, less than 13 minutes ahead of the 2022 Class B Worlds Bronze medalist team from Estonia, Aivar Tuulberg’s KATARIINA II, which is also a Club Swan 42. BE WILD tactician Enrico Zennaro echoed Brady’s points about this race being a challenge. He credited the full-race focus of his team and some clever moves made between the old and new winds at the northern turning mark at Ragusa, that launched them into the lead for the last half of the race.
Yet both Swans fell to Marcin Sutkowski’s (POL) Grand Soleil 44 P WINDWHISPER 44 who won in corrected time by 30 minutes over BE WILD.
In Class C the fleet sailed a shorter 140-mile course and finished ahead of most of the Class A and Class B boats, with Vincenzo De Blasio’s (ITA) Italia 11.98 SCUGNIZZA taking the win in both elapsed and corrected time. Ott Kikkas’s (EST) Class C reigning World Champion Italia 11.98 SUGAR 3 was less than 8 minutes behind, while in third place was Jakoubek Zdenek’s (CZE) M37 HEBE V.
“This was the most fun race,” said a tired but ebullient Zdenek. “I’ve done 4 Rolex Middle Sea Races, and the conditions offshore here are always a challenge, but we really enjoyed being at sea under the stars, and always enjoy visiting Malta. This was I think a good race for us to start the championship against some very tough competition.”
Tomorrow racing resumes with the next phase of the programme: up to three windward/leeward inshore races on two course area set east of Valletta.
For more information on the 2023 ORC European Championship, visit https://orceuro2023.com.
Race results will be posted at https://orceuro2023.com/results.
The 2023 ORC European Championships are being supported by Yachting Malta, Visit Malta, the Ta’ Xbiex Local Council, the Eastern Regional Council as part of its activities for the 2023 European Region of Sport and Heineken.