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1 July 2002, 10:01 am
Bumpy Start to Race
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Round Gotland Race

With a south-south-westerly breeze of 20-22 knots and a starting line that favoured the boats that approached it at the starboard end, there was plenty of excitement at the first three of the four starts in the Accenture Gotland Runt.
The sea was confused and the waves square-edged as the boats approached on starboard tack with a certain amount of shouting to be heard on each occasion.

Rasmus Bjurwill's Pinocchio had her nose out in front within seconds of the first start. With a reef in the mainsail, the J-80 was off in the direction of Almgrundet lighthouse, the first mark of the course with the rest trailing in her wake. In contrast, Anders Graffman's Swan 411, Juliet, found no way of forcing her way into the start and was forced to tack around and rejoin the other starters almost a minute late.

Travel, Rolf Gustafson's Swan 65 ketch was in similar trouble, having arrived at the second start 30 seconds too soon and was forced over the line early by the other members of her class. The 40 foot Emark Full Pelt of Lars Legemark, on the other hand, was soon spearheading this group.

Teemu Kallio's Baltic Maid, from Finland, made a perfectly timed start a quarter of an hour later to lead the third group away from her countryman, Vesa Sarkikangas in the Finngulf 39, Stella. Stella was fourth in the Hango-Sandhamn Race, the feeder for this event. Ludde Ingvall's Royal Blue, the biggest boat in the IMS class was biding her time in mid-line and had a reef in her mainsail.

With fewer starters, the GR Open ORC group appeared a much more orderly affair. Neal McDonald in Assa Abloy and Gurra Krantz in SEB seemed determined to make this the start of the Volvo Ocean Race leg 10! They were beginning right where they had finished in the world girdling classic two weeks ago. Their concentration in each other allowed Matthew Humphries to sneak in to windward of them both to take the start with SAP Northern Light.

The 100 foot Next of Bertil Soderberg started in mid-line in clear air and was ahead of all nine of the VO-60s before rounding the lighthouse at Almagrundet as the boats came hard on the wind for the leg to Faro at the north-east corner of Gotland.

The most spectacular start was that of the 60 foot trimaran, Nokia, sailed by an eight-man team with an as-yet-un-named skipper. Coming in a full speed on a reach, Nokia steered close to the buoy marking the inner end of the line and to windward of Assa Abloy and to leeward of SAP Northern Light to set off in Pursuit of Freddy Nyloff and Andreas Andersen in the other 60 foot trimaran, IPC, which they are sailing two-handed.

With the breeze likely to hold, and showing a slight sign of veering, times for this race are expected to be fast, with the leading trimaran likely to shatter the 27 hours 50 minutes set by Magnus Olsson and First Hotels two years ago. With a south-south-westerly breeze of 20-22 knots and a starting line that favoured the boats that approached it at the starboard end, there was plenty of excitement at the first three of the four starts in the Accenture Gotland Runt. The sea was confused and the waves square-edged as the boats approached on starboard tack with a certain amount of shouting to be heard on each occasion.

Rasmus Bjurwill's Pinocchio had her nose out in front within seconds of the first start. With a reef in the mainsail, the J-80 was off in the direction of Almgrundet lighthouse, the first mark of the course with the rest trailing in her wake. In contrast, Anders Graffman's Swan 411, Juliet, found no way of forcing her way into the start and was forced to tack around and rejoin the other starters almost a minute late.

Travel, Rolf Gustafson's Swan 65 ketch was in similar trouble, having arrived at the second start 30 seconds too soon and was forced over the line early by the other members of her class. The 40 foot Emark Full Pelt of Lars Legemark, on the other hand, was soon spearheading this group.

Teemu Kallio's Baltic Maid, from Finland, made a perfectly timed start a quarter of an hour later to lead the third group away from her countryman, Vesa Sarkikangas in the Finngulf 39, Stella. Stella was fourth in the Hango-Sandhamn Race, the feeder for this event. Ludde Ingvall's Royal Blue, the biggest boat in the IMS class was biding her time in mid-line and had a reef in her mainsail.

With fewer starters, the GR Open ORC group appeared a much more orderly affair. Neal McDonald in Assa Abloy and Gurra Krantz in SEB seemed determined to make this the start of the Volvo Ocean Race leg 10! They were beginning right where they had finished in the world girdling classic two weeks ago. Their concentration in each other allowed Matthew Humphries to sneak in to windward of them both to take the start with SAP Northern Light.

The 100 foot Next of Bertil Soderberg started in mid-line in clear air and was ahead of all nine of the VO-60s before rounding the lighthouse at Almagrundet as the boats came hard on the wind for the leg to Faro at the north-east corner of Gotland.

The most spectacular start was that of the 60 foot trimaran, Nokia, sailed by an eight-man team with an as-yet-un-named skipper. Coming in a full speed on a reach, Nokia steered close to the buoy marking the inner end of the line and to windward of Assa Abloy and to leeward of SAP Northern Light to set off in Pursuit of Freddy Nyloff and Andreas Andersen in the other 60 foot trimaran, IPC, which they are sailing two-handed.

With the breeze likely to hold, and showing a slight sign of veering, times for this race are expected to be fast, with the leading trimaran likely to shatter the 27 hours 50 minutes set by Magnus Olsson and First Hotels two years ago.
Bob Fisher/ISAF Secretariat
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