At 0900 GMT this morning, teams in the 2003 edition of the event set off on an epic, four day test of endurance, extreme sailing and navigation skills…and spent the first hour paddling.
Starting in Gustavsberg, just outside Stockholm (SWE) the Archipelago Raid will take the teams out to the vast archipelagos of Stockholm and Åland. In a race formula that creates a unique event, mixing Professionals and amateurs, big boat sailors, dinghy specialists, ocean and solo racers.
First to lead to the second checkpoint, which all of the fourteen teams have now passed, was Team Sogeti of Rodney ARDERN (NZ) and Magnus Woxén (SWE), followed by Anders LEWANDER (SWE) and Calle HENNIX (SWE) on Tidermans. They are closely followed by the two Nokia teams of Joakim KEMPFF (SWE) and Magnus NORDSTRÖM (SWE) and Fredrik ADILSTAM (SWE) and Tomas MARIMON (SWE).
This group of four currently heads the race, with a gap of fifty minutes from first to last placed boats. The majority of the pack are close behind, with a third group split of two boats behind them.
Ellen MACARTHUR (GBR) and Nick MOLONEY (AUS) on Omega are currently struggling to make the transition from big boat to little boat and are finding the first part and light conditions of this race tricky to cope with. They currently languish in the third group of boats alongside the Real Sailing Team of Fredrik HANSEN (SWE) and Christopher RINGHAGEN (USA/SWE)
Describing last year's race, Assa Abloy's Neal and Lisa MacDONALD noted the difficult conditions of the race, which provided the toughest of challenges even for the most experienced sailors. "The days are long, the competition is tight, the seascape can be tough, conditions are extreme",
was McDonald's comment after finishing third last year.
The McDonald team enjoyed the challenge, finishing third last year and are back with the goal of a higher step on the podium. According to Neal the most difficult part is the complicated navigation through the thousands of small rocks and islands. Neal and Lisa are sitting pretty, just behind the leading pack of four boats.
Live updates from the race are available on the event website at the address below.
List of Teams
||Ellen MacArthur (UK) and Nick Moloney (AUS)
||Neal McDonald (GB) and Lisa McDonald (USA) - 3rd 2002
||Rodney Ardern (NZ) and Magnus Woxén (SWE) - Woxén 1st 2002 with Klas Nylöf
||Björn Hansen (Åland) and Björn Österberg (SWE)
||Petter Åström (SWE) and Jonas Engstedt (SWE)
|Nokia / Adilstam
||Fredrik Adilstam (SWE) and Tomas Marimon (SWE) - 2nd 2002
||Anders Tengbom (SWE) and Fred Wikström (SWE)
||Mikael Leksell (SWE) and Pontus Johansson (SWE)
||Anders Lewander (SWE) and Calle Hennix (SWE)
|Nokia / Kempff
||Joakim Kempff (SWE) and Magnus Nordström (SWE)
||Fredrik Hansen (SWE) and Christopher Ringhagen (USA/SWE)
||Bengt Jacobson (SWE) and Jan Schiratzki (SWE)
||Stefan Engstrand (SWE) and Björn Scherrer (S)
||Thomas Östergren (S) and Tore Lewander (S)