Under beautiful sunny skies and a light easterly breeze from the Baltic, an International fleet of 55 teams assembled in Flensburg to practice and make last-minute preparations for the start of racing in the 2010 ORCi World Championship.
Organized by the Flensburger Segel Club (FSC), this ISAF-sanctioned offshore championship event has attracted talented teams from throughout Europe and will run through to Saturday, 11 September.
Chairman and Principal Race Officer Hans Otto Hansen is expecting a strongly competitive regatta. "Many of the teams here have been racing all season and have built their skills up just for this championship," he says. "Even as late as last weekend we had organized a practice session of drills and races for over a dozen teams that was very well received."
Running this session was a veteran of numerous past ORC championships and current ISAF Offshore Team Champion Wolfgang Schaefer
, who said the venue here, will provide an excellent challenge for the fleet.
"I have raced here for over 30 years, and it can be a very interesting and shifty place,"
the ORC Vice President told the crowd of 500 sailors and sponsors assembled for the Opening Ceremony. "You have to choose either the Danish side of the German side of the fiord, but the decision should not be a political one!"
The fleet is composed of entries ranging from 33 to 46 feet in length and split into two classes: the Alpha Division of 21 entries and the Beta Division of 34 entries. While most of the entries and participants are from Germany, one team, Richard Vojta's GS42R Bohemia Express, highlights the international calibre of the participants, with no less than 5 nationalities on board. This is in contrast to another team, the DK46 Tutima led by helmsman Kirsten Harmstorf, who has an all-German female crew of 15.
Tuesday's Western Baltic forecast is for east to southeast winds of Force 5-6, making for a brisk start to the week. As many as three inshore races could be held.
Further information and documents for the 2010 ORCi World Championship can be found on the Flensburg Segel-Club website: www.fsc.de/regatten/orci-worlds-2010