Report from Lars Linder, SAR Regatta Chair
The first two days offered light winds between almost nothing to maybe 15+ knots in the peaks. Therefore, all legs day 1 and 2 were basically the shortest way to the next stop in order to finish the race in time for lunch break or sauna and dinner. As always there were some route options and in race 1 the team Dahl/Bodén was way ahead of the rest of the fleet but got stuck in a lull and was passed by the entire fleet who sailed another way and caught the gusts of some rain clouds.
The wind picked up significantly during the second race offering some double trapeze tacking the last stretch to Base Camp 1 at Rånö. One boat lost the mast but was towed to Rånö and managed to repair during the evening.
The conditions day two were also light with long upwind legs on starboard tack. The tactical complication was whether am easterly shift would come or not and if so how big it would be. It did come and Linder/Brunnberg who were betting on the shift to come were rewarded with a lift that got them first to the finish at the spectacular Huvudskär bay. The downwind start of leg 2 immediately split the fleet in two, some going a shorter way in between the islands and others a longer way but more open. One team, Bergmann/Pixell, unfortunately hit a underwater rock and damaged one hull and had to be towed to the finish in Sandhamn. A great dinner was served at the classic Sandhamns Värdshus before teams retired to navigational planning and their bunks to be ready for an early start day 3.
Finally more wind, an unusual easterly breeze of about 12-18 knots was already on when the first warning signal sounded at 7 o’clock in the Sandham harbour. The teams set out to sea passing Björskär and Nassa and from there sending it in double trapeze pointing high while avoiding some nasty rocks on the way to the light house Morsken. A final upwind to the finish at Rödlöga where the remaining summer guests came out to watch as the catamarans filled the bay. They greeted the sailors by opening the café, offering coffee, hot dogs and pastries. Very popular.
After lunch the breeze was up even more. The course of leg 6 back to Sandhamn started with a long gennaker run pointing high for 15 minutes, then classic gybing passing the middle archipelago of Finnhamn with more trees on the islands. From there upwind out on the open sea again bearing off and hoisting gennaker. The waves had now been building all day and came from two directions making this difficult and very wet. The last team went missing and did not answer any calls forcing the safety boat out for a search and rescue mission late at night. They were found sailing back only on the jib after some problems after capsize in heavy gusts.
That night the sauna felt better and the barbeque tasted better than ever and many stories were shared around the table.
The final day offered champagne sailing in sunny weather and 10-15 knots of wind. After some initial follow-the-leader sailing there were some tactical choices to be made. Option 1 was to sail an inner way, clearly shorter but also some more islands potentially slowing the wind. Option 2 was an outer way, still passing may islands but more open. The fleet was split in two. Linder/Brunnberg went for the inner route followed by a bunch of teams and Dahl/Bodén made the other choice and other teams followed. After sailing for an hour and a half without seeing each other the top teams of both routes got contact some 10 minutes from finish and it turned out the two options left the teams in exactly the same positions as when they split. Dahl/Bodén won by 100 meters over Linder/Brunnberg. This is raid sailing in the archipelago at its best.
The final sprint leg (11 Nm) started with a downwind start that was quite messy and could have cased protests. But in the end, after 4 days of sailing, first place went to Jacob Lundqvist and Niklas Nordblom (SWE) who sailed the raid together for the first time. For Jacob it was his first win and for Niklas this was the 5th gold which makes him the sailors who won the raid most times.
The “master sailors” Lars Linder and Erik Brunnberg came 2nd and finished on the podium for the first time after having sailed more than 15 archipelago raids each. 3rd place to the former Raid World Champions (2017) Dahl/Bodén who sailed well the last two days snitching the bronze from the Becker brothers (NED) during the last day of sailing.