8th Croatian Challenge goes to Max Friedrich & Heiner Elbel

Full speed downwind

As previously announced, 8th edition of Croatian Challenge moved to Krapanj Island, and the 21 registered teams fully enjoyed the new formula, in a good mix of tense sailing (although not that easy weather conditions), nice food, and friendly atmosphere.

At the end of the day, a truly international podium with five different nations in the top 5 ranked teams. Full results here.

Congratulations to Drasko Andric and team, for a perfect organisation.

For more info, please read the detailed report from Bettina & Klaus Dreier published below, big thanks to them.

8th Croatian Challenge, as experienced by AUT 3

After 7 successful events, the traditional “Murter Challenge” was renamed to the “Trophy Challenge 8th Edition” and at the same time the location of the event was changed from the bay off Jezera on Murter to the small island of Krapanj, located about 40km further south, which gained fame mainly because of its sponge divers who were very active in earlier years. The hospitality on this island and the commitment of the organizers were overwhelming, the conditions for the logistics of the boat transport and the transport of the trailers was extremely challenging due to a ferry breakdown right before the event. But despite all adversities and thanks to the tireless efforts of the numerous helpers, everything worked perfectly.

After a few beautiful days of sailing, which were granted to those who were able to arrive a few days before the event, the wind and weather on the first day of the regatta proved to be extremely changeable. Thunderstorms, light winds, strong gusts and brief calm followed by new thunderstorms made the first long distance race, which started in the bay south of Krapanj and passed the islands Oblik, Dugo, Sokol, Vela Sestrica to the finish next to the island Dvainka over almost 20 nautical miles, a veritable test for all participants and organizers. The race was won by the French team of Nicholas Touchot and Alexandre Hamel, (FRA 1962) ahead of Steve Stroebel and Nicholas Tosi (USA 44) and Joachim Piehl and Jurica Borozan (GER 368). That evening all participants were rewarded with a pleasant sailors’ dinner in a restaurant near Sibenik.

Unfortunately, the weather forecast did not predict good racing conditions for the next two days. However, on Saturday, the 2nd day of the regatta, after several hours of postponement of the start due to passing thunderstorms, “Jugo” (wind from the southeast, which is usually accompanied by rain clouds), could prevail. This made it possible to hold 2 more races, which were designed as up-and-down courses and not as long distance races. This due to safety reasons because of the wind strength up to more than 25 kn measured at the beginning. Because of the strong gusts, especially just before the start of the first race, and because of the challenging conditions on the southern beach of the island, which made it very difficult to cast off from the beach with the onshore wind and the shorebreak that built up within a very short time, only about half of the boats were at the start for the two races, even when the wind then dropped a little. However, they were rewarded with excellent sailing conditions as the wind on the course did not reach more than 18 kn.

The first race of the day went to the team of Max Friedrich and Heiner Eibel (GER 19) ahead of Niels de Haas and Sil Grijpma (NED 1) and the Croatian team Luka Piasevoli and Filip Mirolic (CRO 8). In the 2nd race of the day, the team of Nicholas Touchot and Alexandre Hamel (FRA 1962) was ahead of GER 19 and NED 1 again.

On Sunday, 3rd day of competition, the weather can be described as really nasty. Storm, rain and the matching weather forecast caused the RC to cancel all further races.

The overall result was finally led by the team from Germany Max Friedrich and Heiner Eibel (GER 19) ahead of Steve Stroebel and Nicholas Tosi (USA 44) and Luka Piasevoli and Filip Mirolic (CRO 8) on 3rd place.

Congratulations to the winners, but also to all non-winning participants, who spared no effort to make the sometimes immensely long journey to made this event a great experience.

Many thanks to the dedicated organizers, the regatta management, the jury and the many helpers, to whom the success of the event is to be attributed.

We are looking forward to next year (with hopefully better weather conditions).

Klaus & Bettina Dreier (AUT 3)