As the first of the competitors, Team Germany on board SY “SGM” crossed the finish line of the second leg of the Nord Stream Invitational Race 2016 in Warnemünde at 02:58 AM on Friday morning, 10th June, having sailed nonstop for 3 days, 8 hours and 13 minutes on their way from the Finish capital of Helsinki. Combined with their 3rd place in leg one from St. Petersburg to Helsinki it makes them the overall winners of the 5th edition of this Baltic Offshore Challenge.
“As a pure amateur crew who have never sailed in this constellation before, our expectations were not as high as standing here now holding this trophy”, said an overjoyed skipper Alexander Prinz zu Schleswig-Holstein at the prize giving ceremony just before his crew surprised him for the second time – this time with a decent champagne shower.
Wind blowing with up to 25 knots, temperatures in the single-digit range but also nerve-racking stretches of dead calm – the Baltic Sea with all its demanding weather conditions tested the participants to their limits on the overall 700 nautical mile long course from Saint Petersburg to Helsinki and further on to Warnemünde.
As well as trimming their boats correctly and sailing at the fastest possible speed, it was also a very tactical challenge for the international crews on board of the five Gazprom Swan 60 yachts. To read the weather information and come up with a decent game plan proved to be crucial for success as navigator on board SGM, Ove Franck, reported: “We tried to get information and updates about the weather whenever we had the chance and developed a strategy from this.” His skipper continued: “We knew that north of the island of Rügen there would be a large area of little wind and we gambled by taking the most northern route to avoid this. Also we knew that our competitors at the front, SPIRIT OF EUROPE and TSAAR PETER, were battling and would not leave each other’s side. They were not expecting much competition from us so we took the chance to steal away. The relief and the joy on board were enormous when we realised that we had them under control and that this strategy would pay off.” Making no major technical mistakes and giving crew members in turn the chance to rest and recover during the race he claimed as two additional success factors.
Second placed Tim Kröger, who has taken part with his Team Europe in all Nord Stream Races since 2012, called this anniversary edition “the toughest and the coldest so far”. Especially on the young crew member this must have been hard but “they all did a fantastic job”. Having put an emphasis on promoting the youth also in the previous year’s already, this time around the organisers even made it a requirement that each team should include at least three crew members under the age of 25.
Following the crew on SPIRIT OF EUROPE was Team Russia with skipper Sergey Borodinov on board BRONENOSEC. After having won the first leg they only scored a fourth place in the second leg giving them five points in total. As the second leg is decisive in case of a tie break, Team Europe beats Team Russia with a second and a third place respectively. Fourth is the team from Finland with skipper Samuli Leisti on board TSAAR PETER, followed by Team Great Britain and skipper Adrian Lower on board PETITE FLAMME in fifth.