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Leg 2 of Nord Stream Race to Start From Island of Öland
Copenhagen and the south of Sweden bask in Caribbean conditions as a high-pressure system sits over the region. Good for sunbathing, not good for wind. So the Nord Stream Race fleet is motoring along the coast of Sweden for a planned start to Leg 2 from Öland on Thursday morning.

Copenhagen, 27 June 2018 – Last year the Nord Stream Race fleet completed the longest leg – 420 nautical miles from Copenhagen to Stockholm – at speeds sometimes in excess of 26 knots boatspeed. This year there is no prospect of a repeat because of a large high-pressure system engulfing the region, resulting in an almost complete lack of breeze in the south of Sweden.

This morning at the Admiral Hotel in downtown Copenhagen, principal race officer Eckart Reinke gathered together the five skippers and navigators representing Russia, Finland, Germany, Sweden and Denmark. "There will be no wind for the first half of the leg," said Reinke, "and good wind for the second half as the fleet gets close to Stockholm. I didn't want the fleet trying to race when there's no wind and then forced to switch on their motors when the wind has arrived. That would make no
sense."

There is a tight race schedule to meet for this 1,000-mile stage race through the Baltic Sea, not least the five ClubSwan 50s joining in with the spectacular ÅF Inshore Race in Stockholm this Saturday. Reinke has reduced Leg 2 to a 211-mile course which is set to start from the southern tip of Öland on Thursday morning at 10:00hrs. Long and narrow like a spear, Öland is Sweden's second largest island. Reinke expects the fleet to start from Öland in light southerly breeze. "The fleet will be able to sail with gennakers in the breeze which gradually builds throughout the day. Then overnight the wind will suddenly switch to the north and increase in strength. It could be tough for the final part of the race into Stockholm, but this is an offshore race. You have to expect things will be tough."
Nord Stream Race © Anya Semeniouk
The skippers were unanimous in accepting the wisdom of Reinke's change of plan. Swedish skipper of Kungliga Svenska Segelsällskapet, Jim Rotsman, commented: "We would have been sitting a long time within sight of Copenhagen if we had to tried to start here this morning. I think this new approach is good. We'll still have a very good race to Stockholm."

With eight new crew members on board including Rotsman himself, the Swedes will need to get to grips with the ClubSwan 50 quickly. Yesterday's three Inshore Races near Copenhagen city centre were challenging for all the teams but for the Swedes in particular. "We had a lot to learn and almost no time to practise beforehand," said Rotsman. "By the third race we were finding our rhythm and enjoying ourselves a lot. The ClubSwan 50 is a great boat."

The breeze blew up to 16 knots for the three short, sharp races which really tested the boathandling. No one dominated the inshore competition, with Finland, Denmark and Russia all winning a race. However, the Russians were the most consistent and won the inshore series, a perfect 50th birthday present for Maksim Taranov, skipper of Lord of the Sail - Asia.

As the fleet were about to motor out of Copenhagen this morning, skipper of Danish team Frederikshavn Sejlklub, Kris Houmann, was proud of the reception that Denmark's beautiful capital city and the Royal Danish Yacht Club had laid on for the Nord Stream Race. "It's always great to be here, especially downtown with the boats right in the city centre; wonderful weather, friendly people, what more can you ask!"

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