As with last year's successful format, the clubs will be racing in a fleet of identical one-design 50 feet racing yachts. Generally, the race course follows the Nord Stream pipeline. The race will start in Kiel and finish in Saint Petersburg, with stopovers in Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki. However, there will be a bigger build-up to the start of the competition as start of the Nord Stream Race will be held during Kiel Week, one of the biggest regattas and festivals in the world.
Founder of the Nord Stream Race, Commodore of the Saint Petersburg Yacht Club Vladimir Liubomirov, commented: "Kiel Week is the ideal starting point for the Nord Stream Race. With the sport of sailing, we all share a common passion and there is even a shared language between us. This is what is so important to us in organizing the Nord Stream Race, to build friendship and unity among our neighbors with whom we share this magnificent Baltic Sea. The race motto is 'Connecting Baltics through Sport', and that's what we found worked so well between the five teams who took part last year."
After competing in Kiel, the first stage of the Nord Stream Race takes the fleet to Copenhagen, right into the city centre opposite the spectacular Copenhagen Opera House. After the inshore races, the sailors set out on the race to Stockholm. This is the longest leg of the race and was the fastest part of the 2017 Nord Stream Race, with the high-performance racing yachts frequently achieving over 20 knots of boat speed.
After they arrive in the city centre of Stockholm, the Nord Stream Race competitors will combine with the ÅF Offshore Race, the famous race around the island of Gotland which has been taking place since 1937. The start out of the centre of Stockholm should be spectacular.
Once they leave Swedish waters, the race continues on towards a stopover in Helsinki, Finland, before the final sprint to the finish in St. Petersburg, Russia. Whichever crew wins the race can claim to be truly great all-round sailors.
The challenge of winning a series of short, sharp races in smaller one-design sport boats is one measure of sailing ability. However, the races in the National Sailing Leagues last only a few minutes. In order to succeed in the Nord Stream Race the crews will need to master a much larger and powerful 50ft keelboat in conditions ranging from light breeze to gale-force wind with big waves. It will require enormous reserves of mental and physical stamina and the ability to stay focused for hours or even days at a time. The seventh edition of the Nord Stream Race will be a life-changing experience for all who take part, creating memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.