Nord Stream Race Leg 3: Danes win upwind battle to Helsinki
During the previous offshore leg to Stockholm, Germany's football team was eliminated from the World Cup but Germany won the race to Sweden. This time Denmark was eliminated from the World Cup, but Denmark wins the long upwind slog to Helsinki...

Hamburg, July 2018 – Kris Houmann and his crew from Frederikshavn Sejlklub have won the 180-mile offshore leg of the Nord Stream Race from Stockholm to Helsinki. The Danish team were locked in a nip-and-tuck battle for the lead with the Finnish and Russian crews but found an extra click of boatspeed in the final miles to win the leg from Finland by six minutes.

All five ClubSwan 50s finished close to each other. "Just this morning we were 50 metres apart from the Russian and German boats," said Houmann. "We had good speed, good tactics, made the right decisions. The last bit to get around the Russian was down to good speed. Upwind we are fast."
Nord Stream Race © Anya Semeniouk
Houmann's victory in Helsinki has helped banish the memories of last year. "A year ago we finished last into Helsinki and then we broke our mast in the windy inshore race, so it is another feeling right now to win here in Helsinki. I didn't get much sleep but we are well fed - some chilli con carne, and plenty of candy and chocolate along the way."

Finnish skipper Staffan Lindberg had promised he'd get a good start out of Stockholm yesterday and he was true to his word. In the early stages Åländska Segelsällskapet was locked in a battle for the lead with the Russians on board Lord of the Sail - Asia. "Racing out through the archipelago was fantastic," said Lindberg. "Really close, high-speed sailing." Once out into the open Baltic, however, it was a long slog on port tack across to Finland. "We've pretty much forgotten how to sail on starboard," he joked. "We learned a lot about how to trim the boat. The ClubSwan 50 is very sensitive to small changes in trim and one moment we'd have a burst of speed and then the conditions would change and it would be someone else's turn to go fast."

Henrik Lundberg is one of the most experienced offshore sailors on the Finnish crew, having competed in the Whitbread Round the World Race 30 years ago. His son, Mans, is also along for the ride although the younger Lundberg doesn't sound quite so enthralled by the joys of going offshore. "It was much further than I expected and when we arrived in Finnish waters we all celebrated on board," he smiled. "But then it was a really, really long upwind. We managed to sail very well, our best leg so far. I'm tired now. I feel like maybe I've discovered that offshore sailing is not the goal for my life!"

The Finns did well to keep the hard-charging Russians behind them, with Maksim Taranov's crew having to settle for third across the finish line, just 2 minutes behind the Finns. The Germans who won the previous offshore leg, could only manage fourth. The bow started to fill with water in the latter stages which affected their boatspeed, although they managed to stay ahead of Sweden who came across the line in fifth place.

In the overall standings, with one offshore leg to go, Lord of the Sail - Asia's lead has been cut to 2 points. Frederikshavn Sejlklub's victory moves the Danes to second overall, one point ahead of Norddeutscher Regatta Verein in third overall. Despite last place on this leg, Kungliga Svenska Segelsällskapet holds fourth place ahead of Åländska Segelsällskapet. On Tuesday the five crews compete in the Inshore races just a short distance from Helsinki city centre.
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