Tough racing for Archipelago Raid crews

Report from day one as the former Volvo and Olympics crews race with F18 cats through the most spectacular scenery

Sunday June 23rd 2002, Author: Simon Keijzer, Location: Scandinavia
At exactly 11.00 yesterday the Archipelago Raid got underway from downtown Stockholm for a gruelling four day extreme orienteering sailing competition through the amazing and seemingly endless Stockholm, Åland and Finnish Archipelagos.

The race started rather spectacular with two teams capsizing on the line. The experienced multihull sailor Gerard Loos (NED) had the best start and cleared Djurgarden first.

The first day of this Raid takes the teams to seven checkpoints before sunrise on Monday 24 June. At the first checkpoint Sando Sugga, almost 30 miles from the start, the fleet was spread out considerably. In the lead was team Raymarine with Magnus Woxen (SWE) en Klabbe Nylof (SWE). Closely contested by Team ‘Pia Minitransat with Pia L’Obry (SWE) and Lizz Wardley (AUS).

Team Jobman with Bjorn Hansen (SWE) and Bjorn Osterberg (SWE) passed the checkpoint in third place. The backmarkers was the unfortunate Team Kempff (#690). They ripped their mainsail after capsizing at 12.10 PM hours. The persistent duo spent two hours to fix the mainsail at a gas station in Vaxholmen. By doing this they missed the deadline at checkpoint two, Norra Stavsudda. The rule allows 'unplanned outside help' and also allows them to catch up and skip one checkpoint, by collecting penalty points.

At the fourth checkpoint in Sandhamn the exhausted teams had a mandatory one hour stop having sailed at least 60 nautical miles.

First in was Team Tidermans with Anders Lewander (SWE) and Calle Hennix (SWE) at 17.52 PM. In the pouring rain from a fierce squall the leaders approached from the Baltic Sea. They received their instructions for the next checkpoints and walked away to refresh supplies. All of a sudden they embraced each other and jumped of joy up and down on the dock. Calle Hennix, with all the charts hung around his neck in plastic folders was in a hurry, "We had a really bad start and regained the lead with better upwind speed and reasonable good local knowledge of the archipelago. We've got to run, sorry, where is the restaurant?"

Second to arrive at Sandhamn at 1800 PM was Team Raymarine was former SEB crewman Magnus Woxen (SWE) and Klas Nylof (SWE) ex ASSA ABLOY. The two ex-Volvo Round the World Racers were providing that they are equally capable crew in dignhy cats. "We were T-boned at the start, Klabbe fell overboard but we did not capsize and sailed well," said Woxen. "It is fun but hard," continued Klabbe Nylof. "I was feeding Magnus. But we still do not eat and drink enough. We lost the lead in the long upwind leg to Calle Hennix but we both passed the girls there. They sailed very well, so did Bjorn Hansen. The others we have not seen yet," they said while getting their dinner at the KSSS Sailing Club.

At 18.18 number three Team Jobman came in with Bjorn Hansen (SWE) and Bjorn Osterberg (SWE). Hansen used his experience from last year to sail smart and strong. "I am tired already. We wrecked our daggerboard when we hit the rocks twice," said Hansen as he pulled out the completely delaminated board to show the damage. "We need to fix the boat and get something to eat before we take off again," continued Osterberg.

Fourth team to arrive was the Team Pia (#670) with the girls Pia L’Obry (SWE) and Liz Wardley (AUS), as the first team Tiderman took off again to restart their race in front of the backdrop of a huge rainbow.

The event is organised in the spirit of a Raid, demanding an extreme performance in sailing respecting nature in an adventurous spirit. The course can vary between 350 and 500 miles depending on the wind strength. The race is organised and produced by Atlant Ocean Racing in co-operation with the Nacka Strand Yacht Club.

The eleven teams are a mix of round the world and dinghy sailors representing nine countries. The talented group, with some world champions, with experience in various different events, ranging from Volvo Ocean Race to Olympics.

The finish is in Fejan on Thursday 27 June.

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