Short handed racing reaches Scandinavia

Jon Amtrup reports on the record breaking sign-up for next year's Watski Skagerrak TwoStar two handed 300 miler

Monday December 20th 2004, Author: Jon Amtrup, Location: Scandinavia
The Vendee Globe and other international shorthanded events are inspiring Scandinavian sailors to cut down on their crew and get shorthanded. Only 29 hours after the entry form to the doublehanded regatta Watski Skagerrak TwoStar went online, over 150 crews had signed up. The second edition of the regatta seems set to be an even bigger success than the first...

Tuesday was probably the first time ever Scandinavian sailors had to get a wake up call to register for a regatta. The online registration for Watski Skagerrak TwoStar opened at 07.00 hours and after one hour 60 boats where signed up.

Watski Skagerrak TwoStar had its debut in June this year and over 130 boats where on the starting line. The limit for the regatta is 150 boats due to the size of the stopover ports. The Watski Skagerrak TwoStar is a 300 mile long doublehanded regatta which starts in the Norwegian sailing Mecca of Hankø in the Oslofjord. The first leg takes the sailors down to the picturesque port of Arendal where the sailors have just a three hour stopover to get some sleep, do media interviews and repairs.

Then they cross Skagerrak to end up in Marstrand on the Swedish west coast where the second and last pit stop on the race is. The boats then finish back in Hankø again.

Only 29 hours after the registration had opened the maximum limit of 150 boats was reached, and late arrivals are now on the waiting list.

Those who made through include Knut Frostad, Melges 24 sailor Kristoffer Spone, Volvo Ocean Race sailor Christen Horn Johannessen, and South pole adventurer Cato Zahl and a lot of other experienced offshore sailors or those simply with a taste for adventure.
The biggest boat in the fleet is a one-off 65ft full on racer while the smallest are the seven 6.5m Minis. In between there are a Botin & Carkeek-designed IMS 46, several IMX 40s and Elan 37s and a 56ft trimaran. The regatta has also attracted sailors from neighbouring countries and boats from Sweden, Denmark and Germany will be on the starting line this year.

The regatta has really struck a nerve in the Scandinavian sailing community. There was a lot of buzz about the regatta after it was first held this year and now we are heading for another success, says Morten Jensen, editor of the Norwegian SEILmagasinet and mediapartner for Watski Skagerrak TwoStar.

If all goes according to plan, all the boats will be equipped with GPS trackers and their position updated every five minutes on the net. All the sailors will be able to send email, photos, audio and videos directly to the staff in SEILmagasinet, who will be working round the clock during the regatta. This year there where over 7 million hits during the three days the regatta lasted, and an interactive sailing community was created. The ambitions for 2005 are even higher.

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