Team Holland first into Visby
Team Holland supported by Gazprom International took the lead of Leg Two of the Nord Stream Race early this afternoon today, while battling it out with Team Europe and Team Russia for the majority of the race. Team Holland are a relatively new team, after skipper Pieter Keijzer only put his crew together recently.
After arriving into Visby, Pieter commented: “It was such a fantastic race, we made some right decisions in the tactical department, Kalle Coster did a great job for us. The boat moved fast, everyone was working hard and the three of us, with Team Europe and Team Russia were so close together. Between 5 and 10 miles before the finish Team Europe announced over the radio the gap was only 20 metres, but we managed to pull away when it mattered and it was great to cross the finish line first! We are absolutely heading to the bar tonight and I will be buying the team more than one drink!”
The inaugural Nord Stream Race started from Saint Petersburg started on Thursday 18 October, taking the fleet to the first 198 nautical miles to Helsinki, Finland, with Team Russia sponsored by Gazprom arriving in first at 10.32am on Friday 19th October. Leg Two of the race, organised by the Yacht Club of Saint Petersburg, started the Gazprom Swan 60 Class at 1300 on Monday 22nd October in bright light conditions as the teams left Helsinki, Finland. Wind conditions slowly increased throughout the night bringing heavier conditions enabling the fleet to complete the 260 nautical mile leg, with the first boat arriving into Visby at 18.03.02 this evening.
With a respectable third place for Leg One (3 points) combined with a win for Leg Two (12.5 points) Team Holland now have a 15.5 point total and sit in the top position. After 30 hours of racing, Team Holland and Team Europe were only 1minute and 46 seconds apart, a difference of less than 0.1% of overall race time between the two.
Taking second position for Leg Two was Team Europe, supported by Nord Stream and skippered by Tim Kroger. Team Europe demonstrated another consistent performance after their second position (4points) in Leg One, putting their overall points at 14, slotting in behind Team Holland in second position in the overall standings.
Tim Kroger, Team Europe Skipper spoke on arrival into Visby: “In the end it was a three boat race, we didn’t come off the blocks nicely but we had a very good game plan. We had a plan based on the weather information. Our navigator Mark Lagesse was working that out nicely and we stuck to the game plan. It was good, we made our way through, we were not on the tracker in the lead but we knew we were well placed to get a good result.
"We were becalmed after the gate and that’s where the Dutch guys got a good break and positioned themselves well, Team Russia were also on our heels the whole time, and we were pushing really hard. Early this morning we had all the crew on the rail. We are pleased with our result and it is all still to play for on the next leg.”
Leg One winners Team Russia, supported by Gazprom were very much part of the three way battle between Team Holland and Team Europe and finished Leg Two in third position, collating their points to 12.5 and securing themselves in third place going into the final leg.
Away from the leading pack were Team Germany and Team France having their own battle throughout the leg, both of which were jostling for position. In the final 50 nautical miles Team Germany supported by Stroygazomontazh overtook Team France in a bid for the finish with 15 minutes between them in a dying breeze of 5.7knots.
The third and final leg of the Nord Stream Race is due to start on Thursday 25th October from Visby, taking crews on their last passage to Greifswald in Germany concluding the race. The points system is such that there are 15 points up for grabs for the winners of Leg Three making the overall prize fund win of 100,000 Euros still all to play for.
Overall Standings After Legs One and Two
Team Holland – 3, 12.5 Total15.5 points
Team Europe – 4, 10 Total 14 points
Team Russia – 5, 7.5 Total 12.5 points
Team Germany – 2 (RDG), 5 Total 7 points
Team France – 2, 2.5 Total 4.5 points