Season 2012 kicks off!

Baltic Circuit racing season 2012 kicks off! With the month of June coming up, the 2012 Baltic Circuit racing season found its kick off during two very special and unique big boat events.

As every year, teams had to chose whether to take their chances at the Nordseewoche around the challenging waters off Heligoland or to head even further north to compete in the invitational BigBoat Challenge off Kerteminde.

Medium and long distance racing with a focus on offshore- racing and seamanship versus close inshore racing around the buoys – a tough decision for the skippers and crews but for sure without the risk of taking the wrong one.

During the two days of the BigBoat Challenge (26th/ 27th of May), the bay of Kerteminde provided near perfect though tricky sailing conditions for the 40 yachts strong fleet. As in previous editions, skippers and crews could apply for entering the BigBoat Challenge, a measure chosen by the race officials to keep the racing at the highest level possible. Divided in two starting groups, four races could be sailed, leading to close and intense racing. Fleet one was won by the Danish Swan 45 “Tarok VII”, skippered and helmed by Eric Berth whereas fleet two was won by the German X- 35 “NiRaMo X- treme” lead by Soenke Meier- Sawatzki.

While the BigBoat Challenge officials at Kerteminde announced the overall champions of the 2012 edition of the regatta, the yachts competing in the biannual “Pantaenius Rund Skagen”, a race around the cape of Skagen, were getting prepared to deal with the rough conditions the fleet was about to face during the first night of the journey:

With less than 12 hours in the race, the yachts were hit by a small but intense cold weather system. Winds gusting up to over 35 knots lead to a quite bumpy sea state, causing gear failure and sea sickness. 13 yachts had to retire from racing, fortunately no severe damage was reported leading to every retired crew returning safe and sound.



Up in front, it was Rostock- based V.O. 60 “SEB” dominating the pace for line honours. Even though the smaller but lighter Rogers 46 “Shakti” managed to stay upon “SEBs” heels, it was the vintage offshore racer who crossed the finish line off Kiel first, taking line honours in the 2012 edition of the “Pantaenius Rund Skagen”. On handicap though, it was the small cruising yacht “Tramontane”, a Nicholson 31, that took the prestigious overall victory after having crossed the finish line almost 36 hours behind “SEB”:

“The first night was not that rough I figure”, “Tramontanes” Skipper Dr. Med Jens Kohfahl stated after finishing at Kiel. “We were able to fly a kite from Hastholm all the way up to Skagen,” continued the noticeably surprised but happy skipper. “Pretty dashing sailing. We feel very fortunate for the weather having changed in our favour. But still: Taking the overall victory is certainly not what we expected when we crossed the starting line on Monday!”





Photo: BBC