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73 teams ready to race at ORC European Championship
Light air, but intense crew work in practice racing today © Andrea Carloni

ORC European Championship

ORC European Championship 2016 – A record turnout of 73 teams from 12 countries are here at the Porto Carras Marina, ready to start the first of five days racing tomorrow in the 2016 ORC European Championship.

This event, organized by the Nautical Club of Thessaloniki and the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC), will feature two days of offshore racing and three days of inshore racing on the picturesque waters of the Aegean south of Sithonia.

Among these teams are several past champions from Greece and throughout Europe, including the 2009 Class A World Champion Meliti IV-Musto, a Grand Soleil 42R owned by Greece’s George Andreadis, and the 2013 Class B World Champion Scugnizza, Vincenzo de Blasio’s NM38S from Italy. Crew lists here abound with America’s Cup, Olympic, and other high-level sailing talent, as well as over 30 teams vying for trophies in the Corinthian Divisions of Class AB and Class C.

Today in the seven – nine knots of wind offered in the day’s Practice Race, the conditions were perfect for crew work and timing practice, and as usual the more experienced teams rose to the top of the results in a short windward-leeward race held for each class in two course areas just west of the marina, within site of the beachgoers lounging at the Porto Carras Resort.

73 teams ready to race at ORC European Championship

Focus is required in the crowded fleet © Andrea Carloni

In Class AB, Meliti-IV showed they had lost none of their edge from competing years ago, winning the class by nearly two minutes in corrected time. Among the crew are numerous America’s Cup and Volvo Race veterans, such as Kelvin Harrap and Dave Scott, with noted match racing talent Stratis Andreadis also on board.

Runner-up in this race was Andrew Holdsworth, who coming from San Francisco is the farthest-travelled skipper in the fleet, and who did well with a podium finish in Barcelona a few weeks ago at the Trofeo de Godo on his XP-38 Extreme Ways. Holdsworth’s international crew from the USA, Denmark, Sweden, Hong Kong, and Australia is led by tactician Inaki Castaner of Spain.

The light and flat water suits us on this boat,’ said Holdsworth, ‘as long as we just keep moving and don’t stop.

In Class C there were favorites to win at the top of the results as well, led by another highly international team on Aivar Tuulberg’s Arcona 340 Katarina II from Estonia. Past Olympian Lorenzo Bodini from Italy is tactically leading Katarina this week, and the same team is planning to go to Copenhagen to compete again in two weeks on Tuulberg’s other Katarina, a custom Cossutti design.

73 teams ready to race at ORC European Championship

Mixed international team at work on Katarina II © Andrea Carloni

Runner-up in the Class C practice race by about one minute in corrected time in the 1 hour race was another Estonian-Italian favorite, Ott Kikkas’s brand new Italia 9.98 Sugar. Helmed by the new ORC Sportboat European champion Enrico Zennaro, this team also features on board the boat’s designer, Matteo Polli also from Italy. A sistership to Sugar – Low Noise II – is the reigning Class C World Champion having won last year at the 2015 ORC World Championship in Barcelona.

Tomorrow morning race managers will make a selection among several race course options for the first race of the series, which is planned to start at 1100. Due to the strong thermal component of the wind, the courses will be set to try and finish boats in the early evening before the thermal dies out.

For more information on ORC and its rules, classes and events, visit orc.org.

by by ORC

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