This year's Archipelago Raid with over 20kts of wind has claimed several retirements. The race should finish some time today
Since the restart of leg 3 at Fejan island on Wednesday evening, the competitors in the Archipelago Raid experienced rough sailing throughout the night. The 13 teams still in the race have been fighting hard in the difficult conditions. At dusk yesterday competitors had to negotiate a 33-mile stretch of open water to get to the reach checkpoint in the Åland archipelago, belonging to Finland. In 20 knots of winds competitors enjoyed exciting conditions averaging 13kts of boatspeed. In the taxing conditions at night, two boats went aground with Nynäs Havsbad hit one of the hulls quite severely and had to retire from the race. MacFreeze hit but is still managing to race. The boys on Realsailing were too tired to continue the adventure and retired early that morning.
In these lively conditions the racing has been tighter than ever for the frontrunners. The leading boats Sogeti (Woxén/Ardern) and Jobman Workwear (Hansen/Oserberg) were sailing extremely close during the night. Flying through the night, side by side, they were mere seconds behind each other at the checkpoints, closely followed by Tidermans and the two Nokia teams. Sogeti was first at the Rodloga checkpoint but Jobman Workwear, skippered by Bjorn Hansen, local from Åland onboard, snatched the lead just before the finish of the leg at Mariehamn. Therefore they won the third leg right in front of Sogeti. Jobman Workwear and Tidermans are currently both leading the race with the equal number of points. Nokia Adilstam is just one point behind and the tension is rising for the two remaining legs before the finish in Gustavsberg/Stockholm on this afternoon.
Neal and Lisa McDonald on Assa Abloy are still in the middle of the pack, currently eighth. In the dark night they missed the leg finish in Mariehamn and accidentally sailed past it! They had to turn around and were overtaken by the boat behind. “We just had a good three hours sleep here in Mariehamn, which was really needed after having slept one hour since the start of the race [last Tuesday at 08 GMT]. We have made some human errors, but mainly we were less strong on the paddling the first days of light airs. The most difficult for us has been our broken GPS [satellite navigation system]. Last night we had to use our Suunto watches to navigate! We really enjoyed the fast sailing across the open sea and actually feel that we sail better this year than last year,” said Neal McDonald in good spirits. The McDonalds were third last year, and will have a hard time reaching the podium in this year’s edition.