Fleet cross Baltic Sea in varying conditions on day three 02/8/07

The third day of the Archipelago Raid has seen a number of boats rejoin the race and one more retirement, but tactics and critical weather decisions proved to be the defining factor for the leaders in the third leg.

Once again the F18 fleet were delayed as the race organisers waited for the wind to set in. Finally the fleet set off from the island of Fejan with one small island to pass before heading out into the Baltic Sea and across to the Aland archipelago.

The White Knuckles and Voltaren teams were able to re-join the race after their respective near sinking and dismasting yesterday. Per Westergren, on Voltaren, commented: “The mast broke due to just a small fitting at the bottom of one of the shrouds. We are upwind from the beach so when it came down we just held the jib, like a jury rig, and sailed downwind to the beach to fix it. The rig is now back up and we are pleased to be competing again.”

After a tight start, navigating the Baltic Sea split the fleet in two – the crews choosing to go either left or right. For those that chose left it was to pay dividends as they gained a left hand shift and came out on top when the fleet converged.

Misha Heemshink,Yamaha Red, who was second into the town of Mariehamn explains how it went at the front of the fleet: “We were expecting a left hand shift so we chose that side of the course – it is always nice when a plan works. There were also a number of other shifts, which we played but the French [Nissan Hobiecat team] were really fast and came back at us. We had a good position on the rest of the fleet so we decided not to take to many risks and stuck with where we were rather than going further out one side. In the end it worked for us. We were surfing into the finish with the French, but we managed to overtake them and finish second.”

The teams left Mariehamn at 1335 and will navigate a number of checkpoints before finishing on the island of Lappo. They will once again have notched up around 100 nautical miles.