Archipelago Sea has been deemed too rough to race in, as more than five boats capsize

The Archipelago Raid has quickly become a fierce battle against strong winds and abnormally difficult sailing conditions. The Archipelago Sea, with its stiff northerly breezes and rough waters, has been deemed too rough to race in, and on Wednesday the leg from Åland to Nago had to be cancelled. The boats will remain in the Åland archipelago today (Thursday), and will almost certainly turn back to the Stockholm archipelago.

Wednesday was a day for Citus and Thule to share some glory. The French finished first in both legs, but the Swedish team sailed a great second leg, being first through every checkpoint and thus actually scoring more points than the winners. British sailors William Sunnucks and Simon Farren (Audio Network) are standing strong in second place. There is only a half point different between first and second and between second and third.

On the negative side, Both Team Wipak and Ursuit were forced to retire from leg 4 due to damage to their boats. It is still unclear as to whether they will be able to rejoin the race.

It had been a day of exciting sailing, which started at 05:00 with almost 20 knots of Northerly breeze. It quickly led to some intense racing, with more than 5 boats capsizing and still others colliding with rocks.

Anders Lewander, former skipper of Ericsson 3 in the Volvo Ocean Race, capsized on Wednesday’s first stage, but managed to get back in the race in minutes and was able to complete the leg. On the second leg, Lewander had problems with his mainsail; a setback which they also managed to overcome, but their day of less than plain sailing has left them well behind the race leaders.

“Everything went well at first, and we screamed down the coastline of Åland. But after half an hour the rudder came loose and we could see the bottom of the ocean. Three minutes later we were off and racing again, but of course it was tough. The boats in the front are very fast,” explained Lewander. 

It is now likely that the race will leave the Åland Islands and go back to the Stockholm Archipelago. The strong wind is expected to continue and the forecast predicts winds of 20 knots, which is pushing the envelope for those racing in small catamarans. The ninth Archipelago Raid ends outside the convention centre AtSea on Lidingö, Stockholm on Saturday afternoon.

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