After two days of measurement, registration and practice racing tomorrow and Tuesday, 82 teams from 11 countries throughout Europe will start racing on Wednesday, 26 July for four days of offshore and inshore competition at the Dr Irena Eris ORC European Championship held here in Gdansk. The format is scheduled to include a 10-12 hour Offshore race on Wednesday, followed by Inshore windward/leeward racing on Thursday through Saturday, with final Awards scheduled for Saturday evening.“We are very excited and proud to have attracted such a strong turnout for this championship, another record for ORC,” said Michal Korneszczuk, co-organizer for the event with the Pomeranian Sailing Association (PSA). The organizing team looks strong, the competitors look ready, this should be a great week of sailing in Gdansk.
A preview of the teams to watch is as follows: in Class A there is a healthy mix of a dozen Racers and Cruiser/Racers, with the latter category led by Tea Ekengren-Sauren’s Swan 45 Blue Nights from Finland, who has just won the Granaria Polish ORC National Championship. Yet they will likely be challenged by another Swan 45, Erik Berth’s Tarok 7, who was the Silver medalist in last year’s ORC World Championship in Copenhagen. Among the Racers in this class will be Filip Engelbert’s Ker40+ Elvis from Sweden and Rolf Relander’s Cookson 50 Furiosa, a sistership to the newly-crowned 2017 ORC World Champion, Mascalzone Latino.
In Class B there is a larger crowd of 29 entries in Class B, ranging from proven champions in the Baltic region, like 2015 ORC Class B European Champion Jaak Jogi on his X-41 Forte from Estonia, to brand new designs, like Bjorn Erik Bjornsen’s Aquatich 40 Aquatich from Norway. But watch out also for Thomas Dehler on his Dehler 38c Sporthotel from Germany, since they just won the Granaria Polish National Championship this past weekend.
Class C is the largest class at the event, with 42 entries, the largest ever for an ORC European Championship. Within this group there are also some proven champions – such as the reigning Class C European Champion Aivar Tuulberg on his Arcona 340 Katariina II from Estonia and new winner of the Granaria Polish National Championship as well, Patrik Forsgren’s modified First 36.7 Pro4U, the 2015 Class C Champion from Sweden, and Sandro Montefusco from Italy leading an Estonian team on the NM 38 Sugar, the European Class C Champion in 2013.
While not competing for ORC European titles, there is also a class of 9 additional entries in ORC Class D which are Sportboats and other designs from Poland and Russia not rated fast enough to be included in Class C.
Racing will be held in the Gulf of Danzig just north and east of the port, and the shoreside venue will be in the historic heart of the Port of Gdansk, a scenic backdrop for a city which has had a seafaring heritage for over 1000 years.