Concluding 2021 – The downwind raid

Having sailed most raids since 2004 I have many very strong memories from each year, but it sometimes becomes blurry what happened which year. I tend to attach the memories to something that stood out that specific raid. “The year we started in Mariehamn, the wind died and we had to paddle across the Åland sea (2005)”. “The year with a very windy first day when Darren and Jeroen sailed leg 2 from Finnhamn to Fejan with an average speed of 17 knots (2015)”. Etc.

The raid 2021 will be stored in my memory as the downwind raid with more gennaker runs than ever before. All eight races started downwind with gennaker hoisted and it stayed up most of the time. This because the wind shifted 180 degrees just in time for the fleet to head back towards Stockholm after two days.

Day 1: Saltsjöbaden to Nässlingen

The Forecast looked great with 15-20 knots of wind from West to South west, a little more in the gusts. As we left Saltsjöbaden behind and approached the outer archipelago the winds had increased to 20 knots+ and we where flying with the gennaker, according to the GPS we hit hit 24 knots. Navigation was difficult since all focus was on sailing fast without capsizing.

As we approached the Check point Gillöga, with many shallow areas, Demesmaeker / Gagliano (BEL) where in second place behind Karlsson / Nordblom (SWE) when they hit a underwater rock in high speed. Both daggers broke right off leaving the boat standing on the rock. They had to lift and push it off and borrowed a tool from a safety boat to cut off the splintered daggers. They managed to sail the remaining 15 Nm downwind to the finish line without daggers. Incredibly enough their Akkurra wasn’t damaged other than the broken daggers, so with two replacement daggers they where all set and ready to go in time for the start of leg two.

Erik and I where doing fine as we approached Sandhamn on a half wind reach until a gust buried the bow into the water with a capsize as a result. When we got to the finish we realised that most teams had capsized at least once.

Difficult half wind approaching Sandhamn day 1, Linder/Brunnberg had just righted their boat after a capsize.

Tengbom / Engstrand broke their rudder so bad they decided to abandon race. Fortunately they where very close to Tengboms home where they left their damaged F18 and traded it for his private hydroplane. Before we knew it they set the air plane down in the bay where we had our lunch brake and then followed the fleet from air instead.

Tengbom / Engstrand damaged their F18 in a capsize, but managed to switch to a hydroplane and join the fleet before leg 2 even started.
Tengbom / Engstrand flying low after start of leg 2

The second leg started outside Sandhamn, rounded the light house Svängen out on the open sea towards the beautiful skerries of Björkskär. The wind was up making it hard to aim high enough with the gennaker up. Some teams capsized, others places it safe getting their gennaker down before reaching Björskär.

Dahl / Bredberg hanging in there leg 2 close to Björkskär

As we rounded the check point and turned west the wind had really picked up. It was now a very fast upwind on port tack, through the narrow straights of Finnhamn before tacking our way to the base camp Nässlingen.

Demesmaeker / Gagliano where on fire eager to get back in the game when their jib hook broke. They lost many boats without their jib and finished on 17th place overall after a terrible start of the raid.

Demesmaeker / Gagliani going fast even without their jib…

The Dutch team father and son Noordzij where incredibly strong and consistent finishing 1st and 2nd giving them the overall lead after the first day.

Father and son Noordzij sending it and in the overall lead after the first day.

The sailors dropped in at the beautiful island Nässlingen one after the other and pulled up their boats on the beach and lawn. The large sauna was hot, the beer cold and the food was delicious after a pretty rough first day. At the end of the dinner the Race Officer Ian presented the check points of day 2 and all teams got busy preparing for day 2.

Day 2: Nässlingen to Fejan

Nice warm 12-15 knots winds from south east and not a cloud in the sky. A beautiful sight as all boats hoisted their gennakers and bore away for a 1,5h downwind reach towards the check point Ängskär. The navigation was not hard, but closing in at Änskär there where many options and boats chose different ways to approach the narrow strait between the islands.

Passage through the straight of Ängskär, day 2 2021

The final stretch was a 5 Nm half wind in high speed towards the paradise Rödlöga where the villagers opened up the cafe and handed out icecream. It is the only habited island in the area and provided a good shelter for the southerly breeze. Some teams had hit rocks and had some repairing to do before the 2nd start of the day.

As always when starting downwind the winner is not always the one who crossing the line first. Teams coming from behind can steal the wind and pass a number of boats in high speed.

Start leg 2, day 2 outside Rödlöga

The first check point was 10 Nm away downwind with some gybes here and there and dangerous rocks to avoid on the way. After a few more narrow straights the fleet rounded the iconic island and Light house Söderarm and then turned west for a long port tack to the finish at Fejan. A well deserved sauna and the best food that the archipelago has to offer in the restaurant that the well renowned chef Pelle Lydmar runs since a couple of years.

Most boats stay in the water, only two fits on land at Fejan.
High spirit at the restaurant Fejan.

Remarkable win by Belgians Demesmaeker / Gagliani

Demesmaeker/Gagliani are incredibly fast, even without their jib!
Photo: Henrik Trygg.

After four days and 8 races in everything from tough conditions to light winds the Belgian team Demesmaeker/Gagliani broke the 10-year Swedish win streak since Bundock/Leeuwen won in 2011. And what an achievement that was after a catastrophic start hitting a rock with their Akurra in race one and droping the jib in race two. After that the Belgians where unstopable with one second place and the rest bullets, ending on 176 points.

Final results

The phenomenal Swedish raid experts Karlsson / Nordblom did everything right until the last day and seemed to have their 4th consecutive win within reach, but had a bad day in the light winds. After finishing 10th in the 7th race they only had a few points lead over the Belgians and lost it in the last race, 3 points behind overall. Previous years they have more than once won the raid in the last race by only a few points, but this time margins where not on their side.

Karlsson/Nordblom on their Scorpion. Photo Ingrid Petitjean.

The Finnish-French team Nieminen / Backes came 3rd overall after a very solid performance in all winds. They managed to avoid all the rocks with a handheld GPS (not mounted) which meant that Olivier Backes had to sail much of the race with only one hand. For sure they can sail even faster with a hands-free navigation solution.

Backes (FRA)/Nieminen (FIN) finish on third place with their Phantom from 2012.

In the mixed class Antman/Wetterling (SWE) took the lead the first day. But the Danes Hedmann Jensen/Wyon (DEN) where going faster for every day and after a 3rd place overall in race 7 they where beyond reach for the Swedes finishing on a very fine 12th place overall.

Hedman Jensen/Wyon battling upwind.

The Noordzij father and son (NED) did not manage to defend their first place they had after four races and they ended on a forth place overall.

Maarten Noordzij (in orange) in one of many downwind starts 2021.

On 5th Place the former Raid World Champion Dahl and crew Bredberg (SWE) just managed to beat the other Swedish raid specialists Linder/Brunnberg (6th place) after a bold route choice in race 7 that made them pass many teams.

All teams are to be congratulated for great sailing, good sportsmanship and making it to the finish. Welcome back next year to the F18 Raid World Championship.

Champagne sailing with gennaker all day

The second day of the raid offered perfect F18 conditions. 15 knots of wind with gusts of 20 all day, mainly from the W-SW. Since the fleet was heading NE it ment lots of long gennaker runs, again.

The standing in the top is that the top 4 teams are the same as yesterday. Karlsson/Nordblom in the lead, but on the same point (103) as the Noordzijs. Then Nieminen/Backes on on 93 points and Linder/Brunnberg on 88 points.

Results after 4 races

Demesmaeker / Gagliani have been sending it with one 2nd and one bullet and are advancing quickly in the scoring.

Today the fleet turn back south and the wind changes from SW to NW to N 10 to 15 knots of wind. It means that there will again be mainly downwind to the next base camp Lökholmen.

Noordzijs in the lead after a very tough first day

The westerly breeze with winds from 15-25 knots made the first day super fast. The winners of the first leg Noordzij (NED) father and son where flying the 34 Nautical miles sailed in 2.07 at an average speed of 16 knots, while navigating.

Leg 1 was mainly gennaker runs for one and a half hour and then a were fast reach with the wind from the side. Leg 2 started with a long downwind to Björkskär and then an even longer upwind to the first base camp Nässlingen.

The local raid champs Karlsson / Nordblom had a very good day and offered the tourists the locals in Sandhamn a show when the capsized in a very narrow straight just before the finish line, blocking the passenger ferry Cinderella for a while.

FIN36 Nieminen (FIN) / Backes (FRA) are on third, despite a 3p penalty. They are sailing incredibly fast and stable in the hard conditions. Team USA Stroebel / Leuck are also sailing very fast and are on 7th overall which is quite an achievement in a totally unknown archipelago with so many rocks.

Standings day 1

BEL1 Demesmaeker/ Gagliani had a terrible start. First they hit a rock really hard and destroyed both daggers in the first race. After some unorthodox boat care during the lunch stop they managed to get to start of leg two. But in the second race they where in the lead, but lost the jib and had to sail the boat as an a-cat loosing many places.

A couple of more boats did not finish and Tengbom / Engstrand has had to retire from the raid unfortunately.

Day two will be slightly lighter winds, more like 15-20 knots, with lots of gennaker runs to the base camp Fejan.

44 sailors from 8 countries gather in Stockholm

4 days to start of the 21st consecutive raid in the Stockholm Archipelago and the first foreign teams have arrived in Stockholm. 22 teams with some of the best F18 sailors from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, France, USA and Sweden will participate this year, despite some late cancellations due to Covid travel restrictions and quarantine rules. No less than 9 different F18 models will be sailed including some brand new designs and earlier models.

Skipper CrewModel
JorisVanden BergheBELYohanDebauqueBELCirrus R2
JanHedmann JensenDENPennyWyonDENC2
AnssiMuikkuFINPetriForsmanFINCirrus R
Martin-SebastianKreplinGERDanielEggertGERHobie wildcat
AdNoordzijNEDMaartenNoordzijNEDCirrus R
SteveStrobelUSAStevenLeuckUSANacra Evolution
PeterBusckSWEMagnusDu RietzSWEScorpion
AndersTengbomSWEStefanEngstrandSWENacra Fusion
Participants 2021

The high pressure with hot air that parked over the Scandinavian peninsula for over a month in June / July feels long gone this rainy and windy August night. However the sea temperature is still up and and the weather forecast is quite uncertain.

What is certain though is that the Race Committe is prepared, the Base Camps are ready and the 66 Check Points (bouys, light houses, islands, rocks etc) are set waiting to be rounded. The course will be in the middle and northern parts of the archipelago, an area of about 50 km * 100 km.

The name of the game is that teams will be briefed during dinner about the CP’s that will be used during the 2-3 races the following day. They can then prepare their navigation, study different options and short cuts and make their strategy and plan for the next day. Typically 3 to 5 CP’s are used each race and the sailed distance each day is from about 40 Nm and up. The winning concept is to have reasonably good boat speed while making the right navigational choices, dodge the rocks to keep the boat in one piece and to eat and drink to get the energy to keep going to the finish line.

Safety equipment includes VHF, GPS, knives, towing lines, paddles, flares and spares on each boat and all sailors wear a dry or wetsuit, floating aid and sometimes helmet and a Personal Locator Beacon.

The spirit of the raid is as much about the adventure and nature as it is about the sport. Being far out in the wilderness in places that you would not normally go to in these small, super fast catamarans or any boat is exhilarating. The changing scenery as you leave Stockholm behind and move from islands covered with woods to the outer bare rocks and skerries inhabited by seals and sea birds is amazing. And after a sauna, a good dinner and drink or a glass of wine the party is on before it is time to hit the sack. Repeat times four.

This year will be no exception!

F18 Raid World Championship to Stockholm in 2022!

I just received the wonderful news from the President of the International F18 Association that the Stockholm Archipelago Raid has been granted the Raid World Championship in 2022!

The F18 Raid World Championship is the long distance discipline of F18 sailing. In addition to boat speed and endurance the top teams must also be good at navigation to find all the check points and to avoid the underwater rocks on the way. The first F18 Raid World Championship took place during the Stockholm Archipelago Raid 2017.

Raid World Champions Leff Dahl/Roger Bodén, flanked by William Sunnucks/Freddie White and Elke Delnooz/Jeroen van Leeuwen

The plan is to race four or five days around the 17th-21st of August 2022, but since we have not received confirmation from all base camps the dates are yet to be confirmed.

The check points, base camps, saunas, dinners and number of races will be similar to a normal year and the ambition is to keep the nice atmosphere between sailors, even if the stakes are higher. The usual cap of 30 teams will be removed, but since there will not be beds for more than 30 teams some teams might have to sleep in their on tent or on the floor.

Start off Rödlöga, Raid Worlds 2017

Vikingarnas Sailing Society, where teams will park their cars, register, measure and set up their boats and where the price cermony and regatta dinner will take place is in central Stockholm. It’s an exceptional club with lots of space in a spectacular and central location, very convenient for media, friends and family as well as public spectators.

Emely and Gustaf, could not be happier. Raid Worlds 2017.

Now we look forward to make this year’s edition awesome and a great tune up for both sailors and the race organisation for the World Championship in 2022.

On behalf of the Swedish F18 Association

Lars Linder

26 teams registered already

The level of competition is going to be very high. Will a Swedish team win again for the 10th consecutive time since Darren Bundock and Jeroen van Leeuwen won in 2011? One week after registration started 26 teams from eight countries signed up. The teams are from Sweden (13), Germany (3), UK (2), Denmark (1), Finland (3), France (1), Belgium (2) and the Netherlands (1).

Ad and Maarten Noordzij

Karlsson/Nordblom (SWE) are sailing to defend their three consecutive wins from the last years. Chased by Demesmaeker/Thery (BEL) who have finished second several times and could have made it to the top last year hadn’t their navigation equipment failed them. Ad and Maarten Noordzij (NED) came 4th in 2020 after breaking a daggerboard on the last day, for sure aiming to get on the podium. The raid veteran William Sunnucks, who win the raid in 2014 and came 2nd in the raid worlds in 2017, will also be a contender of the gold. The F18 Raid World Champion Leff Dahl is back, this time with Niklas Bredberg.

8th and last leg in SAR 2020. Noordzij vs Demesmaeker/Thery in a dangerous area full of rocks.

3 mixed teams are registered To date. The team Hedman Jensen/Wyon (DEN) are back to defend their victory in the mixed class in 2019. Antman/Wetterling (SWE) who has sailed the raid many times will not give the mixed class trophy away easily. From the UK the Sturm couple are joining.

Hedman Jenssen / Wyon sending it in 2019

3 Finnish teams are joining, most of which has sailed the raid before. So have some of the 3 German teams. Olivier Gagliani (BEL) who sailed the “old” Archipelago Raid 3 times with Yves Bourgnon is back and sails with Charles Hainneville (FRA) who sailes Flying Phantom and other multihulls.

The youth team Rehman Linder/Forhaug, who was the youngest team to sail the raid ever in 2018, are have become stronger (silver medalist in the Swedish Championship in 2020) and might challenge the top teams, in particularly in strong winds.

Rehman Linder (18) / Forhaug (17) who sailed the raid in 2018 are back.

We look forward to welcome these and more teams the the Stockholm Archipelago Raid 2021.

17 teams from 5 countries signed up

2 days after registration started 17 teams from 5 countries already signed up: 10 Swedish, 1 UK, 1 Danish, 2 Finnish and 3 German teams.

Casper and Henki loosing it, already after day 1 of SAR 2020.

The 21st consecutive raid in the Stockholm will touch base in three wonderful places in the wilderness of the archipelago; the islands of Nässlingen, Fejan and Sandhamn/Lökholmen. These base camps offer shelter for up to 30 catamarans, which is not easy to find in the rocky landscape with hardly no beaches. They also all have good saunas, great restaurants and possibility to host up to 60 people in beds.

They are also perfectly located with literally thousands of islands, skerries and rocks and offer endless combinations of going far out to sea weather permitting, or further in among the wooded larger islands in the middle of the archipelago.

Those combinations make these superb base camps for the Stockholm Archipelago Raid. The sailors of the 2021 edition can look forward to an extraordinary adventure!

Pictures from the 2018 Stockholm Archipelago Raid by Malcolm Hanes. Find one error…

Registration is open

Registrations for the Stockholm Archipelago Raid 2021 has begun. There is a cap of 30 teams for safety and logistical reasons. Are you ready to join the adventure?

The base for the event will be KSSS at Saltsjöbaden (1) and the base camps will be Nässlingen (3), Fejan (2) and Lökholmen (4). The race area covers 3000 square kilometres of wilderness with eagles, seals and other wild life just outside the capital of Stockholm. Race course area for the raid 2021

SAR race area 2021

The base camps offer great places to beach the cats (or leave them in the water at Fejan), sauna, restaurant and enough beds or mattresses for all sailors to get a good nights sleep. They are also ideally situated in beautiful places in the archipelago and the alternative courses are endless and each day courses can be optimized for the wind and wave conditions.

Base camp Nässlingen

Base camp Fejan

Base camp Sandhamn/Lökholmen

Welcome to Stockholm in August!

Spring is in the air

Not everyone in this long country would agree spring is here yet. 1000 km north of Stockholm the skiing is great and will be for many weeks to come. But in Stockholm the ice on the sea is almost gone and local F18 sailors starts to get their boats in order for the season. And all around the world people start to see the spring light in the pandemic tunnel and dare to dream and make plans for social events, adventures and travels to come. Like the the Stockholm Archipelago Raid on the 19th to the 22nd of August. This year it will be the 21st consequtive raid since the start in 2001.

Demesmaeker / Thery on the 8th and last leg at the SAR 2020.

The race will go north this year. The base for the event will be KSSS at Saltsjöbaden. The base camps are still to be confirmed, but likely to be Nässlingen day 1, Fejan day 2 and Sandhamn/Lökholmen day 3 and finish in Saltsjöbaden day 4.
Race course area for the raid 2021

The race area 2021 is about 50 nautical miles long and 40 nautical miles wide and covers 3000 square kilometres of mainly wilderness just outside the capital of Stockholm. Sailors have a good chance to see eagles, seals and other wild life if they just take time to look around while racing.

SAR race area 2021

Registration will start on the 1st of May and as usual there is a cap of 30 teams for safety and logistical reasons. Hope to see you in Stockholm this summer!