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.
|Joris||Vanden Berghe||BEL||Yohan||Debauque||BEL||Cirrus R2|
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!