Patrick Demesmaeker and Olivier Gagliani World Raid Champions
After five day of intense sailing, crisscrossing thru the Stockholm Archipelago the 29 F18 catamarns finally reached the finish In the middle of Stockholm, close to the famous Wasa Museum. It was a close fight all the way in, between Team Patrick Demesmaeker / Olivier Gagliani from Belgium and the Swedes Jakob Lundqvist / Rasmus Rosengren. Eventually tit was the belgiens who took the gold, leaving Jakob och Rasmus with the silver. Another Swedish team, Fredrik Karlsson och Niklas Nordblom took bronze.
– It was stressful in the beginning, we were very close with Jakob and Rasmus all the way, said Patrick after the finish. Not until we could pass them, about 10 minutes before the finish we could relax.
– Before the race we said that anything could happen today, commented Olivier Gagliani. And almost everything happened.
The first race of the last day started in very light winds and thru a part of the archipelago which is quite dense, wit narrow straits and high islands. There was to obvious routes, on longer and more open. One narrower and shorter. The field split with approximately half boats on each course. Coming int the finish at Grinda it showed that the narrower part had been a little better. Interesting was that the leader boats choosed to change from the one to the other and made a massive loss. So before the start oft the last race Demesmaeker / Gagliani had just one point more than Lundqvist / Rosengren. Now the wind picked up and it became a long upwind into Stockholm. It became something like a match race between the two top boats. And at the end Demesmaeker / Gagliani could pass the Swedes and bring home the Gold to Belgium.
– Of course a silver gives somewhat mixed feelings, said Jakob Lunqvist after the race. There are like just two kinds of persons, those who are world champions, and those who are not. But we couldn’t match their speed. But it is the first time we sail together so, we are happy with the silver.
The best finish however, was performed by the team Fredrik Karlsson and Niklas Nordblom. By hoisting the gennacker about 25 meters before the finish line they managed to pass one boat and gaining the single point more that they needed to get the bronze.
All and aa, it has been a fantastic World Championship, with very varied, but just conditions. Although there are plenty of daggerboards that will need some love before next sailing, there have been no serious incidents. And on the dock at Djurgården we saw a lot of happy faces.
Day 4: …And action!
On the Saturday we were treated with true action sailing. The expected hard and gsutsy breeze did really kick in an send the racers off in smoking down wind start. We saw speeds in the 20 knot range and knowing that any minor mistake would cause a crash made the sailor fully focused. After the down wind leg came a short upwind and after that a long hard beam reach in about 20 knots of wind with gusts at 28. You could see expressions of utter joy shifting to fear and back again in the faces of the sailors.
It is very tight in the top, but the Swedish team Lundqvist,Rosengren took the lead early and the Belgians Demesmaeker, Gagliani wre further down the line, but have during the race showed a unique capacity to work their way up in the field. Despite the hard and gusty wind there was no severe breakage or incidents. Actually it was more dramatic during the night when a squall hit the harbour at Fejan. A F18 catamaran that was moored by one of the safety RIBs was lofted by the almost 50 knots wind and tipped over and pulled the Rib with it, and both landed upside down on the quay. Miraculously none of the bot were damaged and ad could serve in the race on Saturday.
Back to the race. On the way towards the finish at Nässlingen was another screaming beam reach and when team Lunqvist, Rosengren suffered a minor technical problem, it caused a capsize and Demesmaeker, Gagliani and two other teams could pass. The Australians Burvill, Skewes did also make decents race and the top three before the last day of racing now looks like this:
- Patrick Demesmaeker,Olivier Gagliani Belgien 202 points
- Jakob Lundqvist, Rasmus Rosengren Sverige 196 points
- Brett Burvill, Bailey Skewes Australien 179 points
Due to increasing winds no more races will be sailed on the Saturday.
Day 3: Young Swedish guns still close to the top after hard fights in light winds.
We were looking forward to a day of fast sailing and a long stretch from Sandhamn to Fejan in the north end of the Archipelago. But, the forecast didn’t match reality. No wind. First start was postponed and the race officer decided to tow the boats to the first checkpoint and shortened the course. The wind did come eventually, and it turned out to be a rather tricky race, where standings changed all the way. In the top though, it was the same gang. First the Belgian team, Patrick Demesmaeker and Olivier Gagliani, second Fredrik Karlsson and Niklas Nordblom who did a magnificent comeback after hitting rocks in race four on Thursday. On third place another couple of swedes Jakob Lundqvist and Rasmus Rosengren. So after five races Demesmaeker, Gagliani and Lundqvist, Rosengren shared equal point in the overall standing.
After lunch at the beautiful Rödlöga a steady 8 knots south easterly wind prevailed and sent the racers on a long downwind stretch. Passing through the really narrow strait at Norrpada, where only one team did have a casual encounter with the Swedish granite. It was a tight fight all the way to the finish line and we could really feel that the competitive temperature is rising. On third place was Demesmaeker, Gagliani , second twin brothers Becker from Holland. First was the young swedes Lundqvist and Rosengren. This will also make Demesmaeker, Gagliani the overall leader tonight. But with just three points margin to Lundqvist, Rosengren. Tomorrow forecasts says 20 to 26 knots of wind, but hey we heard that one before…
Day two: A day of tactics into the fog, and a Swedish team in the lead.
The start of the sailing on the was postponed due to prognosis of light winds. And the teams could have a soft wake up in the morning. The start was set to 11 o’clock and by then there was warm weather and a steady breeze at about 6 to 10 knots. The wind came from Northeast and it became a long upwind to Sandhamn. What also came in was fog.
Despite the sometimes bad visibility it turned out to be a day of a tactical game. Where it really paid off to find the right shifts. And Belgian team Patrick Demesmaeke and Olivier Gagliani won both races. But they are not on top of the podium. After four races Swedish team Jakob Lundqvist and Rasmus Rosengren are number one, second is Australians Brett Burvill and Bailey Skewes and on third Patrick Demesmaeke and Olivier Gagliani from Belgium. The difference however, between the three teams are just two points.
Tomorrow promise to be a highlight of the F18 Raid World Championships. The race will crisscross through the spectacular outer archipelago in three races, with more downwind than we have had up till know. Stay tuned.
Day one: What a wonderful Wednesday
In the morning the waters outside KSSS harbour in Saltsjöbaden looked smooth and shiny like a polished hood of car, the sun trickled through a light mist and the warm and humid air felt like a Turkish bath. Then the 29 focused teams launched their catamarans and slipped out to the start of race 1. However, the wind picked up and the first long upwind out in the archipelago started. The field stretched out with the predicted favorites steadily increasing their lead. The Belgian team with Patrick Demesmaeker and Olivier Gagliani took a reassuring lead all the way to the finish line. Despite the perfect conditions there were some teams who found under water rocks on their way and had to use the lunch brake for repairs. One team broke their sprit and had to resign, but they will be back tomorrow.
After lunch race Race 2 started with a long upwind out to the open sea and around one of the archipelagos larger islands, Utö. The breeze was steady and the tactical choice few, so this race proved to be something of a drag race. And it was a close all the way to the finish line. But first over the line was the Swedish team Jacob Lundqvist and Rasmus Rosengren.
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