Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Karsunke Declared Swedish J/24 Open Champion

J/24 Hungary team at Swedish Open (Malmo, Sweden)- This year’s J/24 Swedish Open 2015 was held by Malmö Segelsällskap (MSS) from the 23rd-25th of October at the same time as the famous Halloween Race. The tradition was fulfilled better than most anyone anticipated, with many crews bringing the worst Halloween costumes they could find!

The racing took place SSW of Malmo, in the vicinity of the famous Öresund Bridge. The area outside Malmo is regarded as a very challenging race course concerning wind, waves and, of course, the current. Of note, this was the same racing area that saw America’s Cup Champion Ed Baird (skipper of the Swiss ALINGHI) win his first, and only, J/24 World Championship in 1983 with J/Boats co-founder, Bob Johnstone, taking the silver by one point!

After a six race series, the top German J/24 team, Stefan Karsunke from the Blankeneser Segel-club won the regatta by virtue of a tie-breaker over host Per-Hakan Persson from MSS.  Both teams had 8 pts net, but Karsunke’s 1-3-2-3-1-1 record beat Persson’s 2-1-1-1-3-5 for the overall “Swedish Open” title.  Third was Klaus Walkusch from Sweden with 13 pts net.  They were followed by two German teams, Fabian Damm with 18 pts in 4th and Daniel Frost in 5th.  Taking 6th in a borrowed boat was Peter Szabo from Hungary.  Here is his story below of their fun-loving experience:

J/24 Hungary sailors at Swedish Open“I arrived in Malmö, and Per-Håkan's brother loaned us his boat, helped us launch it and take it to the club next door. Our boat engine mount broke approximately 1 minute after the launch! Oh my God!  Bad juju.  Fortunately, the motor did not sink with us having to scuba dive after it because it was secured with a rope!  Yah, it probably would have been difficult to start after taking a bath in salt water! After the adventurous crossing near the harbor, we went off to Per-Håkan’s home for dinner and much needed sleep.

We woke up in the morning to see the weather forecast did not lie to us! West winds of 7-8 Bft.  But, the forecast was for it to moderate by afternoon.  With a harbor postponement, we spent the morning sightseeing in Malmö.  We quickly made many friends!

Later, the early evening welcome party with the J/24 teams with BBQ and beer.  It was kind of a “pot luck” dinner.  Since we have good Hungarian wines, cheese and salami, we offered them as we tell them the Hungarian J/24 class (site of the 2017 European Championship) will be offering gallons of wines and kilograms of delicious cheese & salami.  Our offerings of Hungarian delicacies were a great success. Relatively quickly, the party ended save for a few of us hardy, party-goers!  Just a few of the Swedes, Germans and the only Hungarian team!

The next morning we went to the skipper’s meeting. Amazing, we find out we are sailing against a very talented fleet for just a dozen boats!  Top five boats in the J/24 Worlds.  Oh boy.  Well, the local winds today are from the south (parallel to shore_ from 3-4 Bft.  We should be able to manage this OK.  However, we had a rough day, including an OCS that we did not correct!

J/24 Hungary team at Malmo Segelskapp yacht clubAfter the races, we had Swedish hamburgers, Swedish pea soup, Swedish punch and Swedish sauna- cannot get better than that! Then, an evening dinner at a downtown restaurant.

For the final day of sailing, we had a stronger breeze, 4-5 Bft west wind but with the promise of some storms.  Unfortunately, the fleet got hit by a storm in the second race, we broached and tore our spinnaker.  After three races in challenging conditions, we were happy to go home without more damage.

The Swedes were very nice, always insisting that we should be happy that we came from Hungary!  Lots of hugging, smiles, supporting us in everything we did.  It was a local European Championship for sure, but, we'll probably be seeing more of them on Lake Balaton! The Germans, especially, are expected to come in force to our lovely lake.  We hope to see them all soon!”

The Hungarian team that participated in the Swedish J/24 Open included- Peter Szabo, Zsolt Baranyai, Attila Soos, Bence Kollányi, and Edina Nagy.   For more Swedish J/24 Open Championship sailing information