Tuesday, June 18, 2019

J/111 Wins Marstrand Big Boat Race

J/111 wins Marstrand Big Boat Race
(Marstrand, Sweden)- The Marstrand Big Boat Race started out as a local spring regatta, but have turned into Scandinavia’s biggest annual short course event. With almost 70 yachts from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Germany, it is also the first test for the more ambitious teams going on to European championships or international events.

This year, three J/boats attended the regatta; J/88.se racing in the newly formed sports boat class (sprit boats bellow 10 meter LOA) and J/111s BLUR and DACAPO (this tend to be a yearly battle).

Saturday morning was grey, but 18-20 knots westerly on the Marstrand fjord tend to be pretty epic, with big waves and challenging conditions, so most teams were excited to go racing.

The team on Blur has focused on offshore sailing after their Fastnet Campaign in 2015, and is planning to do the Middle Sea Race in October. But they have continuously worked to improve rig trim, sail design, and other speed factors.

And the result of this work was evident as they posted a 4th and a 1st before race management took the decision to cancel the last race of the day due to increasing wind and sketchy condition on the bigger boats.

So Blur grabbed the daily first champagne just in front of FinnFlyer 36 Zlatan with match racing star Johnie Berntson helming, Scandinavia’s fastest Farr 30 Cheyenne and the former CEO of North Sails Europe in his Xp-38 Soldier Blue.

Skipper Peter Gustafsson explains: "We had great speed upwind with our bulletproof J3.5 and managed to hang with the bigger boats.  Ideally, we want to go for speed, bet we managed to keep our lane. Downwind we stayed upright with the 'whomper', our 155 sqm A2 and managed to move ahead quite a bit. Especially on the last run where we observed a late shift and went for the A3."

Not bad for an offshore team approaching the regatta as a great training opportunity.

Sunday morning's forecast had 10-14 knots of wind moving from SW to S during the day. Also, the current plays an important part when racing in Marstrand, so with at least five boats in the mix, racing would be tight.

Most top boats opted for the right corner, close to land, to get relief from the current. Blur showed superior speed, this time with a recut J2 and led at all the marks to win with almost a minute on corrected time.

At this point, even the team was surprised.

After a bad start in race 4, they managed to catch the top boats and post a 3rd place.  Just ahead of the Norwegian J/111 Dacapo. Heading into the last race, Blur lead  FinnFlyer 36 Zlatan with only one point.

Another good start made it possible to both work the shifts and keep a light cover on Zlatan. After a long run to finish inside Marstrand harbor, Blur posted another 1st with just a 3-second margin.

Peter Gustavsson commented on their performance, “Wow.  This is unbelievable! After 6 years and over 12,000nm we know the boat well and are pretty confident with our targets. But, with more rake and harder jib in-haulers- we're almost a degree tighter than the North tuning guide. As a result, we sail higher without sacrificing speed. This is a team effort, both getting the boat blazing fast, but also when it comes to tactics and strategy, where we typically involve more people than many other crews. Comes in handy when we run watches at sea, but apparently, it's useful on tight courses as well."  For more Marstrand Big Boat Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.