Midnight Sun Raid after action report
Champagne sailing and smiles all round. That is the feeling the fleet was left with after three long days of racing in the Turku archipelago.
On Friday morning the TPS yacht club grounds were alive with teams making final preparations and there was an air of anticipation as the race commitee boat was scouting out the wind further down the planned race course. The sun was already high in the sky but the sea showed only small whispers of wind as the boats lined up in a neat row, ready for the adventure that lay ahead.
After a small tow to get things going, the first leg instilled into the teams just how crucial it is to stay in the puffs with some of the top teams making gains early on. The only casualty on Friday was the gennaker on FIN-16, but the team managed to retrieve their spare one before the start on Saturday, so all good.
It was time to get settled in our base camp on the island of Pensar and enjoy some of the best views the archipelago has to offer. The sauna was hot and the beverages were cold.
The sauna and trim tips on Friday had clearly helped some of the newer teams and the racing was close during the first half of the first leg on Saturday. However FIN-80085 pulled an ace out of their sleeve and managed to find a shortcut through some very shallow water threading the needle between rocks. This saved them so much time they cruised to claim victory for the leg and were enjoying the warm waters in Sandö bay when the others arrived. Sandö is the embodiment of the Turku Archipelago. If you could visit only one island, it might well be Sandö with its long sandy beaches and shallow waters.
The second leg of Saturday was 100% upwind and relatively uneventful. While in the lead, an unfortunate navigation error for FIN-007 caused them to miss a checkpoint and ended up costing them a lot of points. FIN-77 found good speed and dropped FIN-370 to last position.
The third leg of Saturday is where things got going. After a tacking duel in increasing winds, the gennakers came out and the rodeo was on.
FIN-370 had forgotten to tighten their diamond tension as the wind increased and the mast was looking alarming at times. FIN-11 capsized while dueling with FIN-007, but managed to right themselves without loosing too much time. FIN-007 in turn slightly grazed a buoy but escaped without bigger issues.
Islands and rocks created narrow gates the teams had to get through and at times three boats were side by side. FIN-1337 had found their groove and proved the victors. FIN-80085, FIN-42 and FIN-18 had a good fight to the end, but the two others could not match FIN-80085 during the last few hundred meters.
To everyones surprise, even to their own, after two days FIN-80085 was in the lead. Much speculation and experience was again shared during the evening between the teams. A refreshing swim was called for after a long day and the sauna in Pensar is nicely located next to a beach. After receiving the waypoints for the last day, it was time for some sleep.
As the sun rose on Saturday, our slightly sun burnt teams clawed their way to breakfast. Judging by the blank stares, some of the teams had clearly been up discussing strategy longer into the night than others. Nothing coffee and sailing can’t fix.
Conditions proved to be light with spotting and using windshifts as the key to success. Teams used both sides of the Airisto straight looking for the advantage also keeping a watchful eye out for cruise ships as this is one of the main shipping lanes in the area. The gap between the first four and the last five boats extended slightly, but the closer the finish line got, the tighter the race was. FIN-42 finished first with three boats FIN-007, FIN-11 and FIN-370 finishing within just one minute, three minutes after the winner. FIN-80085 was fifth costing them the overall victory, but granting them a well deserved second place.
FIN-11 took the overall victory, FIN-80085 grabbed the surprise second place over FIN-42.
The sun was out during the entire weekend, the race organization worked like a well oiled machine and the Turku achipelago is trully an ideal place for this Raid. A big thank you to our sponsors, the race commitee, Hotel Sandvik and everyone involved.
The racing can be relived using the GPS tracks from the following links:
Also videos and more photos by Hartas Productions can be found from the following links:
Video day 1
Photos day 1
Video day 2
Photos day 2
Video day 3
Photos day 3