Pre-start Collision Before Offshore Leg to Helsinki Forces Team Denmark and Sweden to Retire

For the first time in the history of the Nord Stream Race, a collision between the Danish and Swedish boats leads to a retirement, so that this afternoon only the teams from Finland, Russia and Germany were able to start the third leg from Stockholm to Helsinki and compete in all remaining races. In the pre-start phase for the third offshore leg in Stockholm, a collision occurred during the battle for best position on the line, when the Danish boat’s bowsprit got jammed in the stern of the Swedish boat. The resulting damage could not be repaired in the short term, meaning that the Nord Stream Race 2021 ends prematurely for both teams. The Russian team won the morning’s Inshore Race in a spirited duel with the Danes and took the lead in the overall ranking of the Inshore Races.

Peter Warrer, the experienced skipper of the Danish team from Aarhus Sejlklub took full responsibility for the collision: "In the pre-start sequence we were fighting for the best position, as one does. We wanted to duck behind the stern of the Swedish boat and I calculated that it was possible. Obviously, I miscalculated the space and we crashed into the Swedish boat. It's unfortunate and it's never nice to have a collision. It's especially difficult for us right now because we were leading the offshore standings and had good chances of winning overall. The team was doing awesome and it's sad that we can't continue the race in a proper manner."

In top-level sailing, collisions in high performance racing yachts like the ClubSwan 50 are going to happen from time to time. The sailors are pushing the boats to their limits, and every metre counts when two top teams like the Danish and Swedish crew are fighting for position. After an initial damage assessment by Allan Cameron, Technical Director of the racing fleet with decades of experience in boat management, it is clear that the damaged boats will have to go to Tallinn for repairs: "Both boats need to undergo a comprehensive examination and of course a proper repair in the wharf. We will monitor the restoration closely and will ensure that both racing yachts will be in flawless condition for the next Nord Stream Race."

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The Danish team made full use of home advantage to come out on top in an intense series of three inshore races during the Copenhagen stopover of the Nord Stream Race. Racing in light winds the Danes won two of of the three windward/leeward short-course races by a narrow margin in a hotly contested battle that really tests every crew’s boathandling and starting skills. Today, the longest offshore leg begins, taking the fleet 420 nautical miles from Copenhagen to Stockholm.

At each stop in the Nord Stream Race, the crews have to prove themselves in short up-and-down races close to the shore. The first race of the day was won by the Russian team from St. Petersburg Yacht Club, who proved to be the fiercest competitors for the Danes on the inshore race track. However, the Danish team from Aarhus Sejlklub made the most of their home advantage and fought back in the following race which was decided by a photo finish, proving how close sailing can be. In light winds and a perfect sailing setting, the Danish team repeated their victory in the last race, finishing only just ahead of the Finnish team from Esbo Segelförening. So the final results of the Copenhagen Inshore Races were: 1st place for Denmark, 2nd place for Russia, 3rd place for Finland, 4th place for Sweden and in last place Germany.

The first leg from Kiel to Copenhagen was a nerve-racking start. The five teams of the Nord Stream Race needed a total of 25 hours for their first leg in predominantly calm conditions. The Finns won the duel just ahead of the Danes and the Russians. The Swedes crossed the finish line some way behind the front three, while the Germans were the last to arrive in Copenhagen.

The first leg of the Nord Stream Race turned into a Doldrums contest and tugged mercilessly at the nerves of the sailors. Three hours after the start in Kiel, the race committee decided to call it off. The wind had gone to sleep, a proper sailing race just wasn’t possible. It was only when the wind came up in Monday evening that the race could be restarted off Langeland at 9 p.m. under difficult conditions, and in almost complete darkness. Now nerves of steel would be required. The teams fought their way through impossibly light winds. At the finish it was close. Yesterday, at 3.30 p.m. the Finns from Esbo Segelförening were the first to finish the leg, followed only two minutes later by the Danes from Aarhus Sejlklub, and then six minutes later the Russians from St. Petersburg Yacht Club. The second group from the Swedish Kungliga Svenska Segelsällskapet and the Germans from the Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee crossed the finish line at Helsingør Castle 30 minutes and 37 minutes later respectively.