Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Spain In Front in Leg 2 of Mixed Two Person Offshore World Championship

20th September 2021
There are ten teams from eight nations competing in this inaugural World Championship for Mixed Two Person teams
"There are ten teams from eight nations competing in this inaugural World Championship for Mixed Two Person teams

Team ESP have taken an early lead in Leg 2 of the 2021 Hempel Mixed Two Person Offshore keelboat World Championship in Italy. The 10 boat fleet of Figaro 3 keelboats started out from Bari at 0800 hours this morning on a 300-mile leg through the Adriatic Sea towards the finish line at Marina di Ravenna.

There are ten teams from eight nations competing in this inaugural World Championship with teams representing Italy, Belgium, USA, South Africa, Great Britain, Spain, Sweden and Poland.

The event concludes at the end of Leg 3 in Venice on 24 September, when the first ever winners of the 2021 Mixed Two Person Offshore World Championship will stand on the podium in one of Italy’s most beautiful cities.

Team ESP’s Guillermo Altadill, sailing with Aina Bauzà, said he was relaxed about the start, predicting that the wind would shut down before coming in stronger in the afternoon. Being relaxed is one thing, being last off the line is another. The Spanish were extremely slow to accelerate away from the start in very soft breeze and found themselves playing catch-up while Italy’s Pietro D'Alì and Claudia Rossi on board Team ENIT found a personal gust to cruise away to an early advantage over the chasing pack.

However, Team ENIT had held the lead of Leg 1 for much of the way from Brindisi to Bari a few days earlier. Falling into a wind hole with the Belgians, the Italian crew could only look on as the Spanish ghosted past them in the middle of the night. Altadill and Bauzà had caught the best of a nocturnal land breeze to steal the lead and take the winner’s gun.

Bit by bit over the course of this afternoon, Team ESP have ground their way through the fleet on Leg 2, in points terms the most important of the three legs that constitute this inaugural World Championship. Bauzà and Altadill held to a more westerly route closer to the Italian coastline, again making the land their friend. If you look at a map of Italy and see the 'ankle spur’ that sticks out of the ‘boot of Italy’, that’s the small seaside town of Vieste. This is where the fleet were racing towards at 1600 hours on Monday afternoon, so close they might as well have stopped at one of the harbourside cafés to fuel up with a double espresso. At this point the Spanish held a two-mile lead over a tightly bunched pack that includes Belgium, Team USA Orcas and Team Sweden.

It’s may not be that surprising that Altadill holds the upper hand. With 10 circumnavigations of the globe including a number of Volvo Ocean Races and an estimated half a million miles under his sea boots, Altadill is the most experienced offshore racer in the fleet. For all that experience, however, he says this is the toughest thing he’s done. "This length of race means you cannot afford to sleep," he smiled. "Not very much anyway. It is very tiring, much harder than any round the world sailing I’ve ever done."

Part of the winning crew on board Groupama in the Volvo Ocean Race a decade ago, Martin Stromberg along with his co-skipper Lennea Floser ordered some early morning pizza to bring on board Team Sweden for the journey. Although the pizza will be cold by the time they’ve got around to opening the boxes, it’s this kind of culinary treat that keeps morale and motivation high through the harder moments of what’s expected to be a frustratingly slow leg. The breeze is expected to drop with the sun, so it could be a long night at sea.

Some teams are taking a very scientific approach to the racing, analysing the weather models closely. Others take the view that trying to make sense of weather patterns in the Adriatic Sea is a waste of time. "We haven’t sailed in the Adriatic before," said Andrea Pendibene, who with Giovanna Valsecchi is racing Marina Militare as part of Team Italy. "We take a technical approach to making the boat as fast as possible, but the wind we will take as it comes."

The American crews on the other hand have employed two of the best in the business as their coaches for this contest. The husband and wife team of Christina and Justin Wolfe have been working with fellow Seattle-sider Jonathan McKee, best known as an Olympic gold medallist and America’s Cup veteran but also a canny offshore competitor. For Erica Lush and Laurent Givry, Volvo Ocean Race winner and one of France’s offshore greats, Sidney Gavignet, has been offering his words of wisdom - not only on what to watch with the weather but for the psychology of long distance racing.

"I don't think we could have done it without him," said Lush. "He's been phenomenal not just in coaching us with boat handling, but helping us to understand the weather patterns here in the Mediterranean. We haven't spent much time racing in this area. The sports psychology comes in a lot in doublehanded offshore racing and Sidney’s an expert on that. I'm really grateful to have had his input on this campaign."

Gavignet has also enjoyed the role of coach. "I didn’t get coaching when I was younger and I really see the value. It’s a much harder job than I thought but it’s been very interesting working with Erica and Laurent and helping them work through the challenges of this kind of offshore racing."

Offshore racing can always take you by surprise, and a rogue wave caught hold of Team GBR’s spinnaker stowed on the foredeck while the boat was crashing upwind in the stronger conditions of the afternoon. Maggie Adamson and Gavin Howe stopped the boat and went back to retrieve the soggy sailcloth but couldn’t get to it in time in their bid to save it from sinking beneath the waves. If there’s any downwind sailing involved in Leg 2, the lack of a spinnaker is likely to cost the team dearly.

Like Leg 1 from Brindisi to Bari before the weekend, this leg is most likely to be a test of patience and sniffing out the best of a thin breeze. Everyone agrees that the race to Ravenna is going to be a slow one, with the organisers planning for somewhere between 48 hours and 60 hours of sailing time.

The race continues up the Italian coast before taking them around a petroleum platform about 50 miles from Ravenna, and then back. If the breeze is unfavourable then the race committee can cancel this section and finish the boats sooner when they first reach the turning mark at Ravenna.

Afloat.ie Team

About The Author

Afloat.ie Team

Email The Author

Afloat.ie is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat

For the first time in sailing's Olympic history, a Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat event will be on the slate at the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition.

The Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat will join kiteboarding, windsurfing, multihulls, singlehanded and doublehanded dinghies and skiffs, promoting the diversity of the sport. This, in turn, will support World Sailing's desire to promote and grow universality in all disciplines and increase female participation with gender-equal medals and athletes.

Offshore sailing is the ultimate test of endurance, skill, discipline, navigation and critical decision making.

Embracing a major part of sailing in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will enable new stars of the sport to come to the forefront.

Qualification

Offshore sailing is a universal discipline that every World Sailing Member National Authority (MNA) can participate in.

Up to 20 nations will be on the start line at Paris 2024 and sailors from every continent will be represented. To qualify for the Olympic Games, continental qualification events will be held and competition for a spot will be hotly contested.

Equipment

For qualification events, World Sailing will approve a list of one-design boats that are already regionally available and can be accessed as a charter boat. Boats will be equalised to ensure fair competition.

For Paris 2024, World Sailing's Council will select a list of different Equipment it considers to meet the key criteria by 31 December 2020 and then make a decision on the Equipment, selecting from the list, no later than 31 December 2023.

MNAs, Class Associations and Manufacturers have all been invited to propose Equipment for the list and a World Sailing Working Party will evaluate each proposal. A recommended list will be presented to Council for approval in November 2020.

This recommended Equipment list will ensure that event organisers, MNAs and the sailors have opportunities to train and compete in Equipment that is readily available and affordable within their continent and country. It will also ensure each MNA has a fair opportunity to prepare for qualification events and eventually, Paris 2024.

Format

Starting and finishing in Marseille, the Mixed Offshore event is expected to last for either three days and two nights or four days and three nights off the French coastline and whoever crosses the finish line first will be declared Olympic champion.

The race course and length will be announced in the lead up to the start so the competition can take advantage of the latest weather forecast. Current options proposed include long and short courses heading towards the West and East of France.

Safety and Security

The French Navy and Mediterranean forces have extensive experience of supporting major oceanic sailing races. They will provide safety and security at Paris 2024.

Who is Your Sailor of the Year 2021?
Total Votes:
First Vote:
Last Vote:

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2022

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating