After six days of racing the ORC World Championships on August 12 in Kiel, Germany, with changeable conditions ranging from storms to flat breezes, with a total of nine or 10 races for the three classes and course lengths ranging from 3.4 to 102 nautical miles in length, the same yachts have swept the titles of the ORC Worlds 2023 off Kiel, which were also at the top in Porto Cervo, Sardinia in 2022.
Karl Kwok’s (Hong Kong) Beau Geste sailed in a league of her own in Class A. Windwhisper 44, which won the last two years as Essentia under the Romanian flag, led Marcin Sutkowski (Poland) to the title in Class B. In Class C, Sugar 3 of Ott Kikkas (Estonia) found its way into the lane after a moderate start with the weakening breeze, still taking World Championship gold with seven wins in a row.
The final day of the 2023 ORC Worlds brought excitement to the proceedings before the first start of the day. After the protest negotiations and re-measurements on the previous day, there had been shifts in the ranking, which mixed up the title races. In two classes, the previous leaders had fallen from the top: The Polish Windwhisper 44 (Marcin Sutkowski) received a disqualification after a right-of-way violation at the start of the seventh race and slipped down to third place in class B.
In class C, Matilda 4 took a hit. During the re-measurement after the long distance, differences in the existing measurement certificate were found. However, because the owner of the boat was not found guilty, there was no penalty, but only a recalculation of all results based on the new data. Thus, Matilda 4, fell a few points in the morning behind the Swedish TeamPro4u.
Undisputed was the action in class A, the big, fast yachts. Beau Geste of Karl Kwok had dominated from the first day and could not only keep up the series of race wins on the long distance. Winning the World Championship title was only a formality for the crew on the white TP52 on the final day. After the first race of the day, helmsman Gavin Brady (New Zealand was uncatchable in the overall ranking with another victory.
But the new world champions stayed on the course and also finished the second race of the day with another victory. It wasn’t an easy week,” said tactician Gavin Brady (New Zealand). “The competition was tough, and we had to give it our all. We really enjoyed the variety of conditions and courses in this event and everything Kiel has to offer.”
Tilmar Hansen’s (Kiel) Outsider lived up to the silver sheen of her hull. After the two runner-up World Championship titles in 2018 and 2021, the team around helmsman Bo Teichmann won World Championship silver for the third time. Carl-Peter Forster’s Red Bandit safely defended the remaining podium spot.
There was a German double success in Class A in the additional classifications: In their last appearance as a joint crew, the Tutima took the World Championship title in the Corinthian Division of amateur crews. As the only female crew in this class, the crew of Kirsten Harmstorf-Schönwitz (Hamburg) could also be celebrated as the winner of the women’s classification. It was the perfect conclusion to an eleven-year career.
There was an interplay for the top position in Class B. After the protest hearing against Windwhisper 44 had catapulted the Danish Sirena (Peter Buhl) once again into the game for the World Championship title, the new leader initially turned up the heat in the first race of the day.
While Windwhisper 44 got bogged down in the poker for the right side of the starting line, Sirena worked its way from the middle to the front of the field. The Poles were stuck in traffic on the course, so the Danes took the lead. But the patchy wind had a few surprises in store during the race: Sirena parked on the second upwind course, and Windwhisper 44 took advantage of the opportunity. With another second place at the end, the international team earned the World Cup victory, celebrated still on the water in the dripping rain with a champagne shower. ”
We are super happy now. I couldn’t sleep at all tonight; I was so nervous. Peter Buh is an incredibly strong sailor and demanded everything from us. The wind was not good for us today because we have the heaviest boat in the fleet. We just tried not to take any risks in these tricky conditions. And then in the second race we controlled the situation,” reported Windwhisper 44 owner Marcin Sutkowski before he was grabbed by his crew and thrown into the water.
Second place in the overall classification of Class B went to Sirena, while bronze was secured by the Katariina II of Aivar Tuulberg (Estonia). Intermezzo of Jens Kuphal (Berlin) closed the World Championship with a race win, but it was not enough to jump on the podium. In fourth place, Kuphal’s crew was the best German team in the overall rankings. In the Corinthian ranking, there were two German medals. Behind the Estonian Olympic (Tiit Vihul) Stardust of Alf Wulf (Eisenberg) came in second in the amateur ranking ahead of the Intoxicated (Rostock).
Class C also offered high tension right to the end. The Sugar 3 crew (Estonia) and skipper Sandro Montefusco moved closer to the top overnight due to the recalculation of Matilda 4, turned the catch-up race, which they had started after the Coastal Races with five victories in a row, into a triumphant ride. In the light and swinging breeze, the defending champion found the right way through the wind shifts in both races on the final day: “There are really no secrets to success. We started well, had the right announcements for the wind shifts. And once we were in the lead, we defended it well,” said Sandro Montefusco.
Team Pro4u had a tough day and fell back from the leading position to fourth place. The best German boat overall was Aquaplay, in sixth place. In the Corinthian division, Arabella finally came out on top.