By Hermann Hell, Norddeutscher Regatta Verein
With the entry of defending champion Karl Kwok’s Beau Geste in Category A, all reigning titleholders will now be competing in the 2023 ORC World Championship in Kiel, taking place August 4-12.
A total of 121 yachts from 14 nations are registered in the A, B and C classes. In addition to the three reigning World Champion teams from the 2022 event in Porto Cervo, Italy, all nine medal winners from the 2021 World Championship in Tallinn, Estonia, will also be at the start.
This is likely to be the first time in the history of the ORC World Championship, which has been held annually since 1999, that the reigning gold medalists have gathered to defend their titles. In addition to Kwok’s TP52 Beau Geste in Class A, Catalin Trandafirs’s GS 44P Essentia 44 will compete in Class B and Ott Kikkas’s Italia 11.98 Sugar 3 in Class C. Each of them will face strong challengers.
Having 121 entries is a milestone for an ORC World Championship and not far off the record participation of 151 yachts in 2014. And there are still more than ten weeks until the first starting signal.
“We are pleased that all the defending champions have entered. That speaks for Kiel,” said regatta director Eckhardt von der Mosel, who previously managed the 2014 ORC World Championship in Kiel.
While the reigning title holders and 2021 World Champions will try to repeat their successes, there is one team that does not want a repeat. Two-time runner-up Outsider is going for gold. “Our goal is definitely not to be called perpetual runner-up,” says Bo Teichmann. The 39-year-old project manager has been sailing with Outsider owner Tilmar Hansen (KYC/TP52) for 23 years. After two World Championship silver medals, in 2018 behind Beau Geste and in 2021 behind Michael Berghorn with his Mills 45 Halbtrocken 4.5, they want to avoid the triple. Five more pros on board, led by Markus Wieser, should contribute to their success.
The competition is also relying on the expertise of professionals in their class. Kwok, who will be racing off Kiel under the flag of the British Virgin Islands, has Gavin Brady (Annapolis Yacht Club) on board. The 49-year-old New Zealander has competed in the Olympics and several America’s Cups. Brady was tactician aboard Tag Heuer in the 1995 Louis Vuitton Cup, helmsman of Chessie Racing in the 1997/98 Whitbread Round the World Race, and sailed Olympic campaigns in the Star Boat. “We are really looking forward to coming to Kiel and defending our title. We’ll also enjoy seeing Tilmar and his team again – they’re good friends and rivals, and we love sailing with them in a championship like this,” said Brady.
In addition to the two TP52s, 2021 World Champion and 2022 European Champion, Michael Berghorn is a top favorite with his Milles 45. The Hamburg native also has other professional reinforcements on board, including tactician Jes Gram Hansen and match race specialist Frans Hinelaar.
In addition to partners Sydbank, Gaastra, X-Yachts, North Sails and Pantaenius, NV Charts and Kohlhoff are also supporting the World Cup in Kiel.
Event website: www.orcworlds2023.com
Preliminary schedule of the ORC World Championship (August 4 – 12, 2023):
- Friday, August 4, to Saturday, August 5: registration and measurement
- Sunday, August 6: practice races, opening ceremony
- Monday, August 7, to Friday, August 11: races
- Saturday, August 12: final race and award ceremony