1,000 Miles, Double Down
The first leg of the Lombardini Marine 1000-mile Doublehanded Race is won by sailing yacht Fandango. Exactly four days after the start in Scheveningen the FF110 managed to cross the finish line in Bergen just in front of their direct competitors Blue Jane, a Huisman 44, and Farvide, a Beneteau 44.7. The three yachts finished with a time difference of only fifteen minutes in four days! At the same time Greyhound had no reason for celebrations. They were towed by a Lifeboat because of severe rudder problems. The Dehler 39SQ was towed safely to Askoy harbor and hoisted ashore. The whole rudder appeared to be broken off.
The winning skipper Kees de Walle is about to be a well known shorthanded sailor in the Netherlands. Early this year he received the Magic Marine Cup from the Dutch North Sea Club, for being the best shorthanded sailor in the Netherlands. One of the reasons: winning the Lombardini Marine 1000-mile Doublehanded Race in 2008! De Walle did what he was expected to do to win the first leg of this race on both line honours and IRC. Unfortunately Fandango cannot win the overall prize this year, because De Walle has obligations back home next week. This means that second and third IRC winners Blue Jane and Vandal see opportunities for the overall victory.
Changing weather situation
The competitors left Scheveningen with great sailing weather for a 600 mile trip to Norway. A south to southwesterly wind, force 4, seemed to give room for a record breaking crossing. A windlesness period of six hours after about 150 miles sailing spoiled that attempt. Heading closer to the Norwegian coastline the weather changed dramatically to sometimes 40 knots, eight Beaufort. The boat speeds raised to sometimes 20 to 25 knots! The heavy circumstances were too much for at least one spinnaker (Vandal), one headsail (Fandango) and a rudder blade (Greyhound).
One of the favorites for the overall IRC prize, Greyhound, had to call for lifeboat assistance in the early morning of 18 June. The circumstances, SSW 8 and heavy seas asked too much of the rudder construction. Skipper Gerard Schalkwijk did not want to get closer to the dangerous Norwegian coastline without help. The excited skipper could tell us with some pride that he managed to reach speeds of almost 20 knots in the hours before the rudder problems began. Suspending the first leg was a hard decision, especially because Greyhound had only 40 miles to go, and the yacht had a great chance to reach the finish first. Once in safe harbor, brought there by the lifeboat, Greyhound was hoisted onshore where it seemed that the whole rudder was broken off. Not a chance they could have made is safe to the Fjords without assistance. Great decision of skipper Schalkwijk.
The second (Bergen-Lerwick) and third leg (Lerwick-Bergen) can be followed almost live. The competing yachts have satellite trackers that give a signal every two hours. Follow the race here!