Around 50 yachts of various colors want to set off for the first Nord / LB Baltic Sprint Cup in one month. The largest is over 20 meters, the smallest just ten meters long. There are ultra-modern racing yachts and real classics.
The three-week regatt starts on July 9th in Sandhamn, Sweden and covers around 1,150 nautical miles over seven stages in the ports of eight Baltic Sea residents. The destinations are Helsinki (Finland), Tallinn (Estonia), Rig (Latvia), Klaiped (Lithuania) and Gdansk (Poland). The last section coming from Copenhagen ends on Friday, July 29th in Warnemünde with a big sailing party.
The noble reward for the overall winner: the porcelain trophy “Neptune with 2 tritons” from the “Fürstenberg” manufactory. The short sprint stages between 45 and 260 nautical miles, often over two days and one night, in which ambitious teams often do not sleep at all, make the tough challenge of the sea regatta.
And despite beautiful forecasts, the Baltic Sea can hold strong winds and heavy seas ready even in July. “We will react flexibly to the weather development with the course and, if necessary, also with the start times,” promises regatta director Alan Green. “Because we want everyone to arrive safely and also get to know the dream cities along the route,” adds Event Manager Henning Rocholl.
"The pleasingly high number of participants more than met our expectations and shows how overdue a pan-Baltic sailing regatt was," said NRV Chairman Gunter Persiehl and Nord / LB General Manager Sven Herlyn in unison. While the president of the North German Regatt Club wants to take part himself with his brand new Bavari42match “Pippifax”, the head of the banking division for Northeast Europe is putting on an exciting supporting program for sailors, top customers and the public.
Individual receptions and crew parties as well as some public events such as the start of the big sea festival in Klaiped are planned in all ports. Even if most of the yachts start under the German flag, the organizers expect an international field. Because the clubs and partners of each city have received two wildcards for participants who can only sail the stages to and from their own stopover port.
"In the end we hope for boats from all eight countries that will offer us this unique backdrop for the Nord / LB Baltic Sprint Cup," said the organizers. The field is divided into three classes and a Classic Division according to the ORC Club rating system. In the division all yachts start with a handicap racing value (GPH) up to 580, class B goes up to 615, and in C the boats sail with a GPH between 615 and 650. Yachts built before 1980 are in the Classic Division approved.
Until the start on July 9th, the participants still have their hands full preparing their ships and coordinating the crews. The “Tutima” by watchmaker Tom Ebert from Frankfurt, for example, was still under construction at the end of May. The 14 meter long yacht was completed in Malaysia. "But for the Kieler Woche we will dock at the Kiel Yacht Club on time," says Ebert. At the Nord / LB Baltic Sprint Cup, the DK 46 will then be at the start on the Baltic Sea for the first time. Thus the "Tutima", which is still waiting for her measurement certificate and thus for the classification, will be the youngest ship in the race.
The oldest ship is Major Simon Davies' 57-foot Bermuda sloop "Flamingo". The Briton starts in the Classic Division with his yacht built from wood by Abeking & Rasmussen in 1935 for the British Kiel Yacht Club. The largest yacht is the "Sylt Symphony" by Reinholt Riel from Westerland with a total length of 21.31 meters; potentially the fastest by handicap, the “outsiders” of Kiel Admiral’s Cup veteran Tilmar Hansen.
On the new “Norddeutsche Vermögen Hamburg”, 28-year-old Benjamin Hub will take on responsibility as the skipper for the first three stages. “Because not everyone has that long time, we take turns on board. Two more skippers then come on board,”explains Hub. The yacht of the type Andrews 54, which starts under the flag of the Hamburgische Verein Seefahrt (HVS) in the division, is one of the hottest contenders for the overall victory. And the crew is one of the youngest of the regatta, because it is in the philosophy of the HVS to introduce young people to deep sea sailing.
Benjamin Hub is looking forward to the sailing challenge as well as the trip through the Baltic States: "The concept of the Nord / LB Baltic Sprint Cup is completely new and very interesting in the northern European regatta scene, because holidays and performance-oriented regatta sailing can be wonderfully combined."
The individual stages are scored according to the low-point system, that is, the fastest yacht according to the calculated time receives a counter, the second fastest two and so on. The two worst stages - except the last - are canceled. After each section there is an award ceremony and the handover of the "yellow jersey", a flag to better identify the overall best before the restart.