The canal is mean, rocky, and in some places less than a mile wide for normal deep boats. It is therefore hardly surprising that race director Alan Green (England), after 65 miles across deep water, timed the fleet north of the canal at Saxby, engine 40 miles and only let the stopwatch run south of the island of Saareem.
In Rigselbst, 88 miles later, Tom Ebert's 46 large “Tutima” crossed the finish line first after a strenuous stage that had everything from calm to storm. "The thunderstorms were violent," said Matthias Sator from the crew. “A gust caught us in such a way that we made what is probably the fastest 360-degree circle in the history of sailing.” But it was with the stage win of the crew on the new cruiser / racer optimized by Mark Mills for IRC regattas Nothing. The addition of the two stage times resulted in the “Outsider” as the yacht with the shortest sailed time. Paradox: Tilmar Hansen's Elliott 45, which currently ranks 24th according to the calculated time and is considered to have no chance due to its high racing value, was first ship home, although after the DK 46 "Tutima" and the X-612 "Hansa" only came in as a third party. Different powerful machines and a "flying start" at the southern mouth of the canal made this possible: every yacht that had survived the treacherous 40-mile passage was allowed to sail on to the Latvian capital without delay.
According to calculations, the X-442 “Emil Reiseschwein” from Buxtehude continues to lead. Under skipper Stefan Hummelt, various small parts “broke” during the stage, which also bothered the ship of the chairman of the organizing North German RegattVereins (NRV) Gunter Persiehl: “Shortly before the end of the first half of the stage, we got stuck in a lull. The leaders barely made it around a mark, then the lights went out.”At the finish line, Persiehl's“Pippifax”was seventh out of 45 after touching the ground in the Väinameri Canal. Their crew included the 1984 silver medalist Achim Griese.
So far, the “Outsider” has lived up to its role as a favorite, has won all stages according to sailing time and has received small backstays for it. “That was also the plan,” said owner Tilmar Hansen happily.
Today we continue towards Klaipeda. The fourth will be the second longest stage, with a distance of 225 nautical miles, and the longest from Gdansk to Copenhagen. The launches are joined by a parade out of the Andrejosta marina in Rigan.
The Riga Bay is a treacherous area, there are an infinite number of stones and islands called Muhu or Vormsi. Captain Hornblower from C. S. Forester's novel of the same name would have been delighted. In history, the commodore had the lead pilot cast here a century and a half ago - which, however, did not prevent some of his ships from running aground every now and then.