Monday, September 28, 2015

Royal Norwegian YC Is Best Sailing Club in Europe!

J/70 Sailing Champions- Royal Norwegian YC (Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy)- Royal Norwegian YC (Kongelig Norsk Seilforening- KNS) wins SAILING Champions League 2015 and claims title of “Best Sailing Club” ahead of hosts YC Costa Smeralda of Italy and, the most surprisingly fast team at the event, YC Navigator from Moscow, Russia.  A fleet of 30 club teams from 14 nations participated in the regatta with the top sailing clubs from all across Europe.

The second SAILING Champions League finished Sunday after three days of thrilling racing, a range of challenging sailing conditions during the last three days, ranging from lots of wind the first day, where races were sailed without spinnaker, to relatively light and shifty winds on the last day.

The final day of racing brought a change from the strong mistral breeze that teams had faced over the previous two days. As the wind moved to a more northerly direction and turned lighter and more shifty those competitors who thrive in light airs had a chance to shine in today’s 12 races. There was little hope, however, of ousting the reigning KNS team of Kristoffer Spone, Christen Horn Johannessen, Sigurd Paulsen and Erik Kongshaug who deservedly held on to first place thanks to seven victories and two second places out of 10 flights raced.

“We were a bit excited today, because we didn't know how it would go,” commented Royal Norwegian skipper Kristoffer Spone, “but now we have the trophy, we are very happy. The level of competition at the SAILING Champions League was very high, so it’s a very good feeling having won against the best clubs in Europe. It has been a terrific event here in Porto Cervo.”

J/70 Sailing Champions- YC Costa SmeraldaSecond-placed YC Costa Smeralda (with a superstar team of Flavio Favini, Branko Brcin, Filippo Molinari & Federico Michetti) flew the home flag high by chalking up six victories over the weekend.  Meanwhile, Yacht Club Navigator of Moscow (Igor Rytov, Anton Sergeev, Konstantin Besputin, & Nikolay Kornev) claimed five wins to take third place overall.

YCCS team captain Federico Michetti commented on the club-centered ethos that is at the heart of the Sailing Champions League concept: “It was an honor to compete here for my club together with the team. These were great races with a superb organization behind them. It’s a format where you can really feel how everyone is fighting for their Club and I think that is important.”

“As always our thanks go to everyone who made this event possible: the race committee, jury, umpires and the sponsor Audi as well as all of the teams who travelled from across Europe to participate in this first event in our waters,” commented YCCS Commodore Riccardo Bonadeo, during the afternoon’s prize giving ceremony.

In addition to the Robbe & Berking Trophy for the winning Club, trophies were awarded to the second and third-placed yacht clubs. Special prizes were also awarded to the Royal Malta YC, whose team was entirely composed of members of the Ripard family (Sebastian, John, Thomas & Julia) and the Royal Danish Yacht Club (KDY) that fielded an all-female team- Lotte Meldgaard, Tina Gramkov, Helle Ørum, and Anne Sofie Munk.

Coming just a year after the premiere of the new, international club competition, the SAILING Champions League, this is the second showdown of the best sailing clubs from Europe. The 30 clubs have travelled from all directions to Sardinia, from Finland in the North and from Italy in the South, Great Britain in the West and Russia in the East, to fight for the title currently held by the Royal Danish Yacht Club.

J/70 Sailing Champions- Royal Danish YCThe only all female crew on the starting line was the title defender from Copenhagen. Skipper Lotte Meldgaard and her crew were the reigning World and European Champions and have a great deal of experience in match racing. However, they were looking forward to the challenge of competing in fleet races at the event. “We always want to be at the top of the ranking, whenever we are sailing – also at the Champions League, of course. At the Danish league events that we sailed for the Royal Danish Yacht Club (KDY) this year and in the previous year, we were always on the podium. This is what we want to achieve here in Porto Cervo as well,” explained Meldgaard.

Being the strongest nations as regards the number of league clubs, the Danish Sailing League and the German Sailing League each had four participating clubs each. The Austrian Sailing League, the Italian Sailing League and the Swedish Sailing League sent three clubs. Two clubs came from Poland, Switzerland, Russia and Norway. The Netherlands, France, Malta, Great Britain and Finland were all represented by one club each.

During the training session, Porto Cervo offered perfect sailing conditions, with wonderful late summer weather and great breeze. The weather forecast for the three racing days promised sailing action at its best for sailors and spectators.

J/70s - Sailing Champions League- YC Costa Smeralda, ItalyDay 1- Windy Start
The first day of racing was spectacular, with racing in survival mode with seven races completed. The sailors were facing a typically brisk Sardinian mistral breeze.  After 7 races were completed, the wind reached 25 knots and a postponement was called for the day.

Promising early performances were put in by the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (NRV) of Hamburg who chalked up victories in both of their races today. Norway’s Kongelig Norsk Seilforening (KNS) also performed well, claiming a first and a second place. The Russian Team of Yacht Club Navigator (YCN), took a third and first place while the young crew representing the Deutscher Touring Yacht-Club (DTYC) who boast an average age of just 23 years – won their first race and came third in their second. With a possible 41 races left to run the games have only just begun however and the leaderboard tomorrow could well tell a different story.

“It was a pretty good day for us,” confirmed NRV helmsman Carsten Kemmling. “Our first race was dramatic because it was more survival mode in these conditions. It was a tough fight and a photo finish with the club from Geneva. In the second race we sailed without the gennaker so the boat handling was more important than tactics.”

The crew representing host club the YCCS also got off to a good start as they took victory in the first race of the event. “It was a good feeling,” commented team member Filippo Maria Molinari, “the team has trained well and we won with a good lead which is very encouraging even though we have only completed one race so far.

J/70s starting- Sailing Champions LeagueDay 2- More Mistrals!
The second day was an intense one for the teams. A lively Mistral wind once again put teams to the test over the course of 21 fleet races, bringing the total number of flights completed to 7.

The provisional rankings at the conclusion of racing saw Norway’s Kongelig Norsk Seilforening (KNS) heading the fleet of clubs from across Europe with five victories and two wins in the seven races run. The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda team followed hot on their heels with four wins. The Deutscher Touring Yacht-Club (DTYC), one of four German teams present, continued took look strong despite a sixth place in one of today’s races, as does Switzerland’s Société Nautique de Genève (SNG).

“It was a terrific day on the water,” commented Kristoffer Spone, skipper of Kongelig Norsk Seilforening. “My guys did a great job. Maybe from outside it looks perfect but we made a lot of mistakes. Normally, we are better in light winds, so we’re excited for tomorrow. This format of league sailing is what we want to do.”

Julian Stückl, skipper of DTYC was also pleased: “It was a great day for us but tricky, as well. On the top it is very tough sailing. We know the guys from other regattas. In the league sailing it is more about maneuvers than speed. Tomorrow we want to have fun again and do our best and try not to be too nervous.”

J/70 Sailing Champions League teamsDay 3- No More Drama
After the conclusion of racing on Sunday, it was clear the Norwegian team was not going to be displaced from the top of the podium.  By closing out the last three races of the regatta with a 3-1-1, Norway’s KNS team won by over 8 pts- a landslide in this extremely talented fleet.  Proof of their steep learning curve, the host club’s YCCS team won three of their last four races, but a last race 7th hurt their chances to stand atop the podium in their first major sailing league finale.  In the end, the Italian YCCS team was extremely happy with their results, happily taking home the silver.  Third was the remarkable YC Navigator Team from Moscow, Russia, talk about a fast ascent up the leader board!  They also closed with a 1-1-3 to take the bronze overall.  The balance of the top five included the Societe Nautique de Geneve (the former America’s Cup winner) in fourth place and in 5th was Deutscher Touring YC- the top German team at the event.  Sailing photo credits- SCL/YCCS/Francesco Nonnoi   Facebook/SailingSCL-

J/70 sailing video- Sailing Champions LeagueSAILING Champions League sailing video summaries:
Day 2- Highlights-
Day 2- Replay-
Day 3- Replay-
Regatta Summary-

For more SAILING Champions League information