Alfa Romeo Cup 5: Norwegian National Championships

The Open Norwegian National Championships were held in Ågardstrand, just 70 km south of Oslo in tricky waters, over the weekend 11-13th September. Conditions were varied over the 3 days and appeared to be similar to what we can expect next year in Tallin, Estonia. Day one and two had medium to light wind with lots of shifts, some current and different pressure across the course. Day three was sailed in medium to hard winds and the speed race was on! The course was placed closed to shore, flat water and very shifty conditions.
A very competitive fleet of 31 boats from Norway and Sweden had gathered for this final event of the Alfa Romeo Cup series, racing was very close and pushed teams to the limits. The increased level of competitiveness made it difficult for some of the pre regatta favorites to get into the top 10, with some new names making their mark and holding top positions.
The course was set for 2 full rounds, with an upwind finish. This was decided to be sure all boats were registered correctly in the finish, as it easily could be over 5 boats entering the line simultaneously.
The startline was very crowded at the favored end, as many boats were seeking the bias as well as the first pressure to come down the course. Flag I was used to give the OCS boats a chance to make up for their aggressiveness, but this led to a lot of general recalls. The committee finally went to a black flag and the fleet was better behaved, with only 2 boats being caught in the final race of the series.
The wind in general tracked clockwise each day, as the high pressure system moved through to the north, creating potential for large gains and losses to be had on Friday and Saturday due to the varying pressure and shifts.
At the end of day 2, the event was wide open and one of 9 boats had a shot at the title going into the final days 3 races. The overall winner, Rett Rundt Hjørnet, helmed by the Bronze Olympic winner Herman Horn-Johannessen sailed consistently throughout the regatta, despite rounding third from last in the final race, but managing to recover to fifth and by that take their first title after 13 attempts!. The runner up, Corinthian World and European Champion, Storm Capital Racing recovered well during the regatta to finish with a final days placing of 1,1,2, climbing from seventh to second overall at the finish of the regatta. As normal the best teams showed some impressive sailing in the hard wind – sailing on average faster than the majority of the fleet.
A total of eight races were conducted, with a hard working Saturday where four races were arranged. The weather was mostly sunny and shorts were seen on many sailors on the warm Saturday. The regatta dinner was very well attended and lots of happy faces went home from Åsgårdstrand.
Next three events will be in October and November at Hankø – North Sails Autumn Cup – before the season ends and skiing is on for a couple of months – preparing for the Musto Millet Skiyachting in April 2010.