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© AUS120 Sean O'Brien.
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Sean finishes 2nd overall behind Jesper Vesterstrøm (DEN-111) and ahead of Nikolaj Kruppa (DEN-4) in the 2008 Nordic Championships. The event took place over three days in Nyborg, Denmark with 6 races taking place in 8-14 knot winds. Read a report about the event from Sean as well as a short video and the results on

After Sweden’s effort last year the Nordic Championships returned to Denmark again in 2008. Specifically, Nyborg, which is a smaller town at one end of the Great Belt Bridge (Storebæltsforbindelsen in Danish). A decent sized fleet of +50 guys arrived for the event from all parts of Scandinavia as well as randoms from Italy and even Australia. The forecast for the weekend was pretty light but most of us were optimistic for some good racing to happen this weekend and we were to be treated…

The racing course was straight out in front of the clubhouse with the bridge in the background and only a few minutes walk from the centre of town in Nyborg. On Friday we were teased most of the day with the wind anywhere from 3 knots up to 12. The Danish race crew tried for 2 hours or so to get a start away but with the wind up and down and shifting a fun race was held – which Jesper Vesterstrom (DEN-111) won by a streak as most of the rest of us (me included) had already headed back to the beach to save our energy. That was all the action we got on Friday and after a great dinner put on at the club we were back off to the hotel to get rested for the first races on Saturday.

The wind was in relatively early on Saturday and we were able to get races away by midday in perfect 10-12 knots with great sunshine and relatively warm water (by European standards). Race 1 kicked off with a few over-ealy’s from Jesper and Andrea Cucchi (ITA-1) amongst others which allowed me to take the bullet after a hard fought race in the winds around 8 knots.

The course was a windward/leeuward with a short reach mark after the top mark and in the first two races the course was set relatively short taking the leaders only 12-15 minutes to finish each race. The line was considerably pin-end biased and it suprised me that most of the top guys weren’t starting too far down the line as I hit the pin on every start all weekend and had great starts each time in clear wind.

Race 2 and 3 was much of a repeat of the first with the winds increasing to a perfect 12 knots and most of the fleet still on the 12m’s and cutdown fins. I was around the top mark in 2nd each time behind the unstoppable Vesterstrom however Andrea Cucchi with his superior boardspeed managed to pass me late on the second lap each race and I had to settle for 3rd in these two races – edging out Nikolaj Kruppa (DEN-4), Kasper Larson (DEN-288) and Brian Roegild (DEN-173) who were battling it out for the minor places but still hot on my heels.

The final race on Saturday had the course lengthened considerably and the top guys took 25 minutes or so to finish the race. I really enjoy these long courses as it gives everyone an opportunity to get back in the race even if you had a bad start. Brian and Andrea got ahead of me early out of the start and I had to follow them the entire way around the course in their dirty air as it was difficult to go too early on your laylines with such a long course. I managed to finish 4th in this race behind Brian but quite a long way behind Vesterstrom who had cleared out on us this race.

On Sunday, the final day of racing I was sitting in 2nd overall just 2 points ahead of Andrea Cucchi and needed to have some more good results to keep myself on the podium and ahead of the Italian.
The wind was very light up until nearly 1.30pm and it looked as though we may not even get another race in (which didn’t entirely bother me as I was happy with my position at this point). By 2pm however the wind had finally kicked in and we were back out on the course with the 12m’s up for some more perfect 10-12 knot races. The last possible start was at 3.30pm (to allow the Norwegians enough time to make their ferry home that afternoon) so we knew at this point we were only going to get 1 maybe 2 races in today to finish the event.

The long course was set again and the startline moved a little to make it more favourable at the boat this time. I had a great start ahead of Andrea and Kurosh Kiani (DEN-13) before getting informed it was a general recall after I’d nearly sailed all the way to the port layline. A few minutes later we restarted and I tried to start a little further down the line to be below Andrea who was pointing quite high and dodging a few of the guys like Kasper Larson and Magne Fronsdal (NOR-4) who were starting on port. I didn’t do as well out of this start as the guys closer to the boat and was in 6th at the top mark hot on the heels of a few of the Danish guys and Andrea – with Jesper clear out in front again. I had a great downwind and passed a few guys to be in 4th at the bottom mark however I had no speed to catch up with Brian, Andrea and Jesper and had to settle for another 4th in this race.

The final race of the day started in much the same fashion and with the chop picking up in the middle of the course (as the tide was travelling the opposite way to the wind) it made it a little more bumpy in this race with the big rigs. I finished 5th in this race but knew it was enough to hold my 2nd overall as Andrea had an extra DNF to count after breaking his harness line in the previous race.

The presentation got away on time around 4pm-ish and the sailors were presented with prizes and medals for their efforts. This was the first time I’ve raced in Denmark and really enjoyed the conditions, the courses and the racing itself as the Danish fleet is one to be reckoned with on the formula circuit.

I used the 12m Gaastra Vapor and Vapor board all event with my VMG Blades 70 fin (which we actually designed for medium/strong winds, not so much lightwinds) and was very happy with my speed all weekend. In the past there’s been a few Nordic sailors floating around in Australia and attending our events so I thought it was nice to repay the favour and come up to the Nordics to race. The event was very smoothly organised and conditions were perfect for racing. I’m hoping to be able to come up to this event again as it was a nice warmup for the FW Worlds in Portugal in 2 weeks.


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