After 36 hours and 54 minutes we sailed back into Malmø as the first boat having rounded Bornholm the night before.
The Pia L’Obry Trophy is being organised by Malmo Segel Sallskap since last year. It was named after the first and only sailor from the nordic countries, who sailed the Mini Transat. The course leads sailors from Malmø around Bornholm and back in a clockwise fashion—about 240 nautical miles. John Körtner was my coskipper, sailing his first ever mini race!
The race started Tuesday evening at 9 PM—a little unusual, but certainly stylish as we sailed off into the sunset.
After a short sprint to the Øresund bridge we hoisted the big spinnaker, which pulled us all the way to Bornholm at an average speed of 11 knots. After about 10 miles we overtook Morten Bogacki on 553, who had the best start of the fleet.
On our way to Bornholm we sailed a banana, instead of the shorter and more direct route. The wind was forecast to veer by 30° throughout the night and we wanted to capitalise on that. However, halfway there, it looked like the shift was not going to happen, so we downsized and hoisted the medium spinnaker to sail higher angles. Of course, less that 10 minutes later the shift came through as promised …
We rounded Bornhom almost exactly 12 hours after the start and a solid hour before the next boat. Unfortunately, the way back took more than twice as long. The wind died behind the island, and during the evening we decided to take a hike out towards the north, where we saw a cloud promising wind. A shift later we were able to edge our way back to Malmø alongside the Swedish coast.
Unfortunately, a Mini looks almost the same as a 40 foot cruiser (=most other yachts at sea) from a distance. I can’t begin to count the times we saw something on the horizon that looked like another mini—a quick cover tack later we usually decided that we were wrong. During the night, an ever reappearing position light kept us questioning our speed, even though it too probably wasn’t there half of the time. Mind games.
In the end we sailed across the finish line in first place. The very next day we headed back towards Kiel, where the boat was lifted out of the water a couple of days later. Next stop: Spain, where I will sail my first official solo qualifier for the 2015 Mini Transat.