While the event is still young and stands in clear memory, a few cosmetic flaws make noise on the signal, but in time the image of the Vegvisir Race Nyborg 2022 will stand razor sharp as one of the big ones.
It was "the difficult number two" for the Vegvisir Race in Nyborg. And after a perfect debut in 2021 in the old city of Kings in the heart of Denmark, the expectations were high. One of the important players, the weather, was also in top form this year and provided everything you need in connection with the Vegvisir Race. That is, weather that forces the participants to make changes, to shift gear, make strategic and tactical considerations in relation to wind and current - and then it sailing in Indian summer conditions is just more icing on the cake.
Huge restart in Svendborgsund
The first starts on the 238 nautical mile course took place on Thursday SEPT 1st at 1600 and the next ones were on the 158 nautical mile course at 1900. The idea of the late starts is to give the participants two nights at sea in the dark autumn, which was successful for all except the Seacart 30 trimaran Like 7 Heaven with Peter Bolvig and Bo Hasseriis, who was the first boat back from the 158 nautical mile course at 23.45 on Friday.
But before then, everyone had a spectacular night on a mirror-bright Svendborgsund. The cliché about rebooting the race held water. The boats did not start sailing again until Friday morning. From there, the easterly wind increased for the remaining parts of the voyage and culminated on Saturday afternoon with a 12-13 m/sec.
Course shortenings created challenges
It was on Saturday morning that the first of two course shortenings was communicated by the Race Office. As it was the first time in the history of Vegvisir Race that a shortening took effect proved to be a more difficult exercise than first thought. It is described in the soft terms in the story telling about what the Vegvisir Race also is: "Since you are not sailing around an island, you are in the privileged situation that the course can be shortened, so that most people reach the finish line for the award show and party on Saturday evening."
The problem was that it was not clearly defined in the sailing's Sailing Guidelines, or statutes where these cuts could take place.
- We had some weather briefings and some routing predictions from various experts who were quite optimistic about when the boats would be back at the finish line. The first mistake we made from Race Management was not spending enough time taking these all these qualified inputs in plenum to add our own skepticism, experiences and the large amount of local knowledge found in Nyborg Sailing Club, says Morten Brandt from Shorthand ECM.
Then, caught a bit on the wrong foot, course shortening 1 was set in motion. Communicated first on the Official Notice Board and on all other platforms, from which the sailors were encouraged to share the message via VHF to the other participants.
- After sailing from Nyborg to Svendborg in the first 16-18 hours, we were sure that everyone would check the Notice Board for shortening, says Morten Brandt.
And it actually succeeded in getting everyone to drop the long upwind beat from Fehmarn to Gedser and instead ease the sheets and set course for Marstal and from this point merge into the 158 nautical mile course as described on the Notice Board.
Was the shortening long enough?
It was around 20:00 for those at the front. It was expected from Race Management's side that it would go very quickly from here in the increasing easterly wind. A single participant, Anders Johansen in the boat Beluga, wrote in the Facebook group Vegvisir Racers that the shortening was no more than 20-30 nautical miles and thus not long enough. However, the assessment was that the sailors could reach the finish line before Saturday at 17 after the long upwind leg had been taken out. However, it would turn out that Anders Johansen's assessment was correct because a strong counter current would slow down the boats' speed radically.
At 05 Saturday morning Race Management met. It was decided to shorten again by taking Romsø out of the route, a reduction of some 20 nautical miles.
Everyone got the message - except one
The point of the shortening was the route's only mandatory mark E25A north of the Great Belt Bridge. A mark that in the 2021 edition of the race had been the official point for a possible shortening. In 2021 an announcement from Race Management was to be made before the first boat passed the buoy.
- Most of Saturday 2nd a 2-3 knot northerly current in the Great Belt was predicted - meaning that it would be a long way home to Nyborg after the rounding of Romsø. So the plan was to take Romsø out and make the boats go directly to Nyborg after rounding the mandatory buoy E25A. We hoped and believed that the sailors would be aware of shortening, but took nothing for granted, says Morten Brandt.
At 06.00 the decision about the shortening was posted on the Notice Board and shared on all Vegvisir's other platforms. After that, phone calls and text messages to the approximately 15 front boats were carried out. At that time the fleet was decided into smaller groups covering a distance from Omø and all the way down to Rudkøbing.
- We tried to contact everyone and got hold of boats from the various groups and asked them to spread the word via VHF radio. The idea was that when we caught the front runners of one of the groups the rest would become aware of the course change when they either head over the VHF or ultimately saw these boats go towards Nyborg instead of Romsø, after which they would check the Notice Board. And it actually succeeded for all but one boat, says Morten Brandt regretfully.
The first boat Race Management attempted to make contact a few minutes past 600, to was German JPK 10.30, Lightworks with Michael Höfgen and Max Gungel. They were ahead of everyone on the 238 nautical mile course, 2.4 nautical miles down to the Dutch X 4.6 Foxy Lady, 3 nautical miles ahead of the Swedish Xp 44 Xar and a whopping 8.4 nautical miles ahead of the nearest competitor in the Medium category - previously mentioned Beluga. Lightworks only became aware of the course change when the boat Kaha called them up on channel 16, when Kaha himself became aware of the shortening at E25A.
The entire process from here is described in detail on Vegvisir Race's website on the Notice Board in the documents "Decision Lightworks" and "Notice DSQ Beluga". HERE IS A LINK
In the ultra-short version, Lightworks finished 7 minutes behind Beluga, but was compensated by 45 minutes, which is why she won the category, but not the Line Honors. A decision that Beluga skipper Anders Johansen was so dissatisfied with that he wrote a kind of complaint to, among others, Danish Sailing Association's director Christian Lerche. However, it subsequently turned out that Beluga had not rounded E25A, but instead E26, which is 0.6 nautical miles further south, after which the boat was disqualified.
- We are sincerely saddened by the situation on the 238 nautical mile course. However, we can guarantee that it will not happen again, because we have learned a lot. However, I am satisfied with the decisions we made. Had we not shortened the majority of the 238 fleet would most likely not have reached Nyborg, which is precisely one of the points of Vegvisir Race, that we are not going around an island, so that we can shorten and ensure that as many as possible reach the port in due time for awards and After Party, says Morten Brandt.
On the 158 and 70 nautical mile courses, and thus for the majority of participants, the races went by the book, and the vast majority had a terrific Vegvisir Race weekend, which you can see in the overwhelming number of videos, photos and texts on Facebook and Instagram of happy sailors in either "en route ” or on the way to or from Nyborg. Common to these posts are the great nature experiences, the hospitality and friendliness of the volunteers in Nyborg and the camaraderie that develops between the sailors, which is why the vast majority of them also indicate that they will return in 2023.
- We have received so many positive and interesting stories and fantastically beautiful pictures and videos from the participants on all courses. Stories that we will share in the coming dark months when we will commemorate an absolutely terrific Vegvisir Race Nyborg 2022, concludes Morten Brandt.
Vegvisir Race Nyborg 2023 will be sailed from Thursday 31 August to Saturday 02 September.
Registration will open in the beginning of October, 2022.
The winners of Vegvisir Race Nyborg 2022
70 nautical miles single handed:
Patrik Heinrichs JYNX T 24 by Wiberg GER-6211 Singlehand 70 Mini 13.33.34
Hendrik Oberheid Knaeckeboot Albin Express 647 Singlehand 70 Small 15.28.22
Michael Bergholdt Danielsen Joyride Jeanneau Sun Fast 3200 DEN 4528 Singlehand 70 Medium 13.33.40
Niklas Joensen Nordstjernen Faurby 36 Den 20 Singlehand 70 Large 14.31.30
70 nautical miles Doublehand
Timo Manske Frank Gerland Herr Nilsson Classe Mini 650 404 2Star 70 Mini 14.55.21
Dirk Frischmuth Paul Greiner JOJO J/88 Ger 8139 2Star 70 Small 12.58.31
Klaus Johansen Jan Jensen HolyMoly Elan 350 DEN 350 2Star 70 Medium 13.13.02
Peter Rieper Bendt Rieper Generation-X X-362 Classic GER 6177 2Star 70 Large 13.41.40
Axel Pachmann Reuben Pachmann Miss Flink Luffe 44 GER 3 2Star 70 XL 13.41.59
158 nautical miles Singlehand
Milan Tomek NO TIME TO LOOSE Seascape 27 CZE7889 Singlehand 158 Small 184.108.40.206
Runar Åsly TerraPi LM30 Striker SWE-1 Singlehand 158 Medium 220.127.116.11
Volker Gmelin Topas Dynamic 35 GER 73 Singlehand 158 Large 1.15.47.04
Jens Listrup Gerda-Ulrika Norlin 411 Swe- Singlehand 158 XL 1.11.30.02
158 nautical miles Doublehand
Rune Aagaard Martin Hammershøj Olesen Ivalu Beneteau First 24 Den 096 2Star 158 Mini 18.104.22.168
Markus Schöner Niklas Ganssauge Kleine Brise 30er JK B 174 2Star 158 Small 22.214.171.124
Claus Cato Jan Hansen Emily Archambault 35 FRA 34987 2Star 158 Medium 126.96.36.199
Gerben Bos Martin Stallion Jetstream J/122 NED8804 2Star 158 Large 188.8.131.52
Jens Rohwer Andread Bleyer Louise Bavaria C 1000 2star 158 XL 184.108.40.206
Peter Bolvig Bo Hasseriis Bo Hasseriis Seacart 30 DEN 7 2Star 158 Multihull Small 220.127.116.11
238 nautical miles Doublehand
Uwe Barthel Sverre Reinke Joint Venture Dehler 30 od GER 28 2Star 238 Small 1.18.38.09
Michael Hoefgen Max Gurgel Lightworks jpk 10.30 GER 8133 2Star 238 Medium 18.104.22.168
Jens Ernst Kresten mohr ernst Kaha Jpk 10.80 From 44757 2Star 238 Large 22.214.171.124
Diederik Forma Martijn Graafmans Lazy Fox X 4.6 NED9046 2Star 238 XL 126.96.36.199