Jun 27, 2012

Raid Revenge 2012: Report & Images

All Photos by Love Strandell This Raid is getting bigger every year, and the Nordic Archipelago scenery is just too good to give it a try.
Report by Petter Karlberg
Raid Revenge 2012, 3rd Ed, another success. raidrevenge.com
This year's Raid Revenge offered a more than all-star line-up and far exceeded our expectations.
Last in and with only a week to the start, Darren Bundock, reigning F18 World Champion with Jeroen van Leeuwen (and reigning Raid Revenge champions), got a gap in his America's Cup schedule and was keen to participate again. This added to our already surreal line-up which also included the current world two team of Mischa Heemskerk and Bastian Tentij.

World champion in the Tornado Lordanis `Dani´ Paschalidis participated for the second consecutive year with Swede Gustaf Dyrsen. When I told Dani that it was great that he had come back again I got the answer with a warm voice, "Petter... I will always come to Raid Revenge as long as it exists".

Carolijn Brouwer sailed with our beloved bearded `Raid Uncle´ Thomas Ekefalk (reigning Swedish Champion with Magnus Lövdén). Carolijn has competed in three Olympic Games, sailed the Volvo Ocean Race and recently made history when she became the first women to win Round Texel (35th Edition).

Our neighbours in Norway were well represented by Nordic Champion & Olympic medalist Ole-Petter Pollen who sailed with Paul Kirkebø.

The weekend offered ideal conditions with good breezes by day and fine sunny evenings for dinners, relaxation and saunas. We could not have asked for more as the overall feeling was great when we arrived in port on Sunday after the 150-200 nautical miles over the three days and 21 hours solid racing in the beautiful Stockholm archipelago!

Day 1:
The start on Friday was scheduled for 10:30 but was delayed by one hour while waiting for the wind.
But the wind came and built up to become a steady and smooth double trapezing all the way down to Rånö, this year's base camp.
During our progress so we got an unexpected obstacle on the course, a submarine that seemed less thrilled to get 25 F18’s tacking back and fourth around him. But we appreciated the meeting, except that it was a little in the way perhaps..
Tim Shuwalow with Charlie Begemann nailed both of Friday's stages and I think the term `underdog´ could be used in the context of a very formidable line-up to say the least. We know that Tim is faster than the wind normally, and accompanied by Charlie (3rd at Dutch Open 2012) proved to be faster than both the top 2 in the world and various Olympic medalists as well.
Once at the Rånö there was a great BBQ dinner and `bar´ and the beautiful evening was enjoyed with good friends. A perfect start to a perfect weekend.

Day 2:
Saturday started with wind and rain, grey skies continued with a steady 12-16 knots – simply super raid conditions.
Mysingen offered good waves and comfortable surfing conditions, wonderful!
The big challenge was a shortcut that most could not resist and unfortunately ended with 10 daggerboards and a boat being broken which unfortunately had to retire from the race after their dagger boards went back into the hull .

FIN 36 with Mikko and Matti Nieminen got help to get their boat to the mainland and later joined everyone again in the evening for dinner and excitedly said "we'll be back next year, without a doubt"!
After a lunch stop on the water at Nynäshamn the second leg of the day got underway with the first of only two waypoints to north of Muskö.

With special permission for the international teams to enter a passage categorized as military zone past the Muskö Navy Base there was a tricky choice - either a far shorter inshore route past past the base or the longer leg out on Mysingen in stronger undisturbed wind.

Robert Albinsson, my dear soulmate and crew and I chose the outer road and it was a fabulous long lovely reach with daggerboards howling in all different octaves, standing on the back double trapezing with more than 20 knots speed at times with increasingly difficult waves that added a little extra adrenaline to the experience.

When hanging off the back of the boat in trapeze flying and everything just howling I was struck that there is a very special sense of well being and you feel that you’re really living 100% in the present, a super boost for the soul, the meaning of life..
It turned out that the longer leg was the fastest, and I suspect that it was the most fun choice too!
Saturday's first leg was nailed again by Tim and Charlie and the 2nd leg by Darren and Jeroen.

The position at the top leaderboard after Day 2 was:
Tim Shuwalow / Charlie Begemann 7 points (with 3 bullets from 4 races!)
Darren Bundock / Jeroen van Leeuwen 9 points
Carolijn Brouwer / Thomas Ekefalk 14 points
Mischa Heemskerk / Bastiaan Tentij 16 points

Once in port again some teams set to work repairing clipped dagger boards and various other things.
After the work was done it was time for a sauna in the beautiful setting sun and a well deserved beer, total harmony, happiness, and then a very welcome dinner enjoyed whole heartedly by all. According to information the happy sailors consumed over 30 kilos of meat, about half a kilo per person!

They were all pretty worn out but very happy and satisfied after today's demanding conditions so the evening was quiet for most people as it was a priority to rest and gather strength for Sunday's strong wind forecast. It emerged during Saturday evening that winds were to be 22-28 knots and increasing to 16-30 and it felt like maybe we could be blown away.

Day 3:
On Sunday morning the wind reports were reduced to moderate wind and it looked like it might break up and be sunny later in the day with a little more pressure, like a dream!
In fog and what turned out to be light wind we started and the field spread out all over Mysningen pretty quickly with everyone seeking more pressure.

Sailing close to the left on the edge of Muskö proved to be beneficial and the boats that did started to pull away. We felt it was pretty hard to be on the right at the time, in less pressure and it was a long way over there and the leaders began to disappear off into the fog.

Once over to the `right´ side and with 200% focus we began to advance in the field to our great joy.
Incidentally, at one point in the past I did a week’s training with Helge Sachs (GER), because I thought I would try to improve my sailing skills. What I remember the most from the week was Helge's rock-hard German urging, “Petter! YOU ARE NOT focusing!” For the first time in recent years, I felt that I really focused

WITHOUT having the voice of Helge speaking in my head!
After that we sailed around the southern end of Ornö and the wind picked up so we found ourselves again on a lovely long reach with howling dagger boards to the first stage finish.

During a short lunch break the wind increased slowly but surely picked up and started giving me a little nervous feeling thinking that Saturday's forecast might come true with 26-30, not so much fun and survival sailing.
Just before the start of the 2nd leg the breeze was really strong with small waves building. At least one boat was knocked over on the way down to the starting line and I thought now the key to success is just to stay upright!

But the wind dropped down a bit and it was a super cool long upwind all the way to Saltsjöbaden and the conclusion of our adventure. Once at the finish we all got a warm reception by the happy fans and groupies on the pier, whistles, hand clapping and cheering.
Wow what a weekend!
Tim Shuwalow and Charlie Begemann sailed fantastically consistent and took the victory by a small margin of one point over last year's winners of Raid Revenge, Darren Bundock and Jeroen van Leeuwen.

CONGRATULATIONS to Tim and Charlie, who can now enjoy the great honor and claim of having the prize of a gold Buddha Frog on display. Take good care of it, for now I think stocks are exhausted and we may have to come up with a new prize for next year!
Petter Karlberg

SWE 777

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