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New medal winners at 2023 ORC Double Handed World Championship

After one Long offshore race held on Monday and a shorter Coastal race that started yesterday, followed by measurement checks completed today, there are three new ORC Double Handed World Champions declared at the Real Club Nautico de Barcelona (RCNB). These teams of two have demonstrated their mastery of sailing skills in a wide variety of race conditions and among a competitive fleet of entries in that were from nine nations around the globe and divided into three classes.

Winning Gold medals in Class A are Pep Soldevila and Pol Servent (ESP) racing their Dufour 44 ES TES UNNO to a win in the first race and a 7th place finish in Race 2. With the first race counting double points in this class with 15 entries, their score of 8.5 points was only 0.5 points ahead of the class Silver medalists, Fernando Julio and Retegui Bernardeau (ESP), who raced their DK46 #URBANIA to two third place finishes.

"We decided to come to this event and were working hard to prepare the boat, which we normally use for windward-leeward racing," said Soldevila. "We started with the preparations only a year ago and this is our second time only to race double-handed – so we didn’t ever think that we could win the world championship!"

On the podium with Bronze medals were two more sailors from Spain, Marco Corno and David Belda, racing their X41 MAGICA to finishes of 2nd and 8th places. As amateur sailors, Corno and Belda have also won the top prize in the Corinthian division.

In Class B it was a team of two US-based sailors who have won Gold medals based on a win in the first race and a third place finish in Race 2 in this largest class of 22 entries. Jonathan McKee and Peter Isler racing on their SunFast 3300 RED RUBY have each won multiple World Championship titles – this is the 10th for McKee – as well as an Olympic Gold medal (McKee) and an America’s Cup (Isler), but this was their first time racing together double handed.

“My normal partner got sick and was unable to sail, so I found that Peter was already in Europe and available and keen to fill in,” said McKee. Isler is well-known as a world-class navigator, but McKee explained when interviewed (click on image for link to video interview) that the racing was very tactical as well and they needed to know how and when to shift gears when conditions changed in both races.

“We were fortunate to have light to medium downwind conditions with some reaching in the first race,” said Isler, “which we do well in so this allowed us to win that race. The second race had the same conditions on the first leg, but then tricky light air Mediterranean conditions, with land breezes and sea breezes on the leg to the finish, which made this really hard. As one of the competitors said, it’s like a casino!”

Winning Silver medals in Class B were Lluis Blanchar and Pablo Calbeto (ESP) racing their X-35 COMETA and winning Bronze medals were Juan and Thierry Lallemand (ESP) racing their SunFast 3300 GUAGUANCO IV. COMETA also won the class’s Corinthian division award.

As with many ORC championship events, the racing in this event was perhaps closest in Class C, with the winner in one race decided in corrected time by only 12 seconds and the Silver and Bronze medal teams decided on a tie-break. However, in the end the Gold medallists that prevailed in this class of 16 entries was Jesus de Miguel & Unai Cilleruelo’s (ESP) X-332 O’MARYLOU, who also won the top Corinthian division prize.

Silver medal winners in this class were David Garcia and Jordi Bosch’s (ESP) Sun Odyssey 36.i TARTERITA, followed in the tie-break by Bronze medalists Toni and Josep Pons’s (ESP) SunFast 3200 CHICA TXECA.

“In the short race we tried to stay in the middle of the fleet to control our most direct competitors, with CHICA TXECA and TARTERITA behind us,” said Miguel, explaining how they won this race. “We knew that the most important thing was to maintain the speed of the boat at night when the wind dropped, and I think we did it and that's why we got the victory. We are very proud and satisfied with how we have done as a team.”

"We congratulate the new ORC Double Handed World Champions and all who participated in this important event," said ORC Chairman Bruno Finzi. "The race organization from RCNB and the challenging conditions were all superb at producing these winning teams worthy of their World Champion titles."

Summary of top three Final results:

Class A (15 boats)

  1. ES TES UNNO (Dufour44) Pep Soldevila & Pol Servent (ESP) 8.5 points

  2. #URBANIA (DK 46) Fernando Julio and Retegui Bernardeau (ESP) 9.0

  3. MAGICA (X-41) Marco Corno & David Belda (ESP) 11.0

Class B (22 boats)

  1. RED RUBY (SunFast 3300) Jonathan McKee & Peter Isler (USA) 4.5 points

  2. COMETA (X35) Lluis Blanchar & Pablo Calbeto (ESP) 8.5

  3. GUAGUANCO IV (SunFast 3300) Juan & Thierry Lallemand (ESP) 12.5

Class C (17 boats)

  1. O'MARYLOU (X-332) Jesus de Miguel & Unai Cilleruelo (ESP) 4.0 points

  2. TARTERITA (Sun Odyssey 36i) David Garcia & Jordi Bosch (ESP) 7.5

  3. CHICA TXECA (SunFast 3200) Toni Pons & Josep Pons (ESP) 7.5


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