This morning, the first race for the 53 participating boats in the ORC Double Handed World Championship 2023, organized by the Reial Club Nàutic de Barcelona, has begun. The teams spent the last two days undergoing inspections to ensure compliance with ORC and safety rules, as well as preparing their boats and sails for the two races that make up the event.
On Sunday afternoon, after a thorough analysis of the weather reports, the Race Committee finalized the selected courses for the first race, the longest of the championship. Course number 11 was established for the 17 boats in Class A and the 21 in Class B, a 180-mile journey heading northeast along the Catalan coast, passing the Medes Islands to starboard, then turning east towards the ODAS Begur buoy to port, and finally returning to Barcelona after rounding the Medes Islands to port.
For the 16 boats in Class C, course number 10 was designated, a 162-mile route that starts by heading northeast, leaving ODAS Begur to port, the Medes Islands also to port, and then returning to Barcelona to the finish line. Both courses include an additional 1 nautical mile for the rounding mark they had to turn after the start.
The forecasted light breeze didn't materialize at the scheduled start time of 11:00 am. Due to the initial conditions, it was necessary to postpone the start of the competition in anticipation of improved winds. Finally, after waiting for 40 minutes, a steady east wind at 6 knots was established, allowing the competition to begin. At 11:45 am, Class A started, followed by Class B at 11:50 am, and Class C at 11:55 am. All crews rounded the mark, leaving it to port, and set a course to the north.
By mid-afternoon, most of the boats are at the height of Pineda de Mar. In Class A, the DK 46 "Urbania," skippered by Fernando Retegui and Julio Bernardeu (ESP), leads the competition. Closer to the coast, the Finnish team of Jorma Nuutinen and Suzanna Edelman Nuutinen on their Grand Soleil 45, "Sopu Tres," is in second place, and in a closely contested third place are the Duende 50 skippered by Inés Soldevila and Jorge Arnal (ESP) and "Smerit" helmed by Tito Moure with Toni Del Rio (ESP).
In Class B, the boat "Xpress," crewed by Joel Brosa and Jaume Mumbru (ESP), holds the top position, closely followed by "Computer" with Rufino Cardo and Antonio Navas (ESP). In the third position, an intense battle is unfolding between the American team of Jonathan McKee and Peter Isler with their "Red Ruby" (USA) and "Inteman" skippered by José Daniel Martín with Didac Costa (ESP).
In Class C, the boat "Jambo Mar Sin Plástico," a First 36.7 skippered by Julio Sánchez and Alvaro Sanchez (ESP), is closely followed by "Tarterita," a Jeanneau SO 36 skippered by David Garcia and Jordi Bosh (ESP), and "Ia Orana," crewed by Jordi Zaragoza and David Sánchez (ESP).
The forecast for the rest of the afternoon is favorable, with south-southwesterly winds of 10 knots increasing to around 16 knots as they approach the Medes Islands.
At the time of closing this note, the wind conditions are around 190 degrees and approximately 12-13 knots. It has also been reported that due to a spinnaker breakdown, the boat "Blue," skippered by Diana Corominas and Jordi Costa, has made the decision to withdraw from the race.