North Sails NEWS

Story Contributors: Arnd Howar

NORD STREAM RACE VICTORY FOR TEAM FINLAND

A Remarkably Young Crew Win 1000 NM Race Across Baltic Sea

📸 Nord Stream Race / Marina Semenova

The 6th of September and the end of Kiel Week 2021 marked the beginning of the ninth edition of the longest offshore race in the grueling Baltic Sea, the Nord Stream Race.

Sailing the 1000 nautical miles in high performance, one design ClubSwan 50‘s were the five qualifying teams from Finland, Germany, Sweden, Russia, and Denmark. Qualification is awarded to the club that wins their respective country’s National Sailing League, with all teams fighting to win the Nord Stream Race to earn the ‘Best Yacht Club in the Baltic Sea’ title.

All 5 boats carry North 3Di ENDURANCE, the most rugged version of our composite molded sail technology. “North Sails has been involved in ClubSwan 50 class from the very early design stage before the first boat was actually sailing,’’ Class Leader Arnd Howar explains. “As the class has a strict sail label rule, a limited number of sails can be bought each year, making durability and reliability vitally important.’’

“The 3Di ENDURANCE sails have been proven during The Ocean Race and Vendée Globe. Equally, the boats of the Nord Stream Race are pushed hard through all kinds of weather conditions whilst being used at the highest level of competition. It is fantastic to see North Sails on every boat in the race and reinstates the trust in 3Di Technology.’’

“It is fantastic to see North Sails on every boat in the race and reinstates the trust in 3Di Technology.’’

Team Russia & Team Finland 📸 Nord Stream Race / Marina Semenova

Crews race an offshore leg to a stopover location, where they then sail a series of inshore races before setting off for the next offshore leg, resulting in two overall winners. The demanding final leg from Helsinki, Finland to St. Petersburg, Russia took more than 20 hours. Teams were faced with strong winds on a reaching course and waves of over two meters, which tested the sailors right to the final moments of the race.

Esbo Segelförening from Finland wins the overall offshore title, standing out with a remarkably young team onboard. Eight of the eleven crew members are under 30 years old, and the helmsman, Lucas Kalermo, is just 20 years old.

An ecstatic 24-year-old trimmer and team captain onboard, Anton Eklund, comments on their achievement: “It feels both unbelievable and amazing. We couldn’t even have dreamt of winning, even though that is always the goal. Our other goal is to show that young sailors can succeed too.”

“We were lucky to get the chance to sail in all kinds of winds” he continues. “Our sails proved easy to trim and depower if needed, and the A4 Gennaker also worked nicely for both tighter reaching and flatter downwind. When we reefed, we had no problem finding a balance of less power, but at the same time enough to get through the big waves. The sails handled the strong winds well, even though we pushed them quite hard. Minor wear and tear could be noticed afterward, but that is normal in such conditions; nothing that affected our speed.”

Team Finland’s biggest takeaway? “Planning is key,” Eklund remarks. “Strong planning and communication can eliminate stress and miscommunication, leaving more room for enjoyment!”

“It feels both unbelievable and amazing. We couldn’t even have dreamt of winning, even though that is always the goal. Our other goal is to show that young sailors can succeed too.”

Excelling in the inshore series five points ahead of Team Denmark is the Russian team from St. Petersburg Yacht Club, after winning the race series in Kiel, Stockholm, and Helsinki.

We can’t wait to see what the next edition of the Nord Stream Race has in store, but the excitement of this year will undoubtedly be hard to beat.

Team Finland celebrate whilst arriving into St. Petersburg, Russia 📸 Nord Stream Race / Marina Semenova
Team Russia 📸 Nord Stream Race / Marina Semenova
Overall Inshore Race Series Champions, Team Russia 📸 Nord Stream Race / Marina Semenova
Team Russia & Team Denmark 📸 Nord Stream Race / Marina Semenova
Team Finland 📸 Nord Stream Race / Marina Semenova

Story Contributors

Nord Stream Race Victory for Team Finland headshot
Arnd Howar

One Design Expert, Sail Expert — Hamburg, Germany

Arnd Howar joined forces with North Sails in 2007 after earning his degree in Naval Architecture, when he studied the “Investigation of the North Sails design programs using a Farr 40 OD model.” Working at North Sails allows him the opportunity...