Team Russia Claims Second Nord Stream Victory
Published: Friday, 06 June 2014
Team Russia has sealed their second Nord Stream Race victory leading the Gazprom Swan 60 fleet into the final port of Warnemünde (GER) June 5 at 03:35 (CEST). This is the second celebration in the Baltic for Team Russia within three years, having won the inaugural race. Team Russia now leads the Gazprom Swan 60 class circuit for 2014. A predominantly tight race, Team Russia managed to slowly break away from the rest of the Swan 60 fleet once they were South of Öland and extended their lead into the finish.
Tommaso Chieffi, coach onboard Team Russia, is committed to another excellent campaign this year, commenting on the first event of the Gazprom Swan 60 calendar, “It was a fairly easy race but technical and tactical, in fact when it all looks very simple and easy there are many choices to be made. For us it was easy in one way because all we had to do was finish top four, but we also wanted to win,” Chieffi says. “We were lagging slightly behind at the beginning on the first part of the race to Gotland because we were in the middle of the fleet in third position. We went through transition and took third place and I thought this could easily be the order of finish because the boats that were further west had been left behind in a light vacuum and we were third. We managed to squeeze out and had a very small lead in the light breeze that we then extended. So on and off, we made changes at the right time and the crew were working hard, tacking hard, giving 100 per cent in trimming, and bringing the boat to its full potential so I am very pleased with the result, it looked very easy but it wasn’t!”
Team China, finishing a matter of miles behind Team Russia in second place is an outstanding result for the first Asian entry. The new Swan 60 was launched just weeks before Nord Stream Race.
“It was a difficult race looking for wind shifts and extra wind speed rather than particularly tactical. I think Team EU going hard left at the start was a radical and brilliant choice,” Team China’s skipper Lorenzo Bortolotti says. “It was a good idea as they were crossing everyone in front. From there, after having a good start ourselves, we fought to find every shift to get back to a competitive footing with Team EU and get near them. Finally after two days we managed to pass by Team EU. We just missed Team Russia into the finish, we were really neck and neck for the majority. I feel Team Russia knows the Swan 60s better than us after racing on the circuit for three years, they are all fantastic sailors and it is a credit to Igor Frolov and Tommaso Chieffi, they did a great job and they deserve to win the 2014 Nord Stream Race more than anyone else, I am glad that Team Russia won.”
A veteran of the Nord Stream Race, Tim Kröger has had another successful race through Russia, Finland and Germany. His Team EU, including youths racing offshore for the first time finishing in their home town of Warnemünde, are the only additional Swan 60 to pull out a substantial lead over the remaining fleet. “We diverted from the fleet early on because we knew there would be more breeze and a better shift on the Estonian side,” Third place Kröger says. ”We were happy that no one was following us so we could really advance forward. We were then very close with Team China and Team Russia in a pack. Just before we got out of the Finnish Gulf we had a nice shift and a lot of pressure, which helped keep up the pace. Then of course following the forecast it got lighter and this favoured Team Russia and Team China. The most important part of the race for us was that we followed our navigator’s guidance and in the end it paid off. We had to cover the Russian Youth Team and Team Estonia off Bornhölm which meant having to hook in with them into the bay, we knew it would have been better for boat speed to stay offshore but we said OK we are match racing here so let’s stay with them and then we realized we could make one more jump and we opened up distance on them.”
The Swan 60s now move straight into preparations for the second event on the Gazprom Swan 60 2014 circuit, the Gazprom Swan 60 World Championship. Igor Frolov, Executive Director of Saint Petersburg Yacht Club and skipper for Team Russia, is celebrating the first ever clean sweep in the history of the race. “Our team really excelled, we finished first in all 3 legs of this year’s Nord Stream Race. It is such a reassuring position to be in as we now look ahead to our World Championship during August”. This event will take place from August 2 to 9, during the Copa del Rey MAPFRE in Palma, Spain. This is particularly important for Team Russia as it wants to retain its current title as Gazprom Swan 60 World Champion.