With the ORCi Worlds looming over the horizon in August, the Open German ORCi Championship in many ways was the dress rehersal. As such, this year saw a record number of entries, and a highly competitive fleet. Especially in the 40 foot class II the field is close with seconds separating first and tenth.
“I have sailed with the Leu team for more than five years now, and as a team we have been growing slowly but surely. For this regatta our goal was to bring all the bits from boat handling to speed to strategy together. To be able to do this, we have worked hard on getting all the infrastructure in the background complete. The owner has been crucial in this and has provided us with a platform which enables us to focus 100% on the sailing.”
The racing was extremely close, and with an early start on the third day of racing, the team on Leu found itself drop back to fourth overall from an early lead. “In this big fleet to be able to fight for the top places, you have to be at the front line at the start. It is a matter of seconds and meters with no room for error. In our training we focus a lot on the starts, and going forward this will continue to be high on our list of priorities.”
Whereas the first days of the regatta were dominated by strong winds, the last two days saw the fleet challenged with very light winds. Says Wouter: “With the Leu being a slightly heavier boat, we have traditionally done well in stronger winds. On the second to last day we felt we lacked baotspeed and I dropped the ball tactically as well. It was a rude wake up call, which highlighted a few areas for improvement. The next day we worked very hard on strategy and light air boat speed, which paid off.”
In the final race, Wouter and the team of Leu had an exceptional start and with their favoured right side of the track proving to be right, they propelled into the lead.Two laps later, in very flukey conditions they managed to finish second behind the light wind flyer Compass 24 and take second in the regatta.
“To finish second in the regatta as first German boat is a tribute to trust given by the owner to the team and the commitment that everybody from yacht designer to helmsman and boatbuilder to bowman has shown for the project. Now we have to use the next month to dot the i’s and cross the t’s and make sure we prepare mentally for the Worlds."
Wouter and the crew on Leu concurs second in the Open German Championships