Ocean Race North was created to bring boats north after the winter sailing season. The first edition of the race in 2015 went from Charleston to Annapolis to allow teams to compete in the Annapolis-Newport race. In 2016, Ocean Race North will bring competitors to Newport in time to compete in the biennial Newport-Bermuda race.
Class 40 Stella Nova wins inaugural Ocean Race North,
Published on May 25th, 2015
With a fleet of four Class 40s and one ORR boat competing in the inaugural Ocean Race North, #134-Stella Nova, skippered by Germans Joerg Reichers and Alex Krause, crossed the finish line first at 12:47:09 ET on Monday, May 25, with an elapsed time of 70:42:09 to complete the 512 nautical mile course from Charleston, S.C. to Annapolis.
Plus, in their first offshore race for the newly formed U.S. Patriot Sailing Association, a crew of nine including seven active or retired U.S. Military veterans finished Ocean Race North in 3 days 17 hours 12 minutes and 43 seconds.
The race began at 2:05 p.m. on Friday, May 22nd from Charleston Harbor, with teams from the USA, France and Germany exiting the harbor in an upwind dying breeze.
Remaining tightly packed, all teams headed due east for the Gulf Stream to pick up the added 3 knot current push to send them north. #118 – Oakcliff Racing was the first to turn north into the stream taking a more westerly course. #134 Stella Nova chose to sail the furthest east of the entire fleet.
Conditions in the Gulf Stream had teams seeing 20-30 knots of breeze with a very challenging sea state and it was there that #134 – Stella Nova tore their mainsail and needed to double-reef until they were able to reach the Chesapeake.
Heading into the Chesapeake #54-Dragon and #134 Stella Nova were within 10nm of each other. However, Dragon parked up in a wind hole for approximately 3 hours which allowed Stella Nova to edge ahead. Coming up the Chesapeake provided fast downwind running conditions for the teams allowing them to finish under spinnaker.
“The strategy was going out into the Gulf Stream and when we came close to Cape Hatteras we took another 20 mile tack out into the Gulf Stream. It was a little bit risky because we were sailing away from the fleet, but I think it paid big time because it gave us 3 knots of current. Our mainsail also ripped after 20 hours of racing so we did nearly all of the race with a double-reefed mainsail, which wasn’t as fast,”said Joerg Reichers, skipper of Stella Nova.
“The race was excellent, you can compare it to any of the major east coast distance races, it’s technically challenging, navigationally challenging. And it was a great training moment for us,” said Peter Quinn, Skipper and Founder of U.S. Patriot Sailing Association.
When asked what it meant for the U.S. Patriot Sailing Association crew to be sailing on Memorial Day, US Navy Lieutenant Sean Law said, “I’ve spent the past couple of years in Arlington [National Cemetery] on Memorial Day. As compared to mourning, this is a way to continue on and honor those who have served.”