It is less than a week until the start of the 2018 ÅF Offshore Race. In other words it is high time to start going through the classes and presenting some favourites. There are 248 boats in the starting lists.
This week it seems as if the weather is rather summery, However we will have to wait and see how it will be next week. It looks as if we will have sunny, warmth and weak, alternating winds, but with a week to go the information is uncertain.
As usual I start my briefing with SRS Classic. There are a little fewer boats than last years. At the moment 12 boats and hopefully everyone is coming to start. We know most of the boats from previous year but there are two new boats. Both with the name Circe and are old Sparkman & Stephens constructions. One is from Finland and the other from the Netherlands.
The Finnish Circe, 39 feet, has participated in Gotland Runt earlier, including 1968 (50 years ago) and was then second in class RORC III among 50 participants.
It is very difficult to rank these boats, but I could imagine that the Finnish Circe could have a good result and if you sail from Holland all the way to Stockholm I believe they are optimistic, but I have some others which I appoint as favourites.
The Salén owned 60 footer Ballad is probably a great favourite. They have won the last four years and were second 2013. The crew, includes the Salén family and also the added advantage of the great sailors Lasse Linger, Gurra Krantz and the Americas Cup sailor Kalle Torlén.
A contender to Ballad could be the Wallenberg owned Refanut. Last year they sailed in the double handed class and came second. They are often high up in the lists and in 2008 they won the Classic class.
The Archipelago Cruiser (Skärgårdskryssare) Margo was second last year and are usually well sailed with good results. With light various winds it is at no disadvantage against the larger and heavier Offshore Cruisers (Havskryssare).
Ballad, Refanut and Marga are my three favourites, but also Beatrice Aurore could certainly challenge and possibly one of the Circe boats.
It is also nice that Gratia is taking part also this year. They probably hope for better winds this year. The boat weights 100 tonnes and beating in light winds through the archipelago is not favourable.
Favourites: Ballad – Refanut - Marga
Translation: Eva Holmsten