The tactic is simple: you have to swim fast!
Today, on Sunday, September 15 at 12.00, the eighth edition of the Baltic regatta of solo sailors, the Battle of Gotland – Konsal Challenge 2019, has begun. This is the most difficult maritime sailing race in Poland and the only national regatta qualifying for international ocean solo races. The rules of competition remain unchanged for years – the route is 500 miles around Gotland and you have to overcome it without stops, sailing solo.
At the start, behind the heads of Marina Przełom in Górki Zachodnie, 19 yachts stood in windy and cloudy weather. Weather forecast for the competitors announces at the beginning a strong southwest wind with a speed of 22-28 knots and a large wave (sea state 3-4). In the morning announcement, the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management issued a warning against a storm in the area including Gulf of Gdansk and the Southern Baltic.
Krystian Szypka, director of the regatta, says the following about the solos’ struggle that has just begun: “This year we are returning to the tradition of the Battle of years ago, when it really was a fight at sea. Strong west wind, even stormy, gives a chance to break the route record, which has remained unchanged since 2013. The conditions are perfect for this, experienced sailors, and the yachts are well equipped, which we checked during the security check. We wish the contestants to be at the finish as soon as possible”.
The route record is 62 h 15′ (2 days, 14 hours and 15 minutes) and was set by Krystian Szypka on the s/y Polska Miedź (Delphia 40). The competition rules are simple – after starting from Górki Zachodnie, you have to sail around Gotland right side as soon as possible and return to the port. The route is 500 miles long, it usually takes 3-4 days to cover it. There are many experienced battle veterans on the route, including three women and two debutants.
Witold Małecki, the winner of the ORC category last year and the current Polish Champion in the Nautica 450 class: “Of course I would like to defend the cup, but it certainly won’t be easy, it will be hard and fast. The tactic is simple – you have to sail fast, there won’t be much going on in tactical matters. It seems that the boats in the front will have better conditions, because later the wind will weaken.”
More about this year’s strategy is said by Kuba Marjański, also a veteran of the Battle, for the fourth time at the start: “I think the first day will be decisive in the whole race. Who survives in one piece, without failure, will go further. The Baltic Sea does not compromise, the weather is what it is. Longer forecasts show that even delaying the start by a day and passing a storm could do nothing. It is better to drive in a half-wind, even blowing at a speed of 35-45 knots, than tack against the wind. Before Kalmar, the wave should let go and it will be better. Everyone must calculate their strength, evaluate their equipment and preparation. Very different yachts take part here and the key is to quickly make a decision, even to withdraw, than to go further at any cost in the event of a breakdown, which, even a small one, can have greater consequences. In my opinion, those who get to Gotland and have the opportunity to circumambulate it, rather reach the finish.”
According to the organizers and competitors, above all the current and forecast weather, the cards are being distributed by the stormy Baltic this year. There is no place for complicated racing strategies, and the first day of competition will be the most difficult for solo sailors.
Three female sailors were on the start list this year. They are all veterans of the Battle: Joanna Pajkowska (who has recently returned from a solo voyage around the world non-stop) starts for the second time, as did Honorata Wąsowicz, and Aleksandra Emche stood at the start for the fifth time.
Joanna Pajkowska: “I like sailing alone, I don’t have to win, I don’t have such ambitions, but I always try to do everything to make the boat sail as fast as possible. There will be success as it will be pleasant.”
Aleksandra Emche: “First of all, I would like to come back safely. I want to have a lot of fun and a lot of mental rest. I am sailing on a yacht created for such conditions, brave, which I know very well. In previous editions of the Battle I learned that, like any other cruise, I must be rested, rationally calculate my sleep and effort. You can’t focus on tactics alone, you have to think about yourself and do not forget about what you previously planned, because it gives good results. “
The strategic sponsor of the Great Sailing Battle of Gotland – Konsal Challenge 2019 is the Konsal Protection Agency. Sponsors are Kompas, Teknos Oliwa and Marshal of the Pomeranian Voivodeship. Organizer: Maristo sailing shop. Partners: Solitary Sailors Club, OSA, Marina Przełom, sailing school OTSS.
Current information from the route is posted on the regatta profile on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bitwaogotland/.
Archival information from previous years can be found at:
Detailed information is available from the regatta director, Krystian Szypka, tel. 501 664 314
Starting list 2019
- Paweł Biały / Delphia III (Delphia 40.3)
- Grzegorz Rać / IRS Challenger (Dehler 34)
- Honorata Wąsowicz / Isfuglen (Borghegn OC45)
- Aleksandra Emche / Mokotów (Conrad 45)
- Dawid Ragiel / Trygław (Draco)
- Rafał Moszczyński / Wojownik VIII (Caravela 950)
- Łukasz Wasielewski / Arietis (Carter 30)
- Władysław Chmielewski / Bindi (Dehler 33)
- Jacek Chabowski / Blue Horizon (Delphia 47)
- Jakub Marjański / Busy Lizzy (Faurby 999)
- Joanna Pajkowska / Caravela 950 (Caravela 950)
- Jerzy Matuszak / Dancing Queen (Dehler 46)
- Witold Małecki / Good Speed (Dufour 34)
- Ryszard Drzymalski / Konsal II (Slotta 1200)
- Zenon Jankowski / Oceanna (Outborn 39)
- Tomasz Ładyko / Odyssey (Jod 35)
- Andrzej Kopytko / Opole (Delphia 37R)
- Jacek Zieliński / Quick Livener (Sigma 362)
- Maciej Banach / Unique (Dufour 410)