FleetMon is sponsoring and supporting the Academic Sailing Association in Rostock since December 2019. As part of the sponsorship, FleetMon provided the sailing club with a satellite tracker, twelve AIS rescue transmitters, and two additional AIS-compatible life jackets. In the event that a crew member goes overboard, the transmitters on the life jacket send out an AIS signal that is visible to all ships in the vicinity. This makes it much easier to find the person in the water. We have been passionately following the association’s activities around its youngest sailing boat UNIVERSITAS ever since.
Recently, the UNIVERSITAS crew participated in the Rund Bornholm race during the Warnemünder Woche from 3rd to 11th July 2021. The Warnemünder Woche is an international sailing event and folk festival in the Rostock Baltic Sea resort of Warnemünde. The nine-day regatta is held off the coast of Warnemünde and counts around 2,000 sailors from up to 48 nations annually. This makes it the third largest regatta event in Germany after the Kieler Woche (Kiel Week) and the Travemünder Woche (Travemünde Week). In addition, the Warnemünder Woche is also a major cultural event, with numerous concerts and an extensive supporting program.
The 2021 edition of the long-distance regatta “Rund Bornholm” was characterized by light winds, which were quite challenging for the participants. A total of 35 yachts were at the start. The UNIVERSITAS crew kindly provided us with an experience report summarizing their impressions of the “Rund Bornholm” race.
“In 2021, just like in 2020, the SY Universitas started into the season quite late due to Corona. To make things worse, it happened that our navigation electronics broke a few weeks before the first regatta. So we had to sail the “Rund Bornholm “race, part of the Warnemünder Woche festival, with a rental device.
We used this race as the qualification regatta necessary for our big season highlight, the Fastnet Race, which will take place at the beginning of August. For that reason, almost all the Fastnet race crew was on board to prepare for the year’s highlight. Seven other boats started in our classification and faced the challenging conditions of the “Rund Bornholm” race. A few hours after the start at noon, we had to bypass the first wind hole at Darßer Ort. At first, we were able to position ourselves quite well. We even overtook the crew of the Edelweiß, a ship that was as fast as our own, the Universitas. Unfortunately, we later had to watch the Edelweiss sail past us in a wind.
We circumnavigated the Baltic 1 wind farm to the north and inevitably landed in another lull, while the boats from the later starting groups came up to us with a little more wind. For us, it was now a matter of maintaining our concentration and looking out for wind fields. On Tuesday morning, the last night watch went to bed in the calm south of the Wikinger wind farm but woke up to excellent sailing conditions of 3 to 4 Beaufort from the southeast and a clear blue sky. So we arrived at the southern tip of Bornholm even faster than expected, with a speed of 9 knots under Code Zero. At night, our ship’s command had already decided to sail around the island on the left side, in the opposite direction to the fastest boats. At the southern tip, these came towards us at a rapid pace, which made us speed up there, too. The southeast wind meant a fast downwind, first under A2, later under A4 along the east coast of Bornholm. Due to increasing winds of up to 18 knots, we managed to finally leave behind the Class 40, which had been following us since the night before.
To make up for the calm first day, we were rewarded with wind and sunshine. Even after we rounded the northern tip and sailed back to Rostock first on a deep berm and later on a half-wind course, the wind remained stable. Early Tuesday evening, we saw the remains of a thunderstorm on the horizon, which gave the faster boats in front of us gusts of up to 35 knots of wind. For us, however, there was only another lull left. Due to the wind, which started first from the south and later changed direction to the north, we first succeeded in catching up with our competitor Edelweiss. But later, it disappeared from our AIS again.
Afterward, we quickly went along Darß at 9 knots, using Code Zero again. Unfortunately, the wind turned westerly during the night, which resulted in a change of sails to the J2. Countless jib changes followed in the morning hours, as the current first increased and then decreased again. On Wednesday morning, we hoped to make it to the finish with a layline, but the wind had other plans. At Dierhagen, we started to cross into the finish. There, we lost the necessary time compared to the other boats, which had crossed the finish line already.
On Wednesday at 11 a.m., we crossed the finish line after 47 hours and 43 seconds. That put us in fifth place. Overall, it was a demanding regatta for us due to the sometimes harsh wind conditions and short preparation time. However, we had a fun time sailing and were able to learn a lot. After all, it was great to finally spend intense hours on the water again.
For the next few weeks, until we leave for the Fastnet Race in France, we now have several night shifts ahead of us to prepare the ship for the regatta. We look forward to telling you about this adventure.
Greetings from the Universitas crew!”