Bohus Race 2016

On the 1st of July, Seascape teams were on the starting line of the famous Scandinavian Bohus Race! Five teams, with one Seascape18 among them, joined the second edition of the Bohus Race as our Seascape signature event. Seascape teams have been joining this interesting race before, since 2013, so there was no question about whether to list it among signature events. Most of you already know all about the Bohus Race – it is a 170NM longdistance race that navigates inshore through beautiful Swedish archipelago, but also offshore crossing to Norway and finishing in charming Smogen.

Last year we had more than ideal weather conditions, sunny days and moderate wind, while this year, we just couldn’t help ourselves with strange Swedish summer conditions.

Teams gathered in Uddevalla during Wednesday and Thursday, preparing the boats and going on a warm up on the water whenever the weather conditions allowed it. Rain was following us most of the time, but that didn’t stop our sailors from having as much sailing as possible. Even if it rains!

On July 1st, our teams lined up. Seascape18 team, Signia Cruises started at 9:00, since they belong in a group of the smallest boats. And they were definitely the smallest boat on the race. Anders and Kjell, two lifelong friends, recently bought a boat and Bohus Race was the first of their many planed adventures. And probably the toughest one! It was interesting to read their thoughts on their blog, Signia Cruises, wondering if Bohus Race was a good idea. But the Spirit was just too strong, they had to do it!

Seascape27 started later at 13:00, just when the wind started picking up. The Seascape27 teams progressed sailing upwind down the fjord, while Seascape18 were glad on getting some wind finally.

Anders Bergman, Signia Cruises: After the bridge we turn south down the Uddevalla fjord and start to zig-zag our way down against the wind. We are on the way down to Hättestads lighthouse out in the ocean. After an hour the wind is picking up speed and it starts to look like the sailing we wanted all along.

As the time was passing, the wind was getting stronger in the fjord, with some pretty strong gusts. It was time for the first reef and all boats are back on the track! Hammersscape, father and son team that were joining the race for the second time, did a great start and were leading the fleet all the way, with Batagent trying to catch them. It was a close battle! The wind was picking up even more and teams switched to second reef and a staysail. Unfortunately, this kind of conditions turned out to be too much for our Seascape18 team and they decided it was a better choice to quit and return to Uddevalla.

Anders Bergman, Signia Cruises: At about 14:00 the wind has picked up even more and I would guess that we have 16m/s in the gusts. It is starting to get almost impossible to sail. After a wile we are getting closer to the Tjörn bridge and we notice that wind is even stronger out there. Now we are talking about actually quitting the race. What really makes it easy to take that decision is when we noticed that a part of the rig is broken. On our way home we are doing about ten knots with a reef on the main. Good sailing! To bad for us it was not in the race.

Seascape27 teams were fighting the endless upwind leg. Strong gusts are not making it easy, but it works just fine. Early afternoon a report from Hammerscape arrives that the staysail halyard is broken and that they don’t feel comfortable continuing the race in such weather conditions. So they headed back to Uddevalla.
The others continued upwind to rounding mark at lighthouse Hätteberget. Finally, the time for fairly deserved fun part. Gennakers were up and our three teams sailed into the sunset.

Sebastian Christenson, Batagent: After nine and a half hours of upwind it’s finally time to sail with the wind. Big gennaker up and we are doing 11 knots on rhumbline. Beautiful sunset and life is good!

Well, at least for a while. During the dark night, our teams had it all, from no wind to nice wind which got our Norway team, the Cookie Monster to their record, 15kts! Then there was rain, again, current, but luckily in wanted direction, short wind shifts coming from all sides.
Early in the morning Danish team Frida and Cookie Monster decided to finish their race in Smogen. The wind was picking up again and the weather forecast for Saturday was 30kts with quite some waves offshore. Despite their earlier finish, our team from Norway were very satisfied with the part of race they did, had some amazing moments and achieving their personal speed record!

The only boat left in the race at that moment was Batagent. We intercepted them in Fjällbacka, floating in extremely light wind.
Sebastian Christenson, Batagent: In Fjällbacka are trying to pass the island but the wind is absolutely still once again. After a frustrating half an hour we came around and could launch the gennaker again. It’s on the limit, but we can keep it up and managed to gain some of the bigger boats.

Good news was that the wind started picking up again, with good 30kts forecasted.

Sebastian Christenson, Batagent: The wind shifted back to south and increased. The last five minutes on Kosterfjorden we had really nice sailing, hitting 17,5kn! Big fun!

However, the wind was increasing more and more and Batagent team realized that it might be too much for continuing. Trying to turn back, swiped by the wind of 42 knots, the couldn’t avoid the island and runned aground. Luckily, anchoring only with a keel. A small pull by the rescue boat helped them out and they continued to the nearest port. The keel actualy got only a scratch so the team was never in real danger.

Out of 180 boats that started the race, only 57 managed to finish it. And many doing it with storm sails. The entire story brings unusual feeling, the one that we are not so much used to. One expects to join the race, have some great sailing moments and hopefully a good result. Well, this is just a reminder that it doesn’t always work out like that. Because it is sailing. A team on a sailing boat concuring the elements, the wind and waves. And they can overpower us! Congratulations to all our team on keeping the Spirit and pushing as far as it was possible. Congratulations on a good seamanship and taking the right decisions at the right time. Because making the right decision is just as important as good sailing!

Concluding with Sebastian’s words:
This was an interesting race with a lot of new lessons learned as we sailed in conditions we never had before. It’s exhausting, long, tiring, wet and windy. Sometimes you hate it and sometimes you love it. Even the parts you hate, you kind of love-hate at the same time. It’s a privilege to be out here in the wild nature, mastering the elements and challenge yourself to perform on the top of your game. It’s all worth it even after 24hours of grueling race, hitting rocks and retiring. Those small moments of joy, where you overtake another boat, do a nice maneuver, read the chart a bit better compared to the competition and enjoy beautiful scenery, all ads up to something you don’t want to miss. In some strange way I kind of love this race and what it brings. That’s why I have done it since 2009. Topping it with 17,5 knots of wild sailing could not be better.

Full media coverage of the Seascape Bohus Race on bohusrace27.com.

Photo credit: Anders Hultman and Seascape/Marina Horvat

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