Gotland Runt 2023 – Thank you!
Gotland Runt 2023 has come to an end. Although the conditions turned out to be one of the more challenging in recent times, and many boats wisely decided to withdraw during the first day, the joy that welcomed the brave boats that finished feels like a memory that will endure. The overall winner was the experienced Team Pro4u, who won ahead of the hardworking double-handed crew on Tutalör and the solid crew on Magic Mix.
Yes, Gotland Runt in 2023 became a very special race. The forecast showed winds of >30 knots for over a day, and many thoughts went back to the 2019 race where the boats faced strong winds on the first night that persisted for most of the race. I believe that since many still had 2019 fresh in their memories, more crews had carefully discussed how to act, resulting in many not wanting to expose themselves and their boats to the trials that awaited.
The pre-race in Wasahamnen was a brilliant start to the Gotland Runt week. KSSS partners could meet customers in the event area in Galärparken. There were many activities, try sailing, sustainability seminars, children's activities, Manta cycling on the water, Trim-on simulator, performances, and much, much more. On the docks, there was full activity, with boats having both serious team meetings and more casual after-sail events for friends and family. Even if the actual opening ceremony was rainy, the sun frequently shone on sailors, officials, and visitors, creating a lovely atmosphere in the race village.
The start on Sunday in light shifting winds was followed by an archipelago sail that became memorable for a completely different reason—rain. Rarely are such heavy showers seen as the boats encountered during the sail through the archipelago; it felt tropical. Hardly the perfect preparation for those geared up to circumnavigate the whole island, and perhaps the top-down moisture affected why so many threw in the towel when they reached Almagrundets Lighthouse. Many were by this point quite wet and cold.
Then the wind arrived with a vengeance. The attrition was massive; by Sunday evening, it was clear that over 100 boats out of the approximately 175 that started had retired. In the Classic class, none remained, and in many other classes, only a handful of boats were left. Gotland Runt 2023 was about having a resilient and experienced crew and a robust boat that could withstand tough external pressures.
"This year's race was challenging in many ways, especially weather-wise. The forecasts indicated a lot of wind and rough seas but were at the same time stable. It is with great respect that I followed how the participants made wise decisions, both those who chose to withdraw and those who sailed the course around Gotland. There is great experience among our participants, and when I summarize, it feels particularly good that no participant has suffered any serious personal injuries," commented race director Håkan Andersson.
The first and the largest boat was the impressive 85-foot catamaran, Swiss Allegra, skippered by Adrian Keller, who managed the feat of finishing before the next boat had passed Hoburgen. Now, the overall winner of Gotland Runt must be a monohull boat; otherwise, Allegra would have swept the competition aside.
I sailed this year on the beautiful SK75 Bacchant, and we had a healthy dialogue on board about how to tackle the tough conditions. Skipper Magnus Adlercreutz made it clear that winds over 30 knots would be difficult for the soon-to-be 100-year-old boat, so we turned about an hour after Almagrundet to avoid unnecessary risks for the boat or ourselves. Many others reasoned similarly.
Certainly, there were reports of several incidents, but quite few considering the conditions. Two mast breaks, a broken boom, three electrical faults, and damaged sails have been reported. After a rudder failure, a double-handed boat had to be abandoned in the Baltic Sea. The crew was winched up by helicopter after the sails were secured and a drift anchor was deployed. On Thursday, the boat could be salvaged and is now back in port.
So how did it go? Below is a summary of the top three in each class.
|GOTLAND RUNT TOTAL
23 boats finished (21 monohull and 2 multihull)
|1. Team Pro4u First 36.7 - KSSS
|2. Tutalör Figaro 3 - KSSS
3. Magic Mix X-41 Patrik Björklund - LSS
|1. Magic Mix - X-41 - Patrik Björklund - LSS
2. Oxygen - X-41 - Arvid Wahlberg - KSSS
3. C-Me - First 40 - Håkan Grönholm - KSSS
|1. Team Pro4u - First 36.7 - Patrik Forsgren - KSSS
2. Walenna - One off - Carl Wale - KSSS
3. Nola - J-112E - Margus Uudam - Estland
|CLASSIC - Inga båtar fullföljde
|1. Tutalör - Figaro 3 - Christian Harding - KSSS
2. Jolene - J/121 - Fredrik Rydin - RYC
3. Solidsport - Elan 37 - Johan Lundquist - LÄBK
|1. Allegra 85 Cat - Rob Grim - Schweiz - YCCS
2. Dancing Bear - Gunboat 48 - Michael Wahlroos - Finland - WSF
|1. Wetjob - Farr 400 - Niclas Heurlin - KSSS
2. Solong - Dehler 45 - Johan Bratt - KSSS
3. Frutti di Mare - Arcona 410 - Jonas Hörnfeldt - GÅBK
|1. Valkyria - X-362 Sport - Göran Ricking - TRBS
2. RobRox - Dehler 34 - Jonas Falconer - KSSS
|1. Alapocas - Linjett 33 - Johan Nordström - TRBS
- I am humble and proud to be part of the team that organizes Gotland Runt. We are over a hundred people preparing and executing the regatta, and the reward comes when we meet the sailors in the harbor and on the water, says Håkan Andersson.
A big thank you to everyone who has made this year's Gotland Runt a safe and positive sailing event. A special thanks to all the volunteers who have dedicated a lot of time both before and during the race. Finally, of course, we want to thank all the sailors who have come from near and far – without you, there would be no sailing party.
Welcome back next year!
//Iohn Ryott KSSS Information Committee