Eric Proust and Romain Motteau, Team Kalix, have completed an outstanding six day Formula 18 catamaran race through the Stockholm, Åland and Finnish archipelago. Since the first day the highly experienced duo has been difficult to beat, showing great tactics and excellent boat handling. Since last Friday the competitors have passed 47 island checkpoints and sailed a total of 550 – 600 nautical miles.
It was skipper Eric Proust’s fifth go at the Archipelago Raid when he finally took first, having reached the second and third step of the podium three of the previous races and had to abandon once. This year the team has since the start been the team to beat. Out of 47 checkpoints the team was first at 16, second at 14 and won four of the 11 legs. ”We have been preparing a lot for the Archipelago Raid this year. Romain trained one month entirely for the raid!” said Eric Proust on finally winning, and sums up the race as “difficult, superb, and unique”.
Of the 22 starting teams, 20 teams made it to the finish line
after six days and five nights of intense sailing on small Formula 18
catamarans. The Archipelago Raid is considered one of the toughest sail
races in the world, with physical sailing 14-16 hours per day. The
short northern summer nights means the competitors get little sleep,
around 2-5 hours per night. The navigation is a difficult challenge
with small rocks and islands literally littered all over the
archipelagos. With the high level of the competitors, there is no room
for tactical errors. Endurance, team work, and a good sense of
repairing boats are also important factors to succeed in the race.
The victorious French were throughout the whole race closely followed
by an interesting international mix of teams. The Swedes Martin
Strandberg and Johan Örtendahl, Team Thule, taking second, 2004-winner
William Sunnucks and Simon Farren (UK), X-Leisure, finishing third,
Belgian Patrick Demesmaeker and Michel Proot, RSBC Huysman, always
among the leading pack, and the Brits Conrad Humphreys and Ryan
Crawford, Team Blue Oceans, getting stronger and stronger throughout
the course, leading a good part of it yesterday.
The eighth edition of the Archipelago Raid has seen great conditions
with varied weather and wind. It has been the longest race course since
the first race 2001. Very little paddling has been needed and good
tactics has been key.
Solo sailor Ellen MacArthur competed in the race for the second time.
With crew Greg Homann (Aus) on BT the team finished ninth. “It has been
great, the race is amazing. We knew we couldn’t win as Greg and I have
not trained much on the boat. We participated for the pleasure and we
have learnt a lot. All the other competitors have been great. It has
been a relaxed atmosphere but a very high level with a lot of
experience among the fleet.”
The last day was considered the toughest and started with an early
start at 2 am in Sandhamn in the Stockholm archipelago. While the
vacationers were stumbling out of the night clubs of Sandhamn the 20
teams were having a tight battle over the starting line! When leading
the fleet this morning, Team Thule hit a rock and broke its dagger
board in three parts. At the next checkpoint they had to lay the boat
down and use a saw to get the dagger board out! They left the
checkpoint as ninth boat with only one dagger board but managed to
catch up with the leaders, pass them, tear the jib in a strong gust
right before the finish line, stop at a dock to furl it but eventually
end the last leg of the race on an honourable first place and finishing
See final results.