BT team Ellen back in 9th as race winners benefit from a month's training

Stockholm, June 18 2008. Eric Proust and Romain Motteau, Team Kalix, completed an outstanding six-day Formula 18 catamaran race victory through the Stockholm, Åland and Finnish archipelago.

Starting on Friday the competitors passed 47 island checkpoints and sailed a total of about 600 nautical miles.

Right from the start the highly experienced duo benefitted from great tactics and excellent boat handling. Out of 47 checkpoints the team was first at 16, second at 14 and won four of the 11 legs.

Photo by Thierry Martinez: Team Kalix, Eric Proust and Romain Motteau, France

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.”

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. “We have been preparing a lot for the Archipelago Raid this year. Romain trained one month entirely for the raid!” said Eric.

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 raid takes its toll
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.

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 second overall.

Final Result
11 completed legs. One leg cancelled due to lack of wind.

1. Team Kalix, Eric Proust & Romain Motteau – Fra
2. Team Thule, Martin Strandberg & Johan Örtendahl – Swe
3. X-Leisure, William Sunnucks & Simon Farren – UK
4. Team BLUE Oceans, Conrad Humphreys & Ryan Crawford – UK
5. RBSC Huysman, Patrick Demesmaeker & Michel Proot – Bel
6. Team Garmin, John Bäck & Gustav Morin – Swe
7. One Design Center, Martin Hållsten & Malcom Hanes – Swe
8. SWE 558, Ola Person & Tomas Westergren – Swe
9. BT, Ellen MacArthur & Greg Homann – UK/Aus
10. Dare 2, Vincent Andre & Alessandro Vercio – Belg/Ital
11. N-Group, Matti Nieminen & Mikko Nieminen – Fin
12. GB Glace, Karin Almquist & Karin Berg – Swe
13. Cottonfield, Jouni Romppanen & Jari Pekka Kiiski – Fin
14. HH-Marin, Thomas Ekefalk & Carl Johan Söder – Swe
15. Team GUL Sweden, Noel Barkelius & Henrik Gattberg – Swe
16. ÅBIT, Ronny Haals & Jonathan Barck – Ål
17. Stelacon, Lars Linder & Karl Petersson – Swe
18. First Hotels, Rune Aasberg & Kristian Ask – Nor
19. Berotec, Paul Rosenquist & Charlotte Willemse – Ned
20. Team NCC, Olof Berensson & Magnus Wadstein – Swe

Klinger (14/6), Thommy Sundström & Markus Lagerqvist – Swe
Sundvalls Bygg (16/6), Fredrik Ekman & Gustav Tempelman – Swe

For more on the race see the website: