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First in double hand class – AEOLOS P30 at Sjælland Rundt 2024

Helle and Jan have won Sjaelland Rundt on AEOLOS P30 "The Beast". Gratulations!

Sjaelland Rundt is one of the big classic races in Northern Europe. 230 miles around the biggest Danish island. This time with 30knots of wind and quite choppy sea during the last 50 miles.

Here´s the story of Helle and Jan B. Hansen:

"On Thursday 13 June at 10:30 am, our double-handed racing class started the Sjælland Rundt race.

But before that, the big topic of conversation at the harbour was, which way are we going round? At best, the traditional port tack would mean crossing from the start line to the Great Belt Bridge, at worst to Grønsund with winds up to 25-30 knots. Not something that tempts many. Fortunately, the event management saw an opportunity to do something different, so we were sent starboard round to what we thought would be "a walk in the park". (Later we learnt more). The starboard round has only been sailed twice before, in 1968 and 1995.

In our race there were 2 competitors who had the biggest focus: Anders Hansen in "Krackemut" (Kracer 40, which should give us 2:10 on DH) and Kasper Wedersøe in "Hulken" (Dehler 30 OD, which should give us 0:10 on DH).

As expected, Krackemut pulled quietly from the start in the 10-15 knots of wind, TWA around 55. Hulken and us followed side by side all the way south of Dragør, where the wind shifted slightly to the right, so it was a upwind course from there all the way to Grønsund. There the Dehler is only marginally better than us.

On entering Grønsund, Krackemut and Hulken were 80 and 20 minutes ahead. That was the end of the upwind sailing for this time and the chase could begin, first with Code 0 to Stubbekøbing, then a change to A4. In the light winds of up to 3.9 knots, we snuck around everything and everyone at double speed. At Farø we were within 100 metres of the Hulk. Unfortunately, I had misjudged the wind angle out of Storestrømmen, it was more spacious than expected. The small A4 gave too little pressure, so overtaking the Hulken took until after we had passed the construction of the new bridge at 03:20. Once we had gone around, we switched to our blue A2, which is about 30 square metres larger, 112 square metres in total.

Further north we had 15-20 knots of wind, twa 160. Here our little Aeolos really shines, at the Great Belt Bridge, which we passed around 8:00 am, Krackemut's lead had shrunk to 50 minutes and Hulk was 40 minutes behind. But we are also constantly over trimmed, we worked hard to maintain our speed.

Further towards Røsnæs we flew off in a steadily increasing wind and I looked a little nervously at A2 in ½ oz. dew, which was approaching the upper limit of the warranty. We were very careful in the gibes and winched the spinnaker first, then the mainsail. Helle and I have a really good teamwork on board, so we only went round the roof once when I failed to slacken the leeward backstay. As we were only missing one boom towards the bollard, we didn't take any more chances, stripped the winch and sailed the last 5 miles with mainsail and jib.

By the time we rounded Røsnæs, we had picked up a further 10 minutes on Krackemut and set Hulken with a total of 80 minutes. Code 0 was prepared for the stretch towards Odden, but the wind had increased to 25 knots and sharpened a little, so we just had to continue with mainsail and jib, boat speed around 10-11 knots at its best. An IRC 42 couldn't really keep up there.

But when we rounded Odden at 1pm, the fun was over. The wind was up to 30 knots and we could just about keep up towards Gilleleje, the speed went from 10 to 5.5 knots, 1 reef in the main + jib and we could just about keep our balance. The IRC 42 just sailed away from us, leaving us in a cloud of horse pears and handkerchiefs. Other larger boats slowly came up from behind, albeit all with full crew and therefore not in our class, but it's always annoying to be overtaken when we had just sailed away from them :-).

Our slightly chubby bow thought it was going to smack all the waves in the Kattegat. 3-4 hours of rumbling and banging as we shook around in our very stiff carbon fibre hull. But it all held together, not so much as a bent shackle and the weather forecast had promised right-hand winds, so there was hope ahead.

We were a little tired, I had slept 1 hour and Helle 1/2, so it was a great relief when the wind started to ease gradually around 3pm and we could get some speed in the box again. But even with 7-8 knots, the distance to Nakkehoved felt almost endless.

We rounded at 18:30, 90 minutes after Krackemut and 45 minutes ahead of Hulken. All that was missing was the last 15 nautical mile upwind in a counter-current. Many fine tacks were made, our strength and spirits were kept up by the fact that we could smell some kegs in the harbour and that we hadn't done as much as we feared out in the Kattegat. The finish line was crossed on Friday at 9 pm with a beautiful sun setting and with a margin of 18 minutes to Krackemut on corrected time. Hulk came about 40 minutes later. We are 5th overall after DH, the 4 ahead were all with full crew, not too shabby 🙂

But without our 2 closest competitors, who, with good crew and fine boats, constantly kept us to the fire, it would have been less fun. Thanks to Anders and Kasper + crew for the good competition.

Speaking of motivation and endurance, Sjælland Rundt is not just a race for pure racing boats/crews.

On Sunday morning I spoke to two young girls, Lisa and Rebekka, from an all-girl boat, 5 in total on board a somewhat battered Vega. They had crossed the finish line on Saturday evening and had talked about retiring along the way. But no, they fought their way across the Kattegat and got the satisfaction of finishing, a feat in itself. An open gaff rigger from KAS also finished on Saturday evening and when I look at their tracking after Odden with turning angles approaching 150 degrees, it's pretty impressive that they kept going. They must be both pretty tough and pretty patient.

Big kudos from here to the two crews and other similar participants. It's not always just about winning, but also about the joy of finishing.

Finally, I would like to thank Helsingør Sailing Club for the great work they have put into revitalising Sjælland Rundt. There is a great atmosphere at the harbour before and after the race and great prizes from their many generous sponsors. They deserve far more participants."

By the way, this is the forth race win this year for "The Beast":

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