Danish Champion takes on New Challenge
The RORC Caribbean 600 is a truly international yacht race, sailors from 31 countries have gathered in Antigua for the spectacular event. Of those nations, six have sailing grounds in the Baltic Sea, which has a current sea temperature barely above freezing. Sailors from Denmark, Germany, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden have come to Antigua to escape the icy conditions in Northern Europe. Amongst them is double Olympic Gold Medallist, Jesper Bank.
Racing on Class40, Vaquita, Jesper Bank is one of Denmark's most outstanding athletes, winning two Olympic Gold medals and a Bronze. Besides his Olympic achievements, Jesper has also been at the helm for Swedish and German teams in the America's Cup and he is a former winner of the coveted ISAF World Match Racing Championship. However offshore racing is a new concept to the Dane.
"I have been friends with Andreas Hanakamp for many years, he invited me on board for the race promising fantastic sailing conditions. He has tried to persuade me that the '600 is like 15 short races linked together but I think he is understating things just a little! Even though the sea and air temperature is fantastic, sailing a 40-foot boat that distance will be very tough, especially upwind. I have not sailed in the Caribbean for over 15 years and I have never raced more than 140 miles before, so this will be the longest race I have ever done and totally different to my past.
As a sailmaker for Elvstrøm Sails, I am very interested in the Class40; it is a really exciting area of the sport with boats that provide fast and thrilling sailing. With the sort of conditions that the Caribbean provides, I am really looking forward to a wild and exhilarating race.
From a sail designer's point of view, Class40, Vaquita is looking forward to the Global Ocean Race in 2014 and the RORC Caribbean 600 is an ideal opportunity to look at a lot of sails at different wind angles and sea state. In order for us to be a decent sail provider for Vaquita, I need to get the data down and get my fingers dirty. I am under no illusion that this will be a hard race but it has great purpose."Jesper Bank will be competing on board Christof Petter's Austrian Class40, Vaquita, for the RORC Caribbean 600, which starts on 18 February from Antigua, WI.