Baltic yacht race heads for Västervik
The Local · 7 Jul 2009, 15:11
Published: 07 Jul 2009 15:11 GMT+02:00
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Article sponsored by Västervik - Sweden's most beautiful Archipelago.
The starting gun for the cup will be fired in Warnemünde, northern Germany, on 18th July. From there, around 40 offshore racing yachts and crew members will head for the Danish island of Bornholm, from where they will make the 225-nautical mile voyage to Västervik.
The stopover in Västervik promises to bring something of a carnival atmosphere to the town. The yachts will moor right in the middle of the historic port, close to the terraces of the town’s popular restaurants.
The crews will get the chance to wander through narrow alleyways and along beautiful beaches, experiencing the best of the Swedish summer. Tourists will be able to mingle with the multinational crews and inspect their boats close-up.
The yachts are set to arrive in Västervik on 21st or 22nd July. On 24th July, the mayor of Västervik will fire the starting signal for the third leg of the race, to Liepaja in Latvia.
Västervik has a proud nautical tradition. The navy of 16th century king Gustav Vasa was largely constructed in Västervik and in the 18th century the town was one of Sweden’s premier shipbuilding centres. Boats are still built in the port – although these days for more peaceful purposes. Marströms is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of catamarans and other multi-hulled yachts.
Last year’s Baltic Sprint Cup was won by a boat designed and skippered by Västervik man Stefan Qviberg. Qviberg and his Ancona 400 yacht won’t be participating in this year’s race, but he says the Cup always has a “positive, pleasant atmosphere.”
Qviberg says that it is a great honour to be chosen as a port of call in the race.
“The idea is that you visit towns that have something in common. It’s a way of creating a sense of community in the Baltic Sea region – resurrecting the old Hanseatic League, if you like.”
Sailing through the Västervik Archipelago will be an unusual experience for many of the crews from Germany, who are used to more open waters.
“It’s interesting for the Germans to experience sailing in the sheltered water of archipelagos,” Qviberg says.
The archipelago also provides great opportunities for spectators to watch the spectacular sight of the yachts approaching Västervik. Qviberg recommends that those wanting to witness the yachts as they sail through the archipelago head to the island of Gränso.
“There should be some great views from the cliffs over there.”