Two of the newer VO65 teams, Sailing Poland and Ambersail 2 (representing Lithuania) organised a short race series in the Baltic Sea last month, with more racing to come.
"The VO65s are created for racing, so this period has obviously been difficult for all the teams who are obliged to stay ashore,"said Rokas Milevičius, who was the skipper of Ambersail 2 in both of the events.
"We are very lucky to have two great yachts in the Baltic region, close to each other. We decided it is a possibility for both of us – Poland and Lithuania – to take initiative, to sail together, race against each other and grow while learning from each other."
The racing took place over two events, each featuring an in-port race and an offshore race. The Lithuanian team won both races in the first event based out of Gdynia.
For the second event, based out of Klaipėda, the Sailing Poland team invited The Ocean Race veteran Bouwe Bekking to join them as coach/skipper and some of his magic rubbed off as the Polish squad evened the score 2-2.
"I raced last year in Gotland Runt against Ambersail 2. They have really skilled sailors onboard over there. Last weekend Ambersail 2 had the upper hand and dominated, and this week it was turned around. That shows how both teams are close in performance. So maybe it’s time to do the third round!!
"This is a great initiative from Ambersail 2 and Sailing Poland, that they are organising racing like this. And the engagement of both cities I think was fantastic. This means that it was not only great for sailors, but for others too. Getting sailing on TV is normally difficult, but they made it possible. These kind of events make it possible to show how fantastic sailing is, not only for the sailors, but as well for the sponsors and the public," Bekking added.
Both the Lithuanian and Polish teams say they are planning to continue this creative partnership and new plans are being discussed. Both VO65 boats are close to each other, even if in different countries, and that makes similar racing initiatives possible. It’s a great opportunity for training as well as a chance to spread the word about The Ocean Race, which is the ambition for both projects.
(based on a press release from the teams)