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11 July 2003

It's all over – Official Timekeeper OMEGA shares in the joys and frustrations of the Archipelago Raid 2003

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Prestige watchmaker OMEGA is proud to have been Official Timekeeper of the Archipelago Raid 2003 and congratulates the winning team, Tidermans, skippered by Anders Lewander (S) and Calle Hennix (S). After four days and nights of intensive sailing, and a few surprises and disappointments, 11 of the 14 catamarans finished the race at the Gustavsberg Marina, outside Stockholm.

The Archipelago Raid is an extreme sailing competition where sport, nature, endurance and adventure combine to produce a challenge that is only embarked upon by the most competent sailors. It takes place in the spectacular Stockholm, Aland and Finland archipelagos, which together form an exceptional course through beautiful but harsh landscapes. Each team of two sailors sail for four days on a Formula 18 (5.5m catamaran) along a unique course drawn among 100 000 rocks and islands. Every year, the Archipelago Raid is organised around mid-summer (end of June/beginning of July) when the nights are extremely short at the 60's north latitude. The bright nights provide a unique navigating experience which appeals to many top foreign sailors.




During the four days and nights, the competitors sailed more than 350 miles, divided on five legs, with a total of 25 check points to pass. The results are based on a point system per leg. After a tight battle between the five frontrunners, Sogeti (skippered by last year's winner Magnus Woxén, with Rodney Ardern) was the first to cross the finish line at 16.19.44 (local time). However, after all the points from the five legs were added together, Tidermans was the overall winner.



Since the start, the Archipelago Raid has been characterised by the incredibly even racing: precision timekeeping was therefore crucial. In this one of the most gruelling orienteering sailing races,endurance, speed, strategy, crazy navigation, organisation, cold water and no sleep are all necessary ingredients for success.



This year's event also gave rise to disappointment for some: OMEGA ambassador Ellen MacArthur sustained an accidental injury to her leg by a knife, cutting her shin during a manoeuvre. Ellen carried on racing for a few hours with top sailor Nick Moloney on board OMEGA Hobie Tiger 18, but her leg began to swell and they were forced to withdraw. She was then examined by the doctor who confirmed that she needed to rest the leg. Ellen was clearly disappointed, but her indefatigable determination and spirit shone through: "It's a real shame, but we have every intention of coming back for another go".



Skipper of the winning team Tidermans, Anders Lewander, summed up the exhilaration of the competition, saying, "The Raid is a powerful experience: an odd mix of great and wild sailing. A mix of meticulous planning and a sailing experience with both good and bad all the time. One can never give up and it is really important to constantly encourage each other on board".



This year OMEGA is proud to have added the Archipelago Raid to the sailing competitions for which it acts as Official Timekeeper – which include The America's Cup and The Swedish Match Cup - and looks forward to its continued association with this event in the future.




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