Here is the report from Peter Gustafsson racing on his J/111 BLUR.SE.: "It is the first race of the season, and it can be anything from a hell of strong breeze of 14 m/s and frost at night to an amazing race with great sunsets and sunrises. This year we were definitely closer to the latter option. Above all, the pre-race dinner was fine. In 2015, we tried to make the dinner the night before the race to get together a coordinated training session where we can determine our watches and get into offshore mode. We have three watches, with two hours on, two hours standby and two hours in the bunk. With only five on board, I became my own watch. Not optimal, but we still want to sail this way. After a nice wind from Stora Pölsan to Færder lighthouse, the wind turned north and diminished. We were given a chance to look at our Code 1, which we bought used for Fastnet and has been unused since then. In the IRC, the half width must be at least 75%, so it becomes an ugly kinky shape compared to a ‘correct’ Code 0. In Åsgårdsstrand, we had lunch at the hotel, prepared the boat and slept for a few hours before it was time again to race. We got off well, like another boat at the left and could head east up the fjord. We had difficulty keeping up with the First 40 and X41, which is normal for us in these circumstances. It had been good wind for all previous starts before us. But, according to the forecasts, the wind started to decline when we started at 20:40. In the end, it all died! Ouch! There appeared to be consensus that the eastern side of the fjord was better. Both in the fjord and later during the race. Maybe we went south too early. But, we took off like a train when the wind came back in. A few that lay further west did OK, so we had some luck there. Flash Tango and Magic had gone better than us; many talented sailors who are still in the top. Here, I became a little negative and felt that we had missed the train. In 2010 + 2015, we had succeeded in taking early initiative and leading the class out of the fjord. Now, we were forced to hunt our competitors. After the Pisces turning mark, there was a big wind shift, and we were discussing different options. It would be one option to stay on layline and wait for the lift. Or, we could go east to get it first and maximize the effect. The routing software indicated going east would take 20 minutes longer. So, we stood by for about half an hour before the wind started to lift us. We looked inside for the boats we saw on AIS to the east of us; not moving so well. So, we battle south again. After a few minutes, Flash did the same thing. No real split, but we now had a better position than those that made us go some extra distance away. Phew. The new instruments worked well. Especially in light weather, they are different from Nexus, but it is probably the most common cause. Then it's a difficult time of year to fine-tune numbers. Big differences at different altitudes over the water, and lots of wind-shear. But, overall we are where we had hoped. Fun! One of the things that is difficult is to sail actively when it is dark and cold. We handle most things well, but for long periods, we are passive in both trim and steering. Due in part to the fact that we were only five crew, we need to find better routines to operate 100% under all conditions. Pretty dramatic going down the Weather Islands, where we met the boats that started from Stenungsund. Here it was also clear that the boats that came from the west, like Pixeline, had a hard time. We tested using the Code 1 just after Skålholmen, but realized quickly that we could not bear off to fly it and went back to the jib. We tested at least ... nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? It turned out that the early boats had good pressure all the way, and on the overall scores, you see that the boats that were over the finish line before 13:00 were best placed. It was only the really fast and the faster shorthanded boats that started at 19:20 that got in that early. We were over an hour behind them at sea and struggled with diminishing winds. But, at least we could chase the First 40 Flash, as we watched them constantly following on the AIS. From over 1 nm behind to 0.7nm to 0.4nm, we kept narrowing the gap with them. We tried to see which angles were most efficient for us, and where they might have been having difficulties. In the end, we passed them while they were trying hard to defend themselves by changing to another sail. Now, I looked a little closer on the scores, and we found that we would be finished in about 10 minutes. It was hard to get there, but we did what we could in the declining wind. Good change between A3, Code and then A3 again. And, finally, we were almost 15 minutes ahead of them on elapsed time, good for the corrected time overall win! A great win for us, and amazing teamwork!" For more Skagen Race information, visit http://www.blur.se/2018/05/12/helly-hansen-skagen-race-2018/.