Fehmarn Belt Race or David versus Goliath

CP-Catamaran Vitality in a race against the ferry Prinsesse Benedikte

It was a duel between two unequal adversaries, and a battle somewhat reminiscent of David versus Goliath. Yesterday afternoon, the sailor Michael Walther in his CP-Catamaran Vitality challenged the Danish Scandlines hybrid ferry Prinsesse Benedikte to a race – the Fehmarn Belt Race. In this contest, the 5.5 metre short catamaran faced a 142 metre long ferry. 75 kilogrammes spread over a sail area of 15 square metres took on a 23,712 horsepower giant. “David” Vitality was to run against “Goliath” Prinsesse Benedikte. The course was to be the 18.5 kilometre wide Fehmarn Belt from Puttgarden on the island of Fehmarn to Rødby in Denmark.

Unfavourable wind conditions
Although things were looking good for Michael Walther and Vitality shortly after the starting pistol was fired at 12.15 p.m., the race was won by the ferry Prinsesse Benedikte. A thirteen-knot wind gave the thirty-five-year-old sailor from Kiel a good push at the start. However, it was not long before Walther had to contend with calm. Over the first third of the distance, the wind dropped to 5 knots and Vitality barely stood a chance against the engines of the Scandlines ferry. At the half-way mark it was clear that Prinsesse Benedikte would emerge victorious from the Fehmarn Belt Race.
“I’m really annoyed that it didn’t work out for me today,” Michael Walter said after the race. “The wind wasn’t on my side as I’d hoped it would be. I’d have needed either more wind or wind from a different direction. As a sailor, there’s not much you can do about that. Today, of course, I must accept defeat, but I’ll definitely be asking for a rematch.”
It was above all Vitality’s strong start that caused quite a stir on the upper deck of Prinsesse Benedikte on its way across the Baltic Sea at 18 knots. Anette Ustrup Svendsen, spokeswoman of Scandlines, was following the race: “It was great fun to watch this sporting event from on board the ferry. Michael Walther put up a good fight – we could all see that.”

Sailing with scenario analysis
Ideal conditions for a contest like this would have been provided by wind speeds of fifteen knots. To prepare himself for the challenge, Michael Walther had been working in the run-up to the event with the planning software by Corporate Planning. Simone Doerfner, Corporate Planning spokeswoman, explains: “The Corporate Planning software supported Michael Walther in making feasibility analyses and comparisons between different scenarios. He analysed the factors that are important to him like the wind and the speed of the ferry. In diagrams he simulated the nautical miles to the finish in order to calculate the minimum speeds to be reached at each of the GPS points on the course.”
Michael Walther has thus drawn up and visualised a kind of budget for achieving his goal. Corporate Planning supports Michael Walter because he represents principles by which the CP software is developed too: flexibility, innovation and simplicity.