March 28, 2012
Synergy on match race form in Portugal
Cascais delivered a cracking first day of sailing for the RC44 fleet in the second leg of the 2012 Championship Tour. Two Russian teams and one representing Portugal made the most of the conditions, which saw a few spinnaker blow outs in the morning as the breeze topped 20 knots.
Ed Baird (USA) joined the RC44 Tour at the start of the 2012 season and his presence seems to have had an immediate effect on the match racing results of Valentin Zavadnikov’s Synergy Russian Sailing Team. After finishing seventh overall in the 2011 RC44 match race rankings, the team didn’t lose a match today and now sit on top of this year’s standing, having dropped just one match in the series so far.
It was not an easy ride for the Russian team, who took advantage of their opponents mistakes, having to fight back in two races Baird described as being “seriously behind and having to push hard to catch up.” All credit went to the team of young Russian sailors on-board. “The guys on Synergy have really been working hard on their boat speed and boat handling, they do a great job and it was nice for all of us to be rewarded a little bit today.”
Looking onto tomorrow’s fleet racing, Baird was however setting expectations. “Fleet racing tomorrow is a different challenge I am still learning about the boat, we are all still learning about the class we know we have a lot of work to do to be strong in the fleet races but it’s always nice to have a good day.”
Local expert Patrick de Barros (POR) has taken over the helm of the French Aleph Team for the week and renamed the boat Team Cascais after the city playing host to the 15 RC44 teams. After three year’s out of the class, Patrick let match racing expert and the team’s tactician Mathieu Richard (FRA) take the helm and was impressed with both how the class has evolved and his newly adopted team. “The level of racing in the last three years has gone very high, it’s really impressive. Today’s racing was great, all the crew is excellent, they really are top class.” Team Cascais finished the day with five wins from seven races, taking the team up to third on the overall match race rankings.
Cascais also delivered on some excellent sailing conditions, native de Barros maybe biased but all the teams echoed his sentiments. “The sailing today, it was Cascais at its best, it was not the prevailing wind but I think Cascais showed once again it is one of the best places in the world to sail and for the rest of the week I hope for good wind, good competition and a lot of fun.”
The second Russian team to relish the conditions was Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika. With tactician Tomislav Basic (CRO) on the helm for the day, owner Vladimir took to the grinders. They won five from seven races.
Now in their second season with the RC44 class, Vladimir is looking forward to the fleet racing and the team hope to improve on their seventh place in Lanzarote last month. “We have been training hard and are determined to do better at this event.”
The last word has to come from Russell Coutts, back in the class for the first time this season and at the helm of Katusha today. “It was great to be back in a monohull, we had fantastic conditions out there, a real good fun wind. This is actually my first time helming a boat since Rovinj in Croatia last year, but it still feels just as comfortable, it’s like riding a bike!” After two events Katusha are second overall on the match race leaderboard.
With the strong easterly breeze set to stay for tomorrow, the fleet racing phase of the Cascais RC44 Cup 2012 begins on Thursday 29th March and concludes on 1st April. Racing kicks off at 12.00 noon daily with three races planned per day, following the racing on the live blog at www.rc44.com.
Last edited by mpowlison; 03-29-2012 at 09:34 AM.
March 29, 2012
Compact racing for the RC44 fleet
A full on day of racing in every sense saw four different winners from four races and a very compact fleet competing for every inch around the race course at the Cascais RC44 Cup 2012.
The steady easterly breeze averaged 15 knots throughout the day and produced some very close one-design racing. With 15 boats now competing on the RC44 Tour, all with very even boat speed, mark rounding’s have become very congested. Picking the port lay-line can be a risky manoeuvre with the prospect of a 180 metre duck if you get it wrong. One who fell foul of this today was Patrick de Barros (POR) and Mathieu Richard (FRA) on Team Cascais. The local team found themselves having to duck the entire fleet at the first windward mark of race three after finding no space to squeeze into.
Igor Lah and the team of CEEREF (SLO) had the most consistent day, their worst result was a sixth, their best a win in the fourth and final race of the day. The team managed to stay incident free but it wasn’t all as serene as it looked as owner owner Igor Lah explained. “Today was an excellent day, the conditions were fairly stable and anything could have happened at any moment. In one race we came from almost last up to second or third place. Every moment mattered today so you had to be very careful with how you performed, but Michele (Ivaldi) was calling very good tactics and the crew members were excellent, it really paid off.”
Katusha (RUS) helmed this week by Steve Howe (USA) with Russell Coutts (NZL) calling the shots finished the day one point off the lead with a 3,7,1,4 score-line. Steve Howe’s reaction to the racing: “Thank god for comebacks! Today’s racing was so close.”
Chris Bake and Cameron Appleton had an up and down day by their own high standards. They started with an eighth and bounced straight back to win the next. Despite having their wind instruments ripped off the top of their mast by Team Cascais in race three, they slotted in a third followed by a ninth leaving Team Aqua (GBR) third overall, seven points off the lead.
Synergy Russian Sailing Team started where they left off yesterday winning the opening race of the day, however a port starboard incident with AFX Capital (ITA) saw the team lose their crash box. Valentin Zavadnikov with Ed Baird calling the shots finished the day in fourth overall – 10 points off the leader.
New to the fleet is Brian Benjamin (GBR) and his Aegir team who are more used to Maxi boats, after two days racing in the RC44 he gave his thoughts on the new venture. “Today was fantastic, we had an easier run of it today compared to yesterday, we got beat up a bit in the match racing! We had some really good races; the conditions were great it wasn't quite as windy as yesterday. Compared to the Maxi's I’m pretty surprised by how close the boats are. It's not quite like the Maxi races, it’s a lot more aggressive and there are a lot more boats, probably a lot more fun as well.”
The wind is due to ease slightly tomorrow for the second day of fleet racing at the Cascais RC44 Cup 2012 racing concludes on 1st April. Racing kicks off at 12.00 noon daily, following the racing on the live blog at www.rc44.com.
Last edited by mpowlison; 03-30-2012 at 04:37 PM.
March 30, 2012
Breeze on in Cascais
The forecasters had said the wind would ease, but instead torrential rain bought stronger winds which tested all 15 boats and teams competing at the Cascais RC44 Cup 2012. Sailing with their big masthead spinnakers in the first race of the day the wind increased to 28 knots, by the final run a number of the team’s fell foul to some spectacular broaches.
One team that relished the conditions was Peninsula Petroleum (GBR). They chose their favourite spot at the leeward end of the start-line in each race and went on to win the first two races before posting a solid fifth in the third, moving John Bassadone, Vasco Vascotto (ITA) and the Gibraltar based team up to fifth overall. Owner and the man at the helm, John Bassadone, was pretty pleased with their day on the water. “It was pretty scary today, actually very very exciting! We had unbelievable results and all sailed really well managing to control the boat, the crew did amazingly.”
Katusha (RUS) led the opening race of the day upto the final run before losing their spinnaker tack-line, which led to a dramatic spinnaker blow-out. With the halyard wrapped around the mainsail they couldn’t hoist their second kite and had to two-sail to the finish. “We were lucky to lose only three points on that run,” was guest helmsman Steve Howe’s synopsis after racing. The rest of the day proved less eventful, a solid second and third place followed leaving Katusha at the top of the overnight leaderboard, with a 14-point lead.
Team Aqua slotted in two sixth and a fifth to move up into second place overall whilst Artemis Racing (SWE) recovered from an average start to win the final race of the day. The team suffered two broaches right before the finish line of race one. The first was helped by a luff from Katusha, which saw the Swedes penalised for not keeping clear and incur a penalty turn. The second came on the last gybe and resulted in the spinnaker wrapping around the keel.
Morgan Larson (USA) tactician on Artemis Racing explained the conditions on the race course. “It was really tough out there today obviously windy and rainy but good action and the boats were perfect. The wind was top end for the boats but good, it would have been fairly under control if you had been sailing around on your own but when you start racing, sailing higher upwind and faster downwind with boats around you it gets pretty wild, with waves coming over the bow and into the boats, they get heavier and then you start breaking sails which is what you saw out there today.”
Racing at the Cascais RC44 Cup 2012 concludes on 1st April. The action kicks off at 12.00 noon daily, following the racing on the live blog at www.rc44.com.
Last edited by mpowlison; 03-31-2012 at 10:27 AM.
April 1, 2012
Fight for the podium in Portugal
The Cascais RC44 Cup 2012 has thrown everything at the fifteen competing RC44 teams in Portugal from boat breaking conditions to light sea-breeze, sun, a storm and even a couple of hours of torrential rain.
Katusha (RUS) went into the final day of racing with a strong 13-point lead. Race one didn’t start quite as planned with the Russian flagged team, driven by Steve Howe (USA) this week, being called over the line early along with AFX Capital (ITA), No Way Back (NED) and Team Nika (RUS). The question was, could Team Aqua take advantage of their error and close the gap, to put the leaders under pressure going into the final race.
Team Aqua (GBR) rounded the windward mark in seventh with Katusha back in twelfth; Chris Bake’s team needed separation. By the finish Aqua had taken just one place, finishing sixth with Katusha climbing to ninth. However, Team Aqua are renowned for their come-back’s and weren’t about to give up the fight. They won the final race of the event, but Katusha were just three places behind again, crowning Katusha the winners of the inaugural Cascais RC44 Cup 2012.
It was Russell Coutts, tactician this week on Katusha, first RC44 event since Rovinj, Croatia in October last year, but enjoyed his return to the fleet. “It’s been a great event here in Cascais. Today wasn’t our prettiest a few mistakes but we did enough to win, so that feels good.”
The fight was now on for third place. With just nine-points separating Peninsula Petroleum in third from sixth place Synergy Russian Sailing Team everyone needed to sail their own race and hope they came out on top.
You wouldn’t have betted against Peninsula Petroleum (John Bassadone/ Vasco Vascotto) retaining their place on the podium; the team from Gibraltar had shown such consistency over the past two days of fleet racing. But the team didn’t get off to the best of starts, rounding the windward mark second to last, but with rivals CEEREF behind them, Ironbound one place ahead and Synergy in sixth they were still on the podium.
It wasn’t until the final metres into the finish line where Peninsula got themselves trapped between Aegir (GBR) and CEEREF (SLO), that it was all over, they went from twelfth to fifteenth and handed Synergy the final place on the podium.
Synergy’s consistent second and third place in the final two races had put Valentin Zavadnikov’s team on the fleet race podium for the first time since they joined the circuit in 2010. It was the second RC44 event for the team’s new tactician Ed Baird who is excited to see the team’s progress up the rankings.
“We had a great day today, it was very exciting and I think we probably had the best day, which was a surprise for us as much as anyone. In the second race we had the question of what jib do we use as the storm came through, the wind got a little stronger so we changed for our smaller one but then the wind died as we started to race so we really struggled, the guys did a great job changing sails downwind and then we gained a boat place on each leg after that which was a really great job by the crew.” Ed Baird, tactician, Synergy Russian Sailing Team.
In the overall standings Team Aqua retains the golden wheels with just three-points from the first two events, their closest rivals Artemis Racing and Peninsula Petroleum, both on nine-points.
The next stop on the 2012 RC44 Championship Tour is the RC44 Austria Cup on Lake Traunsee from 30th May – 2nd June.
May 27, 2012
RC44 fleet heads to Austria
It was the 2011 RC44 Austria Cup that saw the Russian Team Nika owned by Vladimir Prosikhin and Aleph Sailing Team (FRA) ), make their RC44 Tour debuts.
Meanwhile, for Chris Bake’s Team Aqua (GBR) last season’s Lake Traunsee event saw them compete for the first time in their brand new boat, the boat in which they went on to claim the 2011 Championship Tour title.
It has been a memorable year for Team Nika, with Croatian Olympic sailor Tomislav Basic as tactician. The team quickly established themselves as serious competitors within the fleet when they won a fleet race and two match races at their debut event.
Vladimir Prosikhin, owner of Team Nika said: “Racing in the RC44 fleet has exceeded my expectations and has given me the best sailing experience I have ever had. The level of sailing in the fleet is vey high; with virtually no weak teams it is fierce competition out on the racecourse. Last year in Austria just before my first race Russell told me that I would win my first RC44 race probably sooner than I expected, but the real challenge would be to stay consistent for the race after race, and he was right! With some luck I won a fleet race and two match races in my first RC44 regatta. It has taken time and effort to establish Nika as a competitive team and we still have a lot of things to improve on.”
For Team Aqua, Austria presents the opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the 2012 fleet racing leaderboard and to try to cut into the three point gap which currently separates themselves in fourth and leaders Synergy (RUS) in the match racing.
Having opened their 2012 account with fleet racing victory at the RC44 Puerto Calero Cup in Lanzarote, Team Aqua settled for second behind Katusha (RUS) at event two in Cascais, Portugal. Aqua holds a healthy six-point lead over nearest challengers, Artemis Racing (SWE) with three events (Austria, Sweden and Croatia) to contest.
Meanwhile, Synergy – with 2007 America’s Cup winning helm and ISAF Rolex Sailor of the Year Ed Baird (USA) as the boat’s new pro for the 2012 Tour – holds a two point advantage over fellow countrymen Katusha in the match racing. But Katusha, who will have Brad Butterworth aboard in Austria, replacing Russell Coutts, are breathing down their necks.
Home interest in Austria again comes courtesy of the Rene Mangold-owned AEZ RC 44 Sailing Team. Although made up largely of amateur sailors, AEZ boasts Christian Binder, who represented Austria in the 470 class at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics and is a former Soling European champion, while Portugal’s Nuno Barreto, a veteran of three Olympics, a 1996 470 Games bronze medallist and a member of the Desafío Español 2007 America’s Cup crew, is in his second season with the AEZ team. Top match racer Markus Wieser (GER) is on tactics.
However many times the Tour visits, the flat water and unpredictable weather conditions on Lake Traunsee often create tricky tactical predicaments that can catch out even the most experienced of sailors.
Follow the racing on the live blog throughout the event 30 May-3 June at www.rc44.com , the live blog will be updated in English and German for the event.
Overall Fleet Race Ranking
(After two events)
1 Team Aqua – 3
2 Artemis Racing – 9
3 Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team – 9
4 Katusha – 11
5 RC44 TEAM CEEREF – 13
6 Aleph Sailing Team – 14
7 AEZ RC44 Sailing Team – 14
8 Synergy Russian Sailing Team – 16
9 Ironbound – 16
10 No Way Back- 17
11 Puerto Calero – 18
12 Team Nika – 21
13 RUS-7 Sailing Team – 25
14 AFX Capital Racing – 26
15 Aegir – 29
Overall Match Race Ranking
(After two events)
1 Synergy Russian Sailing Team – 11
2 Katusha – 9
3 Aleph Sailing Team – 9
4 Team Aqua – 8
5 RC44 TEAM CEEREF – 7
6 AEZ RC44 Sailing Team – 6
7 Puerto Calero – 6
8 No Way Back – 6
9 Artemis Racing – 6
10 Team Nika - 6
11 RUS-7 Sailing Team – 5
12 Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team – 4
13 Ironbound – 1
14 Aegir -0
15 AFX CapitalRacing – 0