Feb 8 2012
RC44 Puerto Calero Cup
The 2012 RC44 Championship Tour kicked off in Puerto Calero, Lanzarote with a full day of match racing. A familiar team was at the top of the leader-board after nine flights and six matches a piece, and some new faces showed they will be real contenders this season.
Ask Team Aqua (GBR) what makes them so good and they will always answer ‘consistency’, and the key to that consistency has to be their team. Cameron Appleton (NZL) was at the helm today and had a familiar team around him, names like Matt Cassidy (USA) and Andrew Estcourt (NZL). With six wins and no defeats their season started as it ended in 2011 and credit went to the team. “The guys really need to take credit for today they did a great job, it was tricky and everybody got tested, every boat had issues and a big part of what they did all day long was what got us around the race course in such good shape.” Cameron Appleton, match race helm and tactician, Team Aqua.
Former World Match Race Champion Ed Baird (USA) is new to the class; today he took the helm of Synergy Russian Sailing Team and they nearly finished the day with a clean sheet, had it not been for a ripped spinnaker in their race against Katusha, who also finished the day with a 5-1 score-line with new helmsman in the form of four-time America’s Cup winner Brad Butterworth (NZL).
Baird was happy with his first day’s racing with the Russian Synergy team. “It was really exciting conditions today with the big shifts and big gusts which was a lot of fun. The team is fantastic these guys are very well prepared I’m impressed with how well they sail the boat, it makes my job a lot easier when I know that everything is going to go smoothly. Unfortunately we had one race where we broke the spinnaker and lost that race but otherwise it was a very good day!” Tomorrow s owner Valentin Zavadnikov will take over the helm.
Pieter Heerema was the top rated owner driver on the water with No Way Back (NED) winning four, and losing two, defeats coming from Team Aqua and the French Aleph Sailing Team steered by Mathieu Richard. A good start to the 2012 season and some new additions to the team as Heerema explained. “We thought it might get a bit too windy for a good day of match racing but it worked out really well, in fact the weather was absolutely fantastic.We have some new team members and our new tactician (Ross MacDonald) worked really well with the crew, so we’re very happy.”
With the NE wind picking up to 20 knots at times and the fleet raced to the leeward side of the Island, it really was a baptism of fire for the 14 teams. One team whose results really didn’t reflect their performance on the water was AFX Capital Racing Team (ITA), but the Italian team were in no way down beat at the end of the day. “The racing today was fantastic. I really enjoyed it even if we lost all of our match races. For me it was my first experience and for most of the team the boat is a new one so with each match we found more details that we need to improve on. I’m looking forward to the fleet racing; we can work on the boat speed and have some good races for sure, I am very optimistic about that.” Massimo Barranco, owner AFX Capital Racing Team.
With six matches completed by each of the teams in Lanzarote, the continuous round robin will carry on throughout the season at every RC44 event until the end of the season in Croatia where the 2012 RC44 Match Racing Champion will be crowned.
The fleet racing which counts for the RC44 Championship starts on Thursday 9th February at 12.00 GMT. Racing continues through to Sunday 12th February.
Last edited by mpowlison; 02-10-2012 at 09:24 AM.
Feb 9 2012
No Way Back quick off the blocks
The fleet was eager to get the 2012 RC44 Championship Tour started in Puerto Calero today. With a general recall to start the day, Principal Race Officer – Peter Reggio – was quick to get the black flag out with the forecast for boat breaking conditions.
The black flag duly kept the fleet behind the line for a clean start.
Aleph Sailing Team (FRA) were closest to the pin, too close, they were first to fall foul of the umpires, receiving a penalty for clipping the pin end buoy. This forced the French team to gybe and head to the right hand side of the course, a move that was ultimately to their advantage.
After a quick 1.4 mile beat and the wind hovering just under 20 knots it was Vladimir Prosikhin (RUS) steering Team Nika (RUS) who rounded the windward mark first closely followed by Ironbound (USA), Synergy (RUS), Katusha (RUS) and then No Way Back (NED). The Dutch team’s new tactician Ross MacDonald (CAN) called for the early gybe as they rounded the spreader mark, by the leeward gate they were on the tail of Team Nika.
By the final run No Way Back had edged ahead of Team Nika, putting some much needed clear space between themselves and the fleet behind. A late call to gybe for the line saw the pair having to two sail into the finish line, but Dutch team had enough room to take the race win.
A good opener to the season for the No Way Back team: “We had an OK start today and then really good speed upwind, we came around the first mark about fifth and had a good gybe out very quick. It was great boat handling and fantastic work by the guys, we just power over the fleet downwind. We had a couple of mistakes take downs but downwind we were really flying. It was just great.” Pieter Heerema, owner/driver, No Way Back.
Artemis Racing (SWE) and French Aleph Sailing Team relished in the full on surfing conditions and took full advantage of other teams mistakes. Artemis Racing, who had rounded the first windward mark in 13th place, stormed across the finish line in second place having timed their final gybe to perfection. Aleph was just behind, managing to plane across the line ahead of early leaders Team Nika, who could only watch as they two sailed into the finish.
Mathieu Richard, tactician, Aleph Sailing Team. “We got a penalty today in the pre start for touching the pin mark, it was our mistake we miss judged the pin lay line and so we had to gybe and go to the right side of the course. But we were lucky with that because my goal was to go for the left and in fact the right was not too bad, we managed to pass around the first mark in 10th place. We did a gybe set and were directly on the gate, it was a good call and we jumped into third place at that point which was a great come back we gained seven or eight places at once."
It was also the first day the fleet had raced with the new larger mainsail which has increased two square metres in size to 73.1 sq, but with the head of the sail increasing from 1.70m to 2.5m, it was a good test for the new set-up as Torbjorn Tornqvist from Artemis Racing explained. “The new main gives the boats a little more sail area, particularly to give the boats a little more power in the lighter winds. The main was great even in winds like today when you would normally want a smaller main, as far as we saw it performed really well, it was easy to manage and you could de-power it in the top. It’s difficult to say on a day like today, a lot of the sailing was about surviving but i think in the light winds it will make a real difference.”
With the wind increasing to a steady 30 knots plus the fleet were sent ashore. With a similar forecast tomorrow racing will start at the earlier time of 10.30 (GMT) for the first warning signal.
Last edited by mpowlison; 02-10-2012 at 09:24 AM.
Feb 10 2012
Peninsula Petroleum take the early advantage
Some new faces are emerging at the top of the leaderboard at the RC44 Puerto Calero Cup. With the anticipation of strong winds the fleet left the dock early, slotting in three races by early afternoon, with big velocity changes and shifts, the tactician’s were kept busy.
Team Aqua (GBR) won the day’s opener, before making a rare error which left them back in 13th place at the finish of the second race, as owner Chris Bake explained. “Consistency has not been part of today! We had a good start to the day, then in the second race I made a mistake and broached pretty badly, I came around way too aggressively, we didn’t have the shoot ready, came up too high and ended up on the wrong side of the course. Then the last race we were a bit more on form, just a few issues. It was a full on day.” A fourth place in the final race keeps Team Aqua well in contention in sixth place overall.
The French Aleph Sailing Team had been leading the day’s opener before finishing third. They then turned the tables in the second race, third at the final windward mark, they passed No Way Back (NED) and Katusha (RUS) on the final run to secure their first race win of the year. “It was another great day on-board Aleph, especially in the first two races we were very fast in the strong breeze and the team is doing a great job in these conditions,” explained tactician Mathieu Richard (FRA). “It was very difficult out there in the last race, the wind was shifting all the time which was a nightmare for the tactics but we finished ninth so it’s still a great day.” Aleph sit second overall after four races, three points off the leader.
A team that seemed to relish the shifty conditions was John Bassadones’ Peninsula Petroleum (GBR). Having teamed up with tactician Vasco Vascotto (ITA) at the end of the 2011 season, the new partnership leapt onto the podium at the RC44 World Championships last November and now find themselves leading the season opener, their worst result a fifth.
Starting at the pin for every start today, Peninsula Petroleum proceeded to play the shifts and slot in a very consistent 2,4,1 scoreline. “The team sailed very well, it was very tricky out there, it was very shifty but we had a couple of good starts and tactically we were solid.” Said owner John Bassadone once ashore.
Peninsula Petroleum has a three point cushion over their French rivals, but with no discard at RC44 events tactician Vascotto had a clear message for the team. “We had three great races and were really happy about the results today, but we need to only enjoy this for 15 minutes and then forget this kind of result to come back to our plan of learning, learning, learning! We still have a lot to learn.”
Synergy Russian Sailing Team suffered minor damage after their halyard broke in the first race of the day, putting them out of the last two races of the day.
Four more races are expected tomorrow for the penultimate day of the RC44 Puerto Calero Cup with the first warning signal due at 11.00 (GMT).
Last edited by mpowlison; 02-13-2012 at 09:21 AM.
Feb 11 2012
Aqua back on form
Four back to back races at the RC44 Puerto Calero Cup shook up the leaderboard on a race track Michele Ivaldi (ITA) described as, “full of traps and important to keep an eye on the pressure to cope with the shifts.”
With lighter winds forecast, the course was moved around the coast of Lanzarote to Puerto del Carmen, in sight of Lanzarote’s capital Arrecife. A weakened north-easterly gradient breeze, with the gusts topping just 12 knots, made for a very different days racing from the strong breezes that had dominated the event thus far.
Team Aqua (GBR) was dominant. Three wins and one third place added just six points to the team’s score, taking them from sixth overnight, straight to the top of the leaderboard, five points clear of second placed Aleph Sailing Team (FRA).
For the team that missed out on the podium at the RC44 World Championships in Lanzarote last November – the only podium they missed out on last season – it could not have gone better. “Today was a big day, we did a lot of things right and although we had some fairly tricky starts, Cameron (Appleton) was very much in phase with the wind, the teamwork was back on form. It was just a matter of not making any mistakes,” said Chris Bake, owner/driver, Team Aqua after a long day on the water.
The only other team to win a race was AEZ, the Austrian team slotted in a 5, 1, 8, 3 score-line moving them from one-off the bottom of the leaderboard to seventh overall. Owner/Driver Rene Mangold was very satisfied with the team’s efforts. “It was a great day for us, we were a little bit unsure of how it would go as we hadn’t used the mainsail in light wind conditions, but it worked really well, much better than we expected. We’re improving all the time. We hope to build for the rest of the season, this is obviously our first regatta with Markus (Weiser), but we hope to keep this configuration and keep the performance and spirit high.”
France’s Aleph Sailing Team did enough to stay in second overall. They started well with a second and fourth, before succumbing to their first double figure score of the series, an eleventh followed by a seventh. With no discards allowed at any RC44 Championship events, tomorrow will be all about consistency and the young French team are still well in with a chance of the clinching the trophy.
Consistency is something Team Nika (RUS) need to fulfil their obvious potential on the race course. Often at the front of the fleet after the first lap, a penalty and difficult spinnaker drop regularly puts them to the back of the fleet.
Owner Vladimir Prosikhin (RUS) explained their day. “We had a good first race. The second race could have been better; we got a penalty for tacking too close to the committee boat but recovered really well in to fifth or sixth place, then got another penalty! The third race we had a chance to win, but then lost by maybe five or ten metres, that was a real shame. Then the final race of the day was just bad!” The team finished the day in sixth overall, eleven points off of Artemis Racing in third place.
Three races are planned for the final day of racing at the RC44 Puerto Calero Cup with the first warning signal due at 11.00 (GMT).
Last edited by mpowlison; 02-13-2012 at 09:18 AM.
Feb 12 2012
Aqua take the first event of the RC44 season
A three hour wait for the breeze to fill in delayed proceedings on the final day of the RC44 Puerto Calero Cup, AEZ took their second race win in Lanzarote, but Team Aqua were not far behind giving them their first event win of the 2012 season.
Puerto Calero has shown to be a real test for the 14 teams competing in the first leg of the RC44 Championship Tour. After their winter break it was the reigning champions who showed they could change gear in the wide range of conditions in Lanzarote.
Chris Bake and the crew of Team Aqua (GBR) started the week slowly with a 10th and 13th, but quickly got in the groove slotting in four wins, a second, third and fourth to give them victory by 11 points over second placed Aleph Sailing Team (FRA).
The team will retain their golden wheels for another event but are wary of the competition for the rest of the season. “Every boat out there is a concern, they all have the capacity and they all have their days,” said Bake, however the team were chuffed with their first win of the season. “For the team obviously every win is a great win, especially in this class where the teams really give you a run for your money, as you saw the first few days. It’s easy to make a mistake and once you do that its game over, so all in all its really appreciated by all the team that we were able to pull out another great event.”
For the young French team missing an eighth place in the final race secured them second overall, exceeding their own targets for the event as the team’s tactician, Mathieu explained. “It’s a fantastic result for us second place, we couldn’t expect such a good result so it’s great. The team is improving at every event. We had a good first year and I think this year the team is pretty strong.”
Artemis made up the podium, just two points adrift of the French, Torbjorn Tornqvist teaming up with Artemis Racing’s CEO, Paul Cayard for Lanzarote.
AEZ seemed to excel in the lighter shifty conditions, the team from Austria clinching the final race of the series, adding to their win from the previous day and taking them up to fifth overall.
Rene Mangold’s team have been a regular on the Tour since 2009, over the winter they bought in new tactician, Markus Weiser (GER) who has high expectations for the season. “The last two days have been very good for us, they worked out really well, we had a shocker in the second day, we were second to last after four races and we were really disappointed, we had a few boat handling problems but recovered quite nicely. We have a few new sails for the next event which will make us a little more competitive.”
The fleet will now head to Cascais in Portugal the second round of the 2012 RC44 Championship Tour, with the racing being hosted by the Clube Naval de Cascais from 28th March – 1st April.