Professional showdown at RC44 World Championship

Published on August 9th, 2017

Marstrand, Sweden (August 9, 2017) – They say that a true sailing champion is one who can master all weather conditions, and will take an all-rounder to win the 2017 RC44 World Championship. It’s going to be that kind of event.

For tomorrow’s opening day of competition, the nine international teams are looking at light airs of about 8 knots from the south-west. By the weekend the breeze will have grown to about 15 knots and the final day is forecast to conclude with a crescendo of 25 knots.

With highly professional crews, and high performance boats as challenging as the RC44, it could be quite a showdown.

Swedish interest will focus on the two sisterships of Artemis Racing, skippered by team owner Torbjörn Törnqvist, and Artemis Racing Youth steered by Gustaf Lidvall with Freddie Lööf calling tactics on the black boat. “The big factor here is the current,” says Lööf, the 2012 Olympic Champion in the Star. “If you play it right, that can give you a lot of advantage on the race course.”

For Artemis Racing the main focus of the year up to recently has been the America’s Cup in Bermuda, but now the team can turn its attention back on to the RC44 circuit. “I’ve missed a few regattas,” says Lööf, “and I hope we can step up our performance here. If we can end up somewhere in the middle that would be a good result, and I think the blue boat [Artemis Racing] has a real chance of winning.”

Tactician on the blue boat, Francesco Bruni, responded: “Winning! That’s a big word, but we will try our best. We have all the good cards to do well. Our goal is to be on the podium and be one of the top boats. In such a strong fleet, that’s all we can ask.”

Feeling calm before the fight is reigning World Champion Igor Lah and Team Ceeref. “I’m always pretty relaxed before racing,” said the Slovenian owner who has been racing RC44s for a decade now. “We will try to do the same as we always do, be consistent, try to do the basic things well. The important thing is to focus on racing our own race, we won’t be keeping an eye on anyone in particular because all nine crews are strong.”

Lah’s tactician Adrian Stead says the Ceeref crew are desperate to repeat the success of 2016. “Doing the double, winning the World Championships and the whole season, was a great achievement and we’d love to do that again. This event is obviously a big moment in the season.” For all his many years on the professional racing scene, Stead says he knows very little about Marstrand. “I’ve been here twice, once for a friend’s wedding, and the other time was about 20 years ago when I did trial for the Swedish team in the Whitbread Race.

“It’s going to be a learning curve for us here,” said Stead, who doesn’t necessarily see his lack of experience in Marstrand as a disadvantage. “Sometimes when you come to a new venue you look at it with a very open mind and figure out what the driving factors are of which way to go and what’s creating it. We feel like we’ve got speed, we’ve got a good team, the same guys from last year. I think we’ve got a good chance and we’re looking forward to seeing what we can do this week.”

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2017 RC44 Championship Tour
April 27 – 30 RC44 Sotogrande Cup 2017, Spain
June 29 – July 2 RC44 Porto Cervo Cup, Italy
August 9 – 13 RC44 Marstrand World Championship, Sweden
September 28 – October 1 RC44 Cascais Cup, Portugal
November 23 – 26 RC44 Calero Marinas Cup, Lanzarote

Report by RC44 Class.

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