RC44 teams gunning for World Championship title

Published on September 28th, 2015

Twelve strong and seasoned RC44 teams are prepared to contend for the 2015 RC44 Cascais World Championship, taking place from the 30 September to 4 October at the Clube Naval de Cascais.

A favourite among sailors for the reliable wind conditions and challenging race area, not to mention the local hospitality, the RC44 Class is returning to the Bay of Cascais for the fourth consecutive year.

This week MAG Racing will be supported by Portugal’s finest. Joining the Polish team for the RC44 Cascais World Championship is Olympic bronze medallist Nuno Barreto, whose experience and local knowledge will provide a competitive edge. The added talent of fellow Portuguese sailors Gilberto Conde and Luis Brito, will certainly make MAG Racing ones to watch.

The World Championship also features as the fourth round of the 2015 RC44 Championship Tour, which has demonstrated an unprecedented level of competition, highlighted by the fact that a different team has been at the top of the podium at each event so far.

With tactician Ray Davies on board Nico Poons’ Charisma, the Monaco-based yacht started off the year by laying claim to the RC44 Valletta Cup. A taste of victory has left the team restless for a repeat performance, while champions of the Audi RC44 Porto Cervo Cup, Team Aqua are eager to welcome back owner Chris Bake, helming in Cascais for the first time this season.

Tactician Cameron Appleton said: “It’s nice to know we are finally entering into an event with our team leader, the glue. We’ve already had a couple of great days sailing with Chris, getting back in the flow. It’s pleasing for him and us and this week is just about settling down into a rhythm and back into what we know we are about.”

The added advantage of have the old guard back together will ensure the four-time RC44 Tour Champions are a force to be reckoned with, however it is Vladimir Luibomirov’s Bronoesec Sailing Team that may yet prove to be the biggest threat to the rest of the fleet. Going from strength to strength, the defending World Champions also happen to be the winner of the most recent event, the RC44 Marstrand Cup.

While Luibomirov suggested that he is keeping his expectations in check, the Russian owner did offer up some fighting talk, “Cascais is a lovely place, but not easy – it’s wavy, it’s on the ocean and it may be more difficult, not much, but a little bit more difficult than Marstrand. Because it’s the World Championship, everybody should be ready, but we will be ready too.”

While Team Nika has yet to secure an event title this year, a high level of consistency displayed over the past three events has positioned them as current Tour leaders, meaning that for the first time since joining the Class, the ‘Golden Wheels’ have been fitted to Vladimir Prosikhin’s RC44.

“It was a long way to go to get the golden wheels,” Prosikhin explained. “Somehow I didn’t even consider it – in Marstrand we were focused on good starts, good upwinds, good tacks, good approaches to the mark, good laylines – things like that. The golden wheels were a bit unexpected. Of course it is a pleasure! It is huge an achievement in such a competitive fleet with such good rivals.”

Prosikhin continued on to describe the greater objective, “So far year this year, nobody has been able to keep them for more than one regatta, so that’s the challenge! This is where we have to do it!” A feat that will hopefully be supported with the return of Team Nika tactician and America’s Cup sailor Dean Barker after a one event hiatus.

Another strong contender, Artemis Racing stepped up their performance on home waters last month in Marstrand and subsequently they have high hopes for this week. Torbjörn Törnqvist commented, “Going into Cascais. We have a lot to build on. Marstrand was our best regatta for a while, a lot of things were working better than they have at other times, so we are going into this event with great expectations.”

With just seven points between the top five teams, and only two events remaining for the 2015 RC44 Championship Tour, the stakes are high.

A day of practice racing tomorrow will give the teams a chance to test the waters before the RC44 Cascais World Championship begins on Wednesday 30 September with the standard day of match racing, followed by four days of fleet racing.

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RC44 WORLDS

Report by Amy Cada, Into the Blue

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