Thin lead at RC44 Cascais Cup
Published on November 15th, 2018
Cascais, Portugal (November 15, 2018) – Warm temperatures and light winds arrived for the opening day of the RC44 Cascais Cup, the final regatta of 2018 Championship Tour.
However, with an offshore easterly to southeasterly blowing, the swell failing to line up with the breeze and often coming from different directions, combined with the ebb flowing west out of Lisbon’s Tagus River for most of the day, racing today was a most complex exercise for the tacticians.
It also was challenging for the race committee; PRO Peter Reggio somehow managing to find conditions stable enough to hold a second race, after his first attempt had to be abandoned following a major right shift.
Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika, the overall 2018 RC44 Championship leader, started the opening race with a good mid-line start on starboard and managed to control the fleet as half the boats headed off on port.
Playing the left side at the top of the beat seem to pay for both Team Nika and Igor Lah’s Team CEEREF but it was Prosikhin’s team that led around the top mark with Chris Bake’s Team Aqua squeezing into second. The Team Nika crew then managed to avoid putting a foot wrong and carried their lead around the remainder of the course.
The second race, with the course aligned to the new southeasterly breeze, wasn’t so fortunate for Team Nika when she and Nico Poons’ Charisma were called over early at the start. However, Team Nika’s tactician Dean Barker somehow found a way back in, recovering to reach the top mark in third place.
“We were going well upwind which was nice,” recounted Barker. “We managed to pass a couple of boats and get back into contention.” Team Nika held third for the rest of the race – a nice comeback.
“Dean found a very nice lane, so we were in clear wind,” noted Prosikhin. “We are happy – we out-performed our expectations for the first day. We’ll do our best to stay where we are, but everything is open, anything can happen – one bad tack or gybe can make all the difference, but that is the thrill of racing in this fleet.
“Today was comfortable, safe, we had boat speed, good angles, good conversation with the trimmers. It was a pure speed race and finally we did a better job than the others.”
“A 2 and 1 on a day like that – I’m pleased,” said Team Aqua’s tactician Cameron Appleton. “We had some okay starts and we were able to get ourselves some nice clean breaks. The guys sailed really well.”
Team Aqua won the second race, doing especially well out on the left side of the first beat. This allowed Bake’s team to round the top mark first ahead of Frenchman Hugues Lepic’s Aleph Racing, and hang on from there.
“You were punching along the swell on starboard and then into it on port<” continued Appleton. “The boat screws around, it unloads and loads, it was a case of whether you chase it or just find a happy medium.”
Enjoying his first day of racing on the Russell Coutts-conceived owner-driver circuit was Paulo Mirpuri aboard Mirpuri Foundation: “It was really nice. The wind conditions were very light, but still we could race, which is the good thing about this class.”
The Portugese skipper and his Spanish crew were forced to abandon today’s first race after experiencing rudder issues, but then finished a respectable fifth in race two. “In that we did very well downwind. We were mid-fleet, but it was a good result considering I’m still getting used to the boat. In general it was a very good experience.”
Tomorrow the forecast is again for light winds with a building swell but the high rollers coming in with the big wind on the final days. “It won’t be an easy regatta,” noted Appleton. “And the waves are only going to get bigger. With some of biggest waves up at Nazaré on Sunday and all of the surfers from around the world flocking there, you wonder how it is going to work out for us..!”
With the conditions set to drop off again tomorrow afternoon, the decision has already been made to start one hour earlier with a first warning signal at 1100 CET.
Racing is planned for November 15-18, 2018.
2018 Schedule for the twelfth season of the RC44 Class:
February 28- March 4 – RC44 Calero Marinas Cup 2018 – Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain
May 9-13 – RC44 Portorož Cup – Portorož, Slovenia
June 27- July 1 – RC44 Marstrand Cup – Marstrand, Sweden
September 26-30 – RC44 Cascais World Championship – Cascais, Portugal
November 14-18 – RC44 Cascais Cup – Cascais, Portugal
Source: RC44 Class