CEEREF masterful at 44Cup Palma
Published on November 16th, 2019
Palma, Spain (November 16, 2019) – If Charisma and Aleph were the stand-out teams yesterday, today, the penultimate day of the 44Cup Palma, belonged to Igor Lah’s Team CEEREF.
In a return to their 2016-17 season-winning form, the Slovenian team won both of today’s races. This elevated them to second overall astern of Nico Poons’ Charisma which had another solid day leaving them with a six point lead going into the final day.
It was another profoundly challenging day as the forecast was for ‘light but sailable’ with the breeze filling in early afternoon. In the end, the teams were sent out after being held ashore for an hour and a half, only for a storm cell to bring strong winds and lightning to the race area.
As the horizon darkened, the nine RC44 teams were sent in. Once the squall had passed they were called back out, but this resulted in another late day with the first race only started at 1515 CET. A second was shoehorned in, but it was dark by the time the boats later docked at the Real Club Nautico de Palma.
Given the variable conditions, the first beat of the first race was looking good with John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum and Hugues Lepic’s Aleph Racing in front. However, a major shift in its latter stages strongly benefited those on the left like Team CEEREF and Pavel Kuznetsov’s Tavatuy Sailing Team which found themselves laying.
Leading at the top mark, Team CEEREF sailed conservatively and extended, as did Tavatuy in second from Kirill Frolov’s Bronenosec Sailing Team which in turn managed to fend off a strongly advancing Torbjörn Törnqist on Artemis Racing and Nico Poons’ Charisma on the final run.
With the wind picking up in the second race, the field was closer up the first beat with Bronenosec leading around the top mark, but with Charisma on her transom and Team CEEREF leading the next wave, having come into the top mark on port.
Igor Lah’s team split from the leaders at the end of the run managing to get inside Bronenosec Sailing Team rounding the port leeward gate mark. A couple of nice lifts up the second beat helped Team CEEREF bank her lead and from there she was unchallenged, scoring her second bullet of the day.
“I was so cold, I wanted to come in as quickly as possible!” quipped a shivering Igor Lah once ashore. “Two bullets is always nice. At least that shift balanced things up with the one where we lost yesterday.”
Team CEEREF’s tactician Britain’s Adrian Stead admitted they had been lucky with just how far left their winning shift in the first race had gone, enabling them to reach into the top mark with Tavatuy. He was pleased with how they had performed subsequently.
“On the second beat there seemed to be no clear side and any bit of breeze made a huge difference. That was a nice win,” said Stead. “In the second, we were third at the top and did a good set and got away from Team Nika. There were a couple of shifts and we took the transom of Bronenosec and Charisma but got around the gate in front of them.
“The second beat was really hard because tacking with the genoa over range is such a killer. However, it was a good day. Here at the moment it is very changeable and the clouds and rain make it very unpredictable.”
There were some incidents too. Bronenosec Sailing Team failed to duck and collided with Artemis Racing pre-start in the first race. The Swedish RC44 made it a matching pair of blows when later in this same race she was hit a second time, this time on the bow, by Aleph Racing’s transom. Bronenosec and Aleph Racing each received two penalty points for hard contact.
Aside from her pre-start touch, Bronenosec was the second top boat today. “In the second race we led into the top mark,” commented tactician Cameron Dunn. “We got a really nice start up at the race committee boat end and managed to control the fleet up the beat. But it was hard down the run and CEEREF did well at the bottom.”
Tomorrow not only will the 44Cup Palma be decided, but the overall 2019 44Cup too. This event, being last of the season, means that results here cannot be discarded. This is most alarming for Team Aqua and Team Nika, the two leaders in the season’s championship, as they currently lie eighth and ninth respectively in Palma. For if today’s 44Cup Palma positions were final, Team CEEREF would be crowned the 2019 44Cup champion.
For Igor Lah this is not yet being considered: “It is one day too early to think about that. We’ll see what will happen. There are a lot more points on the table…”
Racing is on from November 13 to 17.
Launched in 2007, the RC44 Class enters its 12th season on the 44Cup, a five-stop international racing tour throughout Europe.
44Cup Events Schedule 2019
44Cup Porto Montenegro – Montenegro – April 10 to 14
Adris 44Cup – Croatia – May 30 to June 2
44Cup Marstrand – Sweden – July 9 to 13
44Cup Cascais – Portugal – October 2 to 6
44Cup Palma – Spain – Nov 14 to 17
About the RC44 boat
Five-time America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts conceived the design of the light-displacement, high-performance one-design RC44 with naval architect Andrej Justin in 2005.
Created for top level one design racing in international regattas under strictly controlled Class Rules, the concept and design features of the RC44 are aimed at the amateur helmsmen with professional crews. For its thirteenth season in 2019, the RC44 Championship Tour was rebranded the 44Cup.