Team Nika leads at 44Cup Portoroz
Published on May 20th, 2021
Portoroz, Slovenia (May 20, 2021) – Having not lined up since November 2019, 44Cup competition resumed today for the high performance owner-driver one designs, with three races kicking off the 2021 season.
Winds began in 6 knots and built to 12 over the afternoon. Team Nika posted by far the most consistent results today, returning ashore with a four point lead.
Behind her the competition is far closer with just four points separating second from seventh places.
In addition Team Nika is the only RC44 here with a ‘new’ tactician, in Spanish keelboat champion Manu Weiller, who stepped into the role, previously been filled by Russell Coutts, Dean Barker, Ed Baird, and Terry Hutchinson.
With everyone wanting the pin and the left due to the wind bend on the Croatian shore and the sea breeze building, Weiller said they had focused more on getting clean, conservative, mid-line starts. “This crew is incredible. They know the boat perfectly which helps me a lot, deciding modes, etc.”
Team Nika was lining up to win today’s final race until on the final beat they were forced to tack away from starboard tackers on two occasions. At the top mark for the final time, Pavel Kuznetsov’s Atom Tavatuy led, but the Russian team was eventually pipped at the post by Hugues Lepic’s Team Aleph.
John Bassadone’s newly rechristened Peninsula Racing had a tough day. After a solid second in the first race, they were unable to fight back from an OCS in race two and then had the top of their rig damaged and Windex torn off after Chris Bake’s Team Aqua clashed rigs with them at the start of the third race (for which Bake’s team was awarded two penalty points).
Racing is being held from May 20-23 with stronger winds forecast tomorrow.
2021 44Cup Schedule
May 19-23 – 44Cup Portoroz, Slovenia
June 30-July 4 – 44Cup Marstrand, Sweden
August 11-15 – 44Cup Cowes, UK
October 6-10 – 44Cup Scarlino, Italy
November 17-21 – 44Cup Calero Marinas, Puerto Calero, Lanzarote
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. https://www.44cup.org/