Penultimate day at 44Cup Portorož
Published on May 22nd, 2021
Portoroz, Slovenia (May 22, 2021) – For the third and penultimate day of racing at 44Cup Portorož, with the wind solidly into the 20s, gusting to 25 knots, Chris Bake’s Team Aqua maintained their lead over the 8-boat fleet.
In the first race John Bassadone’s Gibraltar team on their rebranded Peninsula Racing played the right side of the first beat masterfully to lead at the top mark, clinging on to the finish.
“We stayed out of trouble,” recounted Peninsula Racing’s proud owner. “We managed to get a good start, tacked out to the right, got a decent shift and, from then on, played the shifts quite well and stayed ahead. It was breezy and we sailed conservatively with smooth boat handling and a good performance from the entire team.
“We needed that win because our results have been pretty poor. I don’t feel too bad because the bad results could have been good – it just shows how closely matched all the boats are. We just need to stick with it, but I’m sure we will improve.”
Team Aqua showed the fleet the way around the race track in the second race, to score, most impressively, their fourth bullet out of five races.
Finally after an outstanding opening day, followed by a dire day two, Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika came good in the big conditions to win today’s final race. For Prosikhin this came as great relief.
“Today we were at our lowest point but we nicely recovered. I found ‘our reason’ and even I can remember how to gybe because otherwise we did everything, EVERYTHING wrong – we were over the line, we broached the boat twice, etc. So finally it looked good but we had to keep our fingers crossed. Yesterday was even more painful…”
As to today’s lively conditions, Prosikhin admitted they lacked practice. “In Russian we say ‘the first pancake never comes out right’. Fortunately we have some boat speed again, because yesterday we were struggling, especially downwind and our trim was wrong, everything was wrong. Finally we got into the group here.”
In fact today was less about winning races as neither of the two top scoring teams won a race but were superbly consistent. Local Slovenian hero Igor Lah, had the best day across the eight boat fleet posting a 2-4-2 and was regularly nipping at the heels of the leaders. The same was true of Pavel Kuznetsov’s Atom Tavatuy with an equally level 3-3-4. These boats have now moved up to second and third places overall respectively behind the still dominant Team Aqua.
“We are happy and it is great,” said Lah. “We did what we wanted to do whereas yesterday and the day before each time we had a little bit of bad luck – something wasn’t right, maybe bad shifts or not great understanding on the boat.”
Team CEEREF’s British tactician Adrian Stead added of their performance today: “We had three solid races. In the middle one, we were second round the top mark last time, but we ended up losing two places down the run. No lead was safe – you could come round the top mark in light pressure and suddenly everyone was back down inside you, so it was pretty tricky.”
Tomorrow is the final day of the 44Cup Portorož and three races are scheduled in similar conditions to today.
Racing is being held from May 20-23.
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/