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44Cup: Ceeref leads at halfway mark

Published on February 11th, 2022

Puerto Calero, Lanzarote (February 11, 2022) – After a zero wind opening day of the 44Cup Calero Marinas in Lanzarote, forecasts indicated day two might repeat this. In fact, after an hour’s delay, an easterly filled in and built to 12-14 knots, allowing three good races to be held.

Chris Bake’s Team Aqua sent a strong reminder of why their RC44 is fitted with the leader’s ‘golden wheels’. They came out of the blocks strongly in the opening race and, in an immaculate display, took the first bullet of the 2022 44Cup season, from Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika.

“We had the boat set up well and got a clean start with a decent amount of area around us,” recounted Bake. “We got on to the right side of the course and managed to stay bow ahead of everyone, got around the top mark and managed to hold on.”

The first race had seen a phenomenal performance by Igor Lah, tactician Adrian Stead and the crew on Ceeref powered by Hrastnik 1860, when, after being over early and restarting, they had fought their way back up the 10 boat fleet to finish third. Their hard work was further rewarded in the next race; when, with Team Aqua on track to scoring a second bullet, Ceeref overtook them on the second upwind and went on to win the race from John Bassadone’s Peninsula Racing.

After their strong start, it was Team Aqua’s turn to be OCS in the third race and, with Ceeref getting caught in traffic, Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing made the best start, led around the top mark and on around the rest of the course, coming out on top ahead of Nico Poon’s Charisma.

“It is great to come back here to Lanzarote,” said Törnqvist. “It didn’t look like we were going to sail this morning, but then it all changed, with perfect timing, for three high quality races.” He continued, “The boat feels good. We obviously got a wake-up call last time we were here [they were second last in November] and we have done a great deal of work to improve our speed in the light winds.”

Tactician Andy Horton added of their third race, “We had a good start and were going fast up the correct side of the course. Only Peninsula Racing and us had a J2 up so we were able to point a bit higher and get around everyone. Then we did an awesome jib change on the run to the J1 so we were good for the second beat. It was pretty tricky out there.”

Leading by a point at this half way stage is Ceeref, a mere point ahead of Team Aqua. “It was cool, a very nice day,” summarized Ceeref’s Igor Lah. “We enjoyed the sailing. The guys’ handling was great and Ado [Stead] did a good course. In the first race [after our OCS] we were prepared for a worse result because we messed up the start, but in the end it came out really nice. We have been together so long, that the guys know exactly what to do.”

However, this being the opening day of the season, and because of the ever-elevated competition on the 44Cup, the scoring was generally high: six teams managing podium finishes, but most also had deep results. For example after their strong place in race one, Team Nika’s results deteriorated.

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli America’s Cup skipper Francesco Bruni, who is calling tactics this season, explained, “It wasn’t too bad. We started very well in the first race, but then had a couple of issues, a penalty turn in race three for tacking too close. In the second we were second at the gate but the second upwind was really bad for us and we were sixth at the top mark. It was a little bit painful, but otherwise I am happy with the team and the atmosphere on board.”

Bruni previously was tactician on Artemis Racing. “It is great to be back. The racing is so close. There is not one leader, it changes all the time. You make the smallest mistake and you pay for it. That is the nice thing”

The owners are enjoying sailing in the enlarged 10-boat fleet, “I think it is nice to have new teams out there. The whole class is trying to be as supportive as we can,” said Bake. Törnqvist added, “There is a lot of interest around the class now, which is good to see. Having 11 or 12 boats would be fantastic.”

For the last two days of the competition the wind is forecast to fill in from the north or northeast, the direction of the trade winds, for which Lanzarote and the Canary Islands are famous.

1. CEEREF powered by Hrastnik 1860 – 3, 1, 5 – 9
2. Team Aqua – 1, 3, 6 – 10
3. Artemis Racing – 6, 5, 1 – 12
4. Peninsula Racing – 10, 2, 3 – 15
5. Charisma – 4, 9, 2 – 15
6. Team Nika – 2, 6, 7 – 15
7. Aleph Racing – 5, 4, 9 – 18
8. Atom Tavatuy – 8, 7, 4 – 19
9. ArtTube – 7, 8, 10 – 25
10. La Pericolosa – 9, 10, 8 – 27

Series InformationEvent DetailsResults


Hugues Lepic (FRA) – Owner / Driver
Michele Ivaldi (ITA) – Tactician
Skip Baxter (NZL) – Main trimmer
Jon Gundersen (NZL) – Headsail Trimmer
Lara Poljsak (SLO) – Offside Trimmer
Jaro Furlani (ITA) – Pit
Cian Guilfoyle (IRL) – Grinder
Paco Lepoutre (FRA) – Floater
Greg Gendell (USA) – Bow

Torbjorn Tornqvist (SWE) – Owner / Driver
Andy Horton (USA) – Tactician
Iain Percy (GBR) – Main trimmer
Maciel Cichetti (ITA) – Headsail Trimmer
Emanuele Marino (ITA) – Offside Trimmer
Nils Akervall (SWE) – Pit
Kalle Torlen (SWE) – Grinder
Markus Tornqvist (SWE) Trimmer Assist – Floater
Piet Van Nieuwenhuijzen (NED) – Bow

Pavel Kuznetsov (RUS) – Owner / Driver
Evgeny Neugodnikov (RUS) – Tactician
Aleksandr Ekimov (RUS) – Main trimmer
Anton Sergeev (RUS) – Headsail Trimmer
Denis Gribanov (RUS) – Offside Trimmer
Pietro Mantovani (ITA) – Pit
Egor Larionov (RUS) – Grinder
Evgeny Egorov (RUS) – Bow

Valeriya Kovalenko (RUS) – Owner / Driver
Igor Lisovenko (RUS) – Tactician
Vitaly Rozhkov (RUS) – Main trimmer
Victor Serezhkin (RUS) – Headsail Trimmer
Sergey Avdonin (RUS) – Offside Trimmer
Denis Rozhkov (RUS) – Pit
Francesco Rubagotti (ITA) – Grinder
Alexey Kulakov (RUS) – Bow

Igor Lah (SLO) – Owner / Driver
Adrian Stead (GBR) – Tactician
Dirk de Ridder (NED) – Main trimmer
Javi De La Plaza (ESP) – Headsail Trimmer
Tine Lah (SLO) – Offside Trimmer
Andreas Axelsson (SWE) – Pit
Jelle Janzen (NED) – Grinder
Matteo Auguardo (ITA) – Bow

Nico Poons (NED) – Owner / Driver
Vasco Vascotto (ITA) – Tactician
Chris Hosking (AUS) – Main trimmer
Ross Halcrow (NZL) – Headsail Trimmer
Dimitri Simmons (NED) – Offside Trimmer
Ryan Godfrey (AUS) – Pit
Robin Jacobs (NED) – Grinder
Ivan Peute (NED) – Bow

Micheal Hund (ITA) – Driver
Nic Asher (GBR) – Tactician
Elliot Willis (GBR) – Main trimmer
Will Ryan (AUS) – Headsail Trimmer
Jas Farneti (ITA) – Offside Trimmer
Vittorio Zaoli (ITA) – Pit
Michi Muller (GER) – Grinder
Matteo Ramain (ITA) – Bow

John Bassadone (GBR) – Owner / Driver
Giles Scott (GBR) – Tactician
Robin Imaz (ESP) – Main trimmer
German Panei (ARG) – Headsail Trimmer
Mikel Pasabant (ESP) – Offside Trimmer
Matthew Barber (GBR) – Pit
Facundo Olezza (ARG) – Grinder
Gonzalo Morales (ESP) – Bow

Chris Bake (NZL) – Owner / Driver
Cameron Appleton (NZL) – Tactician
Andrew Estcourt (NZL) – Main trimmer
Christian Kamp (DEN) – Headsail Trimmer
Aaron Cooper (GBR) – Offside Trimmer
Jonas Hviid-Nielsen (DEN) – Pit
Ben Graham (GBR) – Grinder
Juan Marcos (ARG) – Bow

Vladimir Prosikhin (RUS) – Owner / Driver
Francesco Bruni (ITA) – Tactician
Sean Clarkson (NZL) – Main trimmer
Pierluigi De Felice (ITA) – Headsail Trimmer
Mitja Margon (SLO) – Offside Trimmer
Nikolay Kornev (RUS) – Pit
Iztok Knafelc (SLO) – Grinder
Matt Cornwell (GBR) – Bow

2022 44Cup Schedule
February 9-13 – 44Cup Calero Marinas, Lanzarote
May 11-15 – 44Cup Cascais, Portugal
June 29-July 3 – 44Cup Marstrand, Sweden
October 12-16 – 44Cup World Championship Portoroz, Slovenia
December 7-11 – To be announced

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.

Source: 44Cup

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