44Cup Alcaidesa Marina
Published on October 22nd, 2023
Nine teams were at the penultimate event of the 2023 44Cup held October 19-22 in the Bay of Gibraltar, with Igor Lah and Team Ceeref closing strong to win the nine-race series.
In form typical of the high performance owner-drive one design, going into the final race of the final day of the 44Cup Alcaidesa Marina, just two points separated the top four boats and, with nine points on the table, mathematically any of the top six could still win. Added to this was the venue with a third day of racing from a third direction – the east, blowing across La Linea.
Racing started in moderate wind and rain beneath an ominously dark sky, before building to 20+ knots in the gusts for the third and final race of the day.
Leading by one point going into this race, life was made easy for owner Lah, tactician Adrian Stead and the crew of Team Ceeref as their most threatening rivals tied themselves up. Ceeref won the pin, claimed the left and returning on port screeched into the starboard layline and from there rounded the top mark just ahead of Team Nika and Chris Bake’s Team Aqua.
At this point, their top four rivals were not featuring: leader going into the final day and generous host of the 44Cup Alcaidesa Marina, John Bassadone and his Peninsula Racing and Christian Zuerrer’s Black Star Sailing Team were eighth and ninth respectively, both having committed to the unfavored right. The closest of Ceeref’s rivals was Aleph Racing in sixth.
From here, Lah’s Slovenian team clung on and even extended over Team Aqua and Team Nika. At the finish, nearest of the ‘top four’ was Aleph Racing now up to fourth, leaving Ceeref ahead of her by four points with Black Star Sailing Team and Peninsula Racing tied on points, a further three adrift in third and fourth.
For Team Ceeref, this was the first event win for the 2017 and 2019 44Cup champions since Oman in February.
“We were struggling for a few regattas, but now we are finally back and everything is fine,” said Lah. As to going into the last race which such major competition so close behind him, Lah continued: “We wanted to extend it a little bit! So it was successful. It is always nerve-wracking but every race is a new development.”
This was the 44Cup’s first ever event in the shadow of Gibraltar, and after the first day getting blown out, the races had two breezy days and one light, and wind from the west/northwest, south and east with current that was hard to predict.
2023 44Cup Schedule
March 1-5 – 44Cup Oman, Muscat
June 28 – July 2 – 44Cup Marstrand, Sweden
August 9-13 – 44Cup Cowes, UK
October 19-22 – 44Cup Alcaidesa Marina, Gibraltar Straight
November 22-26 – 44Cup Calero Marinas, Canary Islands
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/