Monthly Archives: September 2016
The Year 2016 has seen two Foiling Weeks, the first in Malcesine on Lake Garda, Italy, the second in Newport, Rhode Island (USA) . Lake Garda was host to Foiling Week third edition with a participation increase that confirms the growing interest foiling has sparked in sailing enthusiasts around the globe. The attention of the public is no longer limited to the competitive sailing community since the market is offering more and more options for recreational and cruising vessels. Newport is the first overseas edition of the Foiling Week: the genuine passion shown by the participants reminds of the first ever edition in 2014 on Lake Garda. Foiling week also embraces environmental sustainability and has adopted the Sailors For The Sea protocol for the organization of “clean” regattas , this has also been supported by Lega Ambiente in Italy.
The Gurit Forums offer a unique possibility to juxtapose of professionals in modern sailing, engineers, yacht builders and sailors can directly share ideas and feedback on their own experiences, both practical and theoretical. The Gurit Forums make Foiling Week an opportunity for advancement, not just a competition or a boat show, but a time for ideas to bloom, projects to advance. The Gurit Forums are truly what sets apart the Foiling Week from any other boating event. On Lake Garda, Persico Marine, the Italian shipyard involved in the construction of America ‘s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race boats, and Gurit partnered with the Forum by bringing contents and testimonials that have enhanced the conceptual terms with the industrial vision required for foiling to expand on larger scale.
In the past three years foiling has experienced a consolidation of already existing classes, the conception of new boats with better accessibility, both economically and in terms of on the shore and sailing handling. Boats such as Waszp, Ufo and Voilavion represent a new access point to the world of foiling. The costs are now equal to those of traditional dinghies and handling is now suitable for the average recreational sailors. Innovation is also present also in cruising-racing with the Stiletto FX and the TF10 presented at the Foiling Week Forum, introducing new-classes of foiling cruise-racing day-sailer.
As evidence of the market growth, Peter Melvin,in his presentation at the Gurit Forum Newport, mentioned that the value of currently produced foiling boats total 25 million $.
In Malcesine the wide attendance of boats and audience has created a spectacular experience within the event. Over 100 flying boats, from the old Hobie Trifoiler, to the new GC32s, enthusiasts and supporters mixed among Olympic and America’s cup crews, busy and actively racing within the 8 boat classes present. The cluster of Gurit Forums was in the mornings, where the audience witnessed presentations, round tables and participated in question and answer sessions. Attendance was also high at the photo exhibition proposed by AcomeA SGR and to the social events promoted by Land Rover, all happening while boats where flying endlessly in all racing courses.
Newport, Yachting capital of the American tradition, played host for the first time in the US to an event dedicated to the most advanced mode of sailing. While the traditional Gaff Cutters and the 12 meters sailed in the remarkable Narragansett bay, fast flying boats shoot by, writing the new page in the history book of yachting. The Foiling week Newport followed the same format of the Garda editions with Forums in the mornings and regattas in the afternoon: A-class catamarans, Moths, Phantoms, S9, Nacra 20 FCS, Ufo, Wazp and various prototypes swarmed the waters of Newport in a series of one design regattas and a long distance race, that became a wonderful display of fair play and performance. Every afternoon Mighty Squirrel Beer offered refreshments and all crew members and participants came together to mingle with the Forum speakers , relax and share experiences and ideas.
2016 will see another Foiling Week event: on October 24th, the AcomeA hall of the Franco Parenti theater in Milan, will host the first edition of the Foiling Week Awards that will be nominated and voted by the foiling community to recognize the year best performance in the different categories:
Foiling project: Projects still in design phase but not yet in production
Foiling production boat: For foiling craft already in production and being sailed
Foiling prototype designed by an amateur/non professional: For foiling craft not intended for commercial production
Foiling innovation: For foiling design solutions specifically applied to flight control / design / construction of parts but excluding hull construction
Foiling sailor: For best foiling achievement of the year
Foiling Green Award: For foiling innovations, any ideas or inventions that will have a beneficial impact on environment
More info: www.foilingweek.com
RC44 Cascais Cup
With spinnakers blowing up all around them, Torbjörn Törnqvist steered his Artemis Racing through the carnage of the final run of the final race to claim the RC44 Cascais Cup.
At the final top mark rounding, both Chris Bake’s Team Aqua, race leader at the time, and Team Ceeref in third (and regatta leader at this point), suffered kite problems. These incidents helped the Swedish team prevail, winning by a single point in one of the closest finishes ever seen in the RC44’s ten year history, with six points separating first from sixth place after 11 races.
“That is amazing after one week of racing,” enthused Törnqvist, who last won an RC44 regatta in Virgin Gorda last November. “And it all coming down to the last run – it was incredible. Obviously there was a bit of luck involved, but it was our lucky day.”
After two light to moderate days, conditions turned more brutal for the final three races. The long Atlantic swell Cascais is famous for wasn’t so much in evidence, but a particularly vicious sea state had been kicked up by the north/northwesterly breeze that built steadily until it was gusting to 25 knots. For the crews, the downwind legs were sensational, with all the teams getting their boats up on the surf and hitting speeds in excess of 20 knots.
“Obviously it was more challenging with the waves and the wind,” said Törnqvist of today’s sailing. “It was not so much about the shifts as handling the sea state and keeping the boat under control. At all the marks the boats were very close, which is a great tribute to the class.”
Also impressive was Artemis Racing’s turn-around performance this week– winning, despite ending day one in last place.
“We were in last place,” agreed the team’s tactician Francesco Bruni. “We had a very good second day which got us back in the hunt. Yesterday was average. And today our 2-3-1 was probably the best day Artemis Racing has ever had.”
Bruni also attributed their success to the experience of their crew. “For sure we wouldn’t have won without them – we reacted to problems better than the other teams.”
This was also perhaps the reason why the longest serving RC44 crew also had the best day of their regatta. Chris Bake’s Team Aqua won the opening race and led the final race, until they too had kite issues.
Bake explained: “We were getting the chute out of the hatch and it ripped on a jib shackle putting a big tear in it. So we had to change chutes, which was a fairly rapid deployment situation.
“Apart from that it was a great day and really good racing: This week it has been as tight as I’ve ever seen it in this fleet. Not only were the points so close, but all the teams were capable of coming first. Hats off to BlackWater because to get to where they have got to is a big credit to their team.”
The biggest loss was to Team Ceeref, which led going into the final day and following their win going into the final race were still ahead with a two point cushion. Going into the final leg of the last race, the Slovenian team was still winning, but then disaster struck as their spinnaker gracefully divided in two, splitting across its centre from luff to leech. This caused them to drop from third to seventh and to lose the RC44 Cascais Cup by a mere point.
As British tactician Adrian Stead summarized: “We were totally in control at the top mark and totally out of control about 10 seconds later…”
Of their loss, Team Ceeref owner Igor Lah was most succinct: “Shit happens! We were pretty sure it was done. We tried to recover all we could, but it wasn’t enough.”
Despite this, Lah and Team Ceeref managed to win five out of the 11 races this week and even after losing here in more dramatic circumstances to how they lost last year, Lah remains is a great fan of the Portuguese sailing mecca. “I think it is brilliant – one of the best venues there is, a really great location with nice wind and nice people.”
However there is a significant consolation prize for Team Ceeref. Their performance in Cascais has left them two points ahead of Team Aqua at the top of the 2016 RC44 Fleet Racing Championship leaderboard and they take charge of the leader ‘golden wheels’. This will lead to a close finale going into the last event of the RC44 season, in Malta over 23-27 November.
Overall Standings Cascais Cup
1 Artemis Racing 47pts
2 Team Ceeref 48pts
3 Team Nika 49pts
4 Team Aqua 51pts
5 Peninsula Petroleum 52pts
6 Bronenosec Sailing Team 53pts
7 BlackWater Sailing Team 60pts
8 Charisma 68pts
9 Artemis Racing Youth 71pts
GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup
Norauto dominated the final day of competition in Spain to win the GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup. Racing in a light westerly Levante wind, Adam Minoprio’s desire to win the leeward position on the start line put Norauto in front in all three races, and he went on to win two of them.
Minoprio was pleased to have pushed the starts hard and made it work: “If you win the starts you put yourself in a good place to win the race. Today we wanted the pin end of the line which is pretty high risk. It either works if you get it right or it can go badly wrong if you’re late because the other boats will roll you. But we defended that position pretty hard, especially in the last race against Armin Strom”
Where Norauto really dominated was in the strong breeze at the start of the regatta, taking the first seven races and going on to score a total of ten bullets from 15 races.
“We had 15 to 25 knots on the first day and our practice in the boat really paid off,” said Minoprio. “We could sail the boat flatter, more stable with less touchdowns, which all adds up to more speed. But the other teams are getting faster with every event, every race in fact, and the owner-drivers are improving quickly too. The level has really gone up since the start of the season.”
Team Tilt took a while to come good in this regatta, but it was his 21st birthday yesterday that seemed to push Sébastien Schneiter up a gear, as he won two races on Saturday and won another today, steering the Swiss boat comfortably to second overall. Team Tilt had their moments in the stronger breeze at the beginning of the regatta but looked very good in the lighter winds of the last two days.
Schneiter said: “I’m happy with how we are doing manoeuvres, the speed is improving, but starting is my weak point at the moment.” Only recently returned from the Olympics where he represented Switzerland in the 49er with team mate Lucien Cujean, the 21-year-old is bound to get better quickly. “I only had two days on the helm before this event, and the same for Lucien on the mainsheet, so we were not feeling as sharp as we could be. But we’re happy with this result.”
The battle for third was wide open going into the final day’s racing, and any of four boats were well within range of the podium. In the first race, Team Engie put down a strong claim, finishing second behind Norauto but with Realteam just behind in third. In the next race Norauto took an early lead but was overtaken on the first downwind by Team Tilt, and then Armin Strom moved past Minoprio too, Flavio Marazzi claiming a useful second place in his bid for the podium.
In the final race, with Norauto and Team Tilt fast off the line and into their customary positions at the front of the fleet, it was Realteam’s turn to shine, taking third place ahead of the Japanese team Mamma Aiuto!. Engie could only manage sixth place in this heat, but as it turned out it was still sufficient to claim third overall.
Engie skipper Sébastien Rogues said: “It’s great to get on the podium for the first time. Bertrand Dumortier has been coaching us here and helping us in a number of areas, including working on our starts. I come from the offshore scene where you race for many days, so it doesn’t really matter if you start 20 minutes late. Here you can’t afford to be a second late, and we were better at our time and distance in Sotogrande.”
Pierre Casiraghi was disappointed to have finished sixth in Sotogrande after being within striking distance of the podium this morning, but he leads overall in the Owner/Driver standings. His victory in Race 9 shows that Casiraghi can mix it with the best when he can get his timing accurate on the all-important start. But he was tougher on himself, kicking himself for some avoidable mistakes. “If we sail like we did today, we don’t deserve much success,” said Casiraghi. “I need to improve my starting, and cut out the silly errors like the black flag disqualification. It will be a battle to get fourth overall in the season but that’s what we’re aiming for. I need to listen to Seb Col and the guys more, focus more, and maybe it’s possible.”
Interest continues to grow in the GC32 Racing Tour, and Iker Martinez was in Sotogrande earlier this week, checking out the scene. “The GC32 is a great boat and I have good hopes of being on the Tour next year,” said the Olympic gold medallist and Volvo Ocean Race skipper.
It’s just a few weeks to go before the climax of the 2016 season, when nine GC32s will be competing at Marseille One Design from 13 to 16 October. There are many battles yet to be decided, with Argo returning to the competition to fight with Malizia for the owner-driver trophy.
RC44 Cascais Cup
Saturday’s racing at the RC44 Cascais Cup was the hardest yet for race officials and crews alike. First they had to wait out on the water off the Portuguese sailing mecca for a light breeze to build and stabilise long enough for one race to be held. Then, some wise race management saw everyone decamp east, back towards the Marina de Cascais where a new course was laid and a second and final race shoehorned in, in a relatively stable eight knot wind.
With just five points separating the top seven boats at the start of the day, there was inevitable upset on the leaderboard. Ultimately the two top scoring boats displaced Peninsula Petroleum, leader of this regatta for its first two days.
For the third consecutive time, Igor Lah’s Team Ceeref won the first race of the day, but finally broke their unfortunate habit of following this up with a last in the second race, instead coming fifth.
“It is close, but yesterday was closer,” observed Lah. “Today was fine and we didn’t make mistakes like two days ago. Somehow the first race each day is ours! We were expecting a ninth in the second, so we broke that sequence. Maybe we’ll just have one race tomorrow – the first one!”
Team Ceeref tactician Adrian Stead was pleased to have finally gained the lead overall, which has been a long time coming considering they have won four of the eight races held over the last three days.
In the first race of the day Stead observed that there was a reasonable amount of current taking boats over the line early and this also made for a long tack out to the right of the course. During the race they had a prolonged battle with Chris Bake and Team Aqua with their opponent regaining the lead on the second beat only for Team Ceeref to sneak around the outside of Team Aqua, which was slow rounding the top mark for a second time.
“Finishing mid-fleet [in the second race] when it could have been an eighth – it was a not bad day. We achieved our points goal,” said Stead.
Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika scored the same result as Team Ceeref, only in reverse, to end up just one point behind their Slovenian rivals, with Peninsula Petroleum a further two points astern of them, in third.
Going into the final day of the RC44 Cascais Cup, the leaderboard remains supremely close with five points separating the top five and eight points between the top seven. In fact with three more races scheduled and 27 points available, any of the nine teams is still capable of winning
Photo c Jesus Renedo / GC32 Racing Tour
GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup
Sébastien Schneiter celebrated his 21st birthday in the best way possible, the Team Tilt skipper winning two of the three races held at the GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup.
The westerly Levante breeze was expected to blow at about 10 to 11 knots for day three of the regatta, but the long white cloud hanging over the Rock of Gibraltar signified that there might be less. Even with just five or six knots the GC32s were still able to get on the foils as they launched off the start line of the first race.
Realteam took the early lead but skipper Jérôme Clerc couldn’t keep the more experienced crew of Norauto at bay. It was only a matter of seconds before Adam Minoprio foiled past the Swiss crew and into the lead. Even Norauto looked vulnerable however, as Armin Strom took their turn at the front before Minoprio regained the initiative just before the finish, Flavio Marazzi holding on for second ahead of Team Tilt not far behind in third.
Two boats jumped the gun in the next start, Armin Strom and Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco ordered to slow down and take their penalty by the umpires while the fleet sailed past. Trouble was, Malizia failed to slow down in time before the first turning mark and was black flag disqualified, forced to watch from the sidelines as the rest of the fleet sailed on. After a poor start, Schneiter weaved his way through the pack and took the lead before the finish, winning his first race of the regatta.
Norauto had held the early lead but uncharacteristically was unable to keep the other boats at bay, being passed not just by Team Tilt but two other Swiss crews, Realteam and Armin Strom taking 2nd and 3rd respectively.
In the third and final race of the afternoon, Team Tilt pushed the start line hard and was rewarded with an early lead around the first mark of Race 12. These were the kind of conditions where anything could happen, and Team Engie did briefly seize the lead from Team Tilt at the bottom of the course. But not for long. Schneiter went in shore for what looked like better breeze and Norauto was on a charge too. Engie looked slow out on the seaward side of the course. This time it was Minoprio who was breathing down Schneiter’s neck, but the 21-year-old birthday boy kept his nerve and won his second race of the day.
While Norauto’s lead remains fairly secure on 24 points, Team Tilt’s scores of 3,1,1 have given the Swiss a useful advantage over their rivals, with 40 points to Team Engie’s 50 points in third overall. Engie skipper Seb Rogues can’t afford any slip-ups however, as Realteam, Armin Strom and Malizia are all within four points of the podium as they head into the final day in Sotogrande.
The forecast for the final day’s racing is 10 to 11 knots from the west, which promises a thrilling showdown for the GC32s in Sotogrande. Sunday’s racing begins at 1300 hrs CET.
RC44 Cascais Cup
Two days to go of fleet racing at the RC44 Cascais Cup and, incredibly, just four points separate the top seven boats across this nine-strong fleet. Yesterday there were 12 points between first and seventh.
After an hour long postponement ashore, conditions came good with sun, a steady 12-18 knots and a shallow swell rolling in from the Atlantic. Unfortunately the stable conditions didn’t help fleet separation and in the race two, the nine boats arrived at the top mark within five boat lengths. This clearly defying the laws of physics, penalties were landing on boats like confetti.
Igor Lah’s Team Ceeref, which scored two wins and a last yesterday, continued its scoreline of extremes. After winning the first race, the Slovenia team finished last in the second having come off the worst from the top mark elbowing, awarded two penalties.
Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec Sailing Team and Chris Bake’s Team Aqua also received penalties coming into the top mark, Aqua picking up a second on the run when their spinnaker touched Peninsula Petroleum or more accurately smothered their tactician – the umpires able to identify a Vasco Vascotto-shaped indentation in the Team Aqua kite, still gesticulating wildly.
Stand-out boat was Artemis Racing, which posted a 4-1-2 with owner Torbjörn Törnqvist taking over the helm this morning. From being in last place, 15 points off the lead yesterday, the Swedish RC44 is now just four points from first, albeit still sixth.
“What can I say? It really was a good day…” said a beaming Törnqvist. “It was down to a few small things on board and the communication, which worked with lots of feedback. Conditions weren’t that difficult – the wind was very steady, with few wind shifts, so you could work with the speed. During the course of the day I think we learned how to sail the boat a bit quicker.”
While conditions helped compress the scoreboard today, Törnqvist also believed it was down to the sheer competitiveness of the RC44 fleet.
“Anyone can win and it is getting closer and closer – there are just metres difference between boats now.” Törnqvist singled out the Russian team, BlackWater, new to the RC44 circuit this year. “There are so many good boats and the slightest mistake is very costly in this fleet.”
Having elevated themselves from an uncharacteristic last place, Artemis Racing’s Italian tactician Francesco Bruni was looking relieved.
“We made some small adjustments on the boat and today our speed was better, whereas yesterday we were struggling. And today I was starting better and making better strategy. But it is always easier when your boat is faster!”
Like yesterday, the fleet was continually hunting the right side of the course, and a small beneficial shift close to the shore.
Bruni described their race two victory:
“We had a good start and were furthest right on the first beat. We did a good job on the approach to the mark. We had a little incident with Ceeref but luckily there was no collision and there was a penalty on them. Then we stretched from there.”
Often in RC44 races, the leader extends, but in the third and final race, Artemis Racing and Bronenosec Sailing Team remained locked in their own personal fight for the lead from start to finish. “We thought we had them on a couple of occasions, but we couldn’t quite make the jump,” admitted Bruni.
Sadly Bronenosec’s first race win here in Cascais, followed two eighth placed finishes earlier today. Tactician Michele Ivaldi explained:
“In the first race we made a couple of mistakes – we went right, but too early on for it to pay. In the second we had a good start, but we just got forced to the left and we got sandwiched, spat out the back. Then there was a massive pile up at the top mark”
The short break after race two was enough for the Russian team to regroup. For the final race they came out fighting, won the right and just escaped Artemis’ clutches on the final run.
The top three teams overall were among today’s highest scorers. For example, John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum remains overall leader but it could so easily have been so different had the Gibraltar-based team not hooked a lobster pot in the final race. As a result they end the day just a point clear of Team Ceeref and Bronenosec.
With two days to go, the RC44 Cascais Cup is showing a closeness across the fleet never previously see at this stage of an RC44 regatta.
Racing continues at 1200 noon local time. Follow live at www.rc44.com
RC44 – Cascais Cup (after 6 races)
1 Peninsula Petroleum 2 4 1 3 6 9 1pp 26pts
2 Team Ceeref 1 1 9 1 9 6 27pts
3 Bronenosec Sailing Team 4 2 4 8 8 1 27pts
4 Team Nika 8 8 3 2 4 3 28 pts
5 BlackWater Sailing Team 7 3 6 7 2 4 29pts
6 Artemis Racing 9 7 7 4 1 2 30pts
7 Team Aqua 3 5 2 6 7 7 30pts
8 Artemis Racing Youth 6 6 8 5 5 5 35pts
9 Charisma 5 9 5 9 3 8 2pp 41pts
GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup
Lighter winds on day two of the GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup opened the door of opportunity, and the two owner/drivers in the fleet wasted no time in seizing their advantage.
It was an afternoon of soft southerly breeze blowing from the northern tip of Africa a few miles across the Strait of Gibraltar. The 4 to 6 knots of wind made the reaching start more critical than usual, although in the final of the four races held today, the two owner/drivers took very different approaches. One group was fighting hard for the windward end of the start line near the committee boat, and Pierre Casiraghi was locked in a match race with Armin Strom as he steered Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco aggressively every time Flavio Marazzi tried to gain the windward advantage.
Meanwhile Mamma Aiuto! was battling for a good gap at the congested leeward end of the start line, but skipper Naofumi Kamei pulled the trigger at just the right time as he steered the Japanese boat into an early lead around the first turning mark. Kamei held his nerve and led for most of the race but when the Japanese chose the more popular right-hand side of the final windward leg, Casiraghi fancied his chances out to the left, for reasons that one of Malizia’s professional crew explained:
“We thought there was a tide line out on the left,” said America’s Cup veteran Alister Richardson. “It seemed to be pushing us up on that side of the course.” Whatever it was, it pushed Malizia just ahead of Mamma Aiuto! in a close cross before the final turning mark and Casiraghi looked understandably happy to have won his first race of the event in southern Spain.
After a tough day in Thursday’s big breeze that resulted in Manuel Weiller being thrown around the front of the boat during a hard deceleration and injuring his knee, the crew of Mamma Aiuto! were much happier on day two, according to Martin Kirketerp.
“After yesterday we said let’s just have a clean day, keep it simple, stay out of trouble, and we ended up with two second places from today’s races,” said the 2008 49er Olympic Champion. “We could have won that final race, but there’s no use crying about that, we’re pretty happy with how the day has gone.”
Early on, it looked like Norauto was going to prove just as dominant as the French crew had on day one, when Adam Minoprio had taken the winner’s gun in all five races. The French won the first two heats of the day but came unstuck when trying to pull an aggressive pre-start move on Team Engie while jostling for position at the leeward end of the line in race eight. Engie moved forward and nailed the start, taking an early lead while Norauto was banished to the back of the class. Engie skipper Sébastien Rogues high-fived his crew as they crossed the finish line in first place, while Norauto could only manage sixth, unable to find a way through the fleet in the lighter breezes.
While Noruato is no longer invincible, the French team are still the most consistent by far, sitting on 17 points at the halfway stage of the competition. Engie’s race win has lifted the team to second overall, although tied for points with Team Tilt who had a less satisfactory day but are still very much in the hunt. In fact there’s very little to choose between five teams right now, with second-placed Engie on 35 points and sixth-placed Armin Strom just six points back on 41 points.
Even with her two second places today, Mamma Aiuto! is still last by some way after missing a number of races on day one following the man overboard incident on Thursday. But the Japanese crew can sense real progress after a good outing.
“We are working on a list of things that we have to improve and that we are improving bit by bit every time we go sailing,” said Kirketerp. It is still early days for Mamma Aiuto! and early days in the world of high-speed foiling. Minoprio’s two years of training with Luna Rossa for the America’s Cup is part of the reason for Norauto’s dominance, but today the owner/drivers showed that in the lighter conditions they can mix it with the best of the professional racing world.
On Saturday the breeze looks set to be stronger, around 10 to 12 knots from the east, a direction which could produce some waves after two days of flat-water racing. The GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup is promising to be one of the biggest all-round tests of the whole 2016 season. Saturday’s racing begins at 1300 CET.
RC44 Cascais Cup – Fleet Racing
It was a day of mixed fortunes for the top teams as fleet racing got underway on day two at the RC44 Cascais Cup. In light to moderate conditions off the Portuguese sailing mecca, three races were held in an 8-10 knot northwesterly and a long but shallow Atlantic swell.
Igor Lah’s Team Ceeref got off to the strongest of starts, comfortably winning the first two races. “We just wanted to be consistent and to avoid any collisions, so it was pretty simple,” claimed the Slovenian skipper.
Ceeref’s British tactician Adrian Stead expanded on this: “In the first race we wanted the pin and to work to the right – which we got. In the second race we wanted the right hand side of the start to go to the right – and we got that as well. It was the kind of course where if you were confident in your laylines you could make nice gains.”
However in the third, as Lah admitted, they were “too greedy…” Shaving the committee boat, they were a second or two early and were immediately called back to restart. Sadly they were subsequently unable to recover adequate ground and came home ninth. “That was a pity. But we know we can do it – we will not make the same mistake,” concluded Lah.
Stead was generally optimistic: “Our goal today was nine points or less, so we missed that but we are still in the frame. The tempo and how we sailed the boat was good – Igor was driving the boat really well and executed exactly what we wanted. It was unfortunate that one of the starts was early.”
Adhering more closely to their ‘consistency pays’ mantra was John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum. A 2-4, followed by a win in the day’s final race, leaves the Gibraltar-based team leading.
“It was very good, great fun,” Bassadone observed. “The boat seems to be going well. Everyone seems pretty relaxed and the racing, as always, is super-tight. It was a good start, but our focus is on trying to be consistent and conservative, but not too conservative – to try and sail like we know how to sail and see where we end up. Obviously there is a very long way to go.”
Peninsula Petroleum’s Italian tactician Vasco Vascotto admitted that they had struggled to find the right upwind mode in the first race. “Everyone was pushing hard to the right and if you got a nice lane you could sail to your target.” In fact the fleet seemed obsessed with the right, land side of the course, both upwind and downwind in the first two races.
“There were plenty of nice women on the beach!” quipped Vascotto. “We know that usually in Cascais the right is strong, due to the little right banana [shift] at the end. We feel very comfortable here – it is one of those places, like Porto Cervo, where you feel at home. You know where you have to go. The problem is…so does everyone else…”
There was a small blemish on Peninsula Petroleum’s scoreline when she was awarded a one point penalty for a marking rounding collision with Nico Poons’ Charisma. She still ends the day two points ahead of Chris Bake’s Team Aqua and Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec Sailing Team, tied in second, with the day’s star performer, Team Ceeref just a point behind them in fourth.
Also starting to show form today was the new Russian RC44 team, BlackWater, which held second for most of race two, before being overhauled by their mighty compatriots, Bronenosec Sailing Team.
“The second race was good. We started well and we had a very nice, first mark rounding when we were second. Basically it was down to the tactician and the helm and the team in this race didn’t make any mistakes. It feels very good when you see most of the fleet behind you. It is a funny feeling – you are happy and a little bit scared, because everyone’s pursuing you…” explained Andreas Savvidis, one of BlackWater’s trio of young owners, who was breathing a small sigh of relief: Whenever BlackWater wins its first ever RC44 race, his co-owners in BlackWater, Alexander Zaytsev and Maxim Merzlikin, have promised to shave his head.
Fleet racing continues on Saturday at 1200 noon local time. Follow live at www.rc44.com
GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup
Adam Minoprio steered Noruato to five straight victories on a breezy first day.
The warm Poniente westerly breeze was blowing around 14 knots at the start of the afternoon but later picked up to gusting 20 knots, with the fleet putting a reef in their mainsails after two of the five races. It didn’t matter what configuration the GC32s were racing in, however, Norauto was the master of all situations.
Even when Minoprio pulled the trigger slightly too soon at the start of Race 3, the French team completed its penalty efficiently and was already vying for the lead at the bottom of the first downwind leg.
“The other boats rounded the first turning mark a bit wide and we managed a tighter turn which put us on the inside track before the first gybe,” said Minoprio, whose two years of solid training with Luna Rossa, the now disbanded America’s Cup team, has stood him in good stead for mastering the new science of high-speed hydrofoiling.
Team Tilt, with helmsman Sébastien Schneiter recently returned from competing at the Olympic Games in Rio 2016, was looking sharp, coming second in three of the five races. However gear failure led to a retirement from Race 4 which has added expensive points to their score. However the Swiss still hold second place overall on the leaderboard, on equal points with third-placed Team Engie who sailed a great day, completing all races and finishing second in race four.
Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco also sailed a very solid day, coming second in the first race and finishing all races, refusing to allow a problem with their mast track defeat them as they limped across the finish line of one race a long way behind the rest of the fleet.
Realteam got better as the day went on, Jérôme Clerc steering the Swiss boat to third place in the final two heats, and sitting in fifth overall. Flavio Marazzi was less happy with his outing on Armin Strom after the boat succumbed to equipment failure that put him out of the second and third races before getting back on the race course to complete the day. Normally Marazzi and his crew – which includes World Match Racing Champion Phil Robertson – love the big breeze so will be seen as a missed opportunity for the Swiss crew.
For Naofumi Kamei, it’s early days at the helm of his GC32 called Mamma Aiuto!, and the strong winds were a big challenge for the team which is still short on training time. The crew is not inexperienced; it includes two 49er stars, former World Champion Javier de la Plaza and 2008 Olympic Champion Martin Kirketerp, but things happen quickly in the GC32 and there is no margin for error as De la Plaza explained:
“We had just got on to the downwind leg in the second race and the boat was riding too high on the foil. We should have been running it lower so that the boat was riding lower to the water.”
The boat leapt out of the water before crashing back down at great speed, the boat rapidly decelerating from 32 knots to a dead stop. Kamei and crewman Manuel Weiller were thrown up in the air, over the top of the crew and past the front beam before they landed in the water. While Kamei escaped without injury, Weiller was taken ashore and to hospital to have an injury to his knee checked over. No major damage, although it looks unlikely Weiller will be part of the race crew for the next three days of the event.
Looking forward to the weekend the breeze looks lighter in Sotogrande which will come as a relief to some, although probably not Norauto who – at a top speed of 37 knots today – looked majestic and very much in command of the challenging conditions of day one. Friday’s racing begins at 1300 CET.
RC44 Cascais Cup – Match Racing
With a five win-one loss record in the match racing on the RC44 Cascais Cup’s opening day, Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing has pulled up on to the same points as Team Nika, overall leader in the RC44’s match racing championship for 2016.
With joint leaders, the match racing contest that rolls from event to event on the RC44 circuit, could not be closer going into the final event of the season, in Malta in November.
Principal Race Officer, Peter Reggio, set up the match racing course directly south of the Marina de Cascais, rather than heading west towards Cabo Roso and the Atlantic swell for which racing off Cascais is famous. Off downtown Cascais, the breeze started as a 12 knot offshore northerly, but built through the afternoon, shifting significantly throughout each race, often in each leg. Nonetheless seven flights were dispatched in record time, the schedule competed in just three and a half hours.
On Artemis Racing, Sarah Gunderson was sharing helming duties with tactician Francesco Bruni. The one match they dropped was against Igor Lah’s Team Ceeref. This proved their toughest race of the day.
“It was really close and we had a nice tacking duel on the second beat and there were lots of calls and flags, but they were all green,” recounted Bruni. “We were a little disappointed with some of those calls, but we have to accept the umpire decisions and keep racing. So that is what we did and the guys did a fantastic job on the boat and we were really fast all around the course.”
Bronenosec Sailing Team came close to having a similar result to Artemis Racing, but a two point penalty for a start line collision spoiled the day for Vladimir Liubomirov’s team. In its match against Nico Poons’ Charisma, the Russian team was penalised initially after they were successfully hooked by Charisma second before the start. On tacking away Bronenosec’ transom collided with Charisma’s hull and due to the RC44 class’ strict regime on avoiding contact between boats, she was docked two points.
Bronenosec’s most exceptional sailing display came in its first match against Peninsula Petroleum. In this they were leading, but down a penalty (for hitting the weather mark in a gust). Instead of finishing, Bronenosec sailed beyond the line, was able to carry out its turn and returned to finish in front and exhonerated, despite attempts by Peninsula Peninsula Petroleum to prevent this.
Match Racing Championship leader, Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika won four and lost two. “It was not very easy, honestly speaking,” said Prosikhin. “There was some swell and it made the tacks a bit tricky and sometimes we didn’t accelerate fast enough. Otherwise it was fun racing with big shifts.”
Their usual heavyweight bout with Bronenosec was a disappointing one. Team Nika clearly won the start, however they ended up losing the match, as tactician Ed Baird described it: “The boat behind us [Bronenosec] got some magic breeze and sailed up and around us on the windward leg…”
For Igor Lah’s Team Ceeref it was a day of two halves, as British tactician Adrian Stead explained: “In the first two races, we didn’t execute our spinnaker hoists and drops very well. We were trying to gybe set and we didn’t get it right. We had a little stop to think about it.”
They pulled out of their second match against Charisma after the drop line on their A3 spinnaker got into the mother of all tangles and spent the next flight (when they were on a bye) regrouping. “Then we came back with four wins out of four. Igor did a great job especially in the race against Artemis.”
“That was extremely exciting in the pre-start,” agreed Lah of that match in which the two boats spent a prolonged period circling.
If Bronenosec is licking its wounds tonight, a man trying to keep his head down is Viktor Filippov, on Black Water. After a good start in the Russian team’s second match against Team Nika, their unfortunate grinder fell out of the boat…for the second time in two days, believed to be an RC44 record.
RC44 Cascais Cup – Match race results
Wins and losses
Artemis Racing (SWE44) 5-1
Bronenosec Sailing (RUS 18) 5-1 (-2 penalty points)
Team Nika (RUS 10) 4-2
Team Ceeref (SLO 11) 4-2
Team Aqua (GBR 2041) 3-3
Peninsula Petroleum (GBR 1) 3-3
Charisma (MON 69) 2-4
Blackwater Team (RUS 04) 1-5
Artemis Racing Youth (SWE 4) 1-6