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Monday, June 22, 2015

Victory for Team Alvimedica, Overall Glory for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing

Team Alvimedica’s skipper Charlie Enright (USA) won the final offshore battle of the Volvo Ocean Race here today, but the overall glory and trophy belonged firmly with his rival from Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR).
Photo: Carlo Borlenghi / Volvo Ocean Race
The Turkish/American boat led the tightly packed fleet home to crowded docks in the final stopover of Gothenburg, Sweden, to bring to a close 38,739 nautical miles (nm) and nine months of some of the closest racing ever witnessed in the 41-year-old offshore marathon.
Photo: Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race
The Team Alvimedica victory underlined, once more, the incredibly close nature of competition in the first event raced with the strictly one-design Volvo Ocean 65 boats. Only one team, Team Vestas Wind (Chris Nicholson/AUS), have not posted a leg win. They missed five legs due to a boat rebuild.
Photo: Victor Fraile / Volvo Ocean Race
Behind Enright, in fifth place, Walker’s boat, Azzam, slipped almost quietly into port, but the mile-wide grins on all the faces of the crew told their own story: We are the Champions. It seals one of the greatest global sporting triumphs for the Gulf region and makes Walker the first British skipper to win the overall trophy.
Photo: Victor Fraile / Volvo Ocean Race
"I said at the start of the race that I was confident, but there are a hundred ways to lose this race, but only one way to win it. And it just all came together for us perfectly.This is special because we did it as a team," a jubilant Walker told reporters on the dockside.
Photo: Ian Roman / Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
He later told a press conference that the reaction back in Abu Dhabi had been overwhelming, with huge media and public interest. On a personal level, he was still waiting for the scale of his achievement to sink in.
Photo: Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race
“It’s only when I get to share this with friends and family that I’ll really process it,” he said.
Photo: Carlo Borlenghi / Volvo Ocean Race
Leg 9 was the last and, in many ways, the most exciting of all the stages since the fleet set out on October 11 from Alicante, Spain, full of hopes and expectations.
Photo: Carlo Borlenghi / Volvo Ocean Race
Team Alvimedica led the 1,000nm stage, almost from the start last Tuesday in Lorient, France, but their lead was never totally secure, despite entering the halfway stage in The Hague last Friday with a 91-minute lead over Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA).
Photo: Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race
Lighter breezes and a front last night compressed the fleet following their departure from the Dutch port on Saturday. Just under two hours 40 minutes separated the entire fleet and Enright was still savouring his triumph after all had safely crossed the line, following a few scares, when the wind dropped briefly to nothing.
Photo: Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race
“It was very nerve-wracking. But we ended up with a great result for our team and a testament to how far we have come. To end like this is really amazing,” Enright said.
Photo: Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race
The Chinese boat, Dongfeng, was forced to relinquish their hoped-for second place in the leg to Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED), whose finish secured the runner-up spot in the overall standings.
Photo: Carlo Borlenghi / Volvo Ocean Race
Despite not being able to hold off Spanish challengers, MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP), for third position either, Charles Caudrelier’s crew still took the final podium place for third overall - an incredible result with four Chinese rookie sailors in their ranks.
Photo: Victor Fraile / Volvo Ocean Race
Fourth place overall, though, will have to be decided in the final act of the 2014-15 edition, during Saturday's (June 27) Inmarsat In-Port Race Gothenburg, when Team Alvimedica and MAPFRE, tied on 34 points, will duel to break the deadlock.
Photo: Carlo Borlenghi / Volvo Ocean Race
Following in behind the champions, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, sixth-placed Team Vestas Wind had their own cause for celebration in finishing a race that they had looked irrevocably out of, having grounded on a reef in the Indian Ocean on Leg 2 last November.
Photo: Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race
Their sponsors, crew and shore team never gave up hope of returning, however, and the second-placed finish of the blue boat in Leg 8 to Lorient from Lisbon, will remain one of the 12th edition’s most cherished memories.
Photo: Anna-Lena Elled / Team SCA / Volvo Ocean Race
Finally, the all-women’s crew of Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) completed the fleet’s arrivals in Gothenburg. As ever, they were competitive and right on the heels of their male rivals. They had, however, already made their point in what has been the sole preserve of male sailing since 2001-02.
Photo: Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race
Their victory in Lorient in the leg from Lisbon proved that women can be – and are – competitive in the world's toughest offshore sailing event. With the huge following that Sam Davies's team attracted and their legacy of leg-by-leg improvements, we surely will not have to wait another 12 years for another female crew to take their place in a Volvo Ocean Race fleet.
Photo: Carlo Borlenghi / Volvo Ocean Race
Final standings: 1) Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 24 pts, 2) Team Brunel (Netherlands) 29, 3) Dongfeng Race Team (China) 33, 4=) Team Alvimedica (Turkey/USA) 34, MAPFRE (Spain) 34, 6) Team SCA (Sweden) 51, 7) Team Vestas Wind (Denmark) 60.

Volvo Ocean Race Media

Team Aqua Claims Victory in Porto Cervo at Audi RC44 Cup

Chris Bake's Team Aqua, with Jim Richardson steering, has claimed the Audi RC44 Porto Cervo Cup albeit by a mere point after a final day of three races held in near perfect conditions off Sardinia's Costa Smeralda.
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es
The race committee boat departed mid-morning into a mill pond, but after an extra hour's wait ashore, the fleet was invited out to Porto Cervo's famous 'Bomb Alley' and a steady 10 knot northeasterly. Starting the day with a five point lead over second placed Peninsula Petroleum, Team Aqua made a strong statement of intent, convincingly winning the first race.
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es
"I said to the guys that if we just go out and win races, the maths take care of themselves," explained their Kiwi tactician Cameron Appleton. While that was a good first step, unfortunately in the second race Team Aqua got boxed in and as Appleton put it "was very quickly spat out the back."
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es
On the leaderboard this set them back to square one, five points ahead of second. Then in the third race the aim was to cover second place. 
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es
"We kind of blew that a little bit, but we caught back up and there was just a boat between us, but then I did something silly on the run and went the opposite way when I should have followed. So we put ourselves under some pressure," Appleton added.
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es
Ultimately an eighth place to Peninsula Petroleum's fourth in the final race was enough for Team Aqua to win by a point.
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es
American helmsman Jim Richardson was elated. Although a three time Farr 40 World Champion and one of the world's most highly regarded amateur helms, this was his first ever RC44 regatta. 

"It is totally unexpected to me. It is a great crew and they have been on the boat for a long time and they know what they are doing. This is a really tough fleet and the depth is outstanding. It is such a great boat and such a great class. It is so well organised and they go to good places and that is what sailing is all about to me. And I love Porto Cervo, it is the sailing Mecca. We had light winds here this week, but these boats don't need a lot of wind," Richardson said.

One of the strangest aspects of this regatta was how high scoring it was with every team picking up poor results along the way. It remained impressively close with the top two a point apart and with Slovenian Igor Lah's Team CEEREF only two points adrift in third.

The podium finishers were also today's three winners. The most spectacular start came in the second race when Peninsula Petroleum successfully 'port tacked' the fleet, crossing in front of the bows of 11 other fast moving RC44s coming at her with rights. Italian tactician Vasco Vascotto spotted that the pin end was heavily favoured, while the crew executed the manoeuvre to perfection, tacking at maximum speed and crossing the line exactly at the gun.

"The good thing was that it was actually planned as opposed to it just being a fluke. And it was a fantastic race, not that I saw much of it because I was looking forward through all of it," Peninsula Petroleum's owner John Bassadone said.

"It's fantastic to be sailing well again, being up at the top of the leaderboard. This class is even more competitive now than it has been over the past few years," said Bassadone, referring to their disappointing result at the first RC44 Championship regatta of the season in Malta. 

The third win of the day was equally convincing, claimed by past RC44 World Champion Igor Lah's Team CEEREF, sailing with British tactician Adrian Stead. "Coming third is brilliant and winning the race was extremely important for us, for our confidence that we can really do it," said Lah.

Audi RC44 Porto Cervo Cup Results
Pos Boat name (sail no) R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 Pts

1 Team Aqua (GBR 2041) 1 3 6 7 6 2 5 1 7 8 46
2 Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team (GBR 1) 4 7 4 2 2 7 9 7 1 4 47
3 TEAM CEEREF (SLO 11) 2 5 11 3 5 4 8 4 6 1 49
4 Team Nika (RUS 10) 8 1 9 1 7 12 1 5 5 3 52
5 Aleph Racing (FRA 17) 9 6 2 4 12 1 3 2 8 5 52
6 Bronenosec Sailing Team (RUS 18) 6 2 1 10 4 5 12 6 2 7 55
7 Artemis Racing (SWE44) 3 10 3 6 11 3 2 12 10 2 62
8 Charisma (MON 69) 5 4 7 12 3 9 4 3 9 9 65
9 Katusha (RUS 21) 7 8 10 5 1 6 10 11 3 11 72
10 RUS - 7 Anywayanyday (RUS 7) 12 12 12 8 8 11 7 8 4 6 88
11 Artemis Racing Youth (SWE 4) 11 9 8 9 10 8 6 10 11 12 94
12 MAG Racing (POL 44) 10 11 5 11 9 10 11 9 12 10 98

RC44 Media

Sunday, June 21, 2015

What The Sailors Said - Extreme Sailing Series Act 4, Cardiff

Rasmus Køstner, SAP Extreme Sailing Team:
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“We knew from the beginning that The Wave, Muscat would try and make things difficult for us but that is how it is. During the first part of the last race I think we did quite well to stay away from them and sail our own race but in the end we got too close to The Wave, where they could then made things a bit more interesting! We kept fighting and managed to overtake them but didn’t close the gap to Red Bull Sailing Team. It was great racing and hats off to Red Bull Sailing Team for a fantastic performance, they definitely deserve to be on the podium.”

Stevie Morrison, Oman Air 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“The Series is a good challenge. It’s really different with a lot of new skills you need to learn and a completely different mentality. It’s very crash and burn, literally some of the times, and that’s what makes it fun. I think it’s great racing here in front of the crowds and on such a short course. But you have to be very punchy and any little mistakes can prove quite costly.”

Chris Draper, GAC Pindar 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“Red Bull Sailing Team sailed an awesome day. They had a great second half of the regatta whereas we kind of went in the opposite direction. We tried to attack the day too hard yesterday and made some silly mistakes, which went down to lack of preparation and experience in the Series. I’m really pleased with how we’ve done this weekend and I’ve really enjoyed sailing with Seve and the boys. Sofuku has done a great job so we’ve ticked all the boxes we’ve hoped to tick.”

Mitch Booth, Team Turx powered by Kaya Ropes
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“It was a hard day for us and we struggled from the first race in the tough conditions, but the crew were fighting really hard and by the middle of the day we had a little bit of drama. We broke our gooseneck (the swivel connection by which the boom attaches to the mast) and we had to miss a race, but the team performed pretty well under pressure with everything that was thrown at them – changing crew, broken boat. We fought hard and the last two races went OK for us.”

Leigh McMillan, The Wave, Muscat 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“It has been a relentless four days of racing. The wind has been really gusty so it has been pretty nerve-wracking at times with plenty of adrenaline pumping through the team. Cardiff is renowned for these conditions and it really keeps you on your toes the whole time, but it is an enjoyable challenge"

Extreme Sailing Series Media

The Wave, Muscat Win Crowned Extreme Sailing Series Act 4 Winner in Cardiff

It was survival of the fittest on the final day of racing at the Extreme Sailing Series Act 4 in Cardiff that demanded all of the team's strength and skill to avoid collisions and capsizes.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
The teams were battered by a solid 22-knot breeze and gusts of up to 30-knots for the fourth exhausting day of racing. Leigh McMillan with double Olympic gold medallist tactician Sarah Ayton and The Wave, Muscat crew stormed to an impressive win. This result puts the Omani team back in the lead at the half way stage of the eight-Act 2015 Series. Watch the highlights from a spectacular week in Cardiff here.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Topping the leaderboard after 32 gruelling races The Wave, Muscat, took control in the wild conditions, posting five podium finishes on the final day and more podiums over the event than any other team.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
With an eye always on the 2015 Series leaderboard, the final double points race of the day became a tactical game from start to finish, the team using their experience to sail SAPExtreme Sailing Team down the pack.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“It’s a tough situation when you have one eye on the regatta itself and one eye on the Series. SAP Extreme Sailing Team went into this event in the lead in the Series rankings, so we had an opportunity where we could squeeze them back behind Red Bull Sailing Team in the last race, so that’s what we did. It never feels good doing that but that’s what you have to do to take advantage of the situation when you can,” McMillan explained.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
The bold move from the experienced crew on The Wave, Muscat not only cost SAP Extreme Sailing Team second place in Cardiff but it also stripped them of their lead in the overall Series standings.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
The battle for second place was intense between the Austrian Red Bull Sailing Team and the Danish SAP Extreme Sailing Team, who went into the final race tied on points; a simple case of who wins, wins.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Red Bull Sailing Team were on fire all day and barely put a foot wrong – an impressive four race wins and third in the final race of the day earning the Austrians a well deserved second place. With regular skipper Roman Hagara coaching the team from the support RIB throughout the week due to a shoulder injury.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Helm Jason Waterhouse and skipper Hans Peter Steinacher clearly relished the conditions that were, at times, on the edge of control. The team even managed to pull back from the brink of a near capsize, to claim an incredible race win. Watch the video sequence here.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“Everyone tried to stop us but on days like this we were unstoppable. This is one of the best days we’ve ever had in the Extreme Sailing Series. We started the day great with a lot of wind, we were so focused and the boys had a lot of energy. They’re just working so hard, and in conditions like this with strong winds, they’re not scared.” Hans Peter Steinacher said.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Awarded the Land Rover Above and Beyond Award for teamwork and performance under pressure this week, and for securing their best Act result so far this year, GAC Pindar co-skippered by Chris Draper and Seve Jarvin just missed out on the podium despite consistently putting the pressure on the top teams finishing the Act on 232 points in fourth followed by Gazprom team Russia skippered by Igor Lisovenko.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Physically tough, the conditions took their toll on the boats as well as the crews over the four days. Oman Air finished the regatta in sixth after winning the final double points race of the Act with a convincing lead but were unable to recover from missing four races after their winch pulled clean off the deck in yesterday’s racing. Lino Sonego Team Italia and Team Turx powered by Kaya Ropes also suffered problems on deck and despite both posting podium positions over the weekend, neither couldn’t find the consistency to compete with the more experienced crews.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
At the halfway mark of the Series just three points separate the top three boats, with The Wave, Muscat now leading the charge one point ahead of second place SAP Extreme Sailing Team with Red Bull Sailing Team in third. Next stop is a brand new venue on the global tour, as the fleet head to Hamburg, Germany for Act 5 presented by Land Rover and launch into the second half of the season, 23-26 July
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Extreme Sailing Series Act 4, Cardiff presented by Land Rover standings after Day 4, 32 races
(21.06.15)
Position / Team / Points

1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 268 points.
2nd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Hans Peter Steinacher, Jason Waterhouse, Jeremy Bachelin, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 250 points.
3rd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Mads Emil Stephensen, Brad Farrand 245 points.
4th GAC Pindar (GBR) Chris Draper, Seve Jarvin, Tyson Lamond, James Wierzbowski, Kazuhiko Sofuku 232 points.
5th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Garth Ellingham, Alexander Bozhko, Aleksey Kulakov 213 points.
6th Oman Air (OMA) Stevie Morrison, Nic Asher, Ted Hackney, Ed Powys, Ali Al Balashi 193 points.
7th Team Turx powered by Kaya Ropes (TUR) Mitch Booth, Can Bayulken, Selim Kakış, Diogo Cayolla, Pedro Andrade 173 points.
8th Lino Sonego Team Italia (ITA) Lorenzo Bressani, Enrico Zennaro, Andrea Tesei, Tom Buggy, Stefano Ciampalini 144 points.

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2015 overall standings
Position / Team / Points

1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 37 points.
2nd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 36 points.
3rd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 34 points.
4th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 24 points.
5th Oman Air (OMA) 23 points.
6th GAC Pindar (AUS) 21 points.
7th Team Turx (TUR) 19 points.
8th Lino Songeo Team Italia (ITA) 14 points.

Extreme Sailing Series Media

Fast And Furious Action For Extreme Sailing Series - Act 4, Cardiff - Day 3

Another relentless day at the Extreme Sailing SeriesAct 4, Cardiff saw the Extreme 40 fleet complete eight fast paced races on a course that varied from 10-23 knots over the short 550 metre track. With no runaway leader of the day, there was a real mixed bag of results as the teams struggled with the gusty conditions, starting penalties and gear failure.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
In a change from yesterday's winning form, current Act leaders The Wave, Muscat had an unusually low scoring day. Their string of race wins from yesterday were replaced with a string of fourth place finishes adding a conservative (by their standard) 57 points to their total.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Still it was a respectable result on a day where most teams struggled. Having won in Cardiff for the past two years, McMillan and his experienced crew, including Double Olympic gold medallist Sarah Ayton, go into the final day with a 15-point cushion.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
Chasing hard in second place, SAP Extreme Sailing Team on 195 points could easily bridge the gap tomorrow, but they will need to minimise mistakes. Today the team suffered from a series of start line penalties which cost them,
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“It was a pretty full on day today with a lot of intense racing and good conditions. It is incredible that it is the third day in a row with 20 knots and a lot of action on the racecourse. We stepped it up, the starts weren’t perfect but we still managed to catch some points on The Wave, Muscat. We got a couple of OCS’ (false starts) and got into trouble but we managed to gain the positions back, so it looks like we are in striking distance for tomorrow,” said SAP Extreme Sailing Team co-skipper Rasmus Køstner.
Photo: © Lloyd Images
The real battle of the leaderboard today was for third place between GAC Pindar and Red Bull Sailing Team. After an excellent days racing yesterday, British syndicate GAC Pindar, co-skippered by Seve Jarvin and Chris Draper, struggled with consistency and penalties today. They posted results that yo-yoed from first to sixth place, which ultimately left them in fourth place at the close of play. 
Photo: © Lloyd Images
“I was silly and I didn’t really do the lads proud today, I got us into trouble quite a few times but it could have easily escalated and turned into an absolute shocker of a day – we kind of salvaged it with a few race wins,” explained Draper on the dock.

Red Bull Sailing Team were the team of the day, with an impressive three race wins on the tricky, gusty course. These results move them up to third overall on 183 points going in to the final day's racing, with GAC Pindar seven points behind in forth. 

“The whole course is quite tricky, coming into the finish you head into a lull and the other teams would come flying in with the pressure doing everything they could to get ahead, whilst all you are trying to do is defend your position. But that is just how it is in short course racing, we love it,” said Red Bull Sailing Team Skipper, Hans Peter Steinacher.

In the chasing pack several teams suffered gear failure as the boats and crews were put under pressure, dealing with the gusty conditions. Gazprom Team Russia finished the day with 163 points in fifth place despite a broken winch. Worst hit were Oman Air, who after four good races had to call it a day when their starboard mainsheet winch pulled clean off the deck, leaving the boys to limp ashore for overnight repairs ready for tomorrow's showdown.

Going into the final day of racing just 27 point separates the top three boats and with similar conditions to today forecast and up to eight races expected, Act 4 is still very much up for grabs.

Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 4, Cardiff presented by Land Rover standings after Day 3, 25 races
(20.06.15) Position / Team / Points

1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 210 points.
2nd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Mads Emil Stephensen, Brad Farrand 195 points.
3rd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Hans Peter Steinacher, Jason Waterhouse, Jeremy Bachelin, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson 183 points.
4th GAC Pindar (GBR) Chris Draper, Seve Jarvin, Tyson Lamond, James Wierzbowski, Kazuhiko Sofuku 176 points.
5th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Garth Ellingham, Alexander Bozhko, Aleksey Kulakov 163 points.
6th Oman Air (OMA) Stevie Morrison, Bernardo Freitas, Ted Hackney, Ed Powys, Ali Al Balashi 137 points.
7th Team Turx powered by Kaya Ropes (TUR) Mitch Booth, Can Bayulken, Selim Kakış, Diogo Cayolla, Pedro Andrade 137 points.
8th Lino Sonego Team Italia (ITA) Lorenzo Bressani, Enrico Zennaro, Andrea Tesei, Tom Buggy, Stefano Ciampalini 113 points.

Extreme Sailing Series Media

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Team Aqua Charge Into The Lead at Audi RC44 Porto Cervo Cup

Conditions off Sardinia's Costa Smeralda were the most consistent yet at the Audi RC44 Porto Cervo Cup. The 7-10 knot north-northeasterly allowed the race committee to hold four races compensating for windless Thursday's loss to the schedule.
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es
Despite the best conditions yet, the day was a high scoring one with consistency noticeably absent from the performance of even several experienced teams.
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es
Hugues Lepic's Aleph Racing was last in today's second race where he copped a penalty and had to carry out a penalty turn for preventing Artemis Racing from crossing the finish line, but went on to win the next race.
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es
Yesterday's star performer, Vladimir Liubomirov's Bronenosec Sailing Team, had a disappointing day posting a 10th and 12th, causing this morning's overall leader to plummet to seventh overall. But the biggest 'hero to zero to hero' was Team Nika which won the first race, came last in the third and won the fourth.
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es
The last place in today's third race occurred because, as they attempted to roll Peninsula Petroleum while rounding the top mark, they failed to keep clear causing John Bassadone's RC44 to touch their genniker. As a result Team Nika was penalised and had to carry out a penalty turn which cost them five places saw them end the day sixth overall.
Team Nika Photo: © MartinezStudio.es
"I have mixed feelings. Ups and downs. If I hadn't touched Peninsula I would be second, so that is quite painful," said Team Nika owner Vladimir Prosikhin, after he and his crew had finishing mutually dowsing each other in champagne. 
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es
"I think we'll definitely get a prize for being most inconsistent," said Team Nika's tactician, America's Cup skipper Dean Barker.

The fourth win today went to Katusha, on which new co-owner Alexander Novoselov is racing his first RC44 regatta. 

"It was a great day and for me it was a complete surprise. I put 99% of the victory down to the team, who are nice and professional. I was proud of us. It is very exciting, not easy, but really enjoyable," admitted the Geneva-based Russian, who has previously raced Melges 20s. 

"I'm so proud of him.This is his first RC44 regatta and normally we might be fourth or fifth up the first beat and then lose places, but instead we were fighting and going forwards. It was a great, great day and it's good to be back," said Katusha's American tactician Andy Horton of Novoselov.

The race they won came from sailing to the generally slightly windier left side of the course and then finding themselves able to cross once they tacked. 

Back at the top of the leaderboard are the familiar teams from 2014 – Team Aqua and Peninsula Petroleum, both of whom scored 20 points today, as did third placed Aleph Racing. Team Aqua holds a five point overall lead.

"Today was good and bad, but generally a step in the right direction to where we think we should be sailing. It was very tricky and tough, and quite shifty and in the last race we changed to the no2 headsail and the wind dropped and we didn't change back. But we are very happy, although there are six boats within five points of each other which shows the high standard," said Peninsula Petroleum owner John Bassadone, whose team posted a 2-2-7-9 today. 

The day had its share of drama. In today's first race, Nico Poons' Charisma managed to hook the starboard leeward gate mark. "We were a boat width off it and all of a sudden the mark sucked in towards us - a huge loop in the anchor warp had got caught around our bulb. We couldn't get it off by backing down and it damaged the trim tab, so we eventually had to cut the loop to get away."

Tomorrow is the final day of fleet racing at the Audi RC44 Porto Cervo Cup and, astonishingly, any of the top nine boats is still in with a chance of winning.

Audi RC44 Porto Cervo Cup Results
Pos Boat (Sail no) R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 Tot

1 Team Aqua (GBR 2041) 1 3 6 7 6 2 5 30
2 Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team (GBR 1) 4 7 4 2 2 7 9 35
3 Aleph Racing (FRA 17) 9 6 2 4 12 1 3 37
4 Artemis Racing (SWE44) 3 10 3 6 11 3 2 38
5 TEAM CEEREF (SLO 11) 2 5 11 3 5 4 8 38
6 Team Nika (RUS 10) 8 1 9 1 7 12 1 39
7 Bronenosec Sailing Team (RUS 18) 6 2 1 10 4 5 12 40
8 Charisma (MON 69) 5 4 7 12 3 9 4 44
9 Katusha (RUS 21) 7 8 10 5 1 6 10 47
10 Artemis Racing Youth (SWE 4) 11 9 8 9 10 8 6 61
11 MAG Racing (POL 44) 10 11 5 11 9 10 11 67
12 RUS - 7 Anywayanyday (RUS 7) 12 12 12 8 8 11 7 70

RC44 Media