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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy Days As RC44 Fleet Indulge in Match Racing - RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup - Day 1

Virgin Gorda served up perfect match race conditions for the first day of the 2014 RC44 Championship Tour.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class/RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup
A steady 11-14 knot easterly breeze and flat water allowed the race committee to complete all nine flights inside the confines of Virgin Gorda’s beautiful North Sound. Penalties flew left right and centre as to did a few collisions, making it an exciting day for the sailors and the race committee.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class/RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup
Defending match race champions Team Aqua, with tactician Cameron Appleton on the helm, made sure they stayed at the top of the leaderboard, losing just one of their eight matches to Synergy Russian Sailing Team, with Ed Baird driving.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class/RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup
Swedish team Artemis Racing, with owner Torbjorn Tornqvist at the wheel and triple Olympic medallist Iain Percy calling the shots, lost their first race to Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge; with Russian Olympic match racer Ekaterina Skudina at helm for the day, but quickly found their form winning the next four races.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class/RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup
Flight seven saw the top two performing teams, Aqua and Artemis, meet. As the pair approached the leeward gate Team Aqua luffed, Artemis didn’t stay clear and found themselves a penalty down, Aqua went on to take the win.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class/RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup
In the penultimate match of the day, a collision with the Lunajets Aleph Racing saw Tornqvist’s Swedish team black flagged; handing victory to Aleph Racing, who limped back into port for overnight repairs, Artemis finished the day on four wins and four losses. Not able to compete in the final race of the day the French Aleph team still managed to finish fourth overall with five wins and three losses.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class/RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup
Artemis Racing’s tactician Iain Percy explains the moment of the crash “We tried to go inside (of Aleph at the top mark) but didn’t have the space to do the turn. It’s hard with these keelboats, once you’re going in a certain direction, you’re committed. Everyone knew the crash was coming about five second before it happened but there’s not a lot you can do.” Percy added “Were going to help the Aleph team get out there tomorrow, they have been gracious in understanding that it is one of those racing incidents that adds spice to the sport.”

Synergy Russian Sailing Team and Katusha with Andy Horton at the helm, both won five and lost three, leaving them second and third respectively on the leaderboard after the first of five match racing days throughout the RC44 season.

This was Andrea Pozzi's, owner driver of Bombarda Racing, first foray into match racing having only started competitive sailing two years ago in the Melges 32 fleet. The Italian team finished the day with just one win from eight races, but Pozzi enjoyed the experience. “Today was very difficult, for me there are lots of professionals to compete against and this is my first time match racing. It is a new style of driving and very different to what I’m used to with fleet racing but we won a match so I am happy with the day. “

The RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup continues through to 18th February, with four days of fleet racing where only the amateur owner helms can take the wheel. Follow the racing via the live blog onwww.rc44.comwww.rc44.com

RC44 Media

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