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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Vasco Leads Peninsula Petroleum To RC44 Victory in Cascais - RC44 Cascais Cup

Racing on the final day of the RC44 Cascais Cup proved an emotional rollercoaster ride for everyone at different times over the course of three races.  Conditions reverted to idyllic with the sun out, clear skies and a northerly wind that started at 12 knots and built to 18 knots.
Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
Having relieved Peninsula Petroleum of the lead yesterday, Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika started the day with a slender two point advantage, the two boats having edged ahead of third and fourth. This was all to change during the first race, when both boats scored unusually poor results, leaving Nika ahead, but with three boats poised, just three points behind her.
Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
In the second race, Team Nika fought back to take the win, with Peninsula Petroleum scoring a second. Now there was just four points separating the two leaders. Then the situation turned on its head. In the final race Nika had a poor start and from there never recovered, finishing 11th. Peninsula Petroleum came home second, enough for John Bassadone’s Gibraltar-based team to win the RC44 Cascais Cup by three points, while Team Nika dropped back to third.
Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
John Bassadone was elated at Peninsula Petroleum’s last minute victory, particularly after his team had led the regatta for the first two days of fleet racing. While Peninsula Petroleum won the RC44 World Championship in 2012, this was the team’s first circuit victory.
Winners Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
“Having missed out in Virgin Gorda on the last day with that crash, it was great to come back with another solid performance to show that wasn’t a fluke. I feel sorry for the Nika team - they sailed great all week. I know how it feels to be one race away, but I am really proud of my guys and the way they sailed. Having a bad result in today’s first race and coming back with two seconds shows good character and composure,” Bassadone explained
Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
“We are very very happy and proud about what we’ve done during these last years. We’ve improved as a crew, our speed, everything in all the details and now we are in good shape. We know that if we do our job properly, we can have a good result,” tactician Vasco Vascotto said.
Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
“When we were in front we sailed a little too conservatively and that was a mistake. This also happened to Nika in the last race and was why they lost. They had a good amount of points and in this class you have to keep pushing hard in every single race,” he added.

Team Nika’s Vladimir Prosikhin felt disappointment having fallen at the final hurdle, but said third was still the highest place his team had ever achieved in the RC44.

“It was a bad start. We miscalculated and somehow I was carried away a bit - probably over excited. We tacked on to port and one boat tacked on us and it was very difficult to escape. We got jumped, everything went wrong and we couldn’t recover. To lose one race was okay today. Two was too much,” Prosikhin said about what happened in the final race.

No podium in the RC44 seems to be complete without Team Aqua and sure enough, after a slow start in Cascais, Chris Bake’s four-time Championship winning team finished the regatta second.

“It’s been a really tough week. There are a lot of boats doing really well out there. We made a lot of basic positioning mistakes early on so today we had a pretty firm view on where we needed to be and how we were going to get there. We stuck with that and that shows in the results. Today was probably the first day where we felt we had got some good channels and were going well upwind, but still fighting a lot downwind,” Bake said.

Aside from Team Nika in the second race, today’s other race winners were Andrea Pozzi’s Bombarda in race one while Valentin Zavadnikov and Leonid Lebedev‘s Synergy claimed race three.

Also remarkable was the performance of Nico Poons’ Charisma in its first ever RC44 regatta. With London 2012 Laser gold medallist and Oracle Team USA strategist Tom Slingsby calling tactics, the Dutch businessman’s team ended the regatta in fourth place, ahead of much more experienced RC44 teams after scoring a 3-11-7 today.

Next up for the RC44 class is the RC44 Sotogrande Cup, in the south of Spain, over 25-29th June.

Full full results see>>>

RC44 Media

Day 3 Fleet Racing Highlights - RC44 Cascais Cup 2014 (+playlist)

Day 3 Fleet Racing Highlights - RC44 Cascais Cup 2014 (+playlist)

Gold and Bronze for Australian Sailing Team at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères

The Australian Sailing Team raced to two Olympic class gold medals in the 470M and Laser at ISAF Sailing World Cup in Hyeres, France. Laser sailor Tom Burton repeated his gold medal win from ISAF Sailing World Cup in Palma while Mat Belcher and Will Ryan returned to their winning ways.
Will Ryan and Mat Belcher Photo: ISAF
The Australian medal count was lifted to a total of five by bronze medals wins in the Nacra 17 by Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis as well as in the 49er fleet by Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, adding to the Paralympic Sonar Bronze won yesterday.
Tom Burton Photo: ISAF
More than 1,100 sailors from 59 nations raced at the final ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta of the 2013-2014 series and were treated to exceptional race action. Medals across the Olympic events were decided on the final day with a 10-12 knot westerly breeze on flat water bringing a superb week to an end.
Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis (far right) Photo: ISAF 

Cora Zillich

Team Nika With Hutch Snatch The Lead - RC44 Cascais Cup - Day 4

Newcomers are causing a mix-up in the fleet, including a change of leader going into the final day of racing at the RC44 Cascais Cup.
Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
Conditions took on a decidedly different flavour for day three of fleet racing with the sunshine giving way to a more Atlantic-like overcast sky and intermittent rain, as a warm front passed over the west coast of Portugal. This made it a particularly hard day for the tacticians, while the owner drivers once again found themselves wrestling their boats downwind in the large swell.
Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
For the second day running it was Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika that shone, her 6-2-1 scoreline the most consistently good across the 12 boat fleet.With a smile, Prosikhin paid tribute to his crew’s new American tactician, Farr 40 and TP52 World Champion Terry Hutchinson.
Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
“I am really happy. It is nice to have our team brought together and to be very very solid, unlike before. The reason for this is obvious: we have a General on board! It is like a battleship, there is no democracy, there are no talks! But everyone is still willing to do his best, just at the top of what he can deliver. It is very nice to see guys happy and so active. And our boat speed was very good today,” Prosikhin said.
Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
If the crew hang on to its present position Team Nika is in line to score its first ever victory at an RC44 regatta tomorrow. However Peninsula Petroleum lies just two points astern and at least two more boats remain in contention, including well known comeback kids, Team Aqua. Chris Bake’s crew has been sailing solidly, if not exceptionally, all week and currently lies fourth, a very redeemable 10 points off the lead.
Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
After an exemplary first two days, John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum came out of the blocks well winning the first race, partly thanks to a lucky shift coming into the weather mark for the first time. With this they extended their overall lead to eight points. Unfortunately with a ninth place in race two, this evaporated. Bassadone admitted they had thrown it away. “Our first run wasn’t great, but the second one was where we went from third to 10th. None of us were happy, but that is what happens if you take your foot off the pedal for one second in this class.”
Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
Peninsula Petroleum redeemed itself partially with a fourth in the final race. “That puts us in a decent position for tomorrow - we are pretty happy with that,” concluded Bassadone. “Nika sailed better than us and is well overdue a good result, because they are a very good team and, with Terry [Hutchinson] on board, they seem to be sailing very, very well.”

Today’s other big climber was RC44 first timer Nico Poons and his Charisma crew. Starting the day in sixth place, 10 points off the lead, the team posted a 7-1-3 to elevate itself to third, nine points off first.

Poons admitted surprise at how well his team is doing on its RC44 debut “...especially with a rental boat. Obviously it is a good boat, otherwise we wouldn’t perform that well.” Around half his crew has emigrated from the Charisma Farr 40, but there are some new additions, in particular his Australian tactician, London 2012 Laser gold medallist and Oracle Team USA strategist Tom Slingsby. As Poons wryly described their relationship: “With results like that – you can’t dislike him!”

Slingsby explained why conditions off Cascais were so tricky today. “There were storm fronts coming through and rain clouds and big shifts, but we managed to get through them pretty well.”

In race two, which Charisma won, they had been over early but Slingsby said they had seen a big rain cloud coming over. They tacking onto port and went furthest right, nosing out ahead at the weather mark. “We got the perfect layline from a mile away and no one tacked on us the whole way in – a bit of luck never hurts.”

Slingsby had expected a mid-fleet result here in Cascais and is pleased with Charisma’s performance. “Every day we are getting better. Scoring 10 points a day is going to put you up there in any fleet in the world. We have lucked out a few times but we’ve sailed well in certain parts and we are in the hunt.”

The final day of fleet racing is scheduled to start tomorrow at 11.30 local time (10.30 UTC).

For full results see>>>

RC44 Media

Friday, April 25, 2014

Team Nika Climbs Up The Podium at RC44 Cascais Cup - Day 3

If day one of fleet racing at the RC44 Cascais Cup belonged to John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum, on day two it was the turn of Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika.
Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
In breeze that was considerably lighter than yesterday, another three races were held on the Atlantic waters off Lisbon, with Nika putting in a 5-3-1. This was enough to elevate them from fifth to second place, now just three points behind overall leader, Peninsula Petroleum.
Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
“With our results 5-3-1 the order matters, as we’re climbing up, so I’m happy,” beamed Prosikhin.”We had no presents from the weather, like nice wind shifts. It was hard work all the time, but we made no big mistakes. We made some bad tacks in the last race but we won that. We were doing well today.”
Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
Prosikhin said that the difference today compared to yesterday was that conditions had dropped, but even so you had to change mode during the day - including boat set-up and helming style - as the wind increased from 8 knots to 14-15 for the last race.
Katusha Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
Nika is currently in her highest position ever at an RC44 fleet racing regatta, the difference apparently being the effect the team’s new American tactician Terry Hutchinson. According to Prosikhin, Hutchinson has a unique style: “I consider Italian tactics on board to be emotional while Anglo-Saxon tactics are rational. With Terry we get both. But I like it this way. I always get something sweet from it, even when I make mistakes. He is tough, but encouraging.”
John Bassadone Peninsula Petroleum Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
Hutchinson felt that Team Nika had shown good boat speed today and he, Prosikhin and the team had made two and a half good starts, despite running into MAG Racing’s transom in the first race and a hole in their spinnaker on the final run of race two, causing the kite to explode 50 metres shy of the finish line.
Bombarda Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
A new American tactician to the fleet also featured in today’s first race win, when Andrea Pozzi’s Bombarda prevailed, featuring Oracle Team USA’s John Kostecki.

“We made a good start, which was very fast and John sent us to the right and it was good. Every race we were very fast and we were in a good position,” summarised Pozzi, whose team is only sailing its second ever RC44 regatta, but now lies fifth. 

Originally a motor racing driver, Pozzi previously competed in the Melges 32 class but graduated up to the RC44, which he says is the top racing boat class, short of the America’s Cup.

Another team having a strong day was Bronenosec, which after a disappointing performance yesterday, posted a 3-1-9 today, the second strongest across the fleet, elevating them from last position to ninth.

Bronenosec is skippered by Commodore of the St Petersburg Yacht Club Vladimir Liubomirov and has Italian America’s Cup veteran Michele Ivaldi as tactician

“We had a good day, especially compared to yesterday,” said Liubomirov. “We improved a lot and I am really happy: Conditions were not as difficult as yesterday and yesterday we learned our lessons.”

Also on the ascent is Artemis Racing, skippered by Torbjörn Törnqvist, which scored a 6-2-3 today, a vast improvement over the Swedish team’s scoreline on Thursday.

“We were going pretty well which helped a lot – it makes my job easy when we are going fast,” commented tactician on board, Iain Percy, the British double Olympic gold medallist who now runs Törnqvist’s Swedish America’s Cup challenge. “We were over on the first start, but we had good speed in slightly easier conditions and the boat was well set up and we were the same speed, if not better, than most.”

Percy has been racing the RC44s for the best part of a year. “It is a fun boat and it’s really good here. The standard is now up another jump as a lot of people have come from the Cup, but it's happening at the pace of the owners as well. It is fun racing, the boat is tweaky and you have got to be quick. It is proper sail boat racing.”

Day three of fleet racing continues tomorrow with the first warning signal scheduled for 11.30.

See full results here>>>

RC44 Media

Day 1 Fleet Racing Highlights - RC44 Cascais Cup (+playlist)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Vasco And Peninsula Petroleum Shine in Cascais - RC44 Cascais Cup - Day 2

A stiff breeze blowing along the coast, combined with an impressively large Atlantic swell made the opening day of fleet racing at the RC44 Cascais Cup a very tricky one, particularly for helmsmen.
Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
In the three races sailed, consistency was difficult and of the 12 teams competing, John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum was the only team to manage it. With a 3-3-1, the Gibraltar-based crew is now the runaway fleet racing leader, seven points clear of Chris Bake’s Aqua and Valentin Zavadnikov and Leonid Lebedev’s Synergy.
Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
“It was a good day - we were proud about what we did. We sailed the boat with good power, good karma, good everything. The crew is happy and when that happens everything is a lot easier. Plus John is getting better and better, which makes my job easier,” Peninsula Petroleum’s tactician Vasco Vascotto said
Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
Vascotto in the third and final race of the day when they got off to a terrible start but found a nice lane once after they tacked. From their horrible start, they picked off the entire fleet until they were second to Aleph Racing coming into the finish line, where they surfed by to take the win.
Aleph Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
Aleph Racing had a tough day. Finishing seventh in the first race, the French crew was then forced to retire from the second race with a broken jib cunningham and then led the third until they were pipped by Peninsula.
Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
“We managed to tack very early after the start because there was a cloud coming and I was expecting a wind shift to the right which happened. We got a good lead from the shift and managed to stay ahead until the very end. It was really frustrating to lose by half a boat length, but it was a good race.” Aleph’s tactician Mathieu Richard said.
Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
After a collision yesterday saw costly points deducted from its match racing score, Chris Bake’s Team Aqua recovered strongly today winning the first race.
Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
“We had a fantastic start and the fleet had the right side backed to pay and we were in smoother water, with a nice breeze line and were one of the most left boats. It was very much a helmsman’s day with the guys who could steer the best rose to the top because of the cross sea and the boats getting corkscrewed around. Downwind it was all about your timing on how much how you had the boat loaded, when you chased a wave and when you didn’t. We are happy to have survived day one,” Team Aqua’s Cameron Appleton said.
Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
After their strong start, Aqua was subsequently nailed in the second race when they were pinned out on the final run, causing them to finish in a disappointing ninth. 
Team Nika Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
Winner of race two today was Vladimir Prosikhin’s Nika, sailing with his team’s new tactician, American Terry Hutchinson. 
Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
“It is fun. A very high level indeed. I am learning a lot of things. All of our starts were good, we had good boat speed and Terry read the wind shifts excellently.” said Prosikhin
Photo: © Martinez Studio.es / RC44 Cascais Cup
In the race they won, Hutchinson said he felt they had started well mid-line but had played the shifts well up the first beat. In reality, Nika’s lead at the top mark was enormous, by far the biggest of any in today’s three races. In his first fleet racing with the team, Hutchinson said he was pleased with their fifth place overall after day one.

“It was hard. It doesn’t feel as good as that, but that shows there is room for improvement. If you had said to me this morning we would finish fifth, I would have taken it. Vladimir and the guys did good work in that middle race. In fairness, the first race we got a ‘well sailed’ eighth, the second race we won, and a ninth in race three, I was mad with myself over. We could easily have been sixth but we messed it up on the second beat.”

Day two of fleet racing resumes tomorrow at 11.30 local time.

For full results see>>>

RC44 Media

Match Racing Video Highlights - RC44 Cascais Cup 2014

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Synergy Fast Out Of The Blocks - RC44 Cascais Cup - Day 1

The RC44 Cascais Cup fleet were treated to sunshine and a gusty Atlantic breeze that built to 20 knots as the day progressed for the first day of the five day regatta.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es / RC44 Cascais
Today the RC44’s competed in seven flights of match racing championship that saw Synergy, with three time Match Racing World Champion and 32nd America’s Cup winning helmsman Ed Baird in charge lead the crew to win all six of their matches.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es / RC44 Cascais
“The boys did such a great job in terms of getting the boat around the race track - things fell into place really nicely. It gives the guys a different look. It is so much fun to match race these boats and it is a nice, fair, strong fleet that works really hard at it,” Baird said.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es / RC44 Cascais
One of the hardest fought of today’s races for Baird was against the Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge, when he ended up pushing them so they were within a hair’s breadth of colliding with the Race Committee boat in the pre-start. “It was quite similar in all of our starts, but we were able to extend forward on whoever the competitor was,” Baird added.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es / RC44 Cascais
It was an unfortunate day for Team Aqua, despite only having dropped one of their six matches to Aleph Racing. With owner Chris Bake away today, as usual the helm passed to RC44 veteran Cameron Appleton.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es / RC44 Cascais
“On the water they sailed better than us, but in the pre-start we managed to hit them, which is not ideal. We came in and had a nice opportunity to get a hook on them. One boat was going up a wave and the other going down a wave and the next thing was that the boats came together and there was nothing you could do about it –we landed on their back quarter, which is a terrible mistake on my part,” Appleton said.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es / RC44 Cascais
In the collision, Team Aqua’s bow hit Aleph at the waterline and tonight Aqua’s shore crew will be busy effecting repair work.

“Apart from that it was a great day,” Appleton continued. “The team sailed well and it was challenging out there. We came ashore happy apart from the one incident.”

One of the surprises today came from Katusha, with newcomer Vladimir Sokolov at the helm. Having only sailed for the first time in his life at the RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup ten weeks ago, Sokolov with today only his 20th day sailing.

“We decided that it was best if he went and had his first ever match race today. I helped him in tough situations and he still won three races out of five. So he is on fire and is fully excited about it,” Katusha tactician Andy Horton said.

Katusha’s toughest race today was against Italian Andrea Pozzi’s team on Bombarda, when Katusha picked up a penalty in the pre-start but had enough of a lead to complete their turn on the finish line to score the win.

“Vladimir even beat a Match Racing World Champion - Mathieu Richard. And the coolest thing is that Vladimir doesn’t even know who he is,” added Horton.

Like Team Aqua, Aleph Racing lost one race today. “It was a very good day,” admitted Mathieu Richard, who steered for the starts before handing over to Pierre Eric Detroyat, brother-in-law of the owner. “We sailed very smoothly, so it was a very good feeling on board.”

Fleet racing at the RC44 Cascais Cup, kicks off tomorrow at 11.30 local time, and the forecast is for even stronger conditions than today.

RC44 Media

Rolex Capri Sailing Week Is Only Weeks Away

A captivating island located in the Gulf of Naples, Capri is a strategic balcony over the cobalt waters of the Mediterranean and one of the world’s most enchanting locations. Since 2005, this unique venue has hosted Rolex Capri Sailing Week, a yearly rendezvous for first-class yachts and sailors from all over the world.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
The traditional opener for Rolex’s Mediterranean yachting calendar celebrates its 10th edition from 19-24 May with an exceptional programme comprising one week of inshore and coastal sailing off Capri and a testing offshore race.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Competing yachts will be divided into three different classes: Mini Maxi (18.29m to 24.08m), Maxi (24.09m-30.5m) and TP52 (15.85m). For the Maxi fleet, action on the water starts on 19 May at 10:00 CEST with the emblematic ‘Volcano Race’, a 250 - 300-nautical mile offshore race to the volcanic Aeolian Islands and back. 
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
The TP52 fleet will make its debut on 20 May with the first in a series of inshore and coastal races. All the week’s winners will be announced on 24 May during the prize giving ceremony held at the Marina Grande.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
So far 21 crews from 11 countries have registered to take part including 12 Maxis and nine TP52s. The Maxi fleet will range from the 30.5m/100ft Slovenian entryEsimit Europa 2, campaigned by Igor Simcic, down to the 18.57m Italian entry Good Job Guys. Esimit Europa 2 won monohull line honours at the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race and is the current race record holder at the Giraglia Rolex Cup. The competitive TP52 fleet comprises experienced teams such as Michele Galli’s B2, overall winner of the Rolex Middle Sea Race 2013.

Regatta News

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Slingsby and Kostecki Join RC44's in Cascais

After a tight start to the RC44 Championship Tour in the BVI nine weeks ago; where Team Aqua snatched victory from Peninsula Petroleum, the 12 teams are gearing up to do battle again, for round two, at the RC44 Cascais Cup, 23 – 27 April.
Rc44 fleet lined up in Cascais Photo: MartinezStudio.es
The event will be hosted by the Clube Naval de Cascais for the third consecutive year in the Bay of Cascais, the venue may not be new but the fleet will welcome some new faces. Dutch businessman Nico Poons’ Team Charisma have chartered Puerto Calero Residence Club for the event, to sample their first taste of RC44 sailing. MAG Racing with new co-owner Artur Kasner, Terry Hutchinson, Tom Slingsby and John Kostecki all rejoin the Tour.
Tom Slingsby Photo: Craig Greenhill::Saltwater Images
Owner Poons is no stranger to international yacht racing having won the Swan 45 World Championship and Farr 40 North American Championship previously. The Charisma crew will include Olympic gold medallist and America’s Cup winning strategist, Tom Slingsby (AUS) as tactician. Volvo Ocean Race sailor Ross Halcrow (NZL) joins as trim and Mini Maxi and Maxi World Champion Chris Hosking (AUS) joins on main.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es
American Olympic silver medallist and America's Cup veteran, John Kostecki (USA) will call the shots for Andrea Pozzi and his Italian team Bombarda Racing and one of the world's most successful big boat tacticians Terry Hutchinson (USA) joins Vladimir Proshkin’s Team Nika.
Team Nika Photo: MartinezStudio.es
Returning to the fleet after a break at the start of the season Polish team MAG Racing welcome new owner Artur Kasner who will share the helm event by event with current owner Krzysztof Krempec.
Team Aqua Photo: MartinezStudio.es
The event will kick off with a day of match racing in the  Bay of Cascais. The remaining four days of fleet racing will see the course move outside of the Bay. In previous year’s Cascais has served up a mix of challenging conditions for the sailors, with big swell and a sea breeze that gusts and lulls, demanding maximum concentration.

As the fleet continues to get more compact, Team Aqua the defending Champions, led by Chris Bake and tactician Cameron Appleton, have their work cut out defending their position at the top. Team Aqua's grinder Ben Graham explains, "It has never been easy to win in this class but there are a lot of guys coming back from the America’s Cup and the teams are really stacking themselves up with some serious talent. It was hard in the BVI’s and I have no doubt it will be hard for the rest of the year, but that's what makes it fun."

One team applying the pressure is John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum, after a strong start to the first event of the season the team suffered an unfortunate collision on the final day of racing in the Caribbean that put the Gibraltar based crew in the runners up position, John explains “The last day in Virgin Gorda was bittersweet for us, but it has stoked the fire and we are ready for Cascais. We will keep making the small adjustments to improve, keep having fun and keep aiming for consistency.”

John adds, “It’s great to see new faces joining the fleet. The Class is in a good place at the moment. The Tour, the competition, the organisation, the boat design, everything is pushing the Class forward. There is uniformity and it makes it a joy to be part of.”

Sitting in third overall is Valentin Zavadnikov and Leonid Lebedev’s Synergy. The team were able to keep their cool at last year’s Cascais Cup, fending off five boats in contention for the title on the final day, to take their first ever RC44 event win.

Racing runs from Wednesday 23rd April for five days through to Sunday 27th.

RC44 Media

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Beau Geste, Nine Dragons and Wild Rose Crowned Audi IRC Champions in Newcastle

Two crucial final races off Newcastle’s Stockton beach on Easter Sunday completed the eight-race Audi IRC Australian Championship and three new national champions have been crowned.
Beau Geste Photo: Andrea Francolini/AUDI
Team Beau Geste’s division A triumph was taped up yesterday giving owner Karl Kwok and his TP52 crew from New Zealand the clean sweep of the TP52 Southern Cross Cup in December, the NSW IRC title last Sunday, and now the cheeky fellas from across the ditch are Audi IRC Australian champions.
Will Tiller Photo: Andrea Francolini/AUDI
Twenty-four year-old youth America’s Cup skipper Will Tiller drove Kwok’s 52-footer to its maiden national IRC victory and also the state IRC victory at Sail Port Stephens. “It was challenging; not the easiest place to sail with the sea-state,” said Tiller this evening adding, “Newcastle is a cool city”.
Patrice Photo: Andrea Francolini / AUDI
Only Tony Kirby’s Ker 46 Patrice and Bob Steel’s TP52 Quest managed to take a win off Team Beau Geste during the series hosted by Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club. They finished second and third on 15 and 19 points respectively to the victor’s eight points.
Nine Dragons Photo: Andrea Francolini/AUDI
Division B’s four-day nail biter between the two DK46s, Nine Dragons and Exile, added grey hairs to both Middle Harbour Yacht Club crews. Après racing it was all smiles across the bar, but each badly wanted the coveted title and the North Sails’ Audi IRC Australian Champion emblazoned spinnaker.
Nine Dragons Photo: Andrea Francolini/AUDI
Bob Cox’s Nine Dragons was the stronger of the pair this time, four points the final difference. “The crew did a magnificent job and our focus on tactics using our main tactician and back-up really paid off. The racing with Exile was awesome; it was touch and go as to who was going to take out the championship from start to finish.”
Nine Dragons Photo: Andrea Francolini/AUDI
After the champagne was sprayed the Nine Dragons crew cornered Cox and first tactician Mitch White and threw them off the marina, a sailing ritual.
Wild Rose crew Photo: Andrea Francolini/AUDI
Roger Hickman’s near 30 year-old Farr 43 Wild Rose from Sydney’s Cruising Yacht Club of Australia was clapped into the marina by an appreciative crowd as the new division C Audi IRC Australian champion. Hickman is an ocean racing hero to many, and again he’s shown the pedigree of his years on the circuit, and his steed’s.

“We are delighted to be the new Audi IRC champion,” said the winning skipper. “We were nervous this morning knowing it was going to be light and lumpy, then a superb 13kt nor’easter came in for the second and final race.”

Phil Dash’s Beneteau First 40 Justadash (MHYC) finished second and Ian Bower’s RP36 Spirit from Lake Macquarie third in division C.

Race seven got underway in a 6kt sou’easter following an hour and a half postponement. Race eight was christened the ‘Newcastle BBQ’, a triangle, triangle and sausage format also called the ‘two chops and a sausage’ course.

NCYC CEO Richard Howard praised his large team of 30 plus volunteers involved in the planning phase through to the hosting of 31 top level international crews. Howard says the club has excellent engagement with its members and volunteers put their hands up to pick up glasses, cook the BBQ, make sandwiches, sell raffle tickets and host competitors. On the race management side, members spent long days in the sun laying marks and assisting PRO Denis Thompson.

“From the time of the bid announcement the membership and staff really embraced the championship,” said Howard.

On behalf of the Audi team, Audi Australia’s managing director Andrew Doyle congratulated all competitors. “Audi is proud to support the IRC Australian Championship and we congratulate each and every owner and crew member for their strong sportsmanship this Easter long weekend. To win this event is a great honour, and to be crowned the national Audi IRC Australian Champion is no easy task. It’s a fierce contest and we appreciate the support shown by all participants, family members, and the organising committee.”

Yachting Australia President and owner/skipper of Ichi Ban, Matt Allen, also commended the host club, “Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club has delivered a spectacular and memorable weekend for all those competing in the Audi IRC Australian Championship. On and off the water the event has been held in a great spirit, thanks to the hard working and friendly volunteers and staff at the club.”

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Lisa Ratcliff