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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Team Nika Nails Match Racing at RC44 Marstrand World Championship

Ex-Hurricane Bertha provided a lively opening day to the 2014 RC44 Marstrand World Championship with the wind at times gusting to 20+ knots and a lumpy sea that placed a premium on boat handling.
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class
As usual at a RC44 regatta, day one was a continuation of the season’s rolling match racing championship and Principal Race Office, Peter ‘Luigi’ Reggio was able to lay on six flights for the 12 teams competing.
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class
The star performer today was unquestionably Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika, which won all five of her matches. Typically not all RC44 owners like to drive for the match racing and so pros are permitted to steer but Prosikhin was on the wheel for all today's races against Synergy Russian Sailing Team.
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class
“We have good understanding and Terry [Hutchinson] is a great tactician. I was a bit afraid of Ed Baird, but he was over early which made my life a lot easier,” Prosikhin explained. 
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class
However Team Nika’s hardest fought victory was against compatriots Bronenosec Sailing Team in flight one. 
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class
“It was very very physical, because they were fighting like hell. We did perhaps fifty tacks and gybes. Everyone was sweating a lot.”  Prosikhin added.
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class
Team Nika’s Tactician, Terry Hutchinson, newly returned for this regatta, complemented his helmsman: “Since we’ve sailed together, this was Vladimir’s best day, with the team, the co-ordination and his smoothness sailing the yacht. We’re optimistic. Now we have to sail like this, with the same composure and demeanour on board, against 11 other boats.”
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class
Kirill Podolsky’s Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge scored its best ever day of match racing with four wins and one loss, the same scoreline as Nico Poons’ Charisma. However both Charisma, and Team Aqua, were both docked one point for a collision that took place between them during their Flight 4 match.
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class
“We are very happy.  I’d never match raced until I joined this class in Cascais in April. Then I only had one win, in Sotogrande we won two and here we won four,” Poons said.
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class
Charisma’s match with Team Aqua saw some particularly aggressive match racing including several dial-ups, which Poons admitted came as a novelty. “I’d never done that. I had no idea what I was doing but we all have that in life occasionally.”
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class
“It was back and forth: We were ahead and they overtook us up the last beat and then they got a penalty for a windward-leeward incident – I don’t know who should have got it, but the jury ruled in our favour. Then we followed them down and they set a mark trap for us at the finish, but we were able to sneak by and get the win. That was the most fun racing today,” Charisma’s tactician Tom Slingsby said.
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class
“Tom is one of the best you can get, but it is down to the whole team, otherwise you don’t get there. We had the practice race yesterday which we won and we did well today. Let’s see what happens in the coming week,” Poons said of his tactician and crew.
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class
Even newer to the class, sailing its first RC44 regatta here in Marstrand, is Artemis Racing Youth. Helmed by Swedish businessman Gustaf Lidvall, while the Swedish America’s Cup team’s helmsman, 49er Olympic gold medallist and recently crowned Moth World Champion, Nathan Outteridge, is calling tactics.
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class
“It was my first time in the heat of battle on an RC44. We have a lot of young Swedish guys who are new to keel boats, so it was very educational today, learning all the systems.We made every mistake possible, but we only made them once,” Outtridge said. 
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class
Artemis Racing Youth got off to a good start leading around the top mark in its first two matches, only for boat handling issues to let them down.
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class
After four events, Chris Bake’s Team Aqua continues to lead the RC44 Championship Tour’s Match Racing ranking on 17 points, just one ahead of Valentin Zavadnikov and Leonid Lebedev’s Synergy Russian Sailing Team, with Team Nika up to third after her performance today.
Photo: © MartinezStudio.es/RC44 Class
RC44 Championship Tour Overall Match Race Ranking (After four events)

1. Team Aqua – 17
2. Synergy Russian Sailing Team – 16
3. Team Nika – 15
4. Aleph Racing – 13
5. Katusha – 11
6. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team – 10
7. Bronenosec Sailing Team – 9
8. Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge – 9
9. Charisma – 5
10. Bombarda Racing – 4
11. Artemis Racing – 4
12. MAG Racing – 2
13. Artemis Racing Youth – 1

RC44 Media

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