Monday, November 30, 2015

Artemis Wins in RCC44 Virgin Gorda Cup, Team Nika Snares 2015 Series Title

Artemis Racing today won the fleet racing at the RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup, with a four point margin over Peninsula Petroleum, having led from the outset of the four day regatta. But while this was close, the outcome of the 2015 RC44 Fleet Racing Championship was closer, only decided in the last seconds of the final race, followed by some intense mathematics and the breaking of a tie.
Photo: © Martinez Studios
Torbjörn Törnqvist's Swedish team put in a late charge this season, posting four bullets this week to achieve their first RC44 victory since the Austria Cup in 2012.
Photo: © Martinez Studios
"It wasn't the prettiest day for us, but we were very close to winning two races," said Törnqvist. "We were leading the last race and then I don't know what happened! I'm very happy of course, needless to say."
Photo: © Martinez Studios
Perhaps the reasons for Artemis Racing's success were down to Törnqvist having arrived a day before the regatta to train or new tactician Francesco Bruni making his mark. Törnqvist explained: "We have great sailors on board, and here it's been the small things. It has also come down to my helming - I was focussed a lot, which was a big difference this time."
Photo: © Martinez Studios
The 2015 Fleet Racing season for the one design 44 footers became a two horse race between Vladimir Prosikhin's Team Nika and Vladimir Liubomirov's Bronenosec Sailing Team. The two teams had either won or come second in the two previous events and, in the championship, Team Nika was one slender one point ahead of her rival going into the RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup.
Photo: © Martinez Studios
This morning in the RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup, Bronenosec was lying third, one place ahead of Team Nika, but needed another boat to finish the regatta between her and Team Nika to win the Championship. Initially this seemed all but impossible, but in today's first race, the two leaders, Artemis Racing and Peninsula Petroleum, finished last. This left Peninsula Petroleum still second but now only three points clear of Bronenosec. This margin narrowed further to two points going into the day's third and final race.

Team Nika's tactician Ed Baird explained their situation going into the last race: "There were five boats which could finish between us – that was bad. We had to manage that around the course, in an incredibly shifty, crazy venue…"

Against the odds, at the final weather mark rounding of the deciding race, Bronenosec was in a Championship winning position: Leading, with Team Nika in second and Peninsula Petroleum in fourth. However on the last run a squall rolled over the fleet and with gusts of 30 knots on one side of the course and nothing on the other (where the leaders were), the positions were overturned.

As Bronenosec's Italian tactician Michele Ivaldi explained - on the final run they had fallen into a hole as the squall passed through. "We got a big header, so we kept going on starboard and Team Nika came with us. Instead we should have just gybed and gone to the other side, but there was no way we could do that. It was the wrong cloud at the wrong moment."

Ultimately Team Aqua and MAG Racing came home first and second respectively, but, importantly, Peninsula Petroleum was third, meaning she retained second in the regatta with Bronenosec Sailing Team and Team Nika still third and fourth.

On the championship leaderboard this left this Bronenosec Sailing Team and Team Nika tied at the top, but with Team Nika claiming the title – the tie split through her having scored a better result at the RC44 Cascais World Championship.

On returning to the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Prosikhin was ecstatic: "I have been in the RC44 class for almost five years. It's been a gradual climb. Last time we were here I was last – my lowest point. So this really means a lot to me. I am very happy to win this season."

For the final races, Prosikhin admitted that he'd had his head down, focussing on helming and not broaching. "It was only after we'd finished that they told me we had won the season. This regatta has been the most difficult I've done for sure."

His tactician Ed Baird paid tribute to the Team Nika crew: "As the new guy on the boat, I am really impressed with how these guys are sailing. The only reason we didn't finish stronger in this regatta was due to decisions I made - never with the driving or sailing the boat or boat handling. Everything was crisp and beautiful – it is a pleasure to sail with the team."

Bronenosec Sailing Team leaves Virgin Gorda having won the rolling season's Match Racing Championship and on the same points as the Fleet Racing winner. "I am very happy my friend won," said Liubomirov of his rival on the water. "But to have lost in a situation like this, in the last 30 seconds of the race, is very painful."

Cameron Appleton, tactician on 2014 RC44 Champion Team Aqua summed up: "It was a phenomenal year of racing, truly a hard season, a hard-fought win for Nika and huge congratulations. We know what it feels like and we're proud that someone else has sailed so well to accomplish what they did."

For full results visit:

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Peninsula Petroleum Nip At The Heels Of Artemis - RC44 Virgin Gourda Cup - Day 3

Conditions on the penultimate day of the RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup turned volatile, reminding competitors that this exotic venue, while balmy and hot, is also in the centre of the Caribbean Trade Winds belt, complete with gusty winds and tropical rain showers.
Photo: © Martinez
Both featured today, with 30 knot gusts and intermittent downpours that closed down visibility and caused dramatic fluctuations in the wind. As a result just two races were held before a bigger, more intense deluge dumped its load on the North Sound race course and racing was abandoned for the day. 
Photo: © Martinez
Despite the tricky weather, star performer today was John Bassadone's Peninsula Petroleum posted a 1-2, elevating them to second overall, five points behind the ever-consistent leader, Artemis Racing.
Photo: © Martinez
"It was a pretty tough first beat, but we managed to get into a good position. It was very shifty, but we gybed early on the first run. Thanks to Vasco [Vascotto], our great tactician - he saw that and it proved a very good move. It was very tricky, trying to stay ahead in this type of course: One minute you think you are in a good position and then the wind shifts 30°," Bassadone said.
Photo: © Martinez
Peninsula Petroleum was in second to Katusha most of the way around the course and managed to overtake her on the second upwind.
Photo: © Martinez
But Bassadone was prouder to have finished second in race two. "It was tougher, and it could easily have been a fourth or even a sixth. We did very well to recover. On the second half of the first beat it was all over the place - very shifty - and we just managed to get ahead. In this fleet, sometimes the difference is literally down to three meters whether you cross or don't cross someone."
Photo: © Martinez
While Peninsula Petroleum is out of the chocolates in this year's overall Fleet Racing Championship, she is now gunning for the regatta lead. However Artemis Racing, with Torbjörn Törnqvist steering and Italian Francesco Bruni calling tactics, seems unstoppable, winning today's second race by a giant margin.

A more surprising stand-out performance today was Krzysztof Krempec's MAG Racing which finished third in the first one – their best result this season – and were lying second in race two until they were penalised after their spinnaker touched Peninsula Petroleum during the hoist on the second downwind.

"It was crazy weather, but it appears we like this! It is similar weather here to Poland in November - every day it is raining and there is lots of wind, only it is 30°C colder. Today we made good decisions for our tactics. I'm not satisfied, because of the penalty, but generally we are very happy. We had fun. I am smiling: It is a good prognostic for tomorrow," Krempec said.

His Croatian tactician, Tomislav Bašić provided the overview: "In the last two events, I feel that we are getting stronger. It is just a matter of time as to when it comes together."

The prize for the biggest comeback today goes to Igor Lah's Team CEEREF, which, along with Katusha, was OCS at the start of race two and yet pulled through to take third. 

"We just chipped away at it. We saw 40° shifts, but the big one was the pressure on the run being really up and down, because it was so squally. Due to the variance in wind speed we could be doing nine knots or 17. If you got it right there was a fairly big difference," said tactician Adrian Stead.

Currently lying sixth, Chris Bake's defending champions on Team Aqua appear to be out of running. 

"We are holding our own…just. It is good fun out there. Because it is so shifty there are lots of opportunities to do very well or very badly, It has been an erratic year. I haven't been around much. At every regatta we've had a different helmsman and we've had a lack of practice while the fleet keeps progressing. Other boats have committed time and energy this year - like Bronenosec, Team Nika and others – and that is paying off," Bake said.

One skipper for whom it will be a case of 'early to bed' tonight will be Team Nika's Vladimir Prosikhin, who came into this regatta leading the RC44 Fleet Race Championship, but is in danger of losing this to Bronenosec Sailing Team. In this regatta, his rival is currently third, four points ahead of Team Nika in fourth and who beats who tomorrow will determine the outcome of the overall championship. 

"We haven't focussed on Bronenosec yet, but we'll have to consider for tomorrow. Basically we have to beat them," acknowledged Prosikhin.

RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup Results (After 10 Races)
Pos Team R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 Tot
1. Artemis Racing (SWE44) 4 2 1 3 1 1 6 2 6 1 27
2. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team (GBR 1) 7 4 4 2 8 2 2 1 1 2 33
3. Bronenosec Sailing Team (RUS 18) 3 9 3 1 2 6 1 3 7 5 40
4. Team Nika (RUS 10) 2 3 2 5 5 5 3 9 5 4 43
5. TEAM CEEREF (SLO 11) 1 5 6 9 3 7 4 5 9 3 52
6. Team Aqua (GBR 2041) 6 6 7 6 4 4 5 4 4 6 52
7. Katusha (RUS 21) 5 1 8 7 7 3 7 6 2 7 53
8. MAG Racing (POL 44) 8 8 5 8 6 9 9 7 3 8 71
9. Artemis Racing Youth (SWE 4) 9 7 9 4 9 8 8 8 8 9 79

RC44 Media

David Witt Leads Apliancesonline Team To Victory in W.C. (Trappy) Duncan Memorial Trophy

!8ft Skiffs, W.C. (Trappy) Duncan Memorial Trophy
Sunday, 29 November 2015, Sydney Harbour

The team sailed a brilliant race in the 20-knot North-Easertly wind to take out the W.C. (Trappy) Duncan Memorial 18ft Skiff Trophy race on Sydney Harbour today.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
David Witt (skipper), Tom Clout (sheet) and Tom Anderson (forárd) trailed by 40 seconds at the end of the first lap of the course but revelled in the testing conditions to go on to a comfortable victory.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League (Keagan York, Craig Ferris, Darren McKavanagh) finished one minute and 22 seconds behind the winner to take second position, with the NSW champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers a further one minute and seven seconds back in third place.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
It was a great effort by the Thurlow Fisher Lawyers crew of Michael Coxon, Dave O’Connor and Trent Barnabas, as the trio had to recover from an early capsize while sailing to the long mark on each of the three laps of the course.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
De’Longhi (Simon Nearn) sailed consistently to finish fourth, ahead of Smeg (Micah Lane) and Yandoo (John Winning). These conditions usually take a toll on the number of finishers in the race but today all 18 starters completed the course.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (James Dorron) won the start at the boat end of the line while Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) were best served at the pin end. Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel produced excellent boat speed to the windward Beashel Buoy to lead from Gotta Love It 7 and Lumix (Brett Van Munster).
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Thurlow Fisher Lawyers had to tack quickly to avoid a collision with Gotta Love It 7 and capsized as the skiff approached the mark. Holding a handy lead as the fleet raced in to the wing mark off Shark Island, Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel also capsized, leaving Gotta Love It 7 with the lead over a charging fleet.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
The 7 team increased their lead to 40 seconds at the bottom mark off Clarke Island with moving into second position ahead of, Lumix and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, which had made an amazing recovery.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Witt and his team were applying the pressure to Gotta Love It 7 and grabbed the lead at the following windward mark, which set the scene for a great spinnaker battle down the middle run back to Clarke Island.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
The two skiffs raced at top speed with just a few metres between them but the 7 team were unable to catch as the pair turned the corner for the final windward beat back to the Beashel Buoy, held the advantage upwind, before a capsize and broken pole forced Gotta Love It 7 to limp home in 17th position 17 minutes behind the winner.

Frank Quealey

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Artemis Racing Throw Down The Gauntlet But Bronenosec Has One Hand On The Trophy - RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup - Day 3

Despite the wind gods repeatedly throwing curve balls at competitors in the RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup, today Torbjörn Törnqvist and his Artemis Racing crew firmly consolidated their lead in this regatta.
Photo: © Martinez Studio
The Swedish team led going into the day and promptly won the opening two races, the first being a nail biter as they lost the lead, only regaining it on the finish line. They followed this up with a 6-2, making them top scoring boat of the day, and eight points clear of Vladimir Liubomirov's Bronenosec Sailing Team in second overall.
Photo: © Martinez Studio
"It was a good day," said Törnqvist. "We got relatively good starts, we found the lanes and had speed upwind and downwind. We got the right side of the shifts and when you are in front it all becomes a little easier."
Photo: © Martinez Studio
This season, Artemis Racing's top position has been a fourth in Marstrand, but the team is well on track to changing that here. "Even though the results haven't been what we had hoped for in the season, we feel we do have the speed and, when it comes together, it works well. Francesco [Bruni] does a fantastic job as a tactician in these very tricky conditions. He is like a wizard out there, and gets us out of trouble when it is needed." And this is only Bruni's second RC44 regatta with the team.
Photo: © Martinez Studio
While today's conditions were lighter and weren't quite as up and down as yesterday, there was a significant right shift that forced the race committee to up anchor and move the course prior to race four.
Photo: © Martinez Studio
"Hardest for us were the starts," admitted Bruni. "They were okay, but not brilliant and especially the last one." In this they received a penalty, but impressively fought back to finish second – Bruni said he was most proud of this race. As to why they are doing well here, Bruni thinks it is because of the training they managed to put in with Törnqvist prior to the event.
Photo: © Martinez Studio
The final two races of the day were won by Vladimir Liubomirov's Bronenosec Sailing Team and John Bassadone's Peninsula Petroleum respectively.

Bronenosec Sailing Team survived best in race three when a small squall passed through North Sound. "Another nice day, another one won and we improved, so it is very good," said Liubomirov. "Me and my team are happy. The wind is nice and I like how shifty it is, because it is not easy for the tactician or for me."

With his team now second, while Vladimir Prosikhin's Team Nika has dropped to fourth, Bronenosec is currently favourite to win the overall RC44 Fleet Racing championship.

"There are at least five teams fighting for the podium and overall it is still not clear who will be there and in which position," observed Prosikhin.

John Bassadone's Peninsula Petroleum finally came good in the last race, while a solid 2-2-1 in the final three races elevated the Gibraltar-based team to third overall. On their win, Bassadone said it came "with great difficulty! It's been a pretty complicated couple of days, very hard. We just kept on working hard. We are happy to be back at this end of the table."

As to why, Bassadone continued: "I think it's a bit of everything - a decent start, the boat speed is definitely something the guys have worked very hard on since the last regatta, good tactics, good crew work and also a little bit of luck - or no bad luck."

Peninsula Petroleum's bubbly Italian tactician Vasco Vascotto, like Francesco Bruni, is also another who seems able to make sense of ultra-shifty conditions, vital for the last race with the wind blowing over the top of Virgin Gorda. In fact Peninsula Petroleum managed to pick up their own personal puff coming into the first top mark rounding which helped them round ahead.

"We like to sail inside the bay - it's different, so it is a matter of playing a little more the shifts, something we like," said Vascotto. "More than the result, we are happy we are sailing better in terms of our speed and crew work."

"Moding is very important - you need to sail the boat a little differently than normal sailing conditions. If you have some shifts, sometimes you have to go faster, other times you have to go a little slower and be patient. That is something we are improving during these days."

The penultimate day of fleet racing takes place tomorrow and once again we wait to hear whether it will take place within the confines of North Sound or outside in more open water.

RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup Results (After 8 Races)
Pos Team R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 Tot

1. Artemis Racing (SWE44) 4 2 1 3 1 1 6 2 20
2. Bronenosec Sailing Team (RUS 18) 3 9 3 1 2 6 1 3 28
3. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team (GBR 1) 7 4 4 2 8 2 2 1 30
4. Team Nika (RUS 10) 2 3 2 5 5 5 3 9 34
5. TEAM CEEREF (SLO 11) 1 5 6 9 3 7 4 5 40
6. Team Aqua (GBR 2041) 6 6 7 6 4 4 5 4 42
7. Katusha (RUS 21) 5 1 8 7 7 3 7 6 44
8. MAG Racing (POL 44) 8 8 5 8 6 9 9 7 60
9. Artemis Racing Youth (SWE 4) 9 7 9 4 9 8 8 8 62

RC44 Media

Friday, November 27, 2015

Four Different Winners Over Four Races - RC44 Virgin Gourda Cup - Day 2

Competition could not have been closer for the opening salvos of the RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup. Following the conclusion of the 2015 Match Racing Championship yesterday, Thanksgiving Day holidaymakers got to witness the first four fleet races, held within the confines of Virgin Gorda's North Sound.
Photo: © Martinez Studio
The only consistent aspect of the day was the balmy 30°C temperature, with the wind speed having a far greater range than forecast. With two squalls passing through, each bringing winds of up to 20 knots (and some rain) followed by 5 knots or less after. Similarly each race had a different winner with Torbjörn Törnqvist's Artemis Racing coming out on top, with no score lower than fourth in the nine boat fleet, leaving the Swedish team two points ahead of the present fleet racing overall leader, Vladimir Prosikhin's Team Nika.
Photo: © Martinez Studio
"We are very happy that we stayed in the top half for the whole day," said a relieved Francesco Bruni, tactician on Artemis Racing. "We had a very hard couple of races, when we were leading with a good margin and then lost it…"
Photo: © Martinez Studio
The worst case of this was in race two. The blue Swedish boat was ahead at the leeward gate, headed off to the right on a lift and then, as the rest of the fleet went left, never found a favourable shift on which to tack back. Bruni explained: "I didn't want to give up any of our advantage, but it was a mistake, I should have tacked with the fleet. It is a hard balance: To go for the shift or to stay and cover the fleet. I definitely didn't get it right that time."
Photo: © Martinez Studio
Fortunately Artemis Racing found herself in the exact same position in race three. On this occasion she did tack and went on to claim a comfortable victory. "The guys are giving me enough time to look around, so I can stay 'eyes outside the boat', and that is key in this type of racing. If you are head down, you won't get it right," continued Bruni.
Photo: © Martinez Studio
Being on the ball was particularly important when the two squalls passed through, the first, in race two, being the more powerful causing the wind to build to more than 20 knots and to shift right hard. It also made the choice of sails tricky with winds at the start of race two demanding the largest headsails, which then proved too large as the squall hit in the latter stages of the beat. Equally the kites the crews hoisted were too small as the breeze subsequently dropped after the squall passed through.
Photo: © Martinez Studio
For others the conditions weren't an excuse. Igor Lah's Team CEEREF got off to a strong start and won the opening race. But then she trawled the pin mark at the start of race two. "It was a really nice mark, we wanted to have it!" joked Lah. "We started extremely well, but then something didn't work out." While they salvaged a fifth from their mark dragging race, they concluded their day with a last place finish leaving them in fifth overall.

Team CEEREF is tied on points with Alexander Novoselov's Katusha, which had similarly mixed fortunes, winning race two but with three other finishes in the bottom half of the fleet. "We were probably top three in every race at some stage," explained tactician Andy Horton. "It is just doing that last bit to get through. In the last race we had a bad leeward mark rounding and went from fifth to seventh. It is really tight, awesome racing and a great place."

Owner-driver Alexander Novoselov said he found today's conditions challenging, but is enjoying his first visit to the British Virgin Islands: "A bit up and down today – there were very unstable, shifty conditions, but it is very nice here which is compensation. We're enjoying it very much. We were very proud of ourselves and we did a good job in race two and made almost no mistakes."

There was a similar story on Bronenosec Sailing Team where today Vladimir Liubomirov was back on the helm, following his team's RC44 Match Racing Championship victory yesterday. In race two the sky blue RC44 barged in ahead of Team CEEREF at the weather mark, which Liubomirov said was due to a communication problem with his tactician. They were penalised and after carrying out their turn found themselves in last place. Yet they won the fourth and final race of the day.

Racing continues tomorrow and with the BVI filling up with Thanksgiving weekend approaching, a course may be set outside of Virgin Gorda's North Sound.

RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup Results (After 4 Races)
Team R1 R2 R3 R4 Points

1.  Artemis Racing (SWE44) 4 2 1 3 10
2.  Team Nika (RUS 10) 2 3 2 5 12
3.  Bronenosec Sailing Team (RUS 18) 3 9 3 1 16
4.  Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team (GBR 1) 7 4 4 2 17
5. TEAM CEEREF (SLO 11) 1 5 6 9 21
6. Katusha (RUS 21) 5 1 8 7 21
7. Team Aqua (GBR 2041) 6 6 7 6 25
8. Artemis Racing Youth (SWE 4) 9 7 9 4 29
9. MAG Racing (POL 44) 8 8 5 8 29

RC44 Media

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Bronenosec On Fire in RC44 Match Racing - Virgin Gourda

Vladimir Liubomirov's Bronenosec Sailing Team prevailed today at the conclusion of the 2015 RC44 Match Racing Championship held on the idyllic waters of Virgin Gorda's North Sound in the British Virgin Islands.
Photo:   © Martinez Studio
Bronenosec Sailing Team started the day with a two-point advantage over Torbjörn Törnqvist's Artemis Racing in second, and, alongside Igor Lah's Team CEEREF, was the top scoring boat today. She dropped just one match, in flight five, to Team Aqua. Liubomirov's team ended the day four points clear of Team Aqua, which ultimately took second in the 2015 Match Racing Championship, one point ahead of Artemis Racing.
Photo:   © Martinez Studio
Sadly having otherwise been on board every day this season, Vladimir Liubomirov was unable to helm today. So steering for the match racing was Michele Ivaldi, who usually calls tactics and who was carrying out both roles on board today.
Photo:   © Martinez Studio
"It feels very good," beamed Ivaldi. "Before we used the match racing for training, but we have been doing well season-long. So winning it wasn't a goal at the beginning of the season, but it became one. Personally, I love match racing - it is such good training for the crew."
Photo:   © Martinez Studio
The Italian tactician attributed today's success to the team effort on the part of Bronenosec's crew. "Our manoeuvre today were almost perfect in every area. If you have strong crew work, half of it is done."
Photo:   © Martinez Studio
Ivaldi only learned he would be helming last Saturday, but said he thoroughly enjoyed the experience. "I'm not used to driving, so it was hard for me to do that and tactics at the same time, but I had the help of Flipper [Paul Westlake], Cicho [Maciel Cichetti] and Alby [Alberto Barovier] downwind. Everybody was trying to cover and work their new positions." Standing in for Vladimir Liubomirov on board today was young local sailor, Mark Stephenson.

Today seven flights were sailed in winds that peaked at 15 knots before dropping to 6-7 mid-afternoon and becoming increasingly shifty and puffy. As Ivaldi put it: "There was not a clear side of the course to play so you had to keep your head out of the boat. You had to mix match racing and tactics and sometimes you had to split and go with what you saw on the water." This made for plenty of opportunities and passing lanes.

Igor Lah's Team CEEREF was also a stand-out performer. Having missed the RC44 regatta in Marstrand, Sweden, this summer, today was the first occasion the Slovenian team has match raced since the Audi RC44 Porto Cervo Cup in June.

As the team's British tactician Adrian Stead described it: "There were a couple of things that lost us races early on, but we worked hard at them and it felt like we were pulling them off better than we were before."

Team CEEREF nearly came to grief in their match against Artemis Racing when they picked up a pre-start penalty. However thanks to a couple of shifts going their way on the first beat, they had pulled out a sufficient lead to carry out their penalty turn on the second beat without being caught by the Swedish team.

On Team Nika, Vladimir Prosikhin also had his best match racing day of 2015, claiming four wins, aided by America's Cup winning helmsman, Ed Baird, who is calling tactics for him for the first time in Virgin Gorda.

"It's a gorgeous place - nice sailing, enjoyable, very nice breeze. We had close racing and that was exciting," said Prosikhin of today's racing on North Sound, where the regatta is being hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda at their Caribbean base here. This being the first time he has raced with Baird, Prosikhin admitted having had some communication issues with his American tactician and this had helped caused them to pick up a penalty in the match against Team CEEREF. "Our communication link is not perfectly established yet, but I am happy with how it is going."

Aside from the racing there was additional drama when there was man overboard on board John Bassadone's Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team during their race with Team Nika. Showing that even top sailors are fallible, during a rapid manoeuvre former Spanish America's Cup bowman Miguel Jauregui, slipped and tumbled overboard. He was picked up an umpire RIB and deposited back on board unhurt, but it cost the Gibraltar team the race. "I tried to hang on but it was impossible," admitted Jauregui.

The first of four days of fleet racing commences tomorrow.

RC44 Media

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Close Racing For RC44's On Practise Day in Virgin Gorda

If it is possible to be under 'pressure' in somewhere as laid back as the British Virgin Islands, then it is American Ed Baird who is currently feeling it. The former America's Cup winning helmsman has stepped into the shoes of Dean Barker, his nemesis from the 2007 America's Cup final, as tactician on Vladimir Prosikhin's Team Nika.
Photo: © Martinez Studios 
The Russian RC44 currently holds the coveted 'golden wheels', showing her leadership of the class' Fleet Racing Championship, but going into this week's RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup, the circuit's final event of 2015, her overall victory is far from secure. Vladimir Liubomirov's Bronenosec Sailing Team remains just one point behind Team Nika and the two teams have either won or come second in the last two RC44 events.
Photo: © Martinez Studios 
In fact, demonstrating how tight competition is in this one design class with its pro crews and amateur helmsmen, there are still four boats competing capable of winning the 2015 RC44 Fleet Racing Championship and six of finishing on the podium following this event, which, like the Worlds in Cascais last month, is non-discardable.
Photo: © Martinez Studios 
"Everybody has got their eye on the end of the year prize and we realise that there are a lot of boats that can do it, so we have to come together quickly," Baird said.
Photo: © Martinez Studios 
Fortunately, Baird is no newcomer to either the RC44s or racing off Virgin Gorda. In fact he finished third here last year with Synergy Russian Sailing Team.
Photo: © Martinez Studios 
"So many things can happen on this race course: Everyone can expect to be ahead at some point, but everyone should expect to be behind at some point too. It is down to who averages out a little higher," he said.
Photo: © Martinez Studios 
Slovenian Igor Lah's Team CEEREF is the team having the remotest chance of winning the Fleet Racing Championship, currently fifth overall, six points behind Team Nika.
Photo: © Martinez Studios 
"This is my first time in the BVI - it's brilliant, especially when the sun sets," says Lah of this, the most exotic of the RC44 Championship Tour venues. "We are prepared for everything, so I hope it will be fine. The boat is ready, we are ready, the weather is ready." Lah was RC44 World Champion in 2013 and this season is slightly behind the frontrunners, because Team CEEREF was unable to compete in Marstrand this summer.
Photo: © Martinez Studios 
However the greatest threat here, lying just four points off the lead in third place, is Chris Bake's Team Aqua, which is not only a five time winner of the RC44 Fleet Racing Championship, but is also the defending champion of the RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup.
Photo: © Martinez Studios 
"You couldn't find a better place," admits Team Aqua tactician Cameron Appleton of Virgin Gorda. "It's a phenomenal place particularly when the sun's out. Sailing inside the North Sound has its challenges - the better teams and the better tacticians prevail at managing the race course's unique features." These include how to make the most of the favoured left side of the course, where the wind usually accelerates. There are also underwater hazards such as reefs, but these are clearly distinguishable in the crystal blue water.

As to their prospects of achieving a sixth title, Appleton confides: "You can't drop this event, so it's a possibility, but you are relying on another team that is on form right now and sailing well to have a bad event. But it's sailing, and teams can fold under the pressure."

The forecast for the week is 12-15 knots from the ESE. According to Principal Race Officer, Bill O'Hara, the course will be determined by how full North Sound gets with North America being on holiday from this Thursday with Thanksgiving.

"As a place to be, it is pretty special," says O'Hara of the venue. "It will be tight and good with the usual high standard and top tacticians, which always helps."

To assist O'Hara, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, which is hosting the event out of its winter base in Virgin Gorda, has brought out all of its familiar race officials, led by Edoardo Recchi and Fabrizio Pirina, who usually run the club's events in Porto Cervo, including the Audi RC44 Porto Cervo Cup in June.

Match racing gets under way tomorrow, followed by four days of fleet racing starting on Thursday, 26th November.

RC44 Media

Monday, November 23, 2015

Another Spithill Set To Carve Up The Competition - Extreme 40 Series - Sydney Harbour

With just over two weeks until the start of the Extreme Sailing Series 2015 season finale on Sydney Harbour, a local wildcard entry of Aussie sailors is beginning an intensive training build-up to try and spring a surprise on some of the best multihull sailors in the world.
Photo: Andrea Francolini
While much of the focus will be on Leigh McMillan and his impressive crew on The Wave Muscat, as McMillan tries to close out an unprecedented third Extreme Sailing Series championship, local eyes will be on Katie Spithill and her newcomers on board 33 South Racing.
Photo: Andrea Francolini
Match racing champion Spithill, who started sailing at Elvina Bay in Pittwater and is sister to America’s Cup-winning skipper James, will be the only female skipper in the high-octane Extreme Sailing Series fleet.
Photo: Andrea Francolini
She leads a star-studded crew that includes Volvo Ocean Race veteran Stacey Jackson, World Match Racing Tour sailor Henry Kernot and 505 Champion Luke Payne for the four-days of super-fast racing starting on December 10th.
Stacey Jackson and Katie Spithill Photo: Courtesy of Extreme Sailing Series 
As the wild card entry for the final regatta of the eight-stop global tour, Spithill knows they have a lot to learn, something she was happy to acknowledge after their first outing in their Extreme 40 thoroughbred catamaran in a blustery 20-knot breeze on Sydney Harbour.

“After the boat was put together we were itching to get her in the water to see how she goes,” said Spithill. “It’s great fun, but as a race team we’ve got a steep learning curve ahead of us if we are going to train enough in the coming weeks in order to be competitive against such a high-level fleet.”

The Extreme Sailing Series racecourse area will be set in Farm Cove, within touching distance of thousands of shoreside spectators, who will be able to watch the action and cheer on the local team from the free-to-enter public race village at Mrs Macquaries Point. The village will be open daily from 10.00am, from 11-13 December 2015.

The 33 South Racing team will be kitted out in Marinepool technical sailing gear, as official clothing supplier to the Team and the Extreme Sailing Series.

Extreme Sailing Series Media