Category Archives: RC44

Chris Bake’s Team Aqua Wins RC44 Bermuda Cup

Team Aqua wins the Bermuda Cup in RC44 Championship Racing | © Martinez Studio
Team Aqua wins the Bermuda Cup in RC44 Championship Racing | © Martinez Studio

A last minute charge from Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec Sailing Team was not enough to displace Chris Bake’s Team Aqua from the top of the leaderboard at the conclusion of the RC44 Bermuda Cup, the first event of the Sir Russell Coutts-conceived one design’s 10th anniversary season.

Conditions on the final day of competition on Bermuda’s Great Sound looked marginal initially with a near glass out mid-morning. After a postponement ashore, the first warning signal was finally sounded at 1410 and PRO Peter Reggio just managed to lay on two races in a shifty, patchy breeze that rarely exceeded five knots.

Chris Bake’s Team Aqua Wins RC44 Bermuda Cup

A disappointing penultimate day of racing had seen Bronenosec drop off the leaderboard, but today in the difficult light conditions the Russian team’s tactician, Michele Ivaldi, seemed to have a direct line to the wind gods. This somehow enabled the blue-hulled RC44 to win both of today’s races.

“I’ve been asleep for a couple of days – today I woke up finally,” said Ivaldi with a grin. “For sure in this kind of conditions some luck is involved, but we had good starts and we managed both times to get the first shift. That together with good boat speed and good crew work – it wasn’t easy, but it was a good effort.”

The secret was to be looking ahead constantly to ‘join the dots’ between the various puffs. “If you looked behind you, you would go crazy…” Ivaldi warned. “There were 40° shifts and big puffs everywhere. It was really hard – like Virgin Gorda again!” (Referring to the last event in the RC44’s 2015 season).

Italian navigators are typically good at these conditions which Ivaldi compared not with those typical of Mediterranean Italy, but of an Italian lake.

Bronenosec’s helmsman Vladimir Liubomirov was equally delighted with his team’s performance today. “Before we were really scared because the wind conditions were really tricky, like a casino, but Michele did an extremely good job together with the trimmers. And we did it… For us it was very important to finish this first race of the year very well.”

Liubomirov added that he had been thoroughly taken with Bermuda as a sailing venue. “I like it a lot – we have to come back for sure.” The next RC44 visit is pencilled in for 2018.

John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team, which has another renowned Italian tactician, Vasco Vascotto, also had a solid day, posting a 2-3. But it was less good for Artemis Racing and Francesco Bruni, despite one extraordinary opportunity that emerged on the first run of the second race when the boats at the back of the fleet were able to sail some 20-30 degrees lower than the boats ahead. This elevated Artemis Racing from seventh to second, but she subsequently lost this position on the next beat. “It was a real throw of the dice,” admitted Bruni.

Bronenosec Sailing Team’s pair of bullets caused them to leap from fourth overall back on to the podium and then to second, finishing three points ahead of their arch-rival, Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika. But it was not enough to topple Chris Bake’s Team Aqua. Team Aqua only had two results out of the top half of the fleet, in this lengthy 12 race series.

“We’re really pleased with this week – the guys did really well,” said tactician Cameron Appleton. “We fought hard today in the first race for a start we really believed in. It didn’t quite work out in our favour, but the team did a really good job of keeping the boat fast and we got back into the race enough to take fourth.”

Their prospects were looking better in race two when they pulled out an extraordinary lead on the first beat. However they were prepared for the second leg becoming a lottery. “I said to the guys ‘at this point, if we don’t win, then we’re not supposed to, because who knows how this race is going to unfold.’”

Despite dropping back on run and for a stage on the second beat, they managed to recoup a second place and the victor’s ‘golden wheel’s as winner of the RC44 Bermuda Cup.

The margin between the leaders has impressively remained tight throughout the four days of fleet racing at the RC44 Bermuda Cup. Going into the final race four boats mathematically could still have won.

The RC44s now leave the 35th America’s Cup venue bound for the RC44 Sotogrande World Championship in May.

Team Aqua wins the Bermuda Cup in RC44 Championship racing.
Team Aqua wins the Bermuda Cup in RC44 Championship racing.
RC44 Championship Tour Schedule.
RC44 Championship Tour Schedule.

 

RC44 Bermuda Cup Crew List.
RC44 Bermuda Cup Crew List.

source: sailingscuttlebutt.com

Bermuda Cup | Team Aqua takes early lead at RC44 Championship

Chris Bake’s Team Aqua was more definitely the stand-out performer on the opening day of fleet racing at the RC44 Bermuda Cup.
Results – Chris Bake’s Team Aqua was more definitely the stand-out performer on the opening day of fleet racing at the RC44 Bermuda Cup.

Having come out on top in yesterday’s match racing after some complex countback mathematics, Chris Bake’s Team Aqua was more definitely the stand-out performer on the opening day of fleet racing at the RC44 Bermuda Cup.

Great Sound was also in more pleasant mood. While yesterday the wind was 20+ knots, conditions felt more summery today with the wind just about gusting to 15 knots, but more regularly 10. It was extremely shifty too, varying in direction between 325 and 025°.

In today’s four races Team Aqua never dropped off the podium. Scoring 2-3-1-3 saw her return to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club leading, two points clear of Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec Sailing Team.

Following yesterday’s requirement for brute force and survival skills, today’s lighter winds placed a premium on tactical calls and crew finesse, “Key was the guys doing a fantastic job,” explained Team Aqua tactician, Cameron Appleton. “It was a very active day for the crew and the guys trimming the sails did a really good job. We sailed well.”

Their races were not flawless – attempting to shoot the top mark in race one, they came to a standstill, fouling Bronenosec Sailing Team and picking up a penalty.

After scoring the most wins in yesterday’s match racing, Bronenosec Sailing Team continued her winning streak by claiming today’s first race. However as was the case yesterday, there was drama from the outset, when, soon after the start, a major collision occurred between Artemis Racing and Team CEEREF. In this, Team CEEREF, in the wrong on port, T-boned Artemis Racing leaving the Swedish boat’s topsides with a massive Slovenian bow-shaped hole in them.

In this, Team CEEREF, in the wrong on port, T-boned Artemis Racing leaving the Swedish boat’s topsides with a massive Slovenian bow-shaped hole in them.
In this, Team CEEREF, in the wrong on port, T-boned Artemis Racing leaving the Swedish boat’s topsides with a massive Slovenian bow-shaped hole in them.

“We wanted to tack and then there was a shift and we just misjudged it,” admitted Team CEEREF owner Igor Lah. “It was our mistake. It was a big one, a major and for our boat there was almost no damage. We are really sorry.”

Thankfully as the collision was with Artemis Racing’s leeward side, no one was hurt. “We were a little bit shocked though,” admitted tactician Francesco Bruni.

To make amends Lah offered the use of his RC44 to Artemis Racing for the rest of the day, but they declined. Once ashore, Team CEEREF tactician Adrian Stead was off to buy the local tipple, Gosling’s rum, in quantity for the Swedes.

The hole in Artemis Racing is not small – an upside down triangle immediately below the gunnel on the port side two thirds of the way back from the bow, its top side measures 1m across. Fortunately the incident occurred close to Artemis Racing’s giant America’s Cup base on the shore of Great Sound. There their RC44 was hauled out and the boatbuilders set to work immediately to build a replacement panel. If the repairwork goes to schedule, Artemis Racing should be racing once again tomorrow.

For redress the jury awarded Artemis Racing four points/race, leaving them third overall.

Surprisingly after sitting out the rest of race one, Team CEEREF rallied, impressively posting a 1-3-1. Despite being disqualified from the first race and receiving a three point penalty for the collision, this left them fourth overall, one point behind Artemis Racing.

“All the guys were upset,” recounted Igor Lah. “I said ‘guys, reset – let’s do it. Let’s show what we can do without making stupid mistakes.’”

Stead said that they had relished the shifty conditions. “You had to chip away at it. In races two and three we were probably fourth or fifth at the top mark, but there were opportunities. You just had to believe in what you saw and try as much as possible to sail your own race.

“Otherwise it was testament to Igor’s driving and concentration and all the guys on the team for bouncing back.”

With the RC44 celebrating its 10th anniversary it was appropriate that the class’ creator, Sir Russell Coutts, took time off from his duties as architect of the 35th America’s Cup to visit the fleet.

“It is good to see them in Bermuda,” said Coutts. “They have been around for a while now and it is good that they have come here. All the owners I have spoken to are surprised at what this place is. They were expecting to be in the Caribbean, but Bermuda has its own unique style – I think they are enjoying it.”

RC44 Bermuda Cup Championship Results after four days of racing.
RC44 Bermuda Cup Championship Results after four days of racing.

source:   sailingscuttlebutt.com

RC44 Bermuda Cup Championship Will Begin This Week

RC44 Bermuda Cup Championship Series to start this week.
RC44 Bermuda Cup Championship Series to start this week. © Martinez Studio

The first regatta in 2016 for the Russell Coutts-conceived one design class is the RC44 Bermuda Cup Championship on March 2-6. Beginning with one day of match racing, the class’ unique Match Racing Championship rolls from event to event throughout the season. The regatta then continues with four days of fleet racing on Bermuda’s Great Sound.

Among the eight teams on the start line will be the RC44’s longest serving crew: Chris Bake’s Team Aqua has been part of the circuit since 2006. “It is a great class and there are great teams out here,” observes Cameron Appleton, who has been tactician on Team Aqua from the outset.

RC44 Bermuda Cup Championship Begins This Week

While two teams – Team Nika and Bronenosec Sailing Team – dominated in 2015, Appleton advises that any of five or six top teams could prevail this season, including Team Aqua. “There is a new level of excitement and new motivation on board – Chris is really excited to have a bit more of a permanent role.” (Work commitments kept Bake from competing in all regattas in 2015.)

New to Team Aqua is American bowman, Sean Couvreux, while the experienced Andrew Palfrey is now coach, focusing especially on post-race video analysis. As ever Chris Bake is keen to develop young talent and has brought 22-year-old British Keelboat Academy sailor James French on as reserve crewman. “He’ll fill in for anyone on the boat,” says Appleton. “Our goal is to develop him into a great sailor and to teach him and share all we can with him.”

With her golden wheels glistening in the Bermuda sun, the 2015 RC44 Fleet Racing Champion, Team Nika, is in Bermuda ready to begin the defence of her title. However, her owner Vladimir Prosikhin is talking down their position: “Honestly, we are starting a bit slow and I am slow. We have two newcomers who are very good sailors and very strong, but it takes time for them to become accustomed to the boat. Our result will depend on how quickly we can pick it up.” The ‘newcomers’ are both highly experienced, in bowman Greg Gendall and pitman Ryan Godfrey.

On the plus side, having sailed with three different tacticians in 2015, including Dean Barker and Terry Hutchinson, Prosikhin has finally settled on former America’s Cup-winning helm, Ed Baird.

As to how he feels about having a target on his back as reigning champion, Prosikhin is relishing it. “Of course we are CLEARLY the target! And at the moment we are an achievable target, but I’ll do my best to stay ahead.”

After Chris Bake, Slovenia’s Igor Lah is the second longest serving RC44 competitor, having joined the class in 2008, his Team CEEREF winning the RC44 World Championship in 2013. Fourth overall last year, this season Team CEEREF is gunning for the podium. “We try to start from where we finished in the BVI [the last event in 2015], to make the best out of it,” says Lah. “We just need to not make mistakes and not be afraid of anything.”

Lah says he is enjoying his first visit to Bermuda and is looking forward especially to the third event this season in Portsmouth, UK, when Team CEEREF will be joined by Lah’s son, who is studying in Plymouth.

After spending most of 2015 close to the leaderboard bottom, 2016 will see Artemis Racing Youth on the ascent. Following the departure of Paul Goodison, Swede Freddy Loof is now the sole Olympic gold medallist on board (Star, London 2012) and has taken over as tactician while America’s Cup winner and round the world race veteran Rodney Ardern joins as main trimmer.

According to Loof, with Aussie former Olympic Finn sailor Anthony Nossiter on board, crew language remains English, “but it’s all good. We have added 30kg to the boat, which will help. We need to mix in with the fleet, so the pressure is on, but I think we can get a couple of good results this year. We have good guys on board and we understand the boat more and more. I haven’t raced that much recently, so I am eager to get going.”

RC44 Bermuda Cup Crew List.
RC44 Bermuda Cup Crew List.
RC44 Bermuda Cup Championship Tour Schedule.
RC44 Bermuda Cup Championship Tour Schedule.

source:  sailingscuttlebutt.com