With a five win-one loss record in the match racing on the RC44 Cascais Cup’s opening day, Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing has pulled up on to the same points as Team Nika, overall leader in the RC44’s match racing championship for 2016.
With joint leaders, the match racing contest that rolls from event to event on the RC44 circuit, could not be closer going into the final event of the season, in Malta in November.
Today Principal Race Officer, Peter Reggio, set up the match racing course directly south of the Marina de Cascais, rather than heading west towards Cabo Roso and the Atlantic swell for which racing off Cascais is famous. Off downtown Cascais, the breeze started as a 12 knot offshore northerly, but built through the afternoon, shifting significantly throughout each race, often in each leg. Nonetheless seven flights were dispatched in record time, the schedule competed in just three and a half hours.
On Artemis Racing, Sarah Gunderson was sharing helming duties with tactician Francesco Bruni. The one match they dropped was against Igor Lah’s Team CEEREF. This proved their toughest race of the day.
“It was really close and we had a nice tacking duel on the second beat and there were lots of calls and flags, but they were all green,” recounted Bruni. “We were a little disappointed with some of those calls, but we have to accept the umpire calls and keep racing. So that is what we did and the guys did a fantastic job on the boat and we were really fast all around the course.”
Bronenosec Sailing Team came close to having a similar result to Artemis Racing, but a two point penalty for a start line collision spoiled the day for Vladimir Liubomirov’s team. In its match against Nico Poons’ Charisma, the Russian team was penalised initially after they were successfully hooked by Charisma second before the start. On tacking away Bronenosec’ transom collided with Charisma’s hull and due to the RC44 class’ strict regime on avoiding contact between boats, she was docked two points.
Bronenosec’s most exceptional sailing display came in its first match against Peninsula Petroleum. In this they were leading, but down a penalty (for hitting the weather mark when a gust hit). Instead of finishing, Bronenosec sailed beyond the line, was able to carry out its turn and return to finish in front and exhonerating, despite attempts by Peninsula Peninsula Petroleum to prevent this.
Match Racing Championship leader, Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika today won four and lost two. “It was not very easy, honestly speaking,” said Prosikhin. “There was some swell and it made the tacks a bit tricky and sometimes we didn’t accelerate fast enough. Otherwise it was fun racing with big shifts.”
The usual heavyweight bout with Bronenosec was a disappointing one. Team Nika clearly won the start, however they ended up losing the match, as tactician Ed Baird described it: “The boat behind us [Bronenosec] got some magic breeze and sailed up and around us on the windward leg...”
For Igor Lah’s Team CEEREF it was a day of two halves, as British tactician Adrian Stead explained: “In the first two races, we didn’t execute our spinnaker hoists and drops very well. We were trying to gybe set and we didn’t get it right. We had a little stop to think about it.” They pulled out of their second match against Charisma after the drop line on their A3 spinnaker got into the mother of all tangles and spent the next flight (when they were on a bye) regrouping. “Then we came back with four wins out of four. Igor did a great job especially in the race against Artemis.”
“That was extremely exciting in the pre-start,” agreed Lah of that match in which the two boats spent a prolonged period circling.
If Bronenosec is licking its wounds tonight, a man trying to keep his head is Viktor Filippov, on Black Water. After a good start in the Russian team’s second match against Team Nika, their unfortunate grinder fell out of the boat…for the second time in two days, believed to be an RC44 record.
Fleet racing at the RC44 Cascais Cup starts tomorrow at 1200 and continues for the next four days.