Competition on the 2017 RC44 championship resumes this week with the second event of the season in the Italian sailing mecca of Porto Cervo. Thanks to its reputation for strong winds and flat water alongside the hospitality of the event's hosts, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda at their magnificent clubhouse, Porto Cervo annually attracts to the Mediterranean's most prestigious regattas.
Commodore Riccardo Bonadeo welcomed the RC44s: "The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda is delighted to have the RC44 class back again here in Porto Cervo after two events at our Virgin Gorda clubhouse in the BVI. With this regatta starting tomorrow, it is the fourth time that the RC44 class chooses our Club. I wish a warm welcome here in Porto Cervo to the owners, the Race Committee, the International Jury and, last but not least, to the high level crews, including some sailors coming directly from Bermuda where the America's Cup has just ended."
Nine of the one design monohulls will be competing this week at the RC44 Porto Cervo Cup.
After they missed the first event of the season in Sotogrande, Artemis Racing Youth is rejoining the RC44 fleet under regular skipper Gustaf Lidvall and their tactician, Swedish multiple Olympic medallist, Freddie Lööf.
Around half of Lidvall's crew are youth sailors with the Swedish team, many of whom have flown in directly from Bermuda following yesterday's conclusion of the 35th America's Cup. Among them is their new grinder, Julius Hallström, said to be third strongest crewman within all of Artemis Racing.
While the Artemis Racing Youth crew has been out training this morning, personally Lidvall says he hasn't been afloat too much so far this season: "I have sailed with my own cruiser a bit, but no racing. It will be a baptism of fire!"
Tactician on Artemis Racing, Francesco Bruni has also just arrived in Sardinia from Bermuda and is once again to make the transition back from foiling catamarans to sailing displacement monohulls, albeit speedy ones. "I love all sailing – multihulls or monohulls. I love high quality racing and the America's Cup and the RC44 are high quality racing. It is a good feeling to see old friends again and it is great to be back in Porto Cervo," he said.
For Bruni, Porto Cervo is one of his favourite places to sail: "There are always great conditions here. Today it was 20-25 knots – fantastic." However the forecast is warning that conditions may be a little too brisk at times this week, especially on Wednesday and possibly overnight on Saturday. "The mistral is great when it's strong, but very bad when it is too strong. Sometimes it can blow up to 40 knots," warns Bruni.
Also new to the RC44 fleet is Chilean Dag Von Appen, who is standing in for John Bassadone at the helm of Peninsula Petroleum this week. Von Appen, who is based in Chile, campaigns the yacht Itaú on the highly competitive Soto 40 circuit in South America. Calling tactics for him will be another leading Italian sailor and Peninsula Petroleum regular, Vasco Vascotto. "It is sad that John is not coming, but is nice to sail with someone else and help them discover this class. I hope we will have another great week in Sardinia as this class deserves," said Vascotto.
Practice racing takes place for the RC44 Porto Cervo Cup competitors tomorrow with racing proper taking place over Thursday 29 June until Sunday 2 July with a first warning signal each day scheduled for 1200.