New faces for the RC44s
During the opening press conference, held this morning at the Yacht Club Adriaco, Russell Coutts explained that “the RC 44 fleet has evolved a lot since the beginning of the year. In Dubai, Team Hiroshi - Città di Milano had a little speed advantage thanks to their sails. This advantage has now vanished and the fleet is even.”
The regatta will mark the arrival of some new prestigious teams and sailors. Among them, Torbjorn Tornqvist will sail his brand new RC 44 Artemis for the first time, with Dean Barker at the helm for the match races. Pieter Heerema (NED) and his pro sailor Peter Wibroe will discover the Class on board Mascalzone Latino. 23 year old Wibroe, from Denmark, is the current European Match Race Champion and an established name on the World Match Race Tour. Peter de Ridder joins Larry Ellison’s BMW Oracle Racing as fleet race helmsman, while Morgan Larson replaces James Spithill on board Ceeref for this regatta.
“We have seen different teams winning races this year than last year”, observes Coutts. And I wouldn’t be surprised if different teams win the next regattas, because the fleet is very even and the one-design aspect of the boat is controlled very strictly.”
With only two more events to complete before the end of the season, the battle for the podium positions on the RC 44 Championship Tour 2008 is reaching its climax and the competition will be intense on the Gulf of Trieste this week.
The Friuli Venezia Giulia RC44 Cup starts on Tuesday 7 October with the match racing event. After a full round robin, the team owners will take (or keep) the helm for three days of fleet racing. A long distance race - the DHL Trophy - will take the fleet around the Gulf of Trieste. The winner of this race will be awarded with the DHL Trophy, whilst the points of the regatta will be incorporated in the fleet race ranking.
On Sunday, 12 October most RC 44s will participate in the Barcolana regatta, the world’s biggest single start line regatta with over 1500 boats competing.