Torbjorn Tornqvist will sail his brand new RC 44 Artemis for the first time, with Dean Barker at the helm for the match races. Barker knows the RC 44 Class well, having already competed in many events. However it will be his first outing on an RC 44 with Torbjorn Tornqvist and his team.
Peter de Ridder joins Larry Ellison’s BMW Oracle Racing as fleet race helmsman, while Pieter Heerema 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.
Finally, Morgan Larson replaces James Spithill on board Ceeref for this regatta.
With only two more events to complete before the end of the season, the RC 44 Championship Tour 2008 is well on its way and some early leaders have emerged.
The Slovenian team Ceeref is the leader of the match race ranking, ahead of Larry Ellison’s BMW Oracle Racing - who didn’t take part in the first regatta of the season and sits therefore seven points behind the leader. The dual is very intense: Larry Ellison has obtained the same number of points as James Spithill since he joined the Class in Cagliari, with two victories and a third for the American against two second and a first for the Australian.
In the fleet regatta, Team Hiroshi-Città di Milano enjoys a comfortable lead over Igor Lah’s Ceeref. Patrick de Barros’ Banco Espirito Santo is only two points behind Ceeref: no doubt that the race within the race will be tough between these two teams.
Finally, Patrick de Barros and his Team Banco Espirito Santo are the clear leaders on long distance courses, with three victories and a fifth place in the DHL Trophy.
The Friuli Venezia Giulia RC44 Cup will start 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, October 12, most of the RC 44s will participate in the Barcolana regatta, the world’s biggest regatta with over 1500 boats on the single starting line.