Photos: Ignacio Baixauli / RC 44 Class

RC44 World Championship sets sail tomorrow

13 strong fleet to set sail off Puerto Calero, Lanzarote tomorrow

Sunday October 10th 2010, Author: Bernard Schopfer, Location: Spain

The inaugural RC 44 World Championship is set to commence tomorrow with 13 boats contesting the Islas Canarias Puerto Calero Cup off Lanzarote in the Canary Islands.

The RC 44 Class Association gained ISAF World status in June during its fourth season of competition.

“It’s great to have ISAF recognize the class,” said Russell Coutts. “Obviously they provide a lot of help with the on-water umpiring and race officials and so forth, so it’s great that we’ve been able to achieve world championship status with ISAF. It’s going to be a fantastic regatta.”

The world championship event holds added significance because it is also the fifth of six events that constitute the 2010 season championship. BMW Oracle Racing leads the standings with 6 points, but three other crews are just 1 point behind.

Included in that mix is Torbjorn Tornqvist’s third-placed Artemis, led in the upcoming match racing portion of the regatta by Terry Hutchinson of the U.S. Hutchinson arrives in Lanzarote fresh from winning the TP 52 World Championship in Valencia.

“It would be extremely nice and gratifying to have back-to-back world championship wins, but we’re aware there are new teams to the fleet and the competition is getting better and better,” Hutchinson said. “Our big-picture goal is to finish on the podium to keep our season championship hopes alive.”

Team Sea Dubai holds sixth place overall, but is just 7 points behind the season leader. Professional skipper Markus Wieser from Germany said his team is relaxed and confident going into the match racing and the key to their performance will be how they begin the regatta.

“If you start strong then you feel strong and you can beat whoever comes next. But if you lose the first few races and start thinking about what you’ve done wrong, then you risk missing the point in the next race,” Wieser said. “It’s like tennis or football. When you’re under pressure you make mistakes. It’s a lot of psychological and mental errors that can work for you or against you in match racing.”

The class also welcomes newcomers Synergy Russian Sailing Team and Peninsula Petroleum.

Synergy skipper Maxim Logutenko raced in the RC 44 Valencia Cup as guest helmsman aboard BMW Oracle Racing in the fleet racing portion of the regatta and placed fifth.

Peninsula Petroleum is led by British owner John Bassadone. The crew has raced extensively in the GP 42 Med Cup Series this year.

The weather is shaping up to be windy and wet. According to meteorologist Chris Bedford, the weather gods got word that a regatta is going on this week and are arranging an unusual weather pattern.

“Winds are expected to become somewhat fickle and changeable this week as a series of weather systems moves across the central Atlantic and toward southwestern Europe, disturbing the normally reliable trade winds that blow across Lanzarote,” Bedford said.

According to Bedford, tomorrow is expected to be unsettled as a cold front moves across the racing area. Rain squalls and very gusty winds are forecast in the morning followed by a drying period in the afternoon with moderate northerly winds.

The match racing portion of the regatta is expected to begin tomorrow with the first warning signal scheduled for 1130 local.

RC 44 World Championship Islas Canaries Puerto Calero Cup line-up (based on season standings)
1. BMW ORACLE Racing (USA) Russell Coutts – 6 points
2. Team Aqua (UAE) Cameron Appleton – 7 points
3. Artemis (SWE) Terry Hutchinson – 7 points
4. No Way Back (NED) Ray Davies – 7 points
5. 17 (USA) Jimmy Spithill – 11 points
6. Team Sea Dubai (UAE) Markus Weiser – 13 points
7. Katusha (RUS) Paul Cayard – 17 points
8. Ceeref (SLO) Rod Davis – 19 points
9. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) Daniel Calero – 24 points
10. AEZ RC 44 Sailing Team (AUT) – 28 points
11. Mascalzone Latino (ITA) Vincenzo Onorato – 34 points
Peninsula Petroleum (ESP) John Bassadone (inaugural regatta)
Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS) Maxim Logutenko (inaugural regatta)

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