Synergy edges ahead in the match racing
Cascais delivered a fine first day of sailing for the RC44 fleet in the second leg of the 2012 Championship Tour. Two Russian teams and one representing Portugal made the most of the conditions, which saw a few spinnaker blow outs in the morning as the breeze topped 20 knots.
Ed Baird (USA) joined the RC44 Tour at the start of the 2012 season and his presence seems to have had an immediate effect on the match racing results of Valentin Zavadnikov’s Synergy Russian Sailing Team. After finishing seventh overall in the 2011 RC44 match race rankings, the team didn’t lose a match today and now sit on top of this year’s standing, having dropped just one match in the series so far.
It was not an easy ride for the Russian team, who took advantage of their opponents mistakes, having to fight back in two races Baird described as being “seriously behind and having to push hard to catch up.” All credit went to the team of young Russian sailors on-board. “The guys on Synergy have really been working hard on their boat speed and boat handling, they do a great job and it was nice for all of us to be rewarded a little bit today.”
Looking onto tomorrow’s fleet racing, Baird was however setting expectations. “Fleet racing tomorrow is a different challenge I am still learning about the boat, we are all still learning about the class we know we have a lot of work to do to be strong in the fleet races but it’s always nice to have a good day.”
Local expert Patrick de Barros (POR) has taken over the helm of the French Aleph Team for the week and renamed the boat Team Cascais after the city playing host to the 15 RC44 teams. After three year’s out of the class, Patrick let match racing expert and the team’s tactician Mathieu Richard (FRA) take the helm and was impressed with both how the class has evolved and his newly adopted team. “The level of racing in the last three years has gone very high, it’s really impressive. Today’s racing was great, all the crew is excellent, they really are top class.” Team Cascais finished the day with five wins from seven races, taking the team up to third on the overall match race rankings.
Cascais also delivered on some excellent sailing conditions, native de Barros maybe biased but all the teams echoed his sentiments. “The sailing today, it was Cascais at its best, it was not the prevailing wind but I think Cascais showed once again it is one of the best places in the world to sail and for the rest of the week I hope for good wind, good competition and a lot of fun.”
The second Russian team to relish the conditions was Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika. With tactician Tomislav Basic (CRO) on the helm for the day, owner Vladimir took to the grinders. They won five from seven races.
Now in their second season with the RC44 class, Prosikhin is looking forward to the fleet racing and the team hope to improve on their seventh place in Lanzarote last month. “We have been training hard and are determined to do better at this event.”
The last word has to come from Russell Coutts, back in the class for the first time this season and at the helm of Katusha today. “It was great to be back in a monohull. We had fantastic conditions out there, a real good fun wind. This is actually my first time helming a boat since Rovinj in Croatia last year, but it still feels just as comfortable, it’s like riding a bike!” After two events Katusha are second overall on the match race leaderboard.
With the strong easterly breeze set to stay for tomorrow, the fleet racing phase of the Cascais RC44 Cup 2012 begins tomorrow and concludes on 1st April. Racing kicks off at 12.00 noon daily with three races planned per day.
2012 RC44 Championship Tour Match Race Ranking
(After two events)
1 Synergy Russian Sailing Team – 11
2 Katusha – 9
3 Team Cascais (Aleph) – 9
4 Team Aqua – 8
5 RC44 Team CEEREF – 7
6 AEZ Sailing Team – 6
7 Puerto Calero – 6
8 No Way Back – 6
9 Artemis Racing – 6
10 Team Nika – 6
11 RUS-7 Sail Racing Team – 5
12 Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team – 4
13 Ironbound – 1
14 Aegir – 0
15 AFX Capital Racing – 0