Photos: Guido Trombetta/Studio Borlenghi

Katusha takes the win

Steve Howe and Russell Coutts come out on top at the Cascais RC44 Cup

Sunday April 1st 2012, Author: Jo Grindley, Location: Portugal

The Cascais RC44 Cup 2012 has thrown everything at the fifteen competing RC44 teams in Portugal from boat breaking conditions to light sea-breeze, sun, a storm and even a couple of hours of torrential rain.

Katusha went into the final day of racing with a strong 13-point lead. Race one didn’t start quite as planned with the Russian flagged team, driven by Farr 40 veteran Steve Howe this week, being called over the line early along with AFX Capital, No Way Back and Team Nika. The question was - could Team Aqua take advantage of their error and close the gap, to put the leaders under pressure going into the final race?

Team Aqua rounded the windward mark in seventh with Katusha back in 12th; Chris Bake’s team needed separation. By the finish Team Aqua had taken just one place, finishing sixth with Katusha climbing to ninth. However, Team Aqua are renowned for their come-backs and weren’t about to give up the fight. They won the final race of the event, but Katusha was just three places behind again, crowning Katusha the winners of the inaugural Cascais RC44 Cup 2012.

Russell Coutts, tactician this week on Katusha - his first RC44 event since Rovinj, Croatia in October last year - enjoyed his return to the fleet. “It’s been a great event here in Cascais. Today wasn’t our prettiest a few mistakes but we did enough to win, so that feels good.”

The fight was now on for third place. With just nine points separating Peninsula Petroleum in third from sixth place Synergy Russian Sailing Team everyone needed to sail their own race and hope they came out on top.

You wouldn’t have betted against Peninsula Petroleum - steered by owner John Bassadone and with Vasco Vascotto calling tactics - retaining their place on the podium; the team from Gibraltar had shown such consistency over the past two days of fleet racing. But the team didn’t get off to the best of starts, rounding the windward mark second to last, but with rivals Ceeref behind them, Ironbound one place ahead and Synergy in sixth they were still on the podium.

It wasn’t until the final metres into the finish line when Peninsula got themselves trapped between Aegir and Ceeref, that it was all over, they went from 12th to 15th and handed Synergy the final place on the podium.

Synergy’s consistent second and third place in the final two races had put Valentin Zavadnikov’s team on the fleet race podium for the first time since they joined the circuit in 2010. It was the second RC44 event for the team’s new tactician Ed Baird who is excited to see the team’s progress up the rankings.

“We had a great day today, it was very exciting and I think we probably had the best day, which was a surprise for us as much as anyone," said Baird. "In the second race we had the question of what jib do we use as the storm came through, the wind got a little stronger so we changed for our smaller one but then the wind died as we started to race so we really struggled, the guys did a great job changing sails downwind and then we gained a boat place on each leg after that which was a really great job by the crew.”

In the overall standings Team Aqua retains the golden wheels with just three-points from the first two events, their closest rivals Artemis Racing and Peninsula Petroleum, both on nine points.

The next stop on the 2012 RC44 Championship Tour is the RC44 Austria Cup on Lake Traunsee over 30 May-2 June.

Results:

Pos Boat R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 R11 Tot
1 Katusha (RUS 007) 3 7 1 4 4 3 2 1 4 9 4 42
2 Team Aqua (GBR 2041) 8 1 3 9 6 5 6 3 1 6 1 49
3 Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS 13) 1 10 7 5 5 6 10 13 10 2 3 72
4 Ironbound (USA 1) 14 15 2 7 7 2 3 4 7 3 10 74
5 Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team (GBR 1) 4 13 11 14 1 1 5 2 2 7 15 75
6 Artemis Racing (SWE44) 7 3 8 13 12 7 1 11 5 4 6 77
7 RC44 TEAM CEEREF (SLO 11) 5 2 6 1 11 8 7 5 8 13 12 78
8 No Way Back (NED 18) 6 4 4 11 3 13 13 7 3 12 8 84
9 AEZ RC44 Sailing Team (AUT44) 12 14 5 12 10 4 4 6 6 10 7 90
10 Puerto Calero (ESP 1) 10 9 9 6 8 9 12 8 13 8 2 94
11 RUS-7 Sail Racing Team powered by AnyWayAnyDay.com (RUS7) 9 11 13 2 2 11 9 12 16 DSQ 1 9 95
12 Team Cascais (POR17) 2 5 12 3 13 10 11 15 12 5 5 95
13 Aegir (GBR14) 11 6 14 8 16 DNS 16 DNS 8 14 16 DSQ 11 13 133
14 Team Nika (RUS 10) 13 8 10 10 16 DNF 16 DNS 16 DNS 10 11 14 11 135
15 AFX Capital Racing Team (ITA 7) 15 12 15 16 DNF 9 12 16 DNF 9 9 16OCS 14 147

 

 

 

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