Katusha still in the chocolates
The opening day was a little unpredictable with wind shifts that caused major headaches for Race Officer Peter ‘Luigi’ Reggio on the sole match race day of the RC44 Trapani Cup. The 13 teams still got six flights completed before the wind finally departed, and one team dominated.
At the RC44 Muscat Cup in Oman back in February, Katusha, with new tactician Andy Horton onboard, made her mark on the match racing winning all six of her races. In Trapani, the team owned by Gennadi Timchenko, kept its feet firmly on the gas clocking up another four wins.
Horton’s take on the day was: “It’s crazy that were doing well, given there are so many good people out there, but you’ve just got to keep your head down. We’re only in the second event of a long series so we need to just keep doing what we do and hope it keeps going our way.”
Many of the owners used to leave the RC44 match racing day to the pros, but in recent events there has been a move to the owners driving the match race day along with the compulsory fleet racing.
Asked what he thought of the owners opting to take the helm for the match racing, Horton commented: “It makes me nervous that the owners are now all taking the helm, if I get beat by them they will never let me forget it. Really I think it’s awesome, it’s the best practice for any owner that you could ever set up.”
Katusha is now three points ahead of second placed Team Aqua. Owner Chris Bake was at the helm today, finishing with four wins and just one loss, a score-line matched by John Bassadone at the helm of Peninsula Petroleum.
Four teams are one-point further back on the overall match race results. One of those team’s is Sweden’s Artemis Racing, which this week has Paul Cayard back in the tactician's role. Owner Torbjorn Tornqvist opted to drive for the match racing and the team finished the day with three wins and three loses.
“I really enjoy being on the helm it’s very much a matter of precision and experience," said Tornqvist. "You make mistakes, but then the challenge is to make sure you don’t get caught up in the moment, which is easier said than done. It’s a great way to learn how to handle and react with the boats.”
Some new faces have joined the RC44 Championship Tour in Trapani including Ian Williams, four time World Match Race Champion, as tactician with Brian Benjamin’s Aegir Racing. However the team could not match its form from Oman, winning just one of their five matches.
Williams shared his thoughts on his first experience of racing in the RC44 fleet. “Today was obviously a tough day with really big shifts, but it’s great to see more owners starting to drive during the match racing. You often see the owners beating the pros now and it’s not really surprising, these boats are so boat handling orientated that if you can get on top of that element for the match racing you can really put pressure on the other team.”
The fleet racing gets underway at 12.00 (CET) Thursday 2 May
Match racing results after two events
1. Katusha – 10
2. Team Aqua – 7
3. Aleph Racing – 6
4. Synergy Russian Sailing Team – 6
5. Artemis Racing – 6
6. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team – 6
7. RC44 Team CEEREF – 5
8. Aegir Racing – 5
9. Team Italia – 3
10. RUS7 Sail Racing Team – 3
11. Team Nika – 2
12. MAG Racing – 2
13. Ironbound – 0