Tuesday, 24 March 2009

RC44: The RC 44 Class goes green and pursues its development at a steady pace

Following the first regatta of the 2009 Championship Tour, held in Lanzarote last month, the RC 44 fleet is now heading to central Europe for the next regattas. Oracle joins DHL, BMW and SLAM as Partner of the Class, whilst new teams have scheduled their debuts. Some important Class rules have also been updated in order to increase the attractiveness of the Class, whilst Boat no 21 is nearing completion. DHL will minimize the carbon footprint of the champions tour and offset the carbon dioxide emission from transportation.

Team Aqua, with Chris Bake at the helm, winner of the first regatta of the RC 44 Championship Tour 2009. Image copyright Nico Martinez/RC44.

by Bernard Schopfer

The RC 44 Class Association announced today during a press conference in Hamburg’s Norddeutscher Regatta Verein that it is looking forward to a great sailing season and is very positive about the development of the Class.

With six international regattas on the program, many of the world's best sailors, new teams and the arrival of Oracle as partner alongside DHL, BMW and SLAM, the Championship Tour pursues its development at a steady rhythm.

“We are very pleased to welcome Oracle as a partner of the Class alongside our logistics supplier DHL, BMW and SLAM”, said Class manager Bertrand Favre. The support of these prestigious brands is a fantastic boost and a testimony to the quality of our work over the past years.”

“As the official Logistics Partner for RC 44 since 2008, we see the Tour as a perfect platform to demonstrate our logistics expertise to our customers in a fascinating environment”, said Wolfgang Giehl, Senior Vice President Corporate Branding & Advertising for Deutsche Post DHL. “Now we are particularly delighted to announce that commencing in 2009, DHL will ensure that the transportation is carbon-efficient, in line with the sport of sailing itself, by reducing the footprint of the tour and offsetting unavoidable carbon dioxide emission for transportation. It’s a positive and tangible demonstration of Deutsche Post DHL’s commitment to lean-carbon logistics and minimizing our impact on the environment.”

New teams about to make their debuts in the Championship Tour include Team Austria (René Mangold / Christian Binder), K-Challenge (Stéphane Kandler / Sébastien Col) and Team Adriatic Challenge (Robert Lang). They join several teams who recently launched their RC 44 campaigns, including Artemis (Torbjorn Tornqvist / Dean Barker), Team Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (José Calero / José Maria Ponce) and Team No Way Back (Pieter Heerema / Philippe Presti).

“It is great to see new teams joining the Class”, commented Russell Coutts. “The concept of the circuit, which mixes amateurs and owner drivers with professional sailors, works well. The professional race management is also a huge asset of this Class. Finally, the strict one-design characteristics of the RC 44’s and the ability to transport the boats on containers reduce the costs significantly for all the teams.”

Following the season opener held in Puerto Calero at the end of February, the fleet is being transported by DHL to Cagliari, Sardinia (ITA). The Championship Tour will then move to Lake Traunsee (Austria), Lake Garda, a fifth venue to be announced soon and Dubai, where the teams will compete in the Gold Cup. World renowned sailors involved in the Tour include James Spithill, Dean Barker, Cameron Appleton, Sébastien Col, Christian Binder, Philippe Presti, Russell Coutts and Karol Jablonski, making it one of the world’s top sailing Classes.

Several rules have been recently added or updated in order to increase the appeal of the Class. For example, the teams will from now on sail the match races with one-design gennakers made out of a stronger cloth. This will significantly reduce the costs without affecting the performance of the boats. The teams will also be allowed to discard their worse result of the season – or skip an event - whilst double points will be awarded for the Gold Cup. The DHL coastal race, which is scored as part of the fleet race regatta, now counts for two points. Last but not least, the overall ranking, which is a combination of the match race / fleet race rankings, will determine the overall scoring and the best team at the end of the season.

Thanks to its unique transportation system, and to the logistical support of DHL, the RC 44 Class is clearly one of the most cost effective top level international sailing Classes. Twenty one-designs have been built to date, with boat 21 due for completion this spring.


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