Thursday, 30 June 2011

RC44 : RC44 Class Heads to the Med

Team CEEREF. Image copyright Nico Martinez.

by Jessica Gray

Round three of the RC44 Championship Tour and the fleet are heading to the Med following on from the first two events of the season in San Diego, USA and Lake Traunsee, Austria. The class have twice visited Cagliari before making their debut in 2008 and returning in 2009. Located deep in the heart of Cagliari Bay on Sardinia’s beautiful south coast, the venue boasts strong and consistent breezes that are bound to challenge the 15 teams ready to challenge for the RC44 Cagliari Cup.

Racing will take place in front of the spectacular Bay of Angels, very close to Cagliari port, with one day of match racing kicking off the proceedings on 29th June, followed by four days of fleet racing. (29 June – 3 July).

Alberto Floris, President of Yacht Club Cagliari, said the town is looking forward to welcoming the Tour to its shores once more.

“It is an honour to have the RC44 class back for the third time and another great opportunity to show the world that Cagliari is one of the best venues for the sport of sailing. For Cagliari the future means tourism, which is why the race village will be located in the centre of the town, close to hotels, restaurants, pubs and historical monuments. All the people involved in the event – teams, officials, class representatives – can be ambassadors of the natural beauties of Cagliari, its climate, traditions and hospitality.”

One to watch will be Michele Ivaldi (ITA), tactician onboard Team CEEREF, an experienced Olympic and America’s Cup sailor, having competed for Italy in the 1996 Olympic Games and with Luna Rossa/Prada for three America’s Cup cycles. Cagliari is a venue that Ivaldi has raced at many times and is looking forward to welcoming the Tour.

“Cagliari is one of the best places to sail and I've been going back there for years and years, I was there in a 420 when I was 16 years old. It's always had a good sea breeze and when the Mistral comes in, it’s game on. I'm really looking forward to the sailing.” Michele Ivaldi, Tactician, Team CEEREF.

Two new teams, MAG Racing from Poland and RUS-7 Sail Racing Team powered by have joined the RC44 Tour ahead of Cagliari. Although they will not be challenging for the title this year, with all six events of the Tour counting for the overall title, they will already be preparing for their assault for 2012.

In the overall Tour standings ORACLE Racing (USA) leads the title race after two events, following their victory at the RC44 Austria Cup in May. But they will need to watch out for Chris Bake’s Team Aqua (GBR), who launched their brand new RC44 on Lake Traunsee in Austria last month. Team Aqua also lead the Match Race rankings and are just two points adrift of the leaders in the fleet race standings. Katusha (RUS) skippered by Paul Cayard are two further points behind in third. With new faces and teams joining the Tour at each event this season, nothing is a given and it will be all to play for in the Bay of Angels.

2011 RC44 Championship Tour dates

2 – 6 March- Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego, USA
10 – 15 May- RC44 Austria Cup Gmunden, Austria
29 June – 3 July- RC44 Cagliari Cup, Sardinia
17 – 21 August- RC44 Marstrand Cup, Sweden
28 September – 2 October - TBC
15 – 20 November- 2011 RC44 World Championships, Puerto Calero, Lanzarote

List of entrants - RC44 Cagliari Cup

AEZ RC44 Sailing Team (AUT)
Owner – Rene Mangold (AUT)
Professional Skipper – Christian Binder (AUT)

Aleph Sailing Team (FRA)
Owner - Hugues Lepic (FRA)
Professional Skipper - Mathieu Richard (FRA)

Artemis Racing (SWE)
Owner - Torbjorn Tornqvist (SWE)
Professional Skipper – Morgan Larson (USA)

Ironbound (USA)
Owner – David Murphy (USA)
Professional Skipper – Peter Evans (NZL)

Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP)
Owner– Daniel Calero (ESP)
Substitute Driver- Alfredo Morales Gonzalez (ESP)
Professional Skipper - Jose Maria Ponce (ESP)

Katusha (RUS)
Professional Skipper – Paul Cayard (USA)

MAG Racing (POL)
Owner – Krzysztof Krempec (POL)
Professional Skipper - Piotr Przybylski (POL)

No Way Back (NED)
Owner – Pieter Heerema (NED)
Professional Skipper – Mark Mendelblatt (USA)

Owner – Larry Ellison (USA)
Substitute Driver- Steve Howe (USA)
Professional Skipper – Russell Coutts (NZL)

Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team (GBR)
Owner – John Bassadone (GBR)
Professional Skipper - Iñaki Castañer (ESP)

RUS-7 Sail Racing Team powered by (RUS)
Owner – Kirill Podolsky (RUS)
Substitute Driver- Alexandre Ezhkov (RUS)
Professional Skipper – Sergei Chevtsov (RUS)

Owner – Igor Lah (SLO)
Professional Skipper – Michele Ivaldi (ITA)

Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS)
Owner – Valentin Zavadnikov (RUS)
Professional Skipper – Evgeniy Neugodnikov (RUS)

Team Aqua (GBR)
Owner -Chris Bake (CAN)
Professional Skipper- Cameron Appleton (NZL)

Team Nika (RUS)
Owner - Vladimir Prosikhin (RUS)
Professional Skipper- Tomislav Basic (SLO)

2011 RC44 Championship Tour Ranking

(After two events)

1 ORACLE Racing (USA)
2 Team Aqua (GBR)
3 Katusha (RUS)
4 RC44 Team Ceeref (SLO)
5 No Way Back (NED)
6 Ironbound (USA)
7 Artemis Racing (SWE)
8 Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP)
9 Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team (GBR)
10 Aleph Sailing Team (FRA)
11 Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS)
12 AEZ RC44 Sailing Team (AUS)
13 Team Nika (RUS)