Published by the RC44 Class Association on 13/02/2022
Going into the final day of the 44Cup Calero Marinas, Igor Lah’s Ceeref powered by Hrastnik 1860 held a strong 11 point lead and took it to the wire. Normally this would have seen them packing their bags early, having won with a race to spare. However, this is the 44Cup, home of high performance one designs and owner-drivers surrounded by Olympic medallists, America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race winners and nothing is ever certain. Ultimately the Slovenian team did win here in Lanzarote, but for several tense minutes, victory seemed to have fully slipped through their fingers.
Today’s three races took place in a moderate easterly that built during the second race into the high teens.
Behind them a yacht racing masterclass took place as tactician Adrian Stead, Lah and the Ceeref crew fought back. By at the top mark they had recovered to eighth, by the leeward gate were sixth and after a stunning second upwind rounded the top mark second, which they held to the finish – enough to secure them 44Cup Calero Marinas victory.
“We wanted to keep some drama in! But I am relieved,” said Lah. “It is great to win the first event in the season. It is always like this in this class – you are never sure of anything.”
Stead continued: “All credit to Team Nika – they have been sailing well all week. We can definitely say this regatta was won by the recoveries – how many boats you could pass.” Team Nika had performed a similar feat in today’s first race, after their OCS. “The team did fantastically well and we kept believing in what we were doing, which is the key. I would say this is the best racing we have had in this class.”
Today’s stars were certainly Team Nika, posting a 2-2-1. “We’ve started to sail downwind much better so we have been gaining upwind and downwind,” explained Prosikhin. “It was difficult but very enjoyable. I loved every moment of it.” Of the last race, he added: “I looked back only approaching the finish line. Unfortunately, the first thing I saw was Ceeref – the only disappointment of the day!”
Half of the Team Nika crew are new for 2022 and Prosikhin paid special tribute to tactician Francesco Bruni. Bruni said that there had been more passing lanes today. “It was less stable with at times more pressure offshore. We sailed very well. This crew finished last season in a low moment and they needed a recovery. Here we had more practice, which really helped. Vladimir is really following my leadership of the team.”
Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing finished a solid third having won races on the first two days.
Trying their hand at RC44 racing, were the former Melges 32 champions on La Pericolosa, who led the fleet at the top mark at least twice. “It has been really good,” said British tactician and former 470 World Champion Nic Asher. “We have loved the boat and the class is really nice, welcoming, everyone has been giving tips and advice all week.”
Over the course of the 44Cup Calero Marinas’ 10 races, incredibly seven boats won races and after just six races, all 10 teams had podiumed.
44Cup racing resumes at the 44Cup Cascais over 11-15 May.
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