The fifth and final event of the 2021 44Cup Championship Tour is to conclude next week in Puerto Calero, Lanzarote. The nine boats entered are lining up for an ultra-competitive conclusion.
In true 44Cup style, the scoreboard remains impressively close going into the final regatta of the season. At present, Chris Bake's Team Aqua is ahead on five points. Bake holds a slim lead over the chasing pack but has the psychological advantage, coming to Lanzarote fresh from victory in the World Championship event in Scarlino, Italy, last month with the 44Cup series leader's 'golden wheels' proudly fitted onboard.
Two points behind in second is 2019 defending tour champion Igor Lah's team CEEREF powered by Hrastnik 1860 and in third 2018 tour champion Nico Poons' Charisma. Both teams won their titles in the previous year with impressive come-from-behind victories in the closing moments of the season and will be looking to do the same next week.
Hosted over the 17 - 21 November in Puerto Calero, Lanzarote's most established yacht harbour has been a favoured winter destination for the RC44 fleet over the years thanks to its winter sun and strong northeasterly trade winds. Organisers Calero Marinas have seen many 44Cup showdowns having hosted six regattas and three World Championships since 2008.
"Two values embodied by the 44Cup we have sorely missed during the pandemic," explains Jose Juan Calero Managing Director of Calero Marinas, "the deep-rooted sailing camaraderie and a pure passion for insanely close, one-design racing. We've been fortunate to have hosted nine regattas in Lanzarote, and have made some life-long friends over the years. This November the event returns to its origins, for us, in Puerto Calero. We can't wait".
Of the remaining fleet, just eight points separate the top five teams. Hugues Lepic's fourth-placed Aleph Racing and Torbjorn Tornqvist's fifth-placed Artemis Racing are within reach of claiming the 2021 title. Aleph's best result this season has been a win at the Cowes event in the UK, whereas Artemis' has hit the podium in third twice this year, first at their home event in Marstrand, Sweden and then again at the World Championship in Italy.
Behind them is a tie between Vladimir Prosikhin's Team Nika and Pavel Kuznetsov's Atom Tavatuy; if either team is on form next week while the main contenders are not, then the Russian-based crews could reach the overall season's podium.
New to the fleet in Lanzarote will be British Olympian Giles Scott replacing America's Cup legend Ed Baird as tactician onboard Peninsula Racing and Valeriya Kovalenko with her team ARTTube who will return with a new boat. Kovalenko formally joins the fleet after a successful debut in Scarlino last month as part of the 44Cup's black boat project, which allows a guest team to trial race an RC44 at a regatta to get a feel for how good the competitive one-design fleet is.
To find out more about the 44Cup Calero Marinas, visit www.44cup.org.