Switzerland’s Black Star Sailing Team has confirmed it will join the 44Cup for the second event of the 2022 season in Cascais, Portugal, over 11-15 May.
Led by passionate amateur sailor Christian Zuerrer, Black Star Sailing Team will be running their 44Cup program alongside their successful GC32 Racing Tour campaign, in which they finished third overall in 2021. In Cascais, the team will be racing on the class’s own RC44, which is available for potential owners to try, before their new boat, which only came out of the factory last week, is ready to race.
Some old and new faces will join Black Star Sailing’s crew. RC44 veteran, New Zealand’s Cameron Dunn, will be calling tactics and guiding the new team through the challenges of racing their lively, high performance yacht against the fleet of eight other RC44 one designs and their highly experienced, competitive crews. Dunn brings with him onto the team fellow Kiwi, Emirates Team New Zealand grinder Guy Endean and experienced RC44 pitman Simon Johnson, from Ireland.
Transferring over from Black Star Sailing’s GC32 crew will be mainsail trimmer Flavio Marazzi, trimmer Will Alloway and Swiss sailors, offside trimmer Grégoire Siegwart and bowman Nick Zeltner.
Founded in 2019, Black Star Sailing Team initially set out as a campaign to promote amateur sailors. Owner/driver Christian Zuerrer explains: "The 44Cup's pro/am rule, the simplicity of the one-design boat and the highly professional racing circuit allows me to achieve my goal of providing a pathway for young sailors into the world of professional racing. It is the perfect platform to understand what goes into an international regatta of this level".
Despite having two teams unable to compete due to the World Sailing sanctions, the 44Cup still has at least eight regular teams confirmed as being on the start line at each of its five events this season, plus there is a ninth, the RC44 class boat, booked out for potential owners to get a taste of RC44 racing.
One of the few professional sailing classes that maintained its full schedule of racing in 2021; plus the continued devotion to the class of it enthusiastic owners’ group and considerable interest from new teams wanting to join the 44Cup, on top of a fleet of at least nine boats – the 44Cup is bucking the trend and enjoying a period of growth, despite these troubled times.
Photo credit: GC32 Racing Tour / Sailing Energy
Black Star Sailing at the 2021 GC32 World Championship prizegiving in Villasimius