Uncertainly over the weather continued for day two of the RC44 Porto Cervo Cup, hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. In the event, competitors used most of their sails as, after a light to moderate start, the wind kicked in close to the class’ maximum limit and there were several significant shifts. Thanks to all this, there was plenty of excitement and many many lead changes, but it also proved a high scoring day for the nine RC44s.
Somehow after today’s second race three boats were tied on points in the lead, all suffering mid-fleet positions in the final race. This left Alexander Novoselov’s Katusha first, two points ahead of Igor Lah on Team CEEREF, the only boat to hold her position. Meanwhile, Dag von Appen’s Peninsula Petroleum, dropped to third, the result of a penalty in today’s first race and an OCS in race three.
Peninsula Petroleum began the day as she had finished yesterday, overhauling Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika to take the lead on the first downwind of the first race. However at the gate they picked up a penalty for failing to give Artemis Racing Youth adequate room. Up the second beat Team Nika and Chris Bake’s Team Aqua benefitted from a favourable shift on the left side, Team Aqua rounding the top mark first. However on the final run Igor Lah’s Team CEEREF put in a little hitch and was able to overtake to claim the first win of the day.
Jim Richardson, the three time Farr 40 World Champion who is standing in for Chris Bake on Team Aqua, explained: “We had a real shot at winning that race, but they brought in some breeze from behind and there wasn’t much you could do.”
The rain arrived and the wind piped up to 25+ knots causing PRO Peter Reggio to delay the second start. When the race did get underway, a big left shift soon after strongly benefitted Katusha. As tactician Andy Horton said: “The pin was favoured - we sailed for a couple of seconds, tacked and could have crossed anyone, but they all tacked under us.” While Katusha went on to win, it was also far from clear cut. Bronenosec rolled her into the gate, splitting from her. The two boats were then neck and neck up the second beat with Katusha only just recovering.
In the final race it was at last the turn of Nico Poons and Charisma to shine. They led round for the first three legs until a favourable shift greatly benefitted Team Aqua, enabling her to round the top mark on Charisma’s stern. As Team Aqua’s Cameron Appleton described it: “We had a really good set and they had a really bad set. We got inside them and pressured them, so they gybed early and we were able to extend and could cross them.” For a second time in two days Charisma was denied a bullet.
With Katusha leading, Alexander Novoselov came ashore at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda pleased if a little damp. “The weather here is like Marstrand! We were fine with the wind and the weather. Then someone said we were leading the regatta. It’s good news. It didn’t always feel like we were doing well - there is a feeling we can improve.”
For his American tactician Andy Horton there was also some relief: “We had the best day of anyone, but it didn’t feel like that. There were ups and downs. We were going well, not going well, going the right way, going the wrong way…”
With her 3-7-1, Team Aqua was second lowest scorer of the day after a disappointing Thursday. “There was only one way to go from there,” mused helmsman Jim Richardson, who admitted to feeling a little shell-shocked. “It has been two years since I’ve been on these boats and that was the last time I went sailing. The competition is really keen. You turn around and everyone is always right there. It is pretty impressive. The last race we were ripping. It was exciting and a little terrifying too - a lot of fun.”
With big winds forecast for tomorrow afternoon, the schedule will be brought forward by an hour with a first warning signal at 1100 CET.