The countdown is on to the second edition of the 2017 RC44 Championship Tour and with Artemis Racing and Artemis Racing Youth riding high from their recent America’s Cup success, we are predicting a shake-up in the leaderboard.
Returning to the beautiful Mediterranean sailing mecca of Porto Cervo, Sardinia over the 29th June – 2nd July, the fleet will once again be hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in this, its 50th Anniversary year.
Porto Cervo sees the return of the youth team after their fourth-place finish at the Red Bull Youth Americas Cup and the fleet is once again up to a full starting grid of nine boats. In pole position, Chris Bake’s Team Aqua, after winning the RC44 Sotogrande Cup last month by a slim three-point margin.
But it wasn’t easy for Bake, with the win going down to the final race and closest rivals John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum and Bronenosec Sailing Team, with new helm Kirill Frolov, chasing hard in second and third respectively.
After making it through to the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger playoff finals in Bermuda earlier this month, Artemis Racing returns its full focus to the RC44 and their first regatta since the knockout.
Tactician Francesco Bruni explains that it’s not easy for the crew to transition between the flying catamarans and the RC44: “Everything is different, so it is quite hard. Not only the shifts but the angles, the tactics around the course compared to the other boat, etc. On the cat, there are only two boats on the course, which makes it different. There are fewer decisions to make around the course, but you pay much more for those decisions. RC44 racing is much better for the tactics because you have more decisions to make” he said.
Currently sixth on the overall leaderboard Torbjorn Tornqvist's team will be looking for a good result in Porto Cervo to put them in the best possible position going into their home event, the Marstrand World Championships, in Sweden this August.
A difficult season opener for Team CEEREF saw the defending World and Series Champions in the unusual position of seventh, their lowest result in the past two years, but it isn’t likely to last long as according to tactician Adrian Stead they are “just warming up”.
Racing begins at 12.00 (UCT+1) on Thursday 29th June and fans can follow the action blow-by-blow at www.rc44.com