Sunday, October 10, 2010

Inaugural RC 44 Worlds set to commence in Canary Isles

A fleet of 13 boats are on hand for what is expected to be a windy event
LANZAROTE, Canary Islands (10 October 2010) – The inaugural RC 44 World Championship is set to commence tomorrow with 13 boats contesting the Islas Canarias Puerto Calero Cup off this Spanish archipelago in the eastern Atlantic Ocean.

The RC 44 Class Association gained ISAF World status in June during its fourth season of competition.

“It’s great to have ISAF recognize the class,” Coutts said. “Obviously they provide a lot of help with the on-water umpiring and race officials and so forth, so it’s great that we’ve been able to achieve world championship status with ISAF. It’s going to be a fantastic regatta.”

The world championship event holds added significance because it is also the fifth of six events that constitute the 2010 season championship. BMW ORACLE Racing leads the standings with 6 points, but three other crews are just 1 point behind.

Included in that mix is Torbjorn Tornqvist’s third-placed Artemis, led in the upcoming match racing portion of the regatta by Terry Hutchinson of the U.S. Hutchinson arrives in Lanzarote fresh off winning the TP 52 World Championship.

“It would be extremely nice and gratifying to have back-to-back world championship wins, but we’re aware there are new teams to the fleet and the competition is getting better and better,” Hutchinson said. “Our big-picture goal is to finish on the podium to keep our season championship hopes alive.”

Team Sea Dubai holds sixth place overall, but is just 7 points behind the season leader. Professional skipper Markus Wieser of Germany said his team is relaxed and confident going into the match racing and the key to their performance will be how they begin the regatta.

“If you start strong then you feel strong and you can beat whoever comes next. But if you lose the first few races and start thinking about what you’ve done wrong, then you risk missing the point in the next race,” Wieser said. “It’s like tennis or football. When you’re under pressure you make mistakes. It’s a lot of psychological and mental errors that can work for you or against you in match racing.”

The class also welcomes newcomers Synergy Russian Sailing Team and Peninsula Petroleum.

Synergy skipper Maxim Logutenko raced in the RC 44 Valencia Cup as guest helmsman aboard BMW ORACLE Racing in the fleet racing portion of the regatta and placed fifth.

Peninsula Petroleum is led by John Bassadone of England. The crew has raced extensively in the GP 42 Med Cup Series this year.

The weather is shaping up to be windy and wet. According to noted meteorologist Chris Bedford, the weather gods got word that a regatta is going on this week and are arranging an unusual weather pattern.

“Winds are expected to become somewhat fickle and changeable this week as a series of weather systems moves across the central Atlantic and toward southwestern Europe, disturbing the normally reliable trade winds that blow across Lanzarote,” Bedford said.

According to Bedford, tomorrow is expected to be unsettled as a cold front moves across the racing area. Rain squalls and very gusty winds are forecast in the morning followed by a drying period in the afternoon with moderate northerly winds.

The match racing portion of the regatta is expected to begin tomorrow with the first warning signal scheduled for 1130 local.

Photo: Copyright Ignacio Baixauli / RC 44 Class - BMW ORACLE Racing, current leader of the RC 44 Championship Tour