Tuesday, March 1, 2011

San Diego gets ready for the RC44 class

San Diego is ready to once again put on a sensational sailing show as the opening round of 2011 RC44 Championship Tour gets underway in Southern California.

Eleven teams will go head-to-head for the Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego between 2-6 March, as for the first time in its five-year history the RC44 Tour visits America’s West Coast.
San Diego is etched in yachting folklore having hosted the America’s Cup on three successive occasions from 1988 to 1995 and being home to some of the sport’s most iconic figures such as Dennis Conner, Lowell North and Malin Burnham.

With the event line-up reading like a who’s who of modern day sailing greats, the city again gets the chance to shine as a venue that attracts the best of the world’s top talent. This include's American yachting legend Paul Cayard, four-time America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts and, joining the class for the first time in 2011, America’s 2004 Olympic 470 Class champion Kevin Burnham.

Olympic gold and silver medallist and multiple America’s Cup campaigner Rod Davis, who is coaching the crew of Igor Lah’s Ceeref, grew up sailing on San Diego waters. He is looking forward to seeing the RC44s doing battle in the Bay he knows so well.

“Some of my best memories are of my younger sailing days at the Coronado and San Diego yacht clubs with people like Chuck Hope, Jerry LaDow and Lowell North,” Rod reveals. “San Diego has a long history of yachting; it’s the culture that you compete at a high level when you sail here, it’s expected of you, which raises the level of everyone.

“You almost always get breeze in San Diego, and 80 per cent of the time it’s between 8-12 knots, which will suit the RC44 really well. The crew has a lot on to get the best out of the boat but all the crews are very good so you have to be at your best if you’re going to be competitive and your very, very best to win.”

The defining spirit of the RC44 Championship Tour is amateur owners racing alongside the biggest names in professional sailing on thoroughbred one-design racing machines. No-one gives an inch, with skippers pushing the boats and their crews to the boundaries of their extensive capabilities.

Over the five days in San Diego, the owners will be at the wheel for four days of fleet racing while the pro sailors get their chance to shine at the helm on one day of match racing. Three to four fleet races are scheduled per day with no discard, every race placing really counts.

Long Beach native Bob Little, an experienced one-design and offshore sailor, will helm Katusha for the fleet racing alongside Paul Cayard, who will steer in the match racing. He added: “I know San Diego will host a fantastic event. I expect a great result from Katusha as we’ve learned a lot sailing together in previous events and hope to build on that. I’m fortunate to be on a team with such great sailors.”

Racing will take place directly in front of the new, spectator friendly Port Pavilion at the Broadway Pier, giving the audience a perfect view of the action in a natural amphitheatre.
For full information about the Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego and the RC44 class visit www.rc44.com - view the full crew lists for San Diego here.

2011 RC44 Championship Tour dates:
2 – 6 March- Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego, USA
11 – 15 May- RC44 Austria Cup Gmunden, Austria
29 June – 3 July- Italy / France
17 – 21 August- RC44 Marstrand Cup, Sweden
28 September–2 October -Spain
15 – 20 November- 2011 RC44 World Championships, Puerto Calero, Lanzarote

List of entrants – Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego
AEZ RC44 Sailing Team (AUT)
Owner – Rene Mangold (AUT)
Professional Skipper – Peter Evens (NZL)

Artemis Racing (SWE)
Owner – Torbjorn Tornqvist (SWE)
Professional Skipper – Morgan Larson (USA)

Ironbound (USA)
Owner – David Murphy (USA)
Professional Skipper – Kevin Burnham (USA)

Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP)
Owner– Daniel Calero (ESP)
Professional Skipper - Jose Maria Ponce (ESP)

Katusha (RUS)
Professional Skipper – Paul Cayard (USA)

No Way Back (NED)
Owner – Pieter Heerema (NED)
Professional Skipper – Rod Dawson (NZL)

Owner – Larry Ellison (USA)
Professional Skipper – Russell Coutts (NZL)

Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team (GBR)
Owner – John Bassadone (GBR)
Professional Skipper - Iñaki Castañer (ESP)

Owner – Igor Lah (SLO)
Professional Skipper –Michelle Ivaldi (ITA)

Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS)
Owner – Valentin Zavadnikov (RUS)
Professional Skipper – Evgeniy Neugodnikov (RUS)

Team Aqua (UAE)
Owner -Chris Bake (CAN)
Professional Skipper- Cameron Appleton (NZL)