by Jo Grindley
At the RC44 Trapani Cup, seven-points separate the top three boats going into the final day of racing. With no discards allowed at the RC44 events, no-one is taking bets on who will lift the RC44 Trapani Cup. Igor Lah and Michele Ivaldi on-board Team CEEREF turned the gas up on their opposition winning the day’s opening race; Team Aqua did enough to stay in contention in second overall, while Katusha’s win in the second race of the day pulled them up into the top three for the first time in Trapani.
Igor Lah (SLO) at the helm or Team CEEREF - 2013 RC44 Trapani Cup
It was the weather on the penultimate day of racing at the RC44 Trapani Cup that threw up the most surprises. The day started in a perfect 12-14 knots NE breeze that steadily increased throughout the first race, with the second starting in a lively 20 knots and a metre high swell. After a 40 minute delay race three got underway. With the breeze topping 22 knots the fleet changed to small gennakers, but the gun had only just sounded when a thunder and lightning storm hit. The race committee were quick to abandon and the fleet sent ashore for the day.
Michele Ivaldi, tactician on Team CEEREF summed up the days conditions. 'Just before the beginning of the first race we could see the white clouds San Francisco style rolling across the mountain which was a sign of more wind coming, the wind went from 14 up to 22 knots during the day which is really beautiful conditions for these boats, with about a metre waves, just enough to get the boats to wake-up and surf the waves. I think if you ask any owners they will have a smile on their face because in these conditions the boats really start to become fun.'
The storm rolls in over the RC44 fleet - 2013 RC44 Trapani Cup
In the racing it was Team CEEREF took their first race win in the day’s opener. Deciding not to tack straight off the start-line, the Slovenian team came into the top mark at pace, rolling over the top of Team Nika and Team Aqua on the approach, to lead from start to finish. Artemis Racing, who always enjoy the breeze, moved up into second by the finish, with Katusha sailing a solid race posting a third. A fifth for Team Aqua meant Igor Lah’s team had regained the overall lead in Trapani from the defending RC44 Tour Champions.
With the breeze increasing for the second race the boats starting towards the favoured pin end of the line reached the top mark ahead. Steve Howe and Andy Horton on-board Katusha rounded first then proceeded to make a jump on the fleet. Overnight leaders Team Aqua called a very thin lay-line and were forced to gybe just before the windward mark, rounding 12th. A 20 degree shift on the second beat bought the fleet back together, with Aqua climbed back to seventh at the finish.
Owner driver Chris Bake summed up Team Aqua’s day. 'We’ve been up and down a bit this regatta it’s just a matter of sailing clean and staying out of trouble which unfortunately we did neither of today, so that was a little tough. But it is the reality of the class, all the boats are really good and it’s a matter of seconds that make the difference.'
Team CEEREF and Synergy Russian Sailing Team - 2013 RC44 Trapani Cup
Team CEEREF slotted in another top five finish and now lead going into the final day, five-points clear of Team Aqua. Katusha move up into third, just two-points further adrift.
Vladimir Prosikhin and Tomislav Basic’s solid day on-board Team Nika move them up into fourth on equal points with the Torbjorn Tornqvist/Paul Cayard combination on Artemis Racing.
The stronger wind definitely tested the crew wok on-board the 13 competing RC44’s, but for the team at the top of the leader-board it was a very enjoyed the day, as Igor Lah explained. 'The wind was much stronger, it was extremely fun going downwind we were able to pick some nice waves and that’s really enjoyable on a day like today. It’s a brilliant feeling, when you catch a good wave and really speed up the boat that’s probably the best feeling you can get.'
The final day of racing in Sicily is Sunday 5th May.
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Hugues Lepic (FRA) / Mathieu Richard (FRA)Artemis Racing (SWE44)
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David Murphy (USA) / Paul Goodison (GBR)Katusha (RUS 007)
Gennadi Timchenko (RUS) / Andy Horton (USA)MAG Racing (POL44)
Krzysztof Krempec (POL) / Piotr Przybylski (POL)Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team (GBR 1)
John Bassadone (GBR) / Vasco Vascotto (ITA)
Igor Lah (SLO) / Michele Ivaldi (ITA)RUS-7 Sail Racing Team powered by AnyWayAnyDay.com (RUS7)
Kirill Podolsky (RUS) / Serguei Chevtsov (RUS)Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS 13)
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Chris Bake (GBR) / Cameron Appleton (NZL)Team Italia (ITA7)
Massimo Barranco (ITA) / Flavio Flavini (ITA)Team Nika (RUS 10)
Vladimir Prosikhin (RUS) / Tomislav Basic (CRO)