RC44 Championship Tour heads to Austria
by Jo Grindley on 28 May 2012
RC44 Championship Tour 2012 next stop is the RC44 Austria Cup which is being held on Lake Traunsee from 30th May until 2nd June.
RC44 Austria Cup 2011 - RC44 Austria Cup 2012 © Hans Osterauer
It was the 2011 RC44 Austria Cup that saw the Russian Team Nika owned by Vladimir Prosikhin and Aleph Sailing Team (FRA), make their RC44 Tour debuts.
Meanwhile, for Chris Bake’s Team Aqua (GBR) last season’s Lake Traunsee event saw them compete for the first time in their brand new boat, the boat in which they went on to claim the 2011 Championship Tour title.
It has been a memorable year for Team Nika, with Croatian Olympic sailor Tomislav Basic as tactician. The team quickly established themselves as serious competitors within the fleet when they won a fleet race and two match races at their debut event.
Vladimir Prosikhin, owner of Team Nika said: 'Racing in the RC44 fleet has exceeded my expectations and has given me the best sailing experience I have ever had. The level of sailing in the fleet is vey high; with virtually no weak teams it is fierce competition out on the racecourse. Last year in Austria just before my first race Russell told me that I would win my first RC44 race probably sooner than I expected, but the real challenge would be to stay consistent for the race after race, and he was right! With some luck I won a fleet race and two match races in my first RC44 regatta. It has taken time and effort to establish Nika as a competitive team and we still have a lot of things to improve on.'
For Team Aqua, Austria presents the opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the 2012 fleet racing leaderboard and to try to cut into the three point gap which currently separates themselves in fourth and leaders Synergy (RUS) in the match racing.
Having opened their 2012 account with fleet racing victory at the RC44 Puerto Calero Cup in Lanzarote, Team Aqua settled for second behind Katusha (RUS) at event two in Cascais, Portugal. Aqua holds a healthy six-point lead over nearest challengers, Artemis Racing (SWE) with three events (Austria, Sweden and Croatia) to contest.
Meanwhile, Synergy – with 2007 America’s Cup winning helm and ISAF Rolex Sailor of the Year Ed Baird (USA) as the boat’s new pro for the 2012 Tour – holds a two point advantage over fellow countrymen Katusha in the match racing. But Katusha, who will have Brad Butterworth aboard in Austria, replacing Russell Coutts, are breathing down their necks.
Home interest in Austria again comes courtesy of the Rene Mangold-owned AEZ RC 44 Sailing Team. Although made up largely of amateur sailors, AEZ boasts Christian Binder, who represented Austria in the 470 class at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics and is a former Soling European champion, while Portugal’s Nuno Barreto, a veteran of three Olympics, a 1996 470 Games bronze medallist and a member of the Desafío Español 2007 America’s Cup crew, is in his second season with the AEZ team. Top match racer Markus Wieser (GER) is on tactics.
However many times the Tour visits, the flat water and unpredictable weather conditions on Lake Traunsee often create tricky tactical predicaments that can catch out even the most experienced of sailors.
Teams competing in the RC44 Austria Cup 2012:
AEZ Sailing Team (AUT44) - Rene Mangold (AUT) / Markus Wieser (GER)
AFX Capital Racing (ITA7) - Massimo Barranco (ITA) / Gabriele Bruni (ITA)
Aleph Sailing Team (FRA17) - Hugues Lepic (FRA) / Mathieu Richard (FRA)
Artemis Racing (SWE44) - Torbjorn Tornqvist (SWE) / Morgan Larson (USA)
Katusha (RUS 007) - Gennadi Timchenko (RUS) /Brad Butterworth (NZL)
No Way Back (NED 18) - Pieter Heerema (NED) / Jonathan McKee (USA)
Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team (GBR 1) - John Bassadone (GBR) / Vasco Vascotto (ITA)
RC44 Team Ceeref (SLO 11) - Igor Lah (SLO) / Michele Ivaldi (ITA)
RUS-7 Sail Racing Team powered by AnyWayAnyDay.com (RUS7) - Kirill Podolsky (RUS) / Sergui Chevtsov (RUS)
Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS 13) - Valentin Zavadnikov (RUS) / Ed Baird (USA)
Team Aqua (GBR 2041) - Chris Bake (GBR) / Cameron Appleton (NZL)
Team Nika (RUS 10) - Vladimir Prosikhin (RUS) / Tomislav Basic (CRO)
Overall Fleet Race Ranking (After two events)
1 Team Aqua – 3
2 Artemis Racing – 9
3 Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team – 9
4 Katusha – 11
5 RC44 Team Ceeref – 13
6 Aleph Sailing Team – 14
7 AEZ RC44 Sailing Team – 14
8 Synergy Russian Sailing Team – 16
9 Ironbound – 16
10 No Way Back- 17
11 Puerto Calero – 18
12 Team Nika – 21
13 RUS-7 Sailing Team – 25
14 AFX Capital Racing – 26
15 Aegir – 29
Overall Match Race Ranking (After two events)
1 Synergy Russian Sailing Team – 11
2 Katusha – 9
3 Aleph Sailing Team – 9
4 Team Aqua – 8
5 RC44 Team Ceeref – 7
6 AEZ RC44 Sailing Team – 6
7 Puerto Calero – 6
8 No Way Back – 6
9 Artemis Racing – 6
10 Team Nika - 6
11 RUS-7 Sailing Team – 5
12 Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team – 4
13 Ironbound – 1
14 Aegir -0
15 AFX CapitalRacing – 0
RC44 Class Association website