At this year’s RC44 Oman Cup, the opening event of the RC44 Championship Tour, the Shamal, the wind that blows over the Persian Gulf states, put paid to the final day of racing.
The teams were sent out onto the race course, but with gusts of 38 knots and the wind averaging 27, the 13 teams were quickly dispatched ashore. Some may have thought Oman would be a light wind’s venue, but this week has seen 20 knot days down to four knots.
With no racing, Gennadi Timchenko’s Katusha were crowned the RC44 Oman Cup winners. It has been an excellent event for the Russian team. With new tactician Andy Horton at the helm the team were undefeated on the match race day, Steve Howe then took over for the fleet racing, winning four of the eight races, leading from start to finish.
'We had a great week, hitting all the cylinders straight off the bat. We hope we can keep up the wins for the rest of the season, but there are some great teams out here. Not sailing today it helped us out, but we went out and had a little bit of fun, put the spinnaker up and ripped around which was great. These boats are just wonderful to sail in the breeze and in the light air.' Andy Horton, Tactician, Katusha.
Chris Bake’s Team Aqua fought back to second overall after the team were given a DSQ (14 points) plus three additional penalty points for the incident that led to Ironbound’s scoop ripping so dramatically away from its hull. However, tactician Cameron Appleton was looking at the positives. 'We have sailed a pretty good event, obviously Katusha did an unbelievable event so congratulations to them. From our side of things, we reached all of our goals and objectives, we had one very costly incident but to bounce back to second after that and produce some good results on the back of it, that was positive. It (the jury process) has clarified how we could have protected ourselves to walk away with a few less points if we ever found ourselves in the situation again.'
Artemis Racing finished third overall after a slow start to the regatta. Owner Torbjorn Tornqvist was satisfied with the result and looking forward to the next event in Trapani, another new venue for the RC44 class. 'It’s not a bad start to the season; I’m pleased after all the ups and downs with our results, in the end to finish in third place is not bad considering. I’m looking forward to Trapani; it will be another new venue for me, we will have a few crew changes to deal with due to the America’s Cup, which is never ideal, but we will find a good solution.'
Oman Sail have put on an excellent event, at their headquarters in The Wave, Muscat. The Omani hospitality has been second to none, including an excellent gala dinner hosted outside at The Wave, Muscat’s new golf course where the Shamal wind and rain arrived on cue after dessert had finished.
Issa Al Ismaili, Director of Events at Oman Sail has been in charge of delivering the RC44 Oman Cup. 'It has been a really good event for Oman Sail. It is a well organised fun class to work with. From the owner’s perspective and the teams the appreciation has been good from all sides. We have been blessed once again with good sailing conditions and we were happy to hear quotes from the sailors and visitors that the event here exceeded their expectations and opened their eye to what Oman has to offer.'
The RC44 Championship Tour now moves to Trapani, Sicily from 30th April to 5th May.
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