Local Swedish fans were rewarded on the penultimate day of the RC44 Marstrand World Championship when Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing dramatically improved its performance, following mid-fleet finishes over the last two days.
The shifty on-shore southwesterly today provided good racing, despite the wind rarely gusting over 16 knots.
In the first race Artemis Racing got the inside berth on Team Nika at the second weather mark, enabling her to pull into the lead and extend down the final run into the finish.
In winning the race, the Swedish team became this World Championship’s seventh individual winner in as many races, giving some indication as to the intense level of competition. However Torbjörn Törnqvist’s team bucked this trend, going on to make it two in a row, by claiming race two. This proved similar to the first race only with the Swedish team faster out of the start, again pulling into the lead at the second top mark rounding but then hanging on down to the finish line within the tight confines of Marstrand Fjord.
With a sixth place in today’s third and final race, Artemis Racing now lies sixth overall, but only five points adrift of the podium.
Torbjorn Tornqvist celebrates on the doc - RC44 Marstrand World Championship 2014 - © Pedro Martinez / Martinez Studio / RC44 Click Here to view large photo
'The biggest different today was that we were all very focussed, we had great boat speed and no real issues on the boat – when you have that it is easier,' admitted Törnqvist. There were no changes made overnight, however Törnqvist felt he had steered better 'and everything worked well on board in terms of the teamwork and the tactics. It was one of those days…'
In the moderate conditions, boat handling was vital, but going the right way was paramount and Artemis Racing tactician and triple Olympic medallist Iain Percy felt his team had had some lucky breaks. 'In a fleet of this standard, if you get some breaks, any of the boats is good enough to win. And we got some breaks… We had really good starts in all three races and the shifts fell our way upwind and we also had some good pace: Put that all together and suddenly we were at the front!'
Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team (GBR1) - RC44 Marstrand World Championship 2014 - © Pedro Martinez / Martinez Studio / RC44 Click Here to view large photo
Current tour leaders John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum have struggled to find consistency in Sweden with results solely in either the top four or the bottom three. While lying second in race two today, an umpire call went against them, the result of an incident with Bronenosec prior to the second leeward mark rounding. Italian tactician Vasco Vascotto was thrown by this and in error made to call to gybe once they were into the Marstrand Fjord, a move that caused them ultimately to finish the race last.
However the Gibraltar-based team regrouped and came out firing on all cylinders to win the final race. 'We have had a very inconsistent regatta so far,' observed Bassadone. 'In three races we have scored 33 points and in six races we have scored 14 points. We have had a 10, 11, 12, which is just unacceptable, all from different things: One OCS, one issue on the boat, which happens, and then the penalty. At least we showed character in the way that we came back and won the last one.'
Conversely showing the greatest consistency has been Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec, which with a 6-4-2 today has taken the lead overall, six points ahead of Nico Poons’ new RC44 team, Charisma.
'It was a tough day for us, because the first race was not successful,' said Liubomirov. 'In the second unfortunately we had the small incident with Peninsula and they got the penalty, but we lost two places. The last one was amazing, a good recovery after the first two.'
Tomorrow, three more races are scheduled and with a return to the big conditions of the first two days of this regatta and winds gusting into the mid-20s, there remains a lot of racing still to go in this RC44 World Championship. As John Bassadone put it: 'Tomorrow is going to be very tough because there are a lot of very good boats – Bronenosec is on fire, there’s Charisma and Artemis Racing today has shown its true form today…'
Racing continues tomorrow with the first warning signal at 11.30 local time.
Bronenosec Sailing Team (RUS18) - RC44 Marstrand World Championship 2014 - © Pedro Martinez / Martinez Studio / RC44 Click Here to view large photo