At the RC44 World Championships in Puerto Calero, Lanzarote it was a frustrating day for the crews but, Torbjorn Tornqvist, Morgan Larson and the Artemis Racing Team (SWE) managed to dominate in the only race of the day.
It wasn’t so much lack of wind, although it wasn’t in abundance today, but the 180 degree shifts that delayed racing for two hours. The wind fluctuated from 3-8 knots throughout the day. When it eventually stabilised the NE gradient had given way to a southerly breeze.
Racing got underway in eight knots, but by the first windward mark it had dropped to just four, dropping further by the finish. The Swedish team made the best of the conditions. They started at the pin end of the line at pace, Team Nika (RUS) rounded the windward mark just ahead of them, a big shift led Artemis Racing to gybe on the spreader mark and they stayed ahead of the fleet and out of trouble from then on.
Morgan Larson (USA) described the team’s tactics. 'Our plan was to try and go left a little bit for the shift and for the current. It worked out better that we expected. Torbjorn and Andy Fethers, on the bow, timed the start perfectly and managed to stay between the next boat and the mark the whole time, as we didn’t know which direction the wind was eventually going to go. At the end we were drifting to the finish.'
Larson was one of the few happy with how their day panned out. 'As always it’s tricky sailing here and Peter (Reggio the RC44 Race Officer) did a good job of squeezing that race in, although it got a little sketchy on the last leg!'
Others including No Way Back’s owner Pieter Heerema (NED) put their day down to luck. The team were nearly last after the first leg having gybed wide round the spreader mark, letting a number of boats inside. They effectively parked up, but their own private puff on the final leg took them up to third in the race and overall standings after four races sailed.
'We came in a long way behind to the first mark and managed to catch up but that was because the wind was all over the place, then on the last run we rounded really bad and seemed to catch our own private breeze all the way down and everybody parked up in front of the finish we just drifted down and over the line a bit faster than the others. Pure luck!' Pieter Heerema, owner and helm, No Way Back.
The home team, Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, were always in contention throughout the race, eventually finishing seventh as Daniel Calero explained. 'Today was very frustrating. We were doing well, comfortably in second place coming into the finish and then no pressure at all. We lost five positions stopped right at the finish line. In the final results we’re not doing too bad and gained one position overall taking us to second, so although it was a bad day we have a good result.'
Team Aqua made the comeback of the day, opting to stay well away from their competitors on the final run, they moved from seventh to second with a breeze line that took them all the way down to the finish as other’s struggled to fill their sails.
One who got caught in the mêlée was overnight leaders Peninsula Petroleum as owner/driver John Bassadone described. '50 meters from the line, we were fifth, then third and then twelfth! It was a complete mess. But then that’s sailing, it happens and you just have to get on with it. Tomorrow we will come back and try to recover the points.'
Forecasters are predicting an increasing and steadier breeze tomorrow for the penultimate day of the RC44 World Championship and final event of the 2011 Championship Tour.