RC44 Championship Tour 2012 second day of racing kicked off in Puerto Calero, Lanzarote. The fleet was eager to get racing underway. With a general recall to start the day, Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio was quick to get the black flag out with the forecast for boat breaking conditions.
The black flag duly kept the fleet behind the line for a clean start.
Aleph Sailing Team (FRA) were closest to the pin, too close, they were first to fall foul of the umpires, receiving a penalty for clipping the pin end buoy. This forced the French team to gybe and head to the right hand side of the course, a move that was ultimately to their advantage.
After a quick 1.4 mile beat and the wind hovering just under 20 knots it was Vladimir Prosikhin (RUS) steering Team Nika (RUS) who rounded the windward mark first closely followed by Ironbound (USA), Synergy (RUS), Katusha (RUS) and then No Way Back (NED). The Dutch team’s new tactician Ross MacDonald (CAN) called for the early gybe as they rounded the spreader mark, by the leeward gate they were on the tail of Team Nika.
By the final run No Way Back had edged ahead of Team Nika, putting some much needed clear space between themselves and the fleet behind. A late call to gybe for the line saw the pair having to two sail into the finish line, but Dutch team had enough room to take the race win.
A good opener to the season for the No Way Back team: 'We had an OK start today and then really good speed upwind, we came around the first mark about fifth and had a good gybe out very quick. It was great boat handling and fantastic work by the guys, we just power over the fleet downwind. We had a couple of mistakes take downs but downwind we were really flying. It was just great.' Pieter Heerema, owner/driver, No Way Back.
Artemis Racing (SWE) and French Aleph Sailing Team relished in the full on surfing conditions and took full advantage of other teams mistakes. Artemis Racing, who had rounded the first windward mark in 13th place, stormed across the finish line in second place having timed their final gybe to perfection. Aleph was just behind, managing to plane across the line ahead of early leaders Team Nika, who could only watch as they two sailed into the finish.
Mathieu Richard, tactician, Aleph Sailing Team. 'We got a penalty today in the pre start for touching the pin mark, it was our mistake we miss judged the pin lay line and so we had to gybe and go to the right side of the course. But we were lucky with that because my goal was to go for the left and in fact the right was not too bad, we managed to pass around the first mark in 10th place. We did a gybe set and were directly on the gate, it was a good call and we jumped into third place at that point which was a great come back we gained seven or eight places at once.'
It was also the first day the fleet had raced with the new larger mainsail which has increased two square metres in size to 73.1 sq, but with the head of the sail increasing from 1.70m to 2.5m, it was a good test for the new set-up as Torbjorn Tornqvist from Artemis Racing explained. 'The new main gives the boats a little more sail area, particularly to give the boats a little more power in the lighter winds. The main was great even in winds like today when you would normally want a smaller main, as far as we saw it performed really well, it was easy to manage and you could de-power it in the top. It’s difficult to say on a day like today, a lot of the sailing was about surviving but i think in the light winds it will make a real difference.'
With the wind increasing to a steady 30 knots plus the fleet were sent ashore. With a similar forecast tomorrow racing will start at the earlier time of 10.30 (GMT) for the first warning signal. Follow the live blog on the event website
. Quotes of the day
Ross MacDonald, tactician, No Way Back: My first time sailing an RC44 was yesterday and I really enjoyed it. It’s a fun boat to sail, really physical and great performance. It’s an interesting dynamic stepping in to the team as a lot of these guys have been sailing together for a long time, for me the team have a really good idea of how to set the boat up which obviously makes my job a lot easier.
The class isn’t lacking talent for sure which makes it exciting and the fact that the boats are strict one design class means the racing doesn’t get much better.
Vladimir Prosikhin, owner/driver, Team Nika: Today was a very good race, with fantastic wind and nice conditions, we were a bit over powered all the time but it was a lot of fun to go downwind. I think some of the boats got speeds up to 23-24 knots but for us it was a little less. We led the first leg and were in close competition for the second place but unfortunately gybed late (to the finish) so only got fourth. RC44 Class Association website