While most sailors throughout the East Coast have been spending more time this winter practicing their snow-shoveling techniques than their spinnaker sets, the RC44 class just enjoyed a great Virgin Gorda Cup. The regatta was hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda on Virgin Gorda and attracted many of the fastest RC44 teams afloat. After five days of racing, Chris Bake's 'Team Aqua' emerged victorious, followed by John Bassadone's 'Peninsula Petroleum' and Valentin Zavadnikov's 'Synergy Russian Sailing Team'.
Bake and company managed to win the regatta in the last race of the series, snatching victory away from Bassadone's 'Peninsula Petroleum', who had been leading the regatta since day one. According to reports, a misjudged crossing incident that involved 'Peninsula Petroleum' and Vladimir Liubomirov's 'Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge' produced a new hull aperture in 'Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge', forcing the Russian-flagged team to limp ashore for repairs.
'We crashed in to 'Gazprom Youth'; we were bearing away, the main got stuck, didn't release and we went straight into them,' said Bassadone. 'We feel terrible for them because they had to retire and a complete disaster of a day really, especially as we were in control of the regatta with a bit of a cushion. We had a penalty at the start of that first race, got back to fourth position so everything was going well and then one big mistake and we gifted it away.'
While disappointment was palpable aboard aboard 'Peninsula Petroleum', racecourse tragedies always produce their own share of opportunities, in this case for Bake and his 'Team Aqua'. 'Were lucky to be racing here, it's one of the most incredible places in the [Caribbean],' said a happy Cameron Appleton, who serves as 'Team Aqua's' driver and tactician. 'To be racing RC44's here, they have one of the greatest formats and are one of the greatest classes around; it makes it even more special.'
As for 'Team Aqua's' go-forward plan, Bake is focused on keeping the team together and sailing fast. 'We're going to try and keep the team solid, it's important because when the racing is this close it's all about the crew work, everyone has to pull together and work well together,' said Bake.
Get the full scoop on the RC44 class's Virgin Gorda Cup, including a multi-media report, inside this issue.
Meanwhile, Cup fans are starting to get fidgety as the long wait for the design rule that will govern the boats that are used in the 35th America's Cup continues. According to reports, the design firm of Morrelli and Melvin is expected to release the new rule sometime in March. Fortunately, Pete Melvin was recently down in Auckland for the A-Class Catamaran Worlds, and Richard Gladwell, Sail-World's New Zealand editor, was able to sit down with Melvin for a video interview that covers the gamut from A-Cat design to the America's Cup.
And speaking of the A-Cat Worlds, Gladwell has also put together a great series of video interviews with race winners Glenn Ashby, Blair Tuke, Peter Burling and Ray Davies. Check these interviews out, inside this issue.
Also inside, get the latest report from the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, the upcoming BVI Spring Regatta (March 31 to April 6) and the post-racing report from the Southern California Yachting Association's Mid-Winter Optimist Champ and Green Classes.
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