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The stage is set for the 2018 RC44 Championship Tour finale next week

by RC44 Class Association 10 Nov 2018 06:17 PST 14-18 November 2018
Team Nika will be hoping to repeat their winning performance from the 2018 RC44 World Championship © Martinez Studio / RC44 Class

Next week the RC44 fleet will once again take to the waters of Cascais, Portugal, for the final showdown of the 2018 season, over the 14th– 18th November. Of the eight teams competing five are in contention for the title, pitching some of the biggest names in yacht racing against one another on the one-design RC44 racing yacht.

Having defended their World Championship trophy last month, becoming the first team ever to claim a hat trick of RC44 World titles, Vladimir Prosikhin and tactician Dean Barker of Team Nika currently lead the fleet.

Probably the biggest threat to Nika's race for the overall season title comes in the form of Barker's old Emirates Team New Zealand team mate Ray Davies on Nico Poons' Charisma. After a disappointing fifth at last month's World Championship the team slip from the top of the leaderboard down to third, behind Igor Lah's second placed Team CEEREF.

As a result, next week the crew on Charisma will be gunning to make amends and claim the 2018 title for themselves, having held the leaders 'golden wheels' for most of the 2018 season. "It's very fine line between winning and losing because it is incredibly competitive out there – we just keep chipping away and trying not to make too many big mistakes," Davies explains.

As one of the best racing destinations in Europe, Cascais delivered big conditions at last month's World Championship, which the sailors relished, and the same is predicted for next week's grand finale. With a four days of adrenalin-pumping, top of the range racing predicted.

"The course is interesting and challenging and the conditions test everyone as well." Downwind the RC44 one designs turned into rocketships, and occasionally submarines, as they tackled the rolling Atlantic swell Cascais is famous for. "They are cool," said Barker of sailing the RC44 in these conditions. "You just see the smile on everyone's faces when they come in. I think we had a top speed of 23.5 knots at the Worlds which was great."

Other big names in the race for the podium are Chris Bake's Team Aqua in fourth and Tobjorn Tornqvist's Artemis Racing in fifth, each with a two and three point gap to bridge to make it onto the podium.

Also joining the fleet for the Cascias event will be guest helm Paulo Mirpuri of the Mirpuri Foundation. As a non profit organization, with the aim of contributing to a better world, the Mirpuri Foundation's recent campaign in the 2017/2018 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race helped spread the strong message of sustainability with 'Turn the Tide on Plastic' skippered by Dee Caffari.

As an experienced coastal sailor racing in various classes from Olympic boats such as Lasers, to cruising yachts, monohulls and multihulls this will be Mirpuri's first time racing an RC44.

Championship Tour - overall ranking after four events:

PosBoatE1E2E3E4Pts
1Team Nika27316
2Team CEEREF32427
3Charisma16168
4Team Aqua517410
5Artemis Racing452511
6Peninsula Petroleum646716
7Bronenosec995317
8Aleph Racing738818
9Tavatuy9991027

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