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Porto Montenegro hosts successful first 2019 RC44 regatta

by Alexander Razinkov 16 Apr 2019 05:07 PDT 10-14 April 2019
The RC44s were sent off on a reaching start in today's 'navigators race' - 44Cup Porto Montenegro 2019 © Nico Martinez / MartinezStudio / 44Cup

The 44Cup Porto Montenegro (10-14th April 2019) has been hosted by world-renowned superyacht marina, Porto Montenegro in Tivat, Montenegro, for the first time ever. The prestigious tour of one-design boats brings together sailing and business, allowing amateur helmsmen to compete with the world's top sailors in some of the world's most beautiful locations.

The Bay of Tivat came good for the final day of the 44Cup Porto Montenegro with three races held and a most worthy winner in Igor Lah's Team CEEREF. The Slovenian team led this first event of the 2019 44Cup from the outset

Last day's opening race got under way in light conditions, but eminently race-able by the nimble RC44s. In this Chris Bake's Team Aqua won the pin and then match raced Team CEEREF for the duration, ultimately finishing ten boatlengths ahead.

"We missed doing another two of those," said Chris Bake. "It was a little shifty, but the boat was set up well. A big rotation of team members required work this week, but they seemed to be doing pretty well. The venue is magnificent - phenomenal infrastructure-wise."

On Thursday, Kirill Frolov on Bronenosec Sailing should have won the first race, holding a massive lead until their spinnaker exploded. The St Petersburg Yacht Club team made up for this in today's second race. After a giant split left and right up the first beat, they chose the favoured left and followed Team CEEREF at the top mark. Then John Bassadone's Peninsula Petroleum took the right side of the run to claim the lead. Finally on the next upwind Bronenosec edged ahead, led at the top mark and on to the finish.

"If you are not in the hunt you can sail a freer race and everyone else isn't so worried about you," said tactician Cameron Dunn. "Overall we sailed our best day of the regatta. We felt like we made some nice improvements to our speed and generally got off the start line better."

It was the turn of Hugues Lepic's Aleph Racing to win the third and what turned out to be the final race, held on a new axis course, the wind having veered into the west. In what tactician Michele Ivaldi admitted was their first good start of the week, the French RC44 won the pin but then, tacked over to cross the fleet. They benefitted on the right side of the course to lead at the top mark. From there the French RC44 was never challenged.

"It was great day but it was hard all the way through - that is what is so great about this class," said Lepic. "For us it was great to be able to finish on a high. The team now is stable and very high quality and we are very pleased about our manoeuvres. We hope to get some better positions over the course of this season."

Team CEEREF's victory at the 44Cup Porto Montenegro was by seven points from second placed Team Nika, in turn two ahead of Team Aqua, with Peninsula Petroleum relegated to fourth after a disappointing final race. Incredibly even though Lah's team won the seasons in both 2016 and 2017 and came close last year, the 44Cup Porto Montenegro is their first event win since the World Championship in Sotogrande three years ago.

However, Lah was most proud to have won with his son Tine on board. "I feel proud that he's sailed his first regatta and won it," he said. "We had great starts. Everything was in place like it should be, and the team work was okay, especially since we only had one day of practice. I was really surprised, because I had a feeling we weren't going to race at all and then we have got in nine races Montenegro has been brilliant."

While the fleet racing is over, a Pro-Am race has been sailed on a long distance coastal course, the nine RC44 sailing more guests on board than usual.

From Montenegro the RC44s head up the Adriatic to Rovinj, Croatia for their second event of the season, the Adris 44Cup over 29 May to 2 June.

44Cup Porto Montenegro Results: (after 9 races)

1. Team CEEREF (Slovenia) - 27pts
2. Team Nika (Russia) - 34pts
3. Team Aqua (Great Britain) - 36pts
4. Peninsula Petroleum (Great Britain) - 38pts
5. Tavatuy Sailing Team (Russia) - 46pts
6. Bronenosec Sailing Team (Russia) - 50pts
7. Aleph Racing (France) - 54pts
8. Artemis Racing (Sweden) - 59pts
9. Charisma (Monaco) - 63pts

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