44Cup – 3rd big breeze day and third bullet for Team Nika

After Friday’s brutal conditions, the forecast indicated a slightly lighter day three of the 44Cup Calero Marinas. However the Lanzarote wind gods felt differently and with 30 knots blowing late morning, the call was made initially to postpone ashore, the day’s first race finally getting underway at 1430 UTC.

Even this was challenging with prolonged gusts of <26 knots and lulls as little as 15. The northerly wind was backed compared to the first two days, blowing more squarely offshore from Puerto Calero. The breeze, passing over Lanzarote’s mountainous barren landscape, created huge turbulence, churning up an short, sharp chop to challenge the nine teams.  

In today’s first race Team Nika and Team Ceeref Vaider started to weather of the fleet and despite Aleph Racing and Artemis Racing both looking good out to the left, tacking on the (giant) shifts up the centre paid. Igor Lah’s Slovenia team led on to the first run ahead of John Bassadone’s Peninsula Racing and Team Nika, with Calero Sailing Team holding fourth after another strong upwind leg for the rookie local heroes.

44Cup Day 3
44Cup Day 3 – Photo Credit: Nico Martinez

Tacticians Vasco Vascotto and Nic Asher spotting a right shift coming, Peninsula Racing and Team Nika were first to gybe, but a good layline call by Adrian Stead enabled Team Ceeref Vaider to reach the leeward gate just ahead of Team Nika, which split right.

Up the second beat, Team Ceeref Vaider was doing well on the left and Team Nika tacked to join her. As the two entered into a private match race, a favourable shift for Peninsula Racing out to the right saw her ease into the lead and Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing into third. As Peninsula Racing extended away down the final run, helped by another significant shift making it ‘long on port’, the main battle became for second with Team Ceeref Vaider prevailing.

A dramatic start to race six saw three boats – Team Ceeref Vaider, Team Aqua and Calero Sailing Team – OCS, while Christian Zuerrer’s Black Star Sailing Team was carrying out a penalty turn on the line. After winning the pin, Charisma initially looked good on the left only for a right shift lifting the Pietro Loro Piana-steered Aleph Racing up to the mark and into the lead ahead of Charisma and Team Nika.

On the run Team Nika and Team Ceeref Vaider – remarkably already recovered from her OCS – gained by gybing early into more pressure. They led around the starboard gate mark with Aleph Racing third, splitting left. Team Nika held the lead up the second beat to round the top mark ahead of Team Ceeref Vaider and Peninsula Racing, positions they held to the finish. This third bullet for Team Nika saw Vladimir Prosikhin’s team retain its overall lead, but today highest scoring yachts were Peninsula Racing and Team Ceeref Vaider. Going into the final day Team Nika is only three points clear of Team Ceeref Vaider, in turn holding an eight point cushion over Peninsula Racing.

“We feel really fast upwind and downwind,” explained Team Nika headsail trimmer Pierluigi de Felice. “Vladimir is steering well and everything is coming together this week. Hopefully we can seal it tomorrow.”

As to their finishing with a giant 1 minute 3 seconds lead in race two today, he explained this was set up on the first run: “Nic [Asher] called an early gybe and we got straight into pressure and ended up pointing right at the mark. We got a really good puff. It was tricky out there –tactical calls are super important, but having a boat that goes fast helps everyone.”

44Cup Day 3
44Cup Day 3 – Photo Credit: Nico Martinez

For Peninsula Racing it was their finest hour since they came so close to winning their own event in Marina Alcaidesa last autumn. “It felt amazing – it’s always good to win,” commented John Bassadone. “Today generally the feeling was that we sailed well, whereas yesterday we didn’t. We felt that everyone in their different positions sailed well. That first race was very good and even the second one we covered quite well. We were sailing the runs a lot better and the boat seems to be well balanced, which, in these conditions, is quite hard.”

His Italian tactician Vasco Vascotto added: “It was very shifty and if you could stay in phase made it easier.” Of winning today’s first race, he said: “We went to the right because we were in a big leftie all the time and in the end you have to trust that at some point it has to come back – and that is exactly what happened. Our speed was good and John was relaxed. Yesterday was practice – today was the real thing!”

Team Ceeref Vaider’s Igor Lah was pleased still to be in the hunt with Team Nika. “It was nice to have good speed and we are sailing really well. We’re happy. It is extremely difficult in these conditions to be consistent, but we managed to do it and Ado [Adrian Stead] did good tactics. We were doing an awesome job, apart from two mistakes. In the first race bottom gate rounding, we couldn’t drop, so we had to do it manually and it was a big mess. In the second one we were a little bit over the line. I am really happy, but there’s one more day…”

44CUP CALERO MARINAS RESULTS:
(After six races)

  1. 🇲🇨 Team Nika – 2 1 3 1 4 1 – 12
  2. 🇸🇮 Team CEEREF Vaider – 5 2 1 3 2 2 – 15
  3. 🇬🇧 Peninsula Racing – 3 3 8 5 1 3 – 23
  4. 🇲🇨 Charisma – 1 5 9 2 7 4 – 28
  5. 🇫🇷 Aleph Racing – 4 6 6 4 5 6 – 31
  6. 🇬🇧 Team Aqua – 9 4 2 7 6 5 – 33
  7. 🇸🇪 Artemis Racing – 7 8 7 9 3 7 – 41
  8. 🇨🇭 Black Star Sailing Team – 6 9 4 6 8 8 – 41
  9. 🇪🇸 Calero Sailing Team – 8 7 5 8 9 9 – 46

Photo Credits: Nico Martinez

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Jeanneau JY55
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