44Cup resumes in Lanzarote

With the 44Cup Calero Marinas Lanzarote starting tomorrow, the high performance owner-driver one design class returns to having a double digit-sized fleet for the first time since 2016.

Recent additions include the first team with a female owner, in Moscow lawyer Valeriya Kovalenko’s Arttube, and German Christian Schwoerer’s La Pericolosa with a crew including two time 470 World Champions Nic Asher and Elliot Willis and Tokyo Gold medallist Will Ryan.

Fleet sailing upwind.
Will Ryan is swapping the 470 for the RC44. Pic – Martinez Studio

The first time Arttube sailed in their boat was 2021’s final event here when they finished an impressive fifth. This year they start with some interesting new graphics on their otherwise fuchsia RC44, drawn by Misha Most, a famous Moscow street artist.

Naturally Chris Bake’s Team Aqua returns as holder of the 44Cup leader’s ‘golden wheels’ with the aim of staying on top. This is not the first time they have been in this position. “Every team learns from the last year – you reset, analyse what you did and didn’t do well and you try and develop your team,” explains Team Aqua tactician Cameron Appleton. This season they have a new crew in Dane Jonas Hviid-Nielsen. “You are always looking to see if there are ways to put a new burst of energy into the team, just to keep everyone on their toes. You have to find ways to develop,” continues Appleton. 

While Team Aqua had a dip in form a few years ago, experiencing this in 2021 was Team Nika. The class’ only triple World Champions and overall series winner in 2015, ended the 2021 season last. This year they bounce back with Italian America’s Cup skipper Francesco Bruni on tactics and new addition Pierluigi de Felice. Bruni is the latest America’s Cup legend to sail on board following Coutts, Barker, Baird, Hutchinson, Slingsby…

Francesco Bruni.
Francesco Bruni. Pic – Martinez Studio

“I am very happy – Cecco [Bruni] is easy going, we have good communication and I feel comfortable that I understand what he wants,” said owner Vladimir Prosikhin. “I believe the 44Cup has never been as strong as now. Every crew is very experienced and the boats are equal. It is a great pleasure to sail in such a strong fleet. There are no mistakes, the boats are very fast, but enjoyable and safe, because everyone knows what they are doing.” 

Another team that has never quite found the form it had when it won the RC44 World Championship in 2012, is John Bassadone’s Peninsula Racing, which finished 2021 in eighth. However this could change in 2022 with British two time Olympic Finn Gold medallist, Giles Scott, now on tactics.

“The team is amazing. It is a great set of guys who are good fun to be around and work really hard on the water. Hopefully, we can string some results together,” said Scott. “I really enjoy racing in this class because it is so close. Looking at the results, boats are winning a regatta and then in the next they are in the back few, which demonstrates the evenness of the boats and the high standard that every team has.”

Another change in boat dynamics will also occur on Nico Poons’ Charisma, where standing in for regular tactician Hamish Pepper is Italian 44Cup veteran Vasco Vascotto. “This is one of the classes where we feel we have the best sport,” says Vascotto, who for many years called tactics for Bassadone. “In this class the boats are the same and when you make a mistake you are at the back of the fleet and if you do a good job you are in front.”

Igor Lah’s Ceeref powered by Hrastnik 1860, the 2017 and 2019 44Cup winner, missed claiming the series title last year by a mere point. “Unfortunately sometimes you get it and sometimes you don’t,” said Lah. “This is such a competitive class that sometimes it comes down to luck and small things. We will try and do better this year.” For this season there have been no changes to the sailing team, once again led by Adrian Stead. “The fleet is growing, which shows how much people love sailing in this class.” 

And this is not to ignore the remaining teams all also with potential to win. Notably Hugues Lepic’s Aleph Racing, with Michele Ivaldi calling tactics, which in 2021 won the events in Cowes and Lanzarote at the end of the year, to finish third overall. Similarly good things can be expected of Pavel Kuznetsov’s Atom Tavatuy on which Evgeny Neugodnikov calls tactics, which finished second here last year. Last but not least is Artemis Racing, skippered by Torbjorn Tornqvist and with Andy Horton calling tactics. The Swedish team twice finished on the podium at events last year. 

Racing gets underway tomorrow (Wednesday) with a first warning signal at 1200 UTC.
Follow live at: www.44cup.org 

44Cup entry list: 

Aleph Racing (FRA17):
Hugues Lepic (FRA) – Owner / Driver
Michele Ivaldi (ITA) – Tactician
Skip Baxter (NZL) – Main trimmer
Jon Gundersen (NZL) – Headsail Trimmer
Lara Poljsak (SLO) – Offside Trimmer
Jaro Furlani (ITA) – Pit
Cian Guilfoyle (IRL) – Grinder
Paco Lepoutre (FRA) – Floater
Greg Gendell (USA) – Bow

Artemis Racing (SWE44):
Torbjorn Tornqvist (SWE) – Owner / Driver
Andy Horton (USA) – Tactician
Iain Percy (GBR) – Main trimmer
Maciel Cichetti (ITA) – Headsail Trimmer
Emanuele Marino (ITA) – Offside Trimmer
Nils Akervall (SWE) – Pit
Kalle Torlen (SWE) – Grinder
Markus Tornqvist (SWE) Trimmer Assist – Floater
Piet Van Nieuwenhuijzen (NED) – Bow

Atom Tavatuy (RUS21):
Pavel Kuznetsov (RUS) – Owner / Driver
Evgeny Neugodnikov (RUS) – Tactician
Aleksandr Ekimov (RUS) – Main trimmer
Anton Sergeev (RUS) – Headsail Trimmer
Denis Gribanov (RUS) – Offside Trimmer
Pietro Mantovani (ITA) – Pit
Egor Larionov (RUS) – Grinder
Evgeny Egorov (RUS) – Bow

Arttube (RUS18):
Valeriya Kovalenko (RUS) – Owner / Driver
Igor Lisovenko (RUS) – Tactician
Vitaly Rozhkov (RUS) – Main trimmer
Victor Serezhkin (RUS) – Headsail Trimmer
Sergey Avdonin (RUS) – Offside Trimmer
Denis Rozhkov (RUS) – Pit
Francesco Rubagotti (ITA) – Grinder
Alexey Kulakov (RUS) – Bow

Ceeref powered by Hrastnik 1860 (SLO1):
Igor Lah (SLO) – Owner / Driver
Adrian Stead (GBR) – Tactician
Dirk de Ridder (NED) – Main trimmer
Javi De La Plaza (ESP) – Headsail Trimmer
Tine Lah (SLO) – Offside Trimmer
Andreas Axelsson (SWE) – Pit
Jelle Janzen (NED) – Grinder
Matteo Auguardo (ITA) – Bow

Charisma (MON69):
Nico Poons (NED) – Owner / Driver
Vasco Vascotto (ITA) – Tactician
Chris Hosking (AUS) – Main trimmer
Ross Halcrow (NZL) – Headsail Trimmer
Dimitri Simmons (NED) – Offside Trimmer
Ryan Godfrey (AUS) – Pit
Robin Jacobs (NED) – Grinder
Ivan Peute (NED) – Bow

La Pericolosa (GBR41):
Micheal Hund (ITA) – Driver
Nic Asher (GBR) – Tactician
Elliot Willis (GBR) – Main trimmer
Will Ryan (AUS) – Headsail Trimmer
Jas Farneti (ITA) – Offside Trimmer
Vittorio Zaoli (ITA) – Pit
Michi Muller (GER) – Grinder
Matteo Ramain (ITA) – Bow

Peninsula Racing (GBR1):
John Bassadone (GBR) – Owner / Driver
Giles Scott (GBR) – Tactician
Robin Imaz (ESP) – Main trimmer
German Panei (ARG) – Headsail Trimmer
Mikel Pasabant (ESP) – Offside Trimmer
Matthew Barber (GBR) – Pit
Facundo Olezza (ARG) – Grinder
Gonzalo Morales (ESP) – Bow

Team Aqua (GBR2041):
Chris Bake (NZL) – Owner / Driver
Cameron Appleton (NZL) – Tactician
Andrew Estcourt (NZL) – Main trimmer
Christian Kamp (DEN) – Headsail Trimmer
Aaron Cooper (GBR) – Offside Trimmer
Jonas Hviid-Nielsen (DEN) – Pit
Ben Graham (GBR) – Grinder
Juan Marcos (ARG) – Bow

Team Nika (RUS10)
Vladimir Prosikhin (RUS) – Owner / Driver
Francesco Bruni (ITA) – Tactician
Sean Clarkson (NZL) – Main trimmer
Pierluigi De Felice (ITA) – Headsail Trimmer
Mitja Margon (SLO) – Offside Trimmer
Nikolay Kornev (RUS) – Pit
Iztok Knafelc (SLO) – Grinder
Matt Cornwell (GBR) – Bow

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