Back on form Charisma claims 44Cup Marstrand with race to spare

Nico Poons’ Charisma won the 44Cup Marstrand in 2023 and has been 44Cup champion for the last two season. But some changes in personnel and two deep results in Porto Calero, Lanzarote at the beginning of the year and then in Baiona, Spain last month had dumped the Dutchman’s team at the bottom of the leaderboard. Yet over the last four days of the 44Cup Marstrand, despite racing in very mixed conditions, Charisma has bounced back to her previous form.

Charisma went into the final day topping the leaderboard, albeit only two points ahead of Hugues Lepic’s Aleph Racing. Winning today’s first race as Aleph Racing scored an uncharacteristic seventh, which the French team followed with an OCS and a second deep result, helped Poons, tactician Andy Horton, Chris Hosking (main trim), Ross Halcrow (headsail trim), Dimitri Simmons (offshore trim), Ryan Godfrey (pit), Robin Jacobs (grinder), Arancia Malaspina (floater) and Ivan Peute (bowman) win the 44Cup Marstrand with a race to spare – a rare phenomenon in this ultra-tight class.

“We’ve had two bad results after changing the team at the start of the year,” commented a delighted Poons. “We have reinvented ourselves – and there is still some room for improvement – but I think we are back.” Poons and the other 44Cup teams thanked the Marstrands Segelsällskap for running racing for them and for Torbjörn Törnqvist and Artemis Technologies for supporting the event and an exceptional Midsummer’s Eve party in Marstrand’s renowned Society House. “It was the best party I can remember…and I have been in the class for 10 years,” enthused Poons.

Tactician Andy Horton joined the Charisma team at the start of the season and was relieved to have scored his first race win with the team. “The team is pretty awesome,” he said, acknowledging that tacticians can look very good if their boat and crew have pace. “In terms of placement – if people can do it, you can do whatever you want. It is a really solid group…”

In the first race, held in a 10 knot northwesterly, Artemis Racing had done well out on the right but coming in from the left, it was Chris Bake’s Team Aqua that led around the top mark ahead of Charisma. Horton explained: “The left was strong with more pressure and a little left shift. We just patiently played that. We did a good job of beating Aqua downwind staying to leeward of them and gybing on them – they tried to luff us and we got around them and had a good race after that…” They led into the leeward gate and defended well for the next lap. 

Team Aqua turned this around in the next race, leading Christian Zuerrer’s Black Star on to the run and from there to the finish to score her first bullet of the event (as eyes were focussed on Charisma and seeing if Aleph Racing could climb back from her OCS). Chris Bake’s team then competed their day with a second in the final race, their 2-1-2 making them the day’s top scoring team, elevating them from eighth place to fourth overall.

Chris Bake was pleased with their performance, especially after the problems they had endured on Saturday: “We left the dock and got all tangled up in the mooring lines. Then we started the first race with three guys down fixing the starboard winch. Then I tried to go inside of Black Star and I tapped them – basically we did everything wrong, were all over the race course and couldn’t get any of starting patterns right. Today we focussed and seemed to do a better job. We knew our boat speed was okay, we settled down and it was much easier.”

In this final race, with Charisma not competing, the fight was on for second overall between Aleph Racing and Artemis Racing. With Artemis Racing leading out of the start, Aleph Racing just needed to finish fifth or better. Sadly, despite gybing early on the final run as a last dice roll, she came home a disappointing sixth, allowing Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing to relieve them of second overall, by one point. 

“It was extremely tight when we went into the last race, with four or five other boats that were in the same position,” said Törnqvist. “It was very exciting and we are very happy. We are trying to be in the top half rather than in the bottom half, so this is a nice follow-up to the last regatta [Artemis Racing won in Baiona], and I am extremely happy.

“In Marstrand you never know what you can get: You can get rain and big waves or days like this. We came here during the mid-Summer which is a big celebration in Sweden and everyone had a good taste of what that can be. So onshore and offshore it has been a nice combination. I am very happy to see the teams like it, so we will come back next year.

“Obviously congratulations to Charisma – the sun was shining on you today. You are the benchmark for all of us, but that is the beauty of this class and for sailing – we learn from each other.”

From here the 44Cup moves on to 44Cup World Championship taking place over 21-25 August in a new venue for the competition – Brunnen on Lake Lucerne, Switzerland.

44CUP MARSTRAND:

(After 10 races) 
1. 🇲🇨 Charisma – 8 1 2 1 2 3 1 1 7 10DNS – 36
2. 🇸🇪 Artemis Racing – 5 3 5 6 6 2 4 4 5 1 – 41
3. 🇫🇷 Aleph Racing – 2 5 4 2 3 1 3 7 9 6 – 42
4. 🇬🇧 Team Aqua – 7 4 1 8 7 8 5 2 1 2 (2) – 47
5. 🇬🇧 Peninsula Racing – 6 7 3 7 1 5 7 3 3 5 – 47
6. 🇸🇮 Team CEEREF Vaider – 4 2 7 5 4 4 8 5 6 3 – 48
7. 🇲🇨 Team Nika – 1 8 8 3 5 6 2 6 4 7 – 50
8. 🇨🇭 Black Star Sailing Team – 3 6 6 4 8 7 6 8 2 4 – 54
9.   FarStar – 9 9 9 10DNS 9 9 9 10DNF 8 8 – 90

2024 44CUP OVERALL RANKING:

(After three events) 
1. 🇲🇨 Team Nika – 1 2 7 – 10
2. 🇸🇪 Artemis Racing – 8 1 2 – 11
3. 🇸🇮 Team CEEREF Vaider – 2 4 6 – 12
4. 🇫🇷 Aleph Racing – 5 5 3 – 13
5. 🇲🇨 Charisma – 6 7 1 – 14
6. 🇬🇧 Peninsula Racing – 3 6 5 – 14
7. 🇬🇧 Team Aqua – 4 8 4 – 16
8. 🇨🇭 Black Star Sailing Team – 9 9 10 – 28

44Cup Marstrand – Day 3 Replay

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About the 44Cup:

Five-time America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts conceived the design of the light-displacement, high-performance one-design RC44 with naval architect Andrej Justin in 2005. Created for top level one design racing in international regattas under strictly controlled Class Rules, the concept and design features of the RC44 are aimed at the amateur helmsmen with professional crews.

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