Charisma defends her 44Cup Marstrand title

With rollmops unfurling in the big breeze, the decision was made to cancel the final day of racing at the 44Cup Marstrand. Despite this, over the last four days eight races were held and a worthy winner found in Nico Poons’ Charisma, defending champion of the 44Cup’s Swedish stopover as well as being 2022’s 44Cup overall winner.

“There are big waves, 30 knots and the wind is going to increase. There will be a slight lull but the sea state will still be large, so we are going to cancel racing today,” announced 44Cup Class Manager Bertrand Favre at this morning’s skippers briefing. This had been brought forward to 08:30 in the tentative hope of getting in some racing this morning.

The announcement was greeted with relief from the crews. “I absolutely agree,” said Team Nika’s stand-in tactician American Bill Hardesty, who has match raced on these waters often. “It is crazy out there. You can see even more white caps this morning than you could on Friday. It is not safe to sail today.”

44Cup Marstrand

As a result Charisma won her first event of the 2023 season. “It wasn’t because we were so good, but because Ceeref was not so good this week,” modestly explained Nico Poons of his rival Igor Lah’s Team Ceeref powered by Hrastnik 1860, winner of the 44Cup Oman in March but which finished a disappointing fifth here. “It was a good week. We had eight races and three bullets. We were quite stable and ended up with a good lead over the others. It is about keeping the team together and keeping the focus.”

Perhaps the biggest display of the high calibre of Charisma’s crew was when after the second race yesterday they were involved in a serious collision (not their fault). Despite this shock they bounced back to win the next race. “We had to fix the bow,” continued Poons. “We found some damage, but the team then needed to focus. It says a lot about them that they were focused straight away because when the collision happened, we were all really scared at that moment.”

Australian main sheet trimmer Chris Hoskins explained their success: “There are so many great people and great teams in this fleet, it is just a matter of sticking to your processes; trying to get off the start line in good shape; going the right way up the race track and keeping your boat going fast. This week was quite puffy and shifty, but Pepsi [Hamish Pepper, tactician] did a remarkable job getting us around the race track and we were all working hard as a team trying to keep the boat going as quickly as possible through all the transitions. One thing we do well as a team: We never give up, we are always fighting like dogs.”

44Cup Marstrand

Equally pleased with their result was John Bassadone, tactician Vasco Vascotto and his crew on Peninsula Racing. They ended up second, one crucial point ahead of Hugues Lepic’s Aleph Racing. The Gibraltarian team won the final event of the 2017 season but ever since have been off the boil, finishing in the bottom half of the fleet. Now with Vascotto back from duties with the Italian America’s Cup team and with the key addition of 470 gold medallist and America’s Cup winner Jordi Calafat on main sheet, Peninsula Racing appears to be enjoying a renaissance.

“It has been a long time coming,” observed Bassadone. “The guys have worked pretty hard. It’s almost been there for quite a while, but now I am happy to be in a better position, fighting for the podium, which is what the guys deserve since they put in so much hard work. We are all very happy and enjoying the sailing, which is most important. This week every day has been an improvement and it has not been like other times when you don’t understand why you are not performing. We know we have to improve lots of things. It is a nice position to be in – going into the next regatta with some confidence.”

Team Nika was fourth, five points from the podium, just one ahead of Ceeref powered by Hrastnik 1860, while Christian Zuerrer’s Black Star Sailing Team ended the regatta on a high with two third places, the first signs of promise from the newbie team from Switzerland.

44Cup Marstrand

Next up will be the 44Cup World Championship, taking place in Cowes, Isle of Wight over 9-13 August.

Text Credits: 44Cup
Photo Credits: Nico Martinez
Video Credits: ICARUS Sports

(After eight races)

  1. 🇲🇨 Charisma – 5 1 3 2 1 4 1 4 – 21
  2. 🇬🇧 Peninsula Racing – 3 5 1 6 5 1 4 6 – 31
  3. 🇫🇷 Aleph Racing – 1 4 4 3 6 6 6 2 – 32
  4. 🇲🇨 Team Nika – 2 6 5 4 2 8 5 5 – 37
  5. 🇸🇮 Team Ceeref powered by Hrastnik 1860 – 4 8 6 5 3 3 2 7 – 38
  6. 🇨🇭 Black Star Sailing Team – 7 3 7 7 8 5 3 3 – 43
  7. 🇬🇧 Team Aqua – 6 7 2 1 7 2 9DNS 9DNS – 45
  8. 🇸🇪 Artemis Racing – 8 2 8 8 4 7 7 1 – 45

(After two events)

  1. 🇲🇨 Charisma – 2 1 – 3
  2. 🇸🇮 Team Ceeref powered by Hrastnik 1860 – 1 5 – 6
  3. 🇬🇧 Peninsula Racing – 4 2 – 6
  4. 🇫🇷 Aleph Racing – 3 3 – 6
  5. 🇲🇨 Team Nika – 5 4 – 9
  6. 🇨🇭 Black Star Sailing Team – 8 6 – 14
  7. 🇸🇪 Artemis Racing – 6 8 – 14
  8. 🇬🇧 Team Aqua – 7 7 -14

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JPK 11.80 July 2024