After four action packed days of match racing and fleet racing, near gale force winds and substantial breaking waves on the race course caused the concluding races of the 2014 RC44 Marstrand World Championship to be cancelled.
Principal Race Officer Peter ‘Luigi’ Reggio explained: “The wind was over our normal limit of 26-28 knots at 2-3m, so at the top of the rigs it would have been 28-30. We were anticipating it dying down, but unfortunately the sea state wouldn’t die with it. So ultimately it was down to the sea state. You know the seas are rough when you have to pick the waves you turn the power boat around in and with occasional 3-3.5m swells there is no way the committee boat would have held.”
After nine races Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec Sailing Team has been crowned the RC44 Marstrand World Champion, finishing six points clear of Nico Poons’ Charisma, in turn four points ahead of Chris Bake’s Team Aqua in third place.
“I am very happy,” said Liubomirov, who is Commodore of the St Petersburg Yacht Club in Russia. “What is very symbolic for me is that my first experience with the RC44 was here in Marstrand one year ago. Michele (Ivaldi) was the coach for our team then, because we didn’t know this boat. This season he has become our tactician and I think this is really his victory, because he is our teacher, along with Cameron Dunn.”
This is Liubomirov’s second World Championship victory in as many weeks, coming to Sweden directly from winning the Gazprom Swan 60 Worlds in Palma last week.
Italian Tactician Michele Ivaldi was especially satisfied with the result as this is his second consecutive RC44 World Championship title having won as tactician for Igor Lah’s Team CEEREF in 2013. “Coming out top on the podium was unexpected, but we worked hard for it and we had the tools to do it. For sure it is great success,” he said.
As to the secret of winning back to back World Championships, he confided: “It’s down to the group. We started with a good group and after the first regatta I suggested some changes, bringing some of the core trimmers from last year, people I have been sailing with for the last two years in the class.” Specifically this was mainsail trimmer Paul Westlake and jib trimmer Maciel Cicchetti. “They are the real engine of the boat. They make the boat so fast, and speed always makes a tactician look smart! So we had good starts all week and being fast upwind we could always make the first shift.”
With three races scheduled today mathematically nine teams still could have won the World title if racing had proceeded. Realistically the competition was down to the top six with 14 points separating Bronenosec from local host Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing, up to sixth place after winning two of yesterday’s races.
34th America’s Cup winning strategist Tom Slingsby, tactician on Nico Poons’ second placed Charisma, felt that Peter Reggio had made the right call. “It is the sea state more than the wind. It is a shame because we were only six points away, plus we feel we are better in the strong conditions, so we were hoping to get out there. It’s disappointing because we finished on a bad race yesterday and we thought we had a chance to get it back today. Personally I wanted to win this one, but as a result for a new team – this is only our third regatta together – to beat Team Aqua and teams like that, who have been at it for a long time, is very good for Nico [Poons] and the team.”
Team Nika’s Vladimir Prosikhin also felt cancelling correct, particularly remembering what had occurred in the marginally better conditions on the final day here last year: “Our boat was taking on water – we had to hide behind the island to bail water out! Today it is quite rough outside and I believe it is the owners’ opinion that it is better to stay safe. We have had an excellent regatta, nothing’s broken, no one has been injured and that is very important.”
Peter Reggio concluded: “We have got nine really fair races in and you really don’t want to screw that up. If they had gone out today it would have been survival. It would not have been racing.”
For Chris Bake, a third place finish at this World Championship, along with a discard coming in for the overall 2014 series, has put his Team Aqua back on top of the leaderboard, reclaiming the coveted ‘golden wheels’ from John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum.
The RC44 Championship continues with its final event of 2014, the RC44 Oman Cup in Muscat over 19-23 November.
RC44 Marstrand World Championship Overall Ranking
(After nine races)
1. Bronenosec Sailing Team
6 9 3 2 1 3 6 4 2 – 36
4 2 2 8 7 2 4 2 11 – 42
3. Team Aqua
2 4 5 3 5 4 10 10 3 – 46
4. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team
3 11 4 10 2 1 3 12 1 – 47
5. Team Nika
1 3 8 5 6 11 2 6 5 – 47
6. Artemis Racing
9 5 6 6 9 7 1 1 6 – 50
13DNF 7 1 11 3 9 7 7 4 – 62
8. Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge
5 13DNF 11 1 12 10 5 3 8 – 68
9. Bombarda Racing
7 8 10 9 4 5 11 5 9 – 68
10. Artemis Racing Youth
11 6 7 4 10 6 8 11 12 – 75
11. Synergy Russian Sailing Team
8 1 9 12 11 12 9 8 7 – 77
12. MAG Racing
10 10 12 7 8 8 12 9 10 – 86
17 August 2014 – Fleet Racing Highlights