Team Nika holds the lead in RC44s with a day to sail

The 10 competing teams at the RC44 Oman Cup enjoyed a great sailing day on the Gulf of Oman for the penultimate day of the 2014 Championship Tour. Racing started in a seven-knot north-westerly breeze which built steadily throughout the day. Team Nika continued their great form, extending their lead in the overall standings, adding another race win to their scoreline, Team Aqua stay second with Charisma hanging onto third.

Peninsula Petroleum nailed the pin end of the line in the opening race of the day, stayed left and led at the first mark. Katusha made a safe start in the middle of the line, ducked Peninsula Petroleum coming into the top mark to round second, with Nika and Aqua just behind. A big left shift made the run a one way track, but Team Aqua soaked down and snuck past Nika at the leeward gate. John Bassadone’s team sailed a perfect race to take their second win.

With such tight racing collisions are not unusual in the RC44 fleet. Coming into the offset mark at top of the course, Bronenesec didn’t give enough water for Artemis Racing and Gazprom Youth, the result – a three boat collision. Artemis had to replace their bow between races. Damage to Gazprom Youth’s transom took them out of racing for the rest of the day. Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec were penalised, with two penalty points for the incident.

Chris Bake’s Team Aqua had made it up to second overall on equal points with Katusha after seven races and were eager to get started again. Both teams were called over the line in race eight, having to restart. Nika, Artemis and Peninsula Petroleum started at the pin end of the line and headed up the favoured left hand side of the course. The trio rounded the windward mark ahead of the fleet. Nika and Artemis held their places until the finish, Nico Poon’s Charisma pulling themselves up through the fleet to finish third, just ahead of Peninsula Petroleum.

The final race of the day gave some great sailing conditions as the wind increased to 14 knots. Aqua made a safe start in the middle of the line, played the shifts and led Bronenosec by the smallest of margin at the top mark. Peninsula Petroleum was up in the top three again. Team Aqua kept out of trouble and sailed away from the fleet to take the win, Bronenosec second, with Team Nika third, owner Vladimir Prosikhin described the race; “The best race I’ve ever sailed, it was a very good recovery, very hard work and we did everything perfect,” to take third.

The Defending Champions don’t have to win in Oman to be crowned 2014 RC44 Championship Tour winners, but as owner Chris Bake said, they will be trying: “Nika have had an unbelievable regatta, they¹ve been very constant and very strong all week, they should be proud of what they have done. We¹ve got our work cut out tomorrow to close the nine point gap, I¹m not sure if we can or not but we will give it our best shot.”

In the overall standings, Team Nika has a nine-point lead over second placed Team Aqua. Charisma are four-points off Team Aqua, second to fifth split by just eight-points. With no discard and three races expected to be sailed tomorrow, there are no guaranteed spots on the podium as yet.

The final day of the RC44 Oman Cup supported by Mercedes Benz Oman and United Engineering Services (UMS) is the 23 November. First warning signal due at 11.30 GST, 07:30 GMT.
RC44 Oman Cup Overall Ranking

(after nine races)

1. Team Nika
3 1 2 6 2 4 4 1 3 – 26
2. Team Aqua
4 3 7 2 8 1 3 6 1 – 35
3. Charisma
1 5 5 9 1 2 6 3 7 – 39
4. Artemis Racing
5 4 8 1 4 7 7 2 5 – 43
5. Katusha
2 6 4 5 3 6 2 9 6 – 43
6.Synergy Russian Sailing Team
9 2 3 4 7 3 5 5 9 – 47
7. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team
10 9 1 10 6 8 1 4 4 – 53
8. Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge
7 8 6 8 5 9 8 5RDG 11DNS – 67
9. Bronenosec Sailing Team
6 10 9 3 10 10 10 8 2 (2) – 70
10. Aleph Racing
8 7 10 7 9 5 9 7 8 – 70

2014 RC44 Championship Tour Overall Fleet Race Ranking

(After four events with one discard)

1. Team Aqua – 6
2. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team – 7
3. Bronenosec Sailing Team – 9
4. Charisma – 14
5. Synergy Russian Sailing Team – 16
6. Artemis Racing – 16
7. Team Nika – 17
8. Bombarda Racing- 21
9. Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge – 21
10. Katusha – 24
11. Aleph Racing – 25
12. MAG Racing – 34
13. Artemis Racing Youth – 36

Jeanneau JY60
M.O.S.S Australia
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M.O.S.S Australia
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