Nico Martinez / RC44 Class Association

Peninsula Petroleum in the chocolates

John Bassadone's team on top at the RC44 World Championship in Puerto Calero

Thursday November 17th 2011, Author: Jo Grindley, Location: Spain

Puerto Calero in Lanzarote produced some unexpected results on the first day of the RC44 World Championships. The challenging, shifty conditions saw a shake up on the leaderboard for the 14 competing teams.

An unfamiliar face emerged at the top of the leaderboard, John Bassadone and his team from Gibraltar have recruited Italy’s Vasco Vascotto as their pro skipper for the last event of the season. The new team dynamic seem to be paying dividends, as they proved to be the comeback kids of the day. In the days opener they were last around the first windward mark, slowly gaining places on each leg, to finish second, a pattern they repeated in each race.

Vascotto had some high praise for the team whose best result so far this season has been a seventh: “John and the guys did some fantastic manoeuvres and perfect driving in the shifts and we enjoyed it. It’s good. At least one of the days of the Championship has gone our way!”

Two seconds and a fourth give Peninsula Petroleum a slim two point lead, but the team won’t be popping the champagne corks yet though as owner John Bassadone said after racing: “We start again tomorrow from scratch. We have built into the plan that we might have some bad results during the week. It’s so shifty here that you have to take it on the chin and carry on, which is exactly what we did after the first beat of today, we were literally last but we carried on and managed to climb up the leaderboard.”

Torbjorn Tornqvist’s aim for the week, with Morgan Larson at his side, is to ensure Artemis Racing is on the podium in Lanzarote this week. Chris Bake's Team Aqua may have already won the 2011 RC44 Championship Tour with an event to spare, but second place is undecided. A 4, 5, 1 score-line means the Swedish team are well positioned for both. “We are aiming for the top like everyone else," said Tornqvist. "It would be nice to finish in the top of the fleet for the last regatta of the season. There are pretty high stakes behind Aqua, so we are going to fight for it.”

Daniel Calero, owner and helm of Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, knows the venue better than any. His family own and run the full Marina complex in Puerto Calero, and the home team had a good start to the World Championships. They added a third and seventh to their race win, finishing the day third overall. The conditions tested all the teams on the first day of racing, something it seems that will continue until Sunday.

“I think this week we are going to have a the full range of wind conditions, today we had medium pressure and shifty conditions, tomorrow I think it will be less pressure and we will just have to wait and see how the teams perform in those conditions," said Calero. "After tomorrow (Friday) until Sunday the wind will increase, which will suit us and hopefully we will be able to stay in the top five, which is our goal this week.”

No Way Back had an up and down day, winning the first of three by over two minutes, quite a feat in a race that lasted 45 minutes. In the second they could only manage an 12th, but finished well with a third, leaving the Dutch team, led by Pieter Heerema, in fourth overall.

Ironbound had to pull out of yesterday’s match race day due to mass illness onboard, today they came out fighting, finishing the day in fifth overall. What was the mystery illness? Owner David Murphy explained: “I think there’s been an intestinal bug going around. We had eight of the 12 team members yesterday all face down in bed, ill! So we couldn’t race and they had to go to the doctors to get IV’s and steroids before going home and sleeping it off. But we’re back today and did better. After that start to the regatta the plan for the week is to have fun!"

Team Aqua were in unfamiliar territory today. A seventh place was their best result of the day, leaving them ninth overall.

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