Four way tie

Gunning for the top spot at the RC44 World Championship

Saturday November 19th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: Spain

 The fight is really on to see who will be crowned 2011 RC44 World Champion in Puerto Calero, Lanzarote. With first and second and third and fourth both tied on points, it is, to use a well coined phrase, too close to call.

The wind varied between 9 and 22 knots throughout the day allowing the race committee to bang in four races. There were wins for Team Aqua, which could easily have won the first and last had they not had a problem hoisting their kite, while leading the fleet. Ironbound won the second, Aleph Sailing Team the third and Artemis Racing recovered from an average day by their standards this week to win the fourth.

The overall lead changed throughout the day – Islas Canarias Puerto Calero were leading going into the penultimate race of the day, but Torbjorn Tornqvist's Artemis Racing made a remarkable comeback in the day’s finale, taking full advantage of other’s mistakes, as tactician Morgan Larson explained: “It’s close and we got lucky in the last race, Puerto Calero should be leading. Aqua led and we were in second and they twisted their spinnaker which was a little bit of luck!

But their third win out of eight races sailed put the Swedish team back on top of the leaderboard, on equal points with Islas Canarias Puerto Calero. Larson’s parting words ahead of tomorrow’s showdown: “We really enjoy sailing against Daniel (Calero) and Puerto Calero, they are a pretty slippery team to contend with, so tomorrow will be fun.”

Chants of ‘Puerto Calero, Puerto Calero’ could be heard through the town today. Local support for Daniel Calero, Jose Ponce and the Islas Canarias Puerto Calero team is audible. The team from Lanzarote were the most consistent of the day, adding 18 points to their overall score, but it wasn’t without drama for those watching. In the final race of the day the Spanish team started conservatively in the middle of the line, at the top mark were 13th. Opting for the unfavoured left hand gate, they tacked straight into clean air and were able to sail their own race, rounding the second windward mark in fourth, the position they would hold to the finish.

There are two teams who are showing their best form of the season in Lanzarote and go into the final day of the World Championships tied on 41 points, just five points adrift of the leading duo. Peninsula Petroleum's John Bassadone recruited 18 time World Champion Vasco Vascotto  ahead of the World Championships and the new tactician on David Murphy’s Ironbound is American Star sailor Andy Horton.

David Murphy called this year “a tough season, we’ve had our ups and downs and have been looking at everybody’s transom this most of the year, so to be here today looking back at everybody is pretty great!” With the points so close it is all to play for tomorrow as Murphy explained. “There are a lot of boats within ten points so it’s all pretty exciting but we don’t just want to be on the podium for the World Championships, we want to win!”

Lurking in the background thirteen points off the leaders is Team Aqua. Chris Bake always seems to improve his performance day by day at the RC44 events, so the current RC44 Championship Tour winner cannot be written off to add the World Championship to their trophy haul tomorrow.

Forecasters are predicting more breeze for the final day of the RC44 World Championship which doubles as the final event of the 2011 Championship Tour. Three races are planned with racing kicking off at 1130 GMT.


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