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New faces at the RC44 Cascais Cup

Racing kicks off on Wednesday

Monday April 21st 2014, Author: Jo Grindley, Location: Portugal

After a tight start to the RC44 Championship Tour in the BVI nine weeks ago where Team Aqua snatched victory from Peninsula Petroleum, the 12 teams resume racing for round two at the RC44 Cascais Cup over 23–27 April.

The event will be hosted by the Clube Naval de Cascais for the third consecutive year in the Bay of Cascais. While the venue may not be new, the fleet will welcome some new faces.

Dutch businessman Nico Poons is no stranger to international yacht racing having won the Swan 45 World Championship and Farr 40 North American Championship previously. He has chartered Puerto Calero Residence Club for the event, to get their first taste of RC44 racling. The Charisma crew will include Olympic gold medallist and America’s Cup winning strategist, Tom Slingsby as tactician. Volvo Ocean Race sailor Ross Halcrow (NZL) joins as trimmer and Mini Maxi and Maxi World Champion Chris Hosking (AUS) will be on main.

American Olympic silver medallist and America's Cup veteran, John Kostecki will be calling the shots for Andrea Pozzi and his Italian team Bombarda Racing and one of the world's most successful big boat tacticians and former Audi MedCup winner Terry Hutchinson (USA) joins Vladimir Proshkin’s Team Nika.

Returning to the fleet after a break at the start of the season Polish team MAG Racing welcome new co-owner Artur Kasner who will share the helm event by event with current owner Krzysztof Krempec.

As usual, the event will kick off with a day of match racing within the picturesque Bay of Cascais; just a stone’s throw from the shore. The remaining four days of fleet racing will see the course move outside of the Bay. In previous year’s Cascais has served up a mix of challenging conditions for the sailors, with big swell and a sea breeze that gusts and lulls, demanding maximum concentration.

As the fleet continues to get more compact, Team Aqua, the reigning Champion, led by Chris Bake and tactician Cameron Appleton, has its work cut out defending their position at the top. Grinder Ben Graham explains: "It has never been easy to win in this class, but there are a lot of guys coming back from the America’s Cup and the teams are really stacking themselves up with some serious talent. It was hard in the BVIs and I have no doubt it will be hard for the rest of the year, but that's what makes it fun."

One team applying the pressure is John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum. After a strong start to the first event of the season the team suffered an unfortunate collision on the final day of racing in the Caribbean that left the Gibraltar-based crew in the runners-up position.

Bassadone explains: “The last day in Virgin Gorda was bittersweet for us, but it has stoked the fire and we are ready for Cascais. We will keep making the small adjustments to improve, keep having fun and keep aiming for consistency.”

He adds: “It’s great to see new faces joining the fleet. The Class is in a good place at the moment. The circuit, the competition, the organisation, the boat design, everything is pushing the Class forward. There is uniformity and it makes it a joy to be part of.”

Sitting in third overall is Valentin Zavadnikov and Leonid Lebedev’s Synergy. The team was able to keep their cool at last year’s Cascais Cup, fending off five boats in contention for the title on the final day, to take its first ever RC44 event win.

Racing start on Wednesday 23 April and runs for five days finishing on Sunday 27th. Follow the racing via the live blog at

Championship standings

Fleet Racing  (After one event)

1. Team Aqua -1
2. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team -2
3. Synergy Russian Sailing Team -3
4. Bombarda Racing -4
5. Artemis Racing -5
6. Lunajets Aleph Racing - 6
7. Katusha - 7
8. Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge - 8
9. Team Nika - 9
10. Team Italia - 11
11. Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge - 11
12. MAG Racing - 11
13. Aegir Racing - 11
14. Puerto Calero Residence Club - 11
15. Charisma - 11

Match Racing (after one event)

1. Team Aqua: 7 wins - 1 loss = 7
2. Synergy Russian Sailing Team: 5 wins - 3 loss = 5
3. Katusha: 5 wins - 3 loss = 5
4. Lunajets Aleph Racing: 5 wins - 3 loss = 5
5. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team: 4 wins - 4 loss (1*) = 3
6. Team Nika: 3 wins - 5 loss = 3
7. Artemis Racing: 4 wins - 4 loss (3*) = 1
8. Bombarda Racing: 1 win - 7 loss = 1
9. Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge: 2 win - 6 loss (1*) = 1
10. Aegir Racing: 0 win - 0 loss = 0
11. Bronenosec: 0 win - 0 loss = 0
12. MAG Racing: 0 win - 0 loss = 0
13. Puerto Calero Residence Club: 0 win - 0 loss = 0
14. Team Italia: 0 win - 0 loss = 0
15. Charisma: 0 win - 0 loss = 0

 *Penalty points

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