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Four Irish Sailors in Action as 44Cup Debuts in Baiona, Spain

4th May 2024
Irish sailors Cian Guilfoyle and Oisin McClelland are onboard Aleph for the 44Cup debut in Baiona, Spain
Irish sailors Cian Guilfoyle and Oisin McClelland are onboard Aleph for the 44Cup debut in Baiona, Spain Credit: Sailing Energy

Irish sailors are set to make a strong showing in the high-performance owner-driver one-design racing R44 fleet as it debuts in Baiona, Spain next week. The 44Cup's second event of the year will take place from May 8 to 12 in Baiona, a port town located on the Atlantic-facing west coast of Spain. The event will mark the first time the class visits three of this season's five events, including Baiona.

The 44Cup owners and teams have favourite locations such as Marstrand in Sweden, which they visit almost annually. However, Baiona is expected to be a highlight of the season, giving sailors a chance to experience its dramatic location, situated on the south side of the mouth of the Vigo river. Baiona is best known internationally for its fish and seafood, as well as its Albariño wine.

The 44Cup Baiona Cup will be hosted by the Monte Real Club de Yates de Baiona (MRCYB), one of the most highly respected yacht clubs in Spain. The club has previously hosted the 52 Super Series in 2022 and the 2023 J/70 World Championship. The event has drawn some of the best sailors in the world, including Irish sailors Oisin McClelland and Cian Guilfoyle on board Aleph Racing, Simon Johnson on the Black Star Racing Team, and Grattan Roberts who joins Team Ceeref Vaider for the 2024 season.

As regular Afloat readers will know, Donaghdee's McClelland returns to Europe after finishing runner-up at the Congressional Cup Match Race circuit in California.

Jose Luis Alvarez, President of the MRCYB, welcomed the 44Cup, stating that the club is ready to receive the "excellent racing machines" that are the RC44s. He expressed his honour in organizing a competition of such a high level, with unique race boats and some of the best sailors in the world. Alvarez is confident that the club will provide the best experience for the sailors and hopes that everyone who comes to participate or see the show will enjoy it like never before.

The 44Cup Principal Race Officer, María Torrijo, will have the choice of racing the RC44s on two courses depending on conditions: one due west of Baiona, effectively out into the Atlantic, and the other racing in the Vigo estuary using the Cíes Islands for protection. While the venue is new to the 44Cup, conditions will be similar to those the teams know well from Cascais. The long-term forecast for the first part of the event shows light winds, and the first-course option is most likely.

Nic Asher, Team Nika's tactician, has previously visited Baiona with the TP52s and describes it as a lovely place. He notes that there is "really good scenery" with the marina and castle, and the fish is great. He believes that the event will be a good time for everyone who participates.

Overall, the 44Cup Baiona Cup promises to be an exciting event, with sailors from around the world competing in one of the most beautiful locations in Spain.

44CUP OVERALL RANKING 2024: (After one event)

  1. Team Nika - 1
  2. Team CEEREF Vaider - 2
  3. Peninsula Racing - 3
  4. Team Aqua - 4
  5. Aleph Racing - 5
  6. Charisma - 6
  7.  Black Star Sailing Team - 7
  8. Artemis Racing - 8
  9. Calero Sailing Team - 9
Published in 44Cup Team

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About RC44

The RC44 is a light displacement, high performance one-design racing yacht competing in the 44Cup, a five-stop international racing tour. Co-designed by five-time America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts with naval architect Andrej Justin, the RC44 boats are strictly identical in terms of construction, shape of hull, appendages and weight/weight distribution, as well as a 50-50 split between amateurs and professionals in each eight-person crew. With everything, from the keel to the tip of the mast, made entirely from carbon, and with a powerful sail plan, the RC44 is rapid downwind, commanding upwind and performs exceptionally in both light winds and heavier breezes. The RC44’s innovative and technical design present an exciting new hybrid sailing challenge, with the crews expected to hike like a sports boat and grind as you would on a keelboat.

At a Glance - 44Cup 2023 Calendar

  • 1 - 5 March - 44Cup Oman, Muscat

  • 28 June - 2 July - 44Cup Marstrand, Sweden

  • 9 - 13 August - 44Cup Cowes, UK

  • 18 - 22 October - 44Cup Alcaidesa Marina, Gibraltar Straight

  • 22 - 26 November - 44Cup Calero Marinas, Canary Islands

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