Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: RC44

The fifth and final event of the 2023 44Cup takes place for the high-performance, owner-driver one-designs in the familiar waters off Lanzarote’s Puerto Calero next week.

Irish sailors are in action and in a buoyant mood after strong October performances off Gibraltar when they finished second and third at 44Cup in Spain meaning the Lanzarote meeting will be intense.

As regular Afloat readers will recall, just two points separated the top four boats, at the 44Cup Alcaidesa Marina in Spain with nine points on the table on the last day; mathematically, any of the top six could still have won.

Donaghdee's Oisin McClelland and Dublin Bay's Cian Guilfoyle were on board Aleph Racing, and Wicklow's Simon Johnson was on the Black Star Racing Team, finishing second and third, respectively.

"First podium for this boat. Eight events in the making. First bullet this event, too", Johnson told Afloat in October after the much improved Black Star performance.

The Calero family, who own and operate four marinas in the Canary Islands, have long been friends of the RC44 class, even campaigning their own boat during the circuit’s early years. In turn, the 44Cup has regularly visited their marinas in the Canary Islands, the last occasion being when the fleet wintered there two years ago. The 44Cup will once again conclude it 2023 season and start its 2024 one racing off the island, famous for its dramatic barren lunar landscape.

Since last month’s 44Cup Alcaidesa Marina, the landscape has changed on the 44Cup leaderboard. Defending 44Cup champions and reigning world champions, Nico Poons’ Charisma, was defying the usual closeness of 44Cup racing having finished 2-1-1 in this year’s first three events (in fact Team Aqua scored the same in 2013 before winning that season overall). A fourth good result off Gibraltar last month would have made Poons’ team virtually unbeatable for the 2023 44Cup title. However, they wavered, finishing the regatta an uncharacteristic sixth. Meanwhile, their principle rival, Igor Lah's Team Ceeref, powered by Hrastnik 1860, prevailed, winning (as is so often the case in this class) in the final race.

So far this season Charisma and Ceeref have won two events apiece, but whereas Ceeref's two other results have been a pair of fifths, Charisma's are a 6-2. 44Cup teams are not allowed discards at events, but are allowed to drop one of the five during the season, albeit not the World Championship nor the last event. Having the ‘better discard’ means that Charisma can still win the season overall if at the 44Cup Calero Marinas she finishes fourth and Ceeref wins (or there are no more than two boats between them).

“The beauty of the 44Cup scoring system is counting the last regatta, so it is never done and dusted until the very end,” says Ceeref’s tactician Adrian Stead. “So we have a chance of catching Charisma, although the tie break is the Worlds where Charisma holds the trump [they won it], but it is still possible. 44 Cup racing often comes down to the last race: In 2019 we went into the last event in Palma, six points behind Aqua and Nika for the season and we won the season on the last beat…”

At present all of the teams on the 44Cup are capable of winning regattas. John Bassadone's Peninsula Racing, host of the Marina Alcaidesa event, was leading their regatta for the first three days until some final deep results caused them to drop off the podium. Torbjorn Tornqvist's Artemis Racing also had a strong start to the event. Chris Bake's Team Aqua did the opposite, with three podium finishes in the last four races after a slow start, while Charisma returned to their bad old ways of either winning or coming last. Team Nika had their moments despite being two crew down due to sickness.

The team most strongly on the ascent currently is Christian Zuerrer’s Black Star Sailing Team. During the 44Cup Alcaidesa Marina they not only managed to win their first ever individual 44Cup race since joining the class last year, but also finished on the podium for the very first time.

“It was definitely a great result and I am happy of course to step on the podium,” says Zuerrer. “It was one of the goals we had this season - to be competitive.”

There is nothing like having an Olympic gold medallist on your crew and for Lanzarote Black Star Sailing Team once again will have Will Ryan, the Australian defending 470 Olympic champion from Tokyo on mainsheet. While one person can’t make all the difference, bringing on someone with Ryan’s credentials, and the Olympic discipline that comes with it, may have had a wider effect on the whole crew. Whatever the reason, Zuerrer is hoping they can replicate it – or better - next week. “At this coming event, we have to show we weren’t a ‘one hit wonder’. I am looking forward to Lanzarote – I know that it will be wavy and possibly windy, but it is the same for every team and we will have to do our best to stay on the top of the fleet.”

Adrian Stead concludes: “I am very excited with how the fleet is at the moment. The boats are such good fun to race. The 44Cup is the most competitive we have seen. We are up for another fantastic end of season and another great advert for the class.”


(After four events, with one discard)

1. Charisma - 2 1 1 6 - 4
2. Team Ceeref powered by Hrastnik 1860 - 1 5 5 1 - 7
3. Aleph Racing - 3 3 4 2. - 8
4. Team Nika - 5 4 3 7 - 12
5. Peninsula Racing - 4 2 6 4 - 12
6. Team Aqua - 7 7 2 5 - 14
7. Black Star Sailing Team - 8 6 7 3 - 16
8. Artemis Racing - 6 8 8 8 - 22

Published in 44Cup
Tagged under

Going into the final day of the 44Cup Calero Marinas, Igor Lah’s Ceeref powered by Hrastnik 1860 held a strong 11 point lead. Normally this would have seen them packing their bags early, having won with a race to spare. However, this is the 44Cup, home of high performance one designs and owner-drivers surrounded by Olympic medallists, America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race winners and nothing is ever certain. Ultimately the Slovenian team did win here in Lanzarote, but for several tense minutes victory seemed to have fully slipped through their fingers.

Today’s three races took place in a moderate easterly that built during the second race into the high teens.

Overall, Dublin Bay sailor Cian Guilfoyle racing on Aleph finished fourth. Results below.

In the first race the new boys on La Pericolosa won the pin and dug left, enabling them to reach the top mark first. Down the run they were being hunted by Pavel Kuznetsov’s Atom Tavatuy and at the gate they split, going left. On the second upwind Atom Tavatuy benefitted from a big right shift and gained a strong lead going into the top mark. While the Russian team comfortably secured their second bullet of the event, there was a scramble for second with Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika sneaking in ahead of La Pericolasa.

Finally in the second race Nico Poons’ Charisma came good. They had led yesterday’s first race until having to recover a man overboard. This afternoon they redeemed themselves. As stand-in tactician Vasco Vascotto described it: “We started well, nicely at the pin and we went left, which we believed was correct. Usually there is a little band of wind there and today there was less current too.” They rounded the top mark first and then hung on, despite a charging Team Nika that finished a close second. “That was one small sweet after a very bitter week, but this is the RC44 class! If you are not consistent you are at the back.”

Meanwhile, one eye was on the overall results. After a sixth in the first race, Ceeref’s margin over Team Nika was just six points. This dwindled by three more in the next. Going into the final race Ceeref’s lead was just four points over Team Nika. At the start disaster struck when they were locked out at the pin, gybed and ended up starting very late. Meanwhile, Team Nika played the shifts well up the first beat to lead around the top mark ahead of Valeriya Kovalenko’s ARTTUBE and Atom Tavatuy. Prosikhin’s team consolidated and went on to take the win comfortably.

Behind them a yacht racing masterclass took place as tactician Adrian Stead, Lah and the Ceeref crew fought back. By at the top mark they had recovered to eighth, by the leeward gate were sixth and after a stunning second upwind rounded the top mark second, which they held to the finish - enough to secure them 44Cup Calero Marinas victory.

“We wanted to keep some drama in! But I am relieved,” said Lah. “It is great to win the first event in the season. It is always like this in this class – you are never sure of anything.”

Stead continued: “All credit to Team Nika - they have been sailing well all week. We can definitely say this regatta was won by the recoveries – how many boats you could pass.” Team Nika had performed a similar feat in today’s first race, after their OCS. “The team did fantastically well and we kept believing in what we were doing, which is the key. I would say this is the best racing we have had in this class.”

Today’s stars were certainly Team Nika, posting a 2-2-1. “We’ve started to sail downwind much better so we have been gaining upwind and downwind,” explained Prosikhin. “It was difficult, but very enjoyable. I loved every moment of it.” Of the last race he added: “I looked back only approaching the finish line. Unfortunately the first thing I saw was Ceeref – the only disappointment of the day!”

Half of the Team Nika crew are new for 2022 and Prosikhin paid special tribute to tactician Francesco Bruni. Bruni said that there had been more passing lanes today. “It was less stable with at times more pressure offshore. We sailed very well. This crew finished last season in a low moment and they needed a recovery. Here we had more practice, which really helped. Vladimir is really following my leadership of the team.”

Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing finished a solid third having won races on the first two days.
Trying their hand at RC44 racing, were the former Melges 32 champions on La Pericolosa, who led the fleet at the top mark at least twice. “It has been really good,” said British tactician and former 470 World Champion Nic Asher. “We have loved the boat and the class is really nice, welcoming, everyone has been giving tips and advice all week.”

Over the course of the 44Cup Calero Marinas’ 10 races, incredibly seven boats won races and after just six races, all 10 teams had podiumed.

44Cup racing resumes at the 44Cup Cascais over 11-15 May. To find out more visit


(after 10 races)

1. CEEREF powered by Hrastnik 1860 - 3 1 5 4 3 2 3 6 5 2 - 34
2. Team Nika - 2 6 7 6 4 4 1 2 2 1 (2) - 37
3. Artemis Racing - 6 5 1 10 1 7 4 4 3 7 - 48
4. Aleph Racing - 5 4 9 1 5 5RDG 5RDG 8 6 3 - 51
5. Atom Tavatuy - 8 7 4 3 8 1 8 1 8 4 - 52
6. Team Aqua - 1 3 6 5 6 5 7 7 4 9 - 53
7. Peninsula Racing - 10 2 3 8 2 6 2 5 7 8 - 54
8. Charisma - 4 9 2 7 10 8 5 9 1 5 - 60
9. La Pericolosa - 9 10 8 2 7 9 11DNS 3 10 6 (4) - 79
10. ArtTube - 7 8 10 9 9 3 6 10 9 10 - 81

Published in 44Cup
Tagged under

Four races were held on day three of the 44Cup Calero Marinas in perfect trade winds conditions – sun, waves and easterly winds at times gusting to 20 knots.

Discrete stars of the day were Igor Lah, tactician Adrian Stead and the crew on Ceeref powered by Hrastnik 1860. Despite never winning a race today, the 2017 and 2019 44Cup champions podiumed three times and scored no result lower than a fourth. Such consistency was rewarded with them going into the final day holding a massive 11 point lead over Vladimir Prosikhin's Team Nika.

As a testament to the intense, but surprisingly equal racing, after six races, all ten of the RC44 teams had podiumed. After today’s final race six had won races.

However, it wasn't plain sailing for the only Irish crew in the series. Last November's series winner Aleph, with Dublin Bay Grinder Cian Guilfoyle onboard, looking for redress in Race five to lie sixth.

The even-ness of the course, in the first race especially, resulted in neither side paying, so coming into the top mark the top nine boats were separated by just 30m. Not all could fit into this space resulting in several penalties. There was also drama: Nico Poons’ Charisma was leading into the mark, when their stand-in tactician, who was holding the runner as it was released during a tack, half fell overboard.

Surprisingly it was not an experienced team that came out best from the mark gridlock, but the newbies on La Pericolosa. However, Hugues Lepic’s Aleph Racing was close behind, split at the gate, took the lead on the next upwind, going on to take the win. “We didn’t have a very good start, but were fourth at the top mark,” explained tactician Michele Ivaldi. “We have made huge improvements with our downwind sailing - we noticed a few things yesterday which we corrected.”

The second race saw John Bassadone’s Peninsula Racing lead around the top mark only to be overhauled by both Pavel Kuznetsov’s Atom Tavatuy and Artemis Racing. Gybing early reaped dividends for Torbjörn Törnqvist’s team, which pulled into the lead and was never caught. It was hero to zero to hero, for the Swedes having won Friday’s final race and come last in today’s first race.

In the brisk conditions of race three, there was great joy when the 44Cup’s sole female owner Valeriya Kovalenko’s ARTTUBE, sailing just their third ever event in the class, won the pin, headed left, tacked and successfully crossed the fleet. Inevitably the big guns prevailed with Ceeref and Tavatuy rounding the top mark just ahead, however they were slow at the gate as ARTTUBE split right as Ceeref went left, to take the lead. Sadly for Kovalenko and her team, including her tactician, Igor Lisovenko, there was compression coming into the finish with Atom Tavatuy taking the win from Ceeref, as ARTTUBE finished a nose ahead of Team Nika.

“I feel very tired, but happy - I am pleased with the place of the pink RC!” admitted Kovalenko later. “This weather is very difficult for me with big waves and we have old sails and an old genniker.”

The breeze had dropped to 10-12 knots for the fourth and final race, with the fleet down to eight after the previous race when Team Aleph had been rammed by La Pericolosa coming the top mark. Having retired, Team Aleph ultimately received redress, scored fifth for the last two races.


For Team Nika, finally everything aligned on the race course in the final races, their tactician America’s Cup skipper Francesco Bruni bedded in. “We were coming to it - it was well deserved - finally we got in the groove!” said owner Vladimir Prosikhin. “The last race was - nothing special. We started with speed and did two tacks to the mark and had good speed upwind and good speed downwind. We weren’t even close to anyone.” They won by a very ‘un-44Cup’ 36 seconds from Peninsula Racing.

Sadly the rest of the day had not gone so well. “In the first race, I got a penalty at the start on Ceeref because we tacked on to port and lost all steerage!” Prosikhin continued. “But somehow we were climbing, climbing, climbing and finished fourth.”
As to his new tactician Prosikhin admits: “He has a strong personality and is very demanding. He started massaging the owner, but now he is similar to Terry Hutchinson! ‘No matter what you do you, you HAVE to sail 286°!”

Slowly rediscovering their form too is Peninsula Racing’s John Bassadone, also racing with an accomplished new tactician in double Olympic Finn gold medallist turned America’s Cup sailor Giles Scott. Peninsula Racing posted two seconds today, leaving them fourth overall.

“Today was brilliant, great fun,” said Bassadone. “It was exactly what we needed – four good races in decent wind and a bit of action, or too much action at times! We are fast and we feel competitive. When you are not competitive, it is extremely frustrating.” As to Scott, he added: “Giles is a clever guy, very calm. He is a fantastic sailor and super-good guy. His integration has been seamless.”

Racing continues tomorrow at 1200 when similar trade wind conditions are forecast and up to three races scheduled. All to play for…

Follow the action from the final day live at
(after 7 races)

1. CEEREF powered by Hrastnik 1860 - 3 1 5 4 3 2 3 - 12
2. Team Nika - 2 6 7 6 4 4 1 (2) - 32
3. Team Aqua - 1 3 6 5 6 5 7 - 33
4. Peninsula Racing - 10 2 3 8 2 6 2 - 33
5. Artemis Racing - 6 5 1 10 1 7 4 - 34
6. Aleph Racing - 5 4 9 1 5 5RDG 5RDG - 34
7. Atom Tavatuy - 8 7 4 3 8 1 8 - 39
8. Charisma - 4 9 2 7 10 8 5 - 45
9. ArtTube - 7 8 10 9 9 3 6 - 52
10. La Pericolosa - 9 10 8 2 7 9 11DNS (4) - 60

Published in 44Cup
Tagged under

Sadly no water passed beneath the keels of the ten-strong 44Cup fleet on the opening day of their first regatta of the 2022 season off Porto Calero, Lanzarote.

There was a small hope of the wind filling in early afternoon, but this was too little and of too short duration, explained 44Cup Principal Race Officer Maria Torrijo, who cancelled racing for the day at 1400 UTC. "Today, it was a very easy decision because there was no wind at all. We had a gust of up to five knots, but it was just for five minutes and then it dropped completely. It was like a mirror. So we decided to stop. We will try to race tomorrow."

For tomorrow, some forecasts are indicating that we could be in for more of the same, although others are saying 5-10 knots, which, if it transpires is more than adequate breeze in which the nimble RC44s can meaningfully race.

The good news will come at the weekend, predicts the PRO: "We are expecting the trade winds coming from Saturday when we will have very good conditions," says Torrijo.

In theory racing will start today at midday UTC.

Published in 44Cup
Tagged under

With the 44Cup Calero Marinas Lanzarote starting this morning, the high-performance owner-driver one-design class returns to having a double digit-sized fleet for the first time since 2016.

As Afloat reported previously, recent additions include the first team with a female owner, in Moscow lawyer Valeriya Kovalenko’s ARTTUBE, and German Christian Schwoerer's La Pericolosa with a crew including two time 470 World Champions Nic Asher and Elliot Willis and Beijing gold medallist Will Ryan.

Dublin Bay's Cian Guilfoyle is the only Irish sailor among the crews and he is continuing his grinder role onboard the on-form French RC44 Aleph.

French entry Aleph with Dun Laoghaire's Cian Guilfoyle onboard Photo: Martinez StudioFrench entry Aleph with Dun Laoghaire's Cian Guilfoyle onboard Photo: Martinez Studio

The first time ARTTUBE sailed in their boat was 2021’s final event here when they finished an impressive fifth. This year they start with some interesting new graphics on their otherwise fuchsia RC44, drawn by Misha Most, a famous Moscow street artist.

Naturally, Chris Bake’s Team Aqua returns as holder of the 44Cup leader’s ‘golden wheels’ with the aim of staying on top. This is not the first time they have been in this position. “Every team learns from the last year - you reset, analyse what you did and didn’t do well and you try and develop your team,” explains Team Aqua tactician Cameron Appleton. This season they have a new crew in Dane Jonas Hviid-Nielsen. “You are always looking to see if there are ways to put a new burst of energy into the team, just to keep everyone on their toes. You have to find ways to develop,” continues Appleton.

While Team Aqua had a dip in form a few years ago, experiencing this in 2021 was Team Nika. The class’ only triple World Champions and overall series winner in 2015, ended the 2021 season last. This year they bounce back with Italian America’s Cup skipper Francesco Bruni on tactics and new addition Pierluigi de Felice. Bruni is the latest America’s Cup legend to sail on board following Coutts, Barker, Baird, Hutchinson, Slingsby…

“I am very happy – Cecco [Bruni] is easy going, we have good communication and I feel comfortable that I understand what he wants,” said owner Vladimir Prosikhin, but also acknowledging that the 44Cup is growing, winning will be even harder. “I believe the 44Cup has never been as strong as now. Every crew is very experienced and the boats are equal. It is a great pleasure to sail in such a strong fleet. There are no mistakes, the boats are very fast, but enjoyable and safe, because everyone knows what they are doing.”

Another team that has never quite found the form it had when it won the RC44 World Championship in 2012, is John Bassadone’s Peninsula Racing, which finished 2021 in eighth. However, this could change in 2022 with British two time Olympic Finn gold medallist, Giles Scott now on tactics.

“The team is amazing. It is a great set of guys who are good fun to be around and work really hard on the water. Hopefully, we can string some results together,” said Scott. “I really enjoy racing in this class because it is so close. Looking at the results, boats are winning a regatta and then in the next they are in the back few, which demonstrates the evenness of the boats and the high standard that every team has.”

Another change in boat dynamics will also occur on Nico Poons’ Charisma, where standing in for regular tactician Hamish Pepper is Italian 44Cup veteran Vasco Vascotto. “This is one of the classes where we feel we have the best sport,” says Vascotto, who for many years called tactics for Bassadone. “In this class the boats are the same and when you make a mistake you are at the back of the fleet and if you do a good job you are in front.”

Igor Lah’s Ceeref powered by Hrastnik 1860, the 2017 and 2019 44Cup winner, missed claiming the series title last year by a mere point. “Unfortunately sometimes you get it and sometimes you don’t,” said Lah. “This is such a competitive class that sometimes it comes down to luck and small things. We will try and do better this year.” For this season there have been no changes to the sailing team, once again led by Adrian Stead. “The fleet is growing, which shows how much people love sailing in this class.”

And this is not to ignore the remaining teams all also with potential to win. Notably Hugues Lepic's Aleph Racing, with Michele Ivaldi calling tactics, which in 2021 won the events in Cowes and Lanzarote at the end of the year, to finish third overall. Similarly good things can be expected of Pavel Kuznetsov’s Atom Tavatuy on which Evgeny Neugodnikov calls tactics, which finished second here last year. Last but not least is Artemis Racing, skippered by Torbjorn Tornqvist and with Andy Horton calling tactics. The Swedish team twice finished on the podium at events last year.

Racing gets underway on Wednesday with a first warning signal at 1200 UTC.


Hugues Lepic (FRA) - Owner / Driver
Michele Ivaldi (ITA) - Tactician
Skip Baxter (NZL) - Main trimmer
Jon Gundersen (NZL) - Headsail Trimmer
Lara Poljsak (SLO) - Offside Trimmer
Jaro Furlani (ITA) - Pit
Cian Guilfoyle (IRL) - Grinder
Paco Lepoutre (FRA) - Floater
Greg Gendell (USA) - Bow

Torbjorn Tornqvist (SWE) - Owner / Driver
Andy Horton (USA) - Tactician
Iain Percy (GBR) - Main trimmer
Maciel Cichetti (ITA) - Headsail Trimmer
Emanuele Marino (ITA) - Offside Trimmer
Nils Akervall (SWE) - Pit
Kalle Torlen (SWE) - Grinder
Markus Tornqvist (SWE) Trimmer Assist - Floater
Piet Van Nieuwenhuijzen (NED) - Bow

Pavel Kuznetsov (RUS) - Owner / Driver
Evgeny Neugodnikov (RUS) - Tactician
Aleksandr Ekimov (RUS) - Main trimmer
Anton Sergeev (RUS) - Headsail Trimmer
Denis Gribanov (RUS) - Offside Trimmer
Pietro Mantovani (ITA) - Pit
Egor Larionov (RUS) - Grinder
Evgeny Egorov (RUS) - Bow

Valeriya Kovalenko (RUS) - Owner / Driver
Igor Lisovenko (RUS) - Tactician
Vitaly Rozhkov (RUS) - Main trimmer
Victor Serezhkin (RUS) - Headsail Trimmer
Sergey Avdonin (RUS) - Offside Trimmer
Denis Rozhkov (RUS) - Pit
Francesco Rubagotti (ITA) - Grinder
Alexey Kulakov (RUS) - Bow

Igor Lah (SLO) - Owner / Driver
Adrian Stead (GBR) - Tactician
Dirk de Ridder (NED) - Main trimmer
Javi De La Plaza (ESP) - Headsail Trimmer
Tine Lah (SLO) - Offside Trimmer
Andreas Axelsson (SWE) - Pit
Jelle Janzen (NED) - Grinder
Matteo Auguardo (ITA) - Bow

Nico Poons (NED) - Owner / Driver
Vasco Vascotto (ITA) - Tactician
Chris Hosking (AUS) - Main trimmer
Ross Halcrow (NZL) - Headsail Trimmer
Dimitri Simmons (NED) - Offside Trimmer
Ryan Godfrey (AUS) - Pit
Robin Jacobs (NED) - Grinder
Ivan Peute (NED) - Bow

Micheal Hund (ITA) - Driver
Nic Asher (GBR) - Tactician
Elliot Willis (GBR) - Main trimmer
Will Ryan (AUS) - Headsail Trimmer
Jas Farneti (ITA) - Offside Trimmer
Vittorio Zaoli (ITA) - Pit
Michi Muller (GER) - Grinder
Matteo Ramain (ITA) - Bow

John Bassadone (GBR) - Owner / Driver
Giles Scott (GBR) - Tactician
Robin Imaz (ESP) - Main trimmer
German Panei (ARG) - Headsail Trimmer
Mikel Pasabant (ESP) - Offside Trimmer
Matthew Barber (GBR) - Pit
Facundo Olezza (ARG) - Grinder
Gonzalo Morales (ESP) - Bow

Chris Bake (NZL) - Owner / Driver
Cameron Appleton (NZL) - Tactician
Andrew Estcourt (NZL) - Main trimmer
Christian Kamp (DEN) - Headsail Trimmer
Aaron Cooper (GBR) - Offside Trimmer
Jonas Hviid-Nielsen (DEN) - Pit
Ben Graham (GBR) - Grinder
Juan Marcos (ARG) - Bow

Vladimir Prosikhin (RUS) - Owner / Driver
Francesco Bruni (ITA) - Tactician
Sean Clarkson (NZL) - Main trimmer
Pierluigi De Felice (ITA) - Headsail Trimmer
Mitja Margon (SLO) - Offside Trimmer
Nikolay Kornev (RUS) - Pit
Iztok Knafelc (SLO) - Grinder
Matt Cornwell (GBR) - Bow

Published in 44Cup
Tagged under

Dun Laoghaire Harbour's Cian Guilfoyle, a crewman on the RC 44 Aleph, took the first race of the final and deciding event of the 2021 44Cup in Lanzarote yesterday.

Racing got off to a difficult start. To race, the nimble RC44s only need 5/6 knots of wind and on several occasions, the race committee valiantly began a start sequence in more than this, only for the wind to disappear.

Finally, moving the entire race course north towards Lanzarote’s capital Arrecife enabled one race to be held. In this, there was a tight-run battle between Hugues Lepic’s Team Aleph, John Bassadone’s Peninsula Racing and surprisingly, newbie 44Cup team Valeriya Kovalenko’s ARTTUBE. Among the nine racing, this trio did the best job of reading the shifts and the awkward current coming out of the mid-left. Then, on the final run, as the wind was getting ever shiftier and softer, Chris Bake and Team Aqua benefitted from a massive flier out to the right side of the course. Finding marginally improved pressure there pulled the reigning RC44 World Champions up to second place but the move was unable to advance them far enough to catch Team Aleph, which won what would prove to be today’s only race. 

Team Aleph - standing in for helmsman Hugues Lepic at this regatta is Italian Alessandro RombelliTeam Aleph - standing in for helmsman Hugues Lepic at this regatta is Italian Alessandro Rombelli Photo: Martinez Studio

With Michele Ivaldi calling tactics as usual and an otherwise regular Team Aleph crew, standing in for helmsman Hugues Lepic at this regatta is Italian Alessandro Rombelli. A highly accomplished owner/driver, Rombelli’s yachts are all named Stig and have spanned Maxi 72s down to the complete range of Melges sportsboats.

"To race, the nimble RC44s only need 5/6 knots of wind"

“The race committee did a great job moving the course, because here in front of the harbour it would have been impossible to race,” Rombelli noted. “It was still difficult to keep momentum and speed and to get lucky on the wind shifts, but it worked well for us. It was a great start to the series. I am here just standing in for the owner, so I am happy that we have got a good result for him.”

Rombelli has not sailed an RC44 before, but said he was impressed with its versatility, now he has raced it successfully in impossibly light conditions today and in 18 knots while training. “The boat is super fun. It is technical. It is a good combination. The big genoa is definitely helping when conditions are super light.”

While none of Rombelli´s Stig regulars are on board, there are many in the crew he has raced against, including Italian tactical wizard Michele Ivaldi. “It is good to have today behind us,” noted Ivaldi once ashore. “The main thing was the very light breeze and the pressure coming in and out. We were pretty lucky on the first beat to get the right shift. But it was open to the end.”

John Bassadone and his team on Peninsula Racing were sailing with a confidence not seen recently, boosted no doubt by their new tactician, British two time Olympic Finn gold medallist and America´s Cup sailor Giles Scott. They were headed for the podium until losing out on the final run.

“We have done one race with Giles but it was great, a really good feeling, I´m really enjoying sailing with him,” said Bassadone. “He is obviously a fantastic sailor. Today was very positive in difficult conditions, but we made the right calls and the boat is going quite well.”

With her Spanish crew, Peninsula Racing is effectively the ´home team´ here and Bassadone has fond memories of Lanzarote, having won here in 2017 but also it being the first place where he raced his now beloved RC44. “It is fantastic to come back to Puerto Calero. We have enjoyed some good results here and we have some good friends here in the Caleros. I love coming here.”

After finishing last in her first ever event on the 44Cup in Scarlino last month, Valeriya Kovalenko was all smiles once her RC44 ARTTUBE returned to Puerto Calero. Her third place today is her best result to date in the 44Cup.

“Today it was light winds and we have had more training in that in Russia,” said Kovalenko, who struggled during her first regatta steering an RC44 last month in Scarlino´s strong breeze. “This wind is good for me. We are happy with our result today,” she concluded, adding that while this is her first time to Lanzarote, many of her crew raced here previously on Kirill Podolsky´s RUS7.

Racing continues tomorrow at 1200 when it is hoped conditions will be marginally improved.

Published in Racing
Tagged under

The RC44 class World Championship has just finished last weekend at Scarlino, Italy, and like the TP52 Class, it was won by a boat using Quantum Fusion upwind sails and spinnakers.

A last-minute manoeuvre by Nico Poons’ Charisma won them the final race of the 44Cup Scarlino World Championship by a mere second, but it was the defending champions on Chris Bake’s Team Aqua that defended their title in this 11th RC44 World Championship by one slender point.

Like a final curtain call to this World Championship, as well as a reminder of how close the racing always is between the high-performance owner-driver one designs, the top eight RC44s all crossed the finish line for the final time within just 20 seconds after 40 minutes of racing.

If you would like to avail of the designers and technology for your yacht in Ireland, that leads the RC44 Class and TP52 class, contact Quantums Mark Mansfield at [email protected] or at 00 353 87 2506838

Published in Quantum Sails
Tagged under

Conditions could not have been better for day three of the 44Cup Scarlino World Championship. Coming out two hours ahead of schedule to make the best of the breeze, the wind was already knocking on the door of 20 knots. By the time the first race started at 1000 the wind was firmly 20 knots and then spent most of the day in the low 20s, frequently gusting more.

Blowing off mountainous Tuscany, the offshore breeze was shifty and puffy. It caused numerous lead changed and seemed to favour no one. Thus, to make up the schedule after a lost opening day four races were held and each featured a different winner.

The overall 2021 44Cup leader, Igor Lah's Ceeref powered by Hrastnik 1860, got off to a strong start winning today's opening race, but then a collision with Aleph Racing (with Dubliner Cian Guilfoyle onboard) in the next saw them come home last with a two-point penalty imposed on them for 'hard contact'.

Meanwhile, Nico Poons' Charisma team was sailing a blinder. Winning today's second race caused them to move to the top of the leaderboard, tied with Artemis Racing, the Swedish team showing excellent consistency, despite the difficult conditions. But, as is proving typical here, this position was short-lived for both as they scored deeply in the next race. In this Chris Bake's Team Aqua finally scored a bullet, propelling his team up to second overall as Aleph Racing took the lead.

“It was pretty tricky!” admitted Bake later. “But what beautiful conditions – sunny, breezy. It was a full-on day today, but it was good. All the boats are going really well, one mistake and you are toast – you’ll get spat out mercilessly.”

Team Aqua’s tactician Cameron Appleton added: “It has been a battle. This fleet is tight and we’ve had tricky conditions to execute all the time out there. We always know we are capable of it, we just have to connect everything together. We finally got a good start and sailed well in the placement up the course. As soon as you get your nose out, things become a bit easier than when you are in the back of the pack trying to fight your way out of there, because you don’t get much room in this fleet.

“The fleet is so close and everybody just knows how to sail the boats well. Every regatta this year has been windy, so we don’t have to worry about that anymore. It is now about going out there and positioning better and doing the basics well. It is going to be a good battle all the way to the finish.”

In the fourth and final race of the day, a 1-2 for Artemis Racing and Charisma caused them to catch Hugues Lepic's Aleph Racing creating an ultra-close leaderboard going into the last day. In front is Aleph Racing, but the Frenchman's team is just one point ahead of Torbjörn Törnqvist's Artemis Racing and Nico Poons' Charisma.

“We have always known in this fleet that it is important to be always up there,” explains Aleph Racing tactician Michele Ivaldi. “You win regattas with an average of 3.5-4 points. So if you manage to squeeze in 2nds, 3rd and 4ths you end up in good shape.”

But consistency has been the one thing difficult to achieve in the blustery conditions this week and even the leader’s average score has been just under 4 per race. “With the offshore wind there are huge shifts, as much as 30° during a single race,” continued Ivaldi. “I think we managed to start reasonably well and be able to sail the first shift and then you have to sail the wind that you have and try to get out of phase as little as possible….”

As to the tight leaderboard going into the final day, Ivaldi is not surprised: “It is good to be coming into the last day with the possibility to win, but we know perfectly that four or five boats can still win. Everything is still up for grabs. We’ll just go out tomorrow as if it is a normal day.”

In the final race victory slipped through the fingers of Pavel Kuznetsov’s Atom Tavatuy, not once but twice. Firstly a beneficial shift while on starboard propelled them into the lead at the first top mark rounding. “We started very nicely on the downwind and gybed at the right time and we were leading by 100m,” recounted tactician Evgeny Neugodnikov. “But then the wind dropped to 12-13 knots and Charisma got in front but we were still second [Charisma going left as they went right at the gate].”

There was another roll of the dice up the second beat as Artemis Racing did well on the right to lead at the second top mark rounding with Atom Tavatuy a close fourth behind Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika. Gybing early and splitting from the leaders, Kuznetsov’s team rolled Team Nika and was again in contention for the lead but Artemis Racing and Charisma covered to leave Atom Tavatuy third. “It’s nice weather, nice wind and very close racing – like usual! I hope tomorrow we will be better,” concluded Neugodnikov.

Tomorrow, the final day of the 44Cup Scarlino World Championship, racing is scheduled to start at 1100 CEST and with three or four races likely to be held, weather permitting any of the top eight boats remains capable of winning.

Published in 44Cup
Tagged under

For the first 44 Cup event in 17 months, Portorož could not have offered better conditions to date; slowly ramping up the wind strength to the third and penultimate day of racing, when the wind was at times solidly into the 20s, gusting to 25 knots.

As Afloat reported previously, Irish crews are competing in the event with Dublin Bay's Cian Guilfoyle in fifth place Team Aleph and Belfast Lough's Stephen Milne on Artemis.

While Chris Bake's Team Aqua was the undisputed champion yesterday, first home in all three races, today reverted to familiar 44Cup form with three different winners. In the first race, John Bassadone's Gibraltar team on their rebranded Peninsula Racing played the right side of the first beat masterfully to lead at the top mark, clinging on to the finish.

"We stayed out of trouble," recounted Peninsula Racing's proud owner. "We managed to get a good start, tacked out to the right, got a decent shift and, from then on, played the shifts quite well and stayed ahead. It was breezy and we sailed conservatively with smooth boat handling and a good performance from the entire team.

RC 44 racing in PortorozRC 44 racing in Portorož

"We needed that win because our results have been pretty poor. I don't feel too bad because the bad results could have been good – it just shows how closely matched all the boats are. We just need to stick with it, but I'm sure we will improve."

Bassadone, like the other owners, was all grins when he returned ashore after the first opportunity to sail his RC44 at full tilt after so many months of abstinence. "It shows how good this boat is that even when it is gusting 25-26 knots, as long as the sea state isn't too bad she is great fun to sail downwind."

Despite the conditions, crews didn't come ashore too soaked or even too exhausted. "It is always close racing," said Peninsula Racing's tactician Ed Baird. "It is amazing how tight this fleet is - everyone is just right there all the time. The races are fairly quick and the guys are used to their positions, so it doesn't wear them out too much and the smoother water helps a lot. When it gets rough, you are hiking and smashing through waves and it starts to beat you up a bit more."

Team Aqua once again showed the fleet the way around the race track in the second race, to score, most impressively, their fourth bullet out of five races.

Finally after an outstanding opening day, followed by a dire day two, Vladimir Prosikhin's Team Nika came good in the big conditions to win today's final race. For Prosikhin this came as great relief. "Today we were at our lowest point but we nicely recovered. I found 'our reason' and even I can remember how to gybe because otherwise we did everything, EVERYTHING wrong - we were over the line, we broached the boat twice, etc. So finally it looked good but we had to keep our fingers crossed. Yesterday was even more painful..."

As to today's lively conditions, Prosikhin admitted they lacked practice. "In Russian we say 'the first pancake never comes out right'. Fortunately we have some boat speed again, because yesterday we were struggling, especially downwind and our trim was wrong, everything was wrong. Finally we got into the group here."

In fact today was less about winning races. Neither of Saturday's two top scoring teams won a race but were superbly consistent. Local Slovenian hero Igor Lah, had the best day across the eight boat fleet posting a 2-4-2 and was regularly nipping at the heels of the leaders. The same was true of Pavel Kuznetsov's Atom Tavatuy with an equally level 3-3-4. These boats have now moved up to second and third places overall respectively behind the still dominant Team Aqua.

"We are happy and it is great," said Lah. "We did what we wanted to do whereas yesterday and the day before each time we had a little bit of bad luck - something wasn't right, maybe bad shifts or not great understanding on the boat."

Team CEEREF's British tactician Adrian Stead added of their performance today: "We had three solid races. In the middle one, we were second round the top mark last time, but we ended up losing two places down the run. No lead was safe - you could come round the top mark in light pressure and suddenly everyone was back down inside you, so it was pretty tricky. But there were fantastic conditions today, once again showing how fun and competitive the 44 fleet is: Everyone is right in there and overlapped at the top mark after a 1.4 mile beat. It was a very enjoyable day of yachting in awesome sailing conditions. They are challenging boats to sail across the wind range which is what makes them so good. Roll on tomorrow, when it'll be all on!"

Tomorrow is the final day of the 44Cup Portorož and three races are scheduled in similar conditions to today. Impressively the day will kick off with the top five RC44s still within six points. As a result who will win, and who will even make the podium, remain wide open – familiar 44Cup territory.


(After nine races)

1. Team Aqua 4 2 7 1 1 1 5 1 6 (2) - 30
2. Team CEEREF 6 1 5 6 3 4 2 4 2 - 33
3. Atom Tavatuy 8 4 2 3 5 2 3 3 4 - 34
4. Team Nika 1 3 4 4 7 6 8 2 1 - 36
5. Aleph Racing 5 6 1 5 2 3 4 7 3 - 36
6.Peninsula Racing 2 8 3 8 8 7 1 6 8 - 51
7. Charisma 7 7 6 2 4 5 7 8 5 - 51
8. Artemis Racing 3 5 8 7 6 8 6 5 7 - 55

Penalty points shown in brackets.

Published in Racing
Tagged under

There's Irish sailing interest in the RC44 Cup fleet in Slovenia’s Adriatic coast this week as Dun Laoghaire Harbour's Cian Guilfoyle lies second on French boat Aleph Racing after three races sailed and Belfast Lough's Stephen Milne is seventh on Artemis.

As Afloat previously reported, the umpire for the week is Northern Ireland race judge Bill O'Hara in Portorož - Piran.

With its light start, brilliant sunshine and the ancient town of Piran and the still snowcapped Slovenian Alps as a backdrop, the day could not have been better for the 44Cup fleet to blow away any cobwebs after such a long absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 44Cup in PortorožThe 44Cup in Portorož Photo: Martinez/RC44

Having not lined up since November 2019, 44Cup competition resumed today for the high-performance owner-driver one designs, with three races successfully held on the Bay of Piran. These started in a 6 knots and built to 12 over the afternoon.

The 44Cup Portorož is being hosted by Vladimir Prosikhin and Igor Lah, owners of Team Nika and Team CEEREF respectively. Team CEEREF is the 44Cup's Slovenian-flagged RC44 while two key crew on board Team Nika once represented Slovenia in the Olympic Games, come from Portorož and one, Mitja Margon, is this event's organiser. It was appropriate therefore that these two RC44s won the first two races. Team Nika posted by far the most consistent results today, returning ashore with a four point lead. Behind her the competition is far closer with just four points separating second from seventh places.

As someone who shows jubilation well, being back was a sheer delight for Prosikhin: "Everyone here is extremely happy, because we were missing our RC44 regattas SO much - one of the worst things about this pandemic was that we couldn't sail our beautiful boats. Coming here is like returning home to your family, the relations with everyone are so good. Some of the guys on the boat have been with me for 10 years."

Having on board Margon and his former 470 Olympic helm Tomaž Copi, who are both from Portoroz, also helps. "They know what to expect. It was important - in the morning it was a bit more predictable, but in the afternoon it changed and we had some random headers and lifts, when the locals helped."

In addition, Team Nika is the only RC44 here with a 'new' tactician, in Spanish keelboat champion Manu Weiller, who stepped into the role, previously been filled by Russell Coutts, Dean Barker, Ed Baird and Terry Hutchinson. With everyone wanting the pin and the left due to the wind bend on the Croatian shore and the sea breeze building, Weiller said they had focussed more on getting clean, conservative, mid-line starts. "This crew is incredible. They know the boat perfectly which helps me a lot, deciding modes, etc."

Racing started in a 6 knots and built to 12 over the afternoon Photo: Martinez/RC44Racing started in 6 knots and built to 12 over the afternoon

Team Nika was lining up to win today's final race until on the final beat they were forced to tack away from starboard tackers on two occasions. At the top mark for the final time Pavel Kuznetsov's Atom Tavatuy led, but the Russian team was eventually pipped at the post by Hugues Lepic's Team Aleph.

"It would have been better to be first, but it was compensation from the first race," said Kuznetsov, who has raced a few times on sportsboats since the last 44Cup event in Palma in November 2019.

Team Aleph's Hugues Lepic was delighted by the results of his team, on which Italian keelboat specialist Michele Ivaldi is calling tactics. He has not sailed at all since Palma 17 months ago. "It was an amazing finish - quite unexpected. I am very very pleased that we got to first position. The start was tough for us, but in the end it worked out okay." Despite losing a crew overboard after a winch handle broke at one point, Team Aleph currently holds second overall, on the same points at Team CEEREF which bracketed their race two win with two deeper results.

John Bassadone's newly rechristened Peninsula Racing had a tough day. After a solid second in the first race, they were unable to fight back from an OCS in race two and then had the top of their rig damaged and Windex torn off after Chris Bake's Team Aqua clashed rigs with them at the start of the third race (for which Bake's team was awarded two penalty points).

Racing resumes today with stronger winds forecast. 


(After three races)

1. Team Nika 1 3 4 - 8
2. Aleph Racing 5 6 1 - 12
3. Team CEEREF 6 1 5 - 12
4.Peninsula Racing 2 8 3 - 13
5. Atom Tavatuy 8 4 2 - 14
6. Team Aqua 4 2 7 (2) - 15
7. Artemis Racing 3 5 8 - 16
8. Charisma 7 7 6 - 20

Penalty points shown in brackets.

Published in Racing
Page 1 of 2

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

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
isora sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating