RC44 Championship Tour heads to Croatia

Team Aqua - Adris RC44 Cup 2011
Dan Ljungsvik ©
Adris RC44 Cup is the penultimate round of the RC44 Championship Tour and is being held in Croatia from 28th September to 2nd October 2011.

Rovinj, Croatia may not currently be on the radar as a yacht racing venue, but that maybe about to change as the RC44 fleet descend on the beautiful fishing port of Rovinj in the north of the Adriatic Sea.

At the top of both the match race and fleet race standings is Team Aqua, owned by Chris Bake, who will be sailing again with his long-time professional skipper Cameron Appleton. The team have shown great consistency throughout the 2011 season and now sit three points ahead of defending champions Oracle Racing on the overall fleet race rankings.

'We’ve been really pleased with how our year has gone and we have been really consistent. As the fleet gets deeper and the numbers increase it gets harder and harder so we just have to keep focusing on what has been successful for us and the small refinements to make sure the basics are being concentrated on so we are always sailing the boat at the highest level.' Explained Cameron Appleton (NZL) ahead of the start of the Adris RC44 Cup.

Just three points also separate third placed Team CEEREF (SLO) and seventh place No Way Back (NED). Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), Katusha (RUS) and Artemis Racing (SWE) are wedged in the middle and all are fighting for a podium position.

Artemis Racing - Adris RC44 Cup 2011
Dan Ljungsvik ©

One of the fighting pack, Artemis Racing (Torbjorn Tornqvist/Morgan Larson), are relieved to have their boat back and racing, after a collision with Peninsula Petroleum in Sweden last month. The damage meant their boat had to be shipped to Hungary, to the RC44 boat builders Pauger, for some major repairs between events.

David Munday, boat captain for Artemis Racing explains: 'We went directly to Hungary from Marstrand, where Pauger worked for a week straight on the repairs to the RC44. A few of us then worked on putting the boat back together and painting it.' Artemis Racing have been runners-up in the last two Tour championships, and are keen for a good result in Croatia as Munday explained. 'The team are all fired up for Croatia. Our goal is to be in the top three overall. If we can do that that, it will be pretty good considering what the boat and team have been through.'
Peter Lovas, from Pauger, explained how they managed the repair so quickly. 'The damaged area affected the hull, deck and flange. We had to produce a ‘patch’ for it. If we had used regular RC44 moulds we would have had to produce three, for each of the affected areas. Fortunately we had another RC44 at the yard so used this boat to produce a special mould for the damaged area, allowing us to build the patch in one piece, achieving a nice outer surface and adding minimal weight.'

The Adris RC44 Cup 2011 will also welcome some of the Croatian Olympic Sailing Team, including Finn sailor Ivan Kljakovic Gašpic, currently ranked number four in the ISAF world rankings. Marijan Hanžekovic, President of Croatian Sailing Federation, said: 'To be part of the RC44 Tour is a great honour for Croatia. It is our pleasure to again welcome some of the best sailors in the world, in these beautiful waters of Rovinj. I am glad to see Croatian sailors among the crews. This is another sign of the strength of sailing in Croatia. This event is a great promotion of Croatia in the world of sailing and tourism.'

AEZ Sailing Team - Adris RC44 Cup 2011
Dan Ljungsvik ©

Karlo Kuret, who came has competed in four Olympics representing Croatia, finishing fourth in the Finn dinghy at Athens 2004 and now races with the AEZ RC44 Sailing Team, added: 'We currently have a great Olympic sailing team so there is a lot of interest in the RC44’s coming to town. The fleet can definitely expect an exciting event. We usually have nice weather, good breeze and we might get rough seas too. Everything is possible!'

There will be a live blog and tracking each day. The first day of match racing kicks off on Wednesday 28th September at 11.30 (CET), with the fleet racing 29th September to 2nd October.

RC44 Championship Tour website