RC44 Championship Tour heads to Portugal

Patrick de Barros at the helm of Team Banco Espirito Santo - RC44 Cascais Cup 2012
RC44 Class/MartinezStudio.es
RC44 Cascais Cup, the second round of the RC44 Championship Tour, will take place in Portugal from 28 March to 1 April. Patrick de Barros, one of Portugal’s most celebrated entrepreneurs and sportsmen, is hoping for a jubilant return to the RC44 class on his home waters of Cascais.

A new team will be testing the waters in Portugal, Brian Benjamin better known in the world of Maxi Racing will be racing in Portugal with his Team Aegir.

In what is the Tour’s first ever visit to the famous Portuguese sailing city; de Barros will be helming Aleph Sailing Team. He is taking over from Hugues Lepic for the event and renaming the boat Team Cascais for this one-off occasion. Aleph’s regular young French crew, with Mathieu Richard as tactician, will race with de Barros.

De Barros last competed in the RC44 Championship in the 2008 season when his Team Banco Espirito Santo crew clinched the Tour title. An accomplished sailor he was twice chosen as Portugal’s Olympic flag bearer for both the ‘84 and ‘88 Games and is looking forward to his return to the class in the Bay of Cascais, de Barros said: 'I’m lucky to substitute on an excellent boat, with a great crew, which finished second in the first event of the 2012 Tour in Lanzarote this February. I am looking to have a good race.

'Cascais is recognised as one of the best places in the world for yachting and I am delighted to be sponsored by the Cascais City Council for the event. Cascais has a tradition in holding major events, which are very important for the promotion of tourism and international exposure for Portugal.'

Brian Benjamin at the wheel of Carbon Ocean 82. Aegir- RC44 Cascais Cup 2012

Also joining the fleet for the first time in Cascais is the Brian Benjamin-owned Team Aegir (GBR), better known in the world of Maxi racing. With Benjamin at the helm, Aegir first came to prominence in 2010, winning the Mini Maxi Cruiser Yacht World Championship. His latest yacht, the head-turning 82’ Maxi built by Carbon Ocean Yachts took line honours in every race at the 2011 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup.

Benjamin is recognised as a successful, self-made entrepreneur. After leaving school he became a Private in the British Army and through this association Team Aegir proudly supports Toe in the Water, the tri-service initiative inspiring men and women who have sustained injuries serving their country.

Guy Barron (GBR), is the team manager for Team Aegir and former Platú 25 World Champion and multiple Spanish match racing champion, Manu Weiller will be on tactics. Benjamin said: 'Taking on world class teams and sailors in the RC44 circuit is an ideal way to improve performance for Aegir’s 2012 Maxi season. Racing identical yachts, on tight courses is a perfect platform to hone starting procedures and boat-on-boat strategy.'

Portugal - RC44 Cascais Cup 2012
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15 teams will fight it out for the RC44 Cascais Cup, after defending Tour champions, Chris Bake’s Team Aqua (GBR), got their 2012 campaign off to the perfect start with opening round victory in Puerto Calero, Lanzarote last month. RC44 class founder Russell Coutts will be back with the class in Portugal, replacing Brad Butterworth on Gennadi Timchenko’s Katusha (RUS) for the event.

Clube Naval de Cascais is no stranger to hosting global yachting events, including the America’s Cup World Series in August 2011, the Med-Cup, the Dragon Gold Cup, the Transat Classic and many more, due to the reliable nature of the wind conditions and challenging race area.

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