RC44 Sweden Cup day 4 and it all changes

RC44 fleet - RC44 Sweden Cup 2011
Dan Ljungsvik ©
At the RC44 Sweden Cup, thirty knot winds and a three metre swells kept the fleet at the dock in Marstrand during the morning but, by 14:00 there was much talk of golf and siestas. However, just as the race committee thought the sea state and wind were not going to relent, it all changed.

With the race course repositioned to the north of Marstrand Island the first race of the day got underway in sixteen knots of breeze and a difficult sea state. The RC44s were clearly keen to get going, three general recalls later and race officer Peter Reggio managed to get the fleet away, but it wasn’t a clean start. Overnight leaders No Way Back (NED) and second placed Aleph Sailing (FRA) were both called over.

No Way Back didn’t manage to get back into the race, but were quick to make amends winning the next by an amazing two minutes 57 seconds margin. Their 14th place in the day’s opener dropped them off the top of the leader-board to fourth. Ask why there had been so many false starts Pieter Heeremas’ analysis was. 'Probably the current was pushing us more than anyone has taken in to account, maybe the fleet is getting nervous that it’s getting to the end of the season and the races are starting to count'

The comeback kids of the day had to be Aleph Racing. After their first premature start they managed to claw back to eighth. After another general recall in the second race, the fleet got away, but there were individual recalls for Islas Canarias Puerto Calero and… Aleph Sailing.

Hugues Lepic at the helm of Aleph Sailing Team - RC44 Sweden Cup 2011
Dan Ljungsvik ©

Another comeback saw them finish fourth. 'I don’t know how we got such good comebacks, we had pretty good speed up wind and especially in the second race we had good boat speed downwind as well,' explained owner driver Hugues Lepic. The team drop one place on the overall leader-board to third.

It was consistency that paid on the penultimate day of the RC44 Sweden Cup. A familiar boat rose to the top of leader board. Chris Bake, Cameron Appleton and the crew of Team Aqua (GBR) slotted in a second and a fourth to take the overall lead with one day to go, but it hasn’t been an easy ride for the RC44 Championship Tour leaders.

'The sailing here is still pretty hard', explained Bake. 'It was pretty lumpy today and clearly if No Way Back didn’t have that early start, they would be right at the top of the leader board, it’s still incredibly tight and incredibly tricky.'

Team Ceeref also showed great consistency moving up to second overall.

Hugues Lepic at the helm of Aleph Sailing Team - RC44 Sweden Cup 2011
Dan Ljungsvik ©

As for the home team Artemis Racing, unable to repair the damage from yesterday they were back on the race course thanks to Team KSSS’ offer to use their RC44 for the rest of the regatta.

Magnus Woxen and Olle Jo Johnson had entered KSSS with the Royal Swedish Yacht Club to give some young talented sailors in Sweden the chance to race against some of the best sailors in the world.

Magnus Woxen explained the decision. 'It was a great opportunity for KSSS to compete over the last few days in the RC44 Sweden Cup. After yesterday’s incident, we felt it was important to let Artemis Racing continue in the regatta which counts as part of the RC44 Championship Tour.' The young team-members on KSSS will now get the opportunity to take the ninth man spots on the RC44s for the rest of the regatta.

With just five points separating the top four boats it really is all to play for going into the final day of racing at the RC44 Sweden Cup.

RC44 Class Association website