The Titans line up for the 44Cup Portoroz World Championship • Live Sail Die
While between them the 44Cup teams may seem nonchalant that the annual World Championship for their high performance RC44 one designs is “just another regatta”, in fact, it is far from the case, the teams saving their best gear for the major event of the season. Unquestionably, the 44Cup Portoroz world championship, which will take place in Slovenia next week from October 12 to 16, represents the “big” of the year; the world champion trophy the one that the eight owner-riders would like to see on their coats this winter.
But the question remains: Which chimney will it reside on?
The scoreline so far this season is far from conventional. Heading into the Slovenian stopover, the fourth and penultimate event of the 2022 44Cup, local heroes Igor Lah’s Hrastnik 1860-powered Ceeref hold a five-point lead in the season’s championship standings. Showing their usual impeccable consistency, the team on which British ace Adrian Stead calls the tactic, have gone 2-1-1 so far in Puerto Calero, Cascais and Marstrand. However, on a roll from their terrible 8th place at the start of the season in Lanzarote, is the charisma of Nico Poons. The Dutchman’s side, led by Kiwi tactician Hamish Pepper, have finally bucked their ‘zero to hero’ tendency of recent seasons and won the last two events in a row, the first in Cascais by a whopping 12 points.
At Marstrand Poons, the celebrations were slightly muted as his team looked forward to the ‘big one’. “I’m absolutely happy that we won this one and the last one too. We’re in a good mood. But let’s wait for the Worlds…” they joined the 44Cup in 2015.
This is not the case for five of the eight teams that will be on the starting line in Slovenia. Out of 11 RC44 World Championships, Team Nika has won the most with three (2015, 2017 and 2018). CEEREF has claimed two but none recent (2013 and 2016) while perhaps the biggest surprise is Chris Bake’s Team Aqua. Despite having won by far the most championships in the season than any other team, Team Aqua only won the world championship title for the first time in 2019 at Marstrand, but after clearly relishing the experience, continued it by winning the next edition last year. at Scarlino, putting Bake’s team in the position of defending champions.
At the last 44Cup in Portoroz in early 2021, Team Aqua finished third behind CEEREF and Team Nika. Bake would clearly like to make it the first-ever 44Cup World Championship hat-trick, but warns that “Portoroz is a difficult place. We prefer windier places like Marstrand or Cascais. But maybe in October we might get windy there.
The only other occasion the RC44 World Championship was held on the Adriatic was at the Adris 44 Worlds in Rovinj, Croatia, about 30 miles south of Portoroz in 2012. On that occasion it was won by John Bassadone’s Peninsula Racing. With a new tactician for this season in Finland’s Giles Scott, a two-time Olympic gold medalist turned America’s Cup tactician, Bassadone hopes his Peninsula Racing will return to the podium next week, having had a slight taste of success by winning the last race at Marstrand. .
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Bassadone summarizes: “The world championship, the next regatta, is the most important for us because of the way the season has gone. We place particular emphasis on the big event of the season. I hope we can clear the areas [where we’ve not been doing so well] and I hope to have a good result there.
Races begin at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 13 and continue through Sunday, with up to three races scheduled each day. Follow live at www.44cup.org.
GENERAL RESULTS OF THE 44CUP 2022:
(After three events)
1. Ceeref powered by Hrastnik 1860 – 1 2 2 – 5
2. Charisma – 8 1 1 – 10
3. Team Nika – 2 3 6 – 11
4. Team Aqua – 6 4 3 – 13
5. Race of Artemis – 3 6 4 – 13
6. Aleph Racing – 4 5 5 – 14
7. Peninsula Racing – 7 7 7 – 21
8. Black Star Sailing Team – 12 8 8 – 28
RC44 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS:
2021 Team Aqua (Scarlino, Italy)
2019 Team Aqua (Marstrand, Sweden)
2018 Team Nika (Cascais, Portugal)
2017 Team Nika (Marstrand, Sweden)
2016 Ceeref powered by Hrastnik 1860 (Sotogrande, Spain)
2015 Team Nika (Cascais, Portugal)
2014 Bronenosec (Marstand, Sweden)
2013 Ceeref powered by Hrastnik 1860 (Puerto Calero, Lanzarote)
2012 Peninsula Racing (Rovinj, Croatia)
2011 Artemis Racing (Puerto Calero, Lanzarote)
2010 Oracle Racing (Puerto Calero, Lanzarote)
2011 Artemis Racing (Puerto Calero)
2010 Oracle Racing (Puerto Calero)