[Source: RC44 Class Association] Having travelled over 4000 nm across the Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea, through the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean, the 13 strong fleet of RC44 have arrived in Trapani for round two of the 2013 RC44 Championship Tour. The teams spanning eight nations are ready for the first day of racing on Wednesday 1st May.
After an impressive start to the season in Muscat, Oman back in February, the Russian team Katusha will look to continue their excellent start to the season. With new tactician Andy Horton (USA) calling the shots, Katusha stand at the top of both the fleet and match racing tables after one of this five event series.
2012 RC44 Fleet Race Champions, Team Aqua are in second overall with Torbjorn Tornqvist’s (SWE) Artemis Racing in third. Paul Cayard (USA) will be the man stood by Tornqvist’s side this week in Italy, as the Swedish team’s longstanding tactician Morgan Larson (USA) competes in the next act of the Extreme Sailing Series in China.
Racing in home waters will be Massimo Barranco and his Team Italia, part of the team hosting the RC44 Trapani Cup with the Vela del Sud Sailing Team, a group who are devoted to creating an international yachting hub in Sicily. Trapani has a history of hosting top international yachting events, but wants to continue their long maritime tradition as Massimo Barranco explained.
“The fact that one of the most beautiful parts of our country, Sicily, and the splendid city of Trapani, with their long maritime tradition, have been chosen to host the second stage of the RC44 Championship Tour makes us very proud. Our seas will once again form the ideal backdrop for a premium international yachting event. The Trapani regatta is a great opportunity to find out all about the other aspects of our wonderfully warm and welcoming land, and to enjoy each and every moment to the full. Here in this rich and resourceful land is where the Vela del Sud Sailing Team was born, devoting its efforts to creating an international yachting hub in Sicily. It’s a tough challenge wich we have been building day after day along with all those who share our passion for this unique and compelling.”
Team Aqua’s tactician, Cameron Appleton gave an insight into the conditions he is expecting for this week’s racing at the RC44 Trapani Cup. “Statistically, we should have fairly strong winds but as always we never know, anything could happen. The teams haven’t sailed in a strong breeze for quite a while so it should be an interesting event. The first team that manages to adjust to the weather will be the one ahead of the pack!”
Even though the RC44 class has an owner driver rule for the fleet racing and 50% of the crews must be amateur, the competition is fierce. With teams arriving early in Trapani to get some extra practice in ahead of the event, “All the teams put a great effort into their sailing, and you clearly notice when a team changes something. Everyone takes their RC44 sailing very seriously and the level is so high. There is a huge amount of respect between the teams.” Appleton explains.
The strong Scerocco wind is due to settle before the first day of racing on Wednesday 1st May. Day one will see the annual Match Race Championship continue, before four days of fleet racing for the RC44 Trapani Cup.