Katusha wins the Match Racing! It could not have gone better for our first two days of racing in the RC44 Class.

We had a one race match against Puerto Calero in the semi final first thing today. The wind was light and the two boats were never more than 3 boat lengths apart.

Then we faced Organika in the finals, a best 2 out of 3. We won the first race wire to wire. Organika had a slightly better start in the second race and they went all the way left, while we went all the way right. Left was far better and it never was much of a contest.

That set up the race for all the marbles. We led back in the prestart and slowed Organika down nicely. Then we sheeted on and took the favored right side of the line and race course. It was a bit close up the first leg, but we were always in control. They then gybed away down the run and we just sailed the pressure and stretched nicely. That was pretty much it. The last lap was more of a delivery, which was just fine with the Katusha Team.

All happy here. Tomorrow the fleet racing starts. All boats must have an amateur helmsman and we have a good one…Pieter Taselaar who just won the Melges 32 Worlds in Porto Cervo last week.

The forecast for tomorrow is more of the same with the possibilty of showers.

For more information go to www.RC44.com

The American sailor won the best of three final series against Karol Jablonski’s Organika. Ray Davies and Pieter Heerema finish third onboard No Way Back.

September 30, 2009 – Paul Cayard and his new team Katusha surprised everyone – and himself – in the Bank Sarasin RC 44 Portoroz Cup match race series, dominating the event and winning the best of three final against Karol Jablonski’s Organika. Katusha is the latest RC 44 (number 22), just out of the Pauger boatyard. The team is also brand new and had never sailed together under Cayard’s leadership. No Way Back (Ray Davies & Pieter Heerema) finishes third ahead of Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (Jose Maria Ponce), Artemis (Dean Barker) and Team Aqua (Cameron Appleton).

The day started with a “dead or alive” match between the local team Modri Gaj and Team Austria. At the helm of Modri Gaj, Gasper Vincec managed to close the door at the start, kicking the Austrians out and taking control of the race to win it.

The other semi-finals saw today’s most spectacular matches, including an aggressive fight between Dean Barker’s Artemis and S

A good day onboard Katusha today and it was our first race day. The 11 boats were split into two groups; six in our group and five in the other. We were 3-2 in the match racing and finished up second in our round. Organica of Poland was first with 4-1. We were in a position to win each of our races and made one key mistake in each of the two that we lost. As frustrating as that is, I would rather know that we have the ability to win and made a mistake than to not have the ability to win.

In the other group, Puerto Calero won and No Way Back finished up second. The surprise there is that Artemis and BMW Oracle are out of the top two, both finished up 2-2.

Tomorrow should put the top two teams of each division in a semi-final and then the final for the two winners.

Those who did not qualify will race for 5th-11th.

The winds were very light again today, with a peak wind speed of 8 knots at 1500. But these RC44s are very high powered boats, so it was very good racing anyway.

For more information go to www.RC44.com

Today was the official practice race. We went out early and did some practice match racing with Artemis. The practice race was a fleet race and we finished a credible third. We had the lead off the start and 3/4’s of the way up the first beat, then made some mistakes. So the good news is that we can improve. The wind was 8-9 knots, which is a good breeze in these boats. As you can see from the photo, we were fully powered up. Artemis won the practice race and Aqua was second, Ceeref fourth.

In the photo, from front to back is Mo Gutenkunst, “Belt” Sander, Jarad “Beach” Henderson, Robbie “the Battler Naismith”, “Sister” Theresa, Marco “Shark” Constant and missing is Mohito and myself. I think I must have been down below making a sandwich at this time. No really, I was on the boat today. The dude on the back with the life jacket is a photographer.

Tomorrow we start the match racing part of the event. Our first match is against Sea Dubai, and then we have Aqua who is leading the season. First warning signal is at 1130. The forecast is for light winds all week.

For more information go to www.RC44.com

We had a very good day of practice today on Katusha, our new Russian RC44. A lot of work has gone into getting the brand new boat ready for our first event here in Slovenia. Brad and JR have been here a month putting the keel on, getting the bottom perfect, assembling the rig and fine tuning all the bits and pieces. They have done a great job and we have a very nice boat to sail.

The Katusha crew is all new, so we have not sailed together before. These boats are really demanding from a crew stand point. The boats are very powerful and agile, so things happen fast. We have made great strides since our first day sailing together last Wednesday, but we have a ways to go to be as proficient at the teams that have sailed together for the past two seasons.

Tomorrow is the practice race. Since the practice race is a fleet race, we will do three or four practice match races with the Team Artemis beforehand. I know this is confusing, as I usually sail on Artemis. But that is the Artemis TP52 and this is the Artemis RC44, which has Dean Barker as helmsman.

The RC44 class allows four professional sailors and the remaining sailors must be non-professional. The owner or his representative, in any case an amateur, may helm the boat in the fleet racing. This has proven to be good for sailing in many other classes like Farr 40 and Melges 32. The pros, who are the tacticians in the fleet racing, helm the boats in the Match Racing. This is a lot of fun for us.

The format is that the first two days of the event are match racing and the last three days are fleet racing. There is placing for each discipline, as well as an overall combined placing.

The forecast for the next few days is for light winds.

For more information go to www.RC44.com

One race today. We had more to lose today then to gain. Quantum was 5 points ahead of us and we would need an extra boat between us or they would win the tie breaker. Bigamist and Matador were just 2.5 and 3 points behind us respectively. So we had a bit on. The wind was very fluky and we did not get the race off until 1500.

We had a great start at the pin and we wanted the left. Pretty much everyone wanted the left so we were looking good. After 5 minutes we tacked to port and were looking famous. Then the wind went right 30 degrees and it was a scramble for us to get across the course. Quantum who had a not so good start got a bit right and Synergy went hard right. The right paid and Synergy had a big lead at the first mark. We were about 7th, but close behind Matador and ahead of Bigimist, the two boats hoping to take third place overall from us.

From there we pretty much stayed in touch with Matador and ahead of Bigamist. It wasn’t that simple, but I won’t go into all the details.

The bottom line is we got the job done and finished the season in a very credible third for the season while 5th for this regatta.

We will all be back together again in two weeks time in Palma for the TP 52 World Championships.

In the meantime I will be racing in Portoroz, Slovenia in the RC 44 event there. We have a brand new boat named Katusha. We will be training there starting Wednesday as we have a bit to sort out. I will send some reports from Portoroz in a week.

Not a great day for us, but all is not lost. We had a 7,6,7 and slipped into third in the season standings and 5th for this regatta.

We made a big mistake in each of the three races; over the start line early in the first, fouled a competitor in the second and did our penalty turns and in the last race we hit the windward mark.

In the last race, the mark was a rib and it was motoring forward, trying to hold its position. The real mark drifted away. The rib was adjusting it’s throttle, we believe, and so went from laying the mark to having to shoot head to wind but we could not avoid the rib.

The wind started out pretty mild and tricky in the first race. At one point, we had gotten back to third place before getting tangled up in a pack near the finish.

At the end of the day, the wind was up to 21 knots and extremely rough conditions.

We are 5 points behind Quantum for second place for the season and just 1.5 ahead of Bigimist who is in fourth.

So it will be a big day tomorrow.

For complete results go to 2009.medcup.org

Good day on Artemis today. We started the day in 4th place for the season and we are now in second.

It was a tough day out there with plenty of carnage. Fortunately we did not break anything and while our 7, 2 scores were not perfect, they were better than Quantum Racing and Matador.

With the wind reaching 32 knots and a very rough sea, Team New Zealand was in a class of their own winning both races. Audi Q8 had a good day scoring 2, 3 for second and Bribon had a 2, 6 for third. We are fourth.

Racing was stopped after the second race due to the damage that some of the boats incurred. Boats like Synergy and Matador broke 2 or 3 gennakers each! No collisions though.

Forecast for tomorrow is more of the same.

For complete results go to 2009.medcup.org

Two Strikes

Unfortunate situation….no racing again!

There was wind most of the day, but it was very unstable, both in velocity and direction. The wind “ratcheted” its way from 110 to 210 over 4 hours.

We had two attempted starts, but both were abandonned about 30 seconds to go due to 30 degree shifts.

Pretty frustrating for everyone.

We did something nice though. There was a RIB out there with about 8 opti kids in it watching us. We invited them onboard and gave them all a chance to steer Artemis and get their photo taken. They were really cute, happy, smiling and enthusiastic. We even asked them which way we should go on the race course and they unanimously said “right”. And they were correct.

Let’s hope for sailable conditions tomorrow. The Coastal Race has been delayed at least to Friday and may even be cancelled to make time for more buoy racing.

No racing today at the TP52 Audi MedCup.

First, there was no wind so we were postponed ashore. Then, we went out at about 1400. A few squalls passed over the area pulling the wind all over the place. Then, it rained hard and it still is.

Let’s hope tomorrow is better. Hard to be much worse, really.