The capital of the Sultanate of Oman, Muscat, has completed the final series in RC44 class. The 13 teams competed throughout the year on three continents in such popular yachting venues as the Portuguese Yachting Club. Cascaisthe Swedish Marstrand, the Caribbean and Sotogrande. 10 crews traveled to Oman, 5 of which are flying the Russian flag.
In addition to the championship at the stage, in Oman, it was decided who would be the best at the end of the year. Therefore, despite the heat and weak wind, the race was intense and spectacular.
The fight in match-race was especially fierce - it is a kind of race where teams fight one-on-one, traditionally precedes the fleet races. The match-race ended with two Russian teams «jamming the» British. «Synergy» took first place (23 points), bringing back the leadership lost last year (then the team took home «the silver»). The guys won the championship with glamour - they won all 7 races in Oman, not without reason behind the wheel was the famous skipper of the Cup of «America», Ed Bird. The second place was taken by British Team Aqua (21 points), the veterans of the match race, and Team Nika took the bronze with 18 points.
«This is a great result, - says Team Nika team owner Vladimir Proshikhin, - but to be honest, I would like to be even better. I like the match flight much better than the fleet races. The one-on-one format «»requires more skill from a yachtsman. These races are very dynamic and proper boat control is very important»here.
At the press conference before the start Vladimir confessed that the book «Basic match racing helps him to win in match races. Understanding the game». Also, of course, the work of tactics and efforts of the whole team are very important, which result in podium places.
Team Nika tactician, Terry Hutchinson, described his partner as follows: «He (Vladimir) is extremely focused and focused on results. I would say that he and I are similar in something, so sometimes it works for us and sometimes it works against»us.
As for the fleet races, there was a tough fight to the last. The Nika team immediately reached its potential, finishing in all the races of the first day in the first three, and no one allowed themselves to overtake. An unqualified victory with a 15-point lead. By the sum of all points in the fleet races for the year Nika managed to climb from 7th to 5th place in the overall standings, losing out of Russian teams only «to Battleship» Vladimir Lubomirov, who with his team takes third place in the championship.
«I didn't do anything special to win, I'm just Terry (Hutchinson) very afraid», - jokes Vladimir Prosikhin.
And it's not for nothing - during the race everyone obeys strict Terry. Discipline and concentration on the boat are on top of it: the photographer of the team during the race was quiet and invisible after the threat to be overboard with all his snapping cameras.« However, it was worth it - these are the photos!» - notes Prosikhin.
«The last race in Oman," said Battleship team «trimmer» Polina Lubomirova, "was the most interesting. Everyone had already counted who had how many points and knew who their main rival was. In our case, it was team Charisma. At the finish line we missed 3 boats ahead, just to keep them from getting ahead of us». In the end, with equal number of points, «Battleship» came out in the lead, as they won both in Sotogrand and Marstanda.
Besides the success of the Russian teams, it was interesting to watch the foreigners. For example, Team Charisma, already mentioned above, which walks under the flag of Monaco and belongs to Dutchman Nico Puns. The crew joined the competition this year on an unbranded boat, in grey outfit and with a barely noticeable modest logo.
But she wasn't meant to get lost in the fleet.
They're in third place in the Omani Cup and fourth in the overall standings. Tom Slingsby, a young and talented athlete from Australia, a London gold medalist in the «Laser» class and, rumoured to be the future skipper of the Oracle team at America's Cup, is responsible for Charisma's tactical decisions.
The Brits of Peninsula Petroleum also played beautifully this season, with the Italian tactician Vasco Vascotto known to the whole class for his explosive character: «I have no plan to win. I, as many here know, am not inclined to think! We'll just race well, that's all».
This year at the stage in Cascais, the Peninsula Petroleum team, according to the owner of the team, John Bassadone, «borrowed the» gold wheel from Aqua. However, already at the championship in Marstrand they had to return them. According to the results of the season, Peninsula Petroleum is on the second line of the tournament table. In the Oman Cup nobody managed to win the cherished gold rudder from Team Aqua, but we were lucky to take a photo as a keepsake.
In general, the talk that the British dominance on the top lines will someday end has begun long ago.
«The synergy» has been showing teeth in a match-race for 3 years running. This year they were second in the Sotogrand stage in the fleet races, when the first already led «the Battleship». After that, at the World Championships in Marstrand, the strength of Russian yachtsmen was finally convinced by the victory of the Russian «Battleship». Now Team Nika also makes other participants of the class worry for their positions, having risen in one competition by 2 points.
RC44 series will start inMalta
, after which the fleet will go to a newpoint on the map for the class - Porto Cervo. Next, Marstrand and Cascais are scheduled for their favourite destinations and the final will take place on the island of Virgin Gorda at the Costa Smeralda Yacht Club, which started the year 2014.
Well, summing up the year is always a pleasure, especially with so many Russian teams in the lead, so it remains to wish them good luck and great results next year.
The results of the year in match-race:
1. «Synergy» (Russia) - 23 points
2. Team Aqua (UK) - 21
3. Nika (Russia) - 18
4. Aleph (France) - 16
5. Peninsula Petroleum (UK) - 12
The results of the year in the Navy races:
1. Team Aqua (United Kingdom) - 8 points
2. Peninsula Petroleum (United Kingdom) - 13
3. Bronenosec (Russia) - 17
4. Charisma (Monaco) - 17.
5. Nika (Russia)