Everything happens for the first time, and even Portuguese Cascais, known for its excellent wind conditions, offers surprises. After two training days with a good breeze, it's time to play backgammon and play cards waiting for some wind.
It's a good thing that the World Rugby Championship was held at the same moment: the Anglo-Saxon fleet was spending time in the yacht club by the TV screens.
«This is the first time in four years that we have had this regatta in Cascais when there is no wind at all»," complained Peter Reggio, chief judge of the regatta. To what he reasonably answered the tactician of team Aleph Ed Bird: «Ever in every place there is such a thing that there is no wind».
Usually in Cascais it is enough to go a little further into the ocean, and you can always find the wind. That's why world regattas love this place. The farther the distance in the ocean, the stronger the wind, so the judging committee chooses a course closer or farther from the shore depending on the conditions. In this case, there was nothing to choose from.
«The first time I was in Cascais 10-11 years ago, and never, not a single day there was a complete windbreak. It's very unexpected to see such conditions. I want to be beaten and chase, not just to get a prize»," said» Vladimir Lubomirov, the skipper «of the Battleship.
In Cascais he didn't need to defend his already acquired title in «one-on-one»racing.
After the windless drama of the first day and quite a long wait for the second day, the judicial committee gave the start of the fleet races only at 15:30, managed to hold three races. There was a beautiful evening competition in the sunset with good wind, and finally the yachtsmen could enjoy the process.
The bunches of coastal wind at 6-10 knots made the tacticians suffer. Igor Lach's CEEREF team from Slovenia did the best, not newcomers to the class and champions of 2013, which finished 2-1-5 and beat the current world champion - the «Battleship»team.
CEEREF tactician British Adrian Sted commented on wind and weather conditions of the day: «Today there were a lot of funnels in the currents, and we had to constantly watch what is really happening».
Peninsula Petroleum tactician Vasko Vascotto evaluated his first day tactics as «a nightmare», but the first race of the day this team, the champion of 2012, still won.
Well, the final race of the day was won by the owners of the «gold rudders» - the team of «Nick» Vladimir Proshihin, who failed to finish 11th in the first race of the day and finished the day only in 4th place.
The second day was successful for Team Aqua, where Patrick de Barros replaced Chris Beyk on the wheel. He is also not new to the RC44 - racing back in 2008, together with the founder of the class Russell Coutts as a tactician.
The Russian teams also performed very well that day: «Nika finished» all three races in the first three (3-1-2), the Champion «Battleship» was walking very close (2-2-6), making Vladimir Proshihin nervous and holding on to the «golden wheel»more and more. Slovenian CEEREF continued to step on the heels of Russians that day.
The Referee Committee decided to wait for the wind at any cost, having announced the first start only at 17:30. In the evening, a southeast breeze of 6-7 knots appeared. We managed to play two races, the first of which was won by Team Aqua, this time with the owner Chris Bake on board.
The first race was also a success for the CEEREF and Artemis Racing teams, which closed the first three. The Russian teams Bronenosec, Team Nika, RUS7 Sail Racing Team and Katusha were unsuccessful at the end of the fleet. Fans «of Nika» were not jokingly excited, supporting the team with bright yellow flags from the guest catamaran.
However, Vladimir Prosikhin did not miss his chance at the second start. He had to be watched almost at dusk, the navigation lights were already on the ribs to the finish line.
To Vladimir Prosikhin's delight, the CEEREF team chose the wrong course at the referee's boat and found itself in the tail. Having taken an excellent start at the far end of the brand and catching the wind first, «Nika» immediately took the lead. Having passed Team Aqua and circled the top sign, «Nika» went forward, after which she confidently finished first with 6 points advantage.
On the final day of the championship, as expected, it blew out to 18-22 knots, but the gusts promised to 30-35, so the organizing committee of the regatta hurried to give the first start in order to have time to drive at least two races to strong gusts.
However, all skippers were delighted with the wind and finally enjoyed the excellent conditions for which Cascais is so famous!
The first race was won by the reigning world champion in class - team «Battleship». It was the first victory of the team at this stage. All week «Battleship» came either stable second, or, conversely, at the end of the fleet.
Team CEEREF, which finished the day before in the tail, fell down on points, so even finishing in the first race of the fourth, «Nika» maintained its leadership.
In the second race «Nica» could not be stopped, and having caught the wave and the wind, the «golden rudders» headed for the finish, leaving behind «the Battleship» and CEEREF, as well as the rest of the fleet.
The result of the regatta is the champion's title with «Nicky», second place with «Battleship».
Vladimir Prosikhin continues his «diet of champagne» and with undisguised pleasure receives congratulations from colleagues in the class who pass by while we try to learn from the still wet after bathing Prosikhin the secret of success:
«We were very lucky because we were already driving two regattas. But you can not relax, because behind us on the heels, at a distance of one point, all the time goes "Battleship". It encouraged us to win. They have a great team, a great tactician, Volodya [Lubomirov] spends a lot of time at the helm, and it gives their results. We won the Championships in SB20 class and were third in Europe on Melges. So if you do something long, it starts to work out and you win. Today we were the leaders, we came out well with 6 points in reserve and we were lucky. It's our wind, our weather - we love it when it's real».
Is the secret not in tactics - are we surprised? It's not for nothing that Dean Barker, the skipper of the America's Cup, performs with «Nick» almost all season.
Vladimir jokes: «Our tactician is very charming and well mannered in communication. If Terry [Hutchinson] says, "Now we've turned," Dean says, "I'd be happy to turn for Team Aqua. It's a pleasure. That's why everyone is trying to make sure he likes the maneuver, but today, when we caught the cage, of course, he was out of his mind».
As for Vladimir Lubomirov, who took the second place in the Championship, there was no shadow of disorder on his face, on the contrary, he was very happy for «Nica»:
«We have been fighting with each other for the second year and today was their day. Our team is in second place, my friend in first place is the best that can be! St. Petersburg is on fire, we are happy».
At the end he added that the BVI will take revenge and fight for victory. The final stage of the season will take place November 25-29 on the island of Virgin Gorda in the Caribbean.
By the way, despite not bad wind conditions at the beginning of the regatta, the organizers decided next year to include this area again in the RC44 series of competitions. So there will be waves, wind and drama of Kashkaisha again!