Despite the middle of November, on the first day of the final round of the RC44 Championship Tour in Cascais, Portugal,the participantscould enjoy warm weather and a light breeze. However, this day was serene only at first glance.
The teams' tacticians had a lot to contend with: the wind from the shore changed direction from east to south-east, and ripples came at the boats from different directions.
The ebb and flow of the biggest river of the Pyrenees, the Tagus, which meets the ocean here, only increased the confusion in the waves.
In the first race Russian Team Nika made a good start on the starboard tack before the turning point and thus controlled the opponents on their return to port. Team Ceeref, the Slovenian second team, was in a similar situation, but they were overtaken by the English Team Aqua on tack. The Russians had to be twice as careful and make no mistakes to keep the lead, and Team Ceeref remained in third place until the end of the race.
The second race, the course for which was set in the new southeasterly breeze, was not so successful for the Russians. Team Nika and Monaco's Charisma made mistakes at the start and found themselves at the tail end of the fleet. However, tactician Dean Barker somehow found a way to get closer to the leaders and Team Nika finished third. First place went to Team Aqua, second to French team Aleph Racing.
Vladimir Prosikhin, captain of the Russian team, congratulated his tactician: «Dean found a very nice course, we caught a clean wind. We are happy: we exceeded our own expectations from the first day. We will try hard to maintain our position, but the future is unpredictable: anything can happen. One bad decision in the course or a mistake in the giddewind turn could change everything. But that's the excitement of competition in this fleet».
Despite an excellent performance, Team Nika lost the lead in the overall standings to Britain's Team Aqua. Another Russian team, Bronenosec Sailing, finished fifth and seventh in the races on the day and finished sixth overall.
«Second and first places on a day like today? I'm happy with that! We got off to a good start and were able to earn ourselves a lead a few times. Everyone was going really well»," said a radiant Team Aqua tactician Cameron Appleton.
Having never raced in the RC44 class before, the Portuguese Paulo Mirpuri also enjoyed the race.
«It was really good. The wind is really weak but we can still get the boats going. That is an advantage of the class,»," he said.
In the first race Mirpuri and his Spanish team could not finish because of rudder problems, but finished an impressive fifth place in the second race.
«We were going well downwind the second time. We were in the middle of the fleet, but it's a good result considering I'm still getting used to the boat. Overall it's a very good experience»," said the yachtsman.
The forecast for the second day again promises weak wind and ripples, but the weekend will bring big waves and strong wind.
«It will not be easy, waves will only increase. Seeing these surfers flocking in from all over the world makes you wonder what it's going to be like for us! » - worries Cameron Appleton.