Val­letta to host RC44 Cham­pi­onship Tour grand fi­nale

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

The RC44 Cham­pi­onship Tour will re­turn to Malta, be­tween 23 and 27 Novem­ber for the grand fi­nale of the 2016 sea­son, the RC44 Val­letta Cup.

So far this sea­son we have seen a fleet of 11 in­ter­na­tional teams, helmed by the world’s top busi­ness­men along­side 77 world-class sailors, bat­tled it out in Ber­muda, So­togrande (Spain), Portsmouth (UK) and Cas­cais (Por­tu­gal) for their po­si­tion on the leader­board go­ing into the fi­nal held here on Val­letta’s Grand Har­bour.

About the RC44

Now in its tenth year, the RC44 Class is as level a play­ing field as one could wish for in in­ter­na­tional yacht rac­ing due to its strict onedesign Mono­hull for­mat. The Tour is made up of two el­e­ments – one day of match rac­ing where the pro skip­pers get their chance to shine at the helm and four days of owner (am­a­teur) helmed fleet rac­ing.

The RC44’s iconic de­sign presents an ex­cit­ing sail­ing chal­lenge, with the crews ex­pected to hike like a sports boat and grind as one would on a keel­boat, it is an in­cred­i­bly phys­i­cal boat to sail and spec­tac­u­lar to watch.

Each team is made up of eight sailors on board, sup­ported by their re­spec­tive shore crews, man­age­ment teams, coaches, and other per­son­nel.

The 2016 Cham­pi­onship Tour so far

Ev­ery­thing will be de­ter­mined in Malta.

With both the match and fleet rac­ing 2016 ti­tles up for grabs in this highly com­pet­i­tive fleet, the RC44 Val­letta Cup is sure to be a nail-bit­ing end to the sea­son.

With just seven points sep­a­rat­ing the top seven boats, and ev­ery one of the team ca­pa­ble of mak­ing it onto the podium, Malta prom­ises to be the clos­est fought fi­nal in RC44 his­tory.

Cur­rently at the top of the fleet rac­ing leader­board, Igor Lah’s Team Ceeref (SLO) are on seven points closely fol­lowed by Chris Bake’s Team Aqua (GBR) two points be­hind in sec­ond. Artemis Rac­ing (SWE) round up the leader­board one point adrift in third with de­fend­ing 2015 cham­pi­ons Team Nika (RUS) tied on 12 points in fourth with Penin­sula Petroleum (GBR) in fifth.

The match rac­ing is equally tight with Team Nika (RUS) and Artemis Rac­ing (SWE) tied on 14 points in first and sec­ond re­spect­fully. How­ever, they are chased by a pack of three, Bro­nenosec Sail­ing Team (RUS), Team CEEREF (SLO) and Team Aqua (GBR), each on 11 points and vy­ing for first place.

Who’s Who

Founded by five times Amer­ica’s Cup win­ner Rus­sell Coutts, the Class reads a who’s who of sail­ing’s great­est achiev­ers, from Amer­ica’s Cup le­gends to Olympic cham­pi­ons, the top names to have em­braced the RC44 Class since in­cep­tion in­clude - Iain Percy, Cameron Ap­ple­ton, Vasco Vas­cotto, Ed Baird, Paul Good­i­son, James Sp­ithill, Paul Ca­yard, Brad But­ter­worth, Tom Slingsby and Terry Hutchin­son – some of these fa­mous names ex­pected to be on the crew list in Novem­ber.

Race man­age­ment is in the ca­pa­ble hands of Prin­ci­pal Race Of­fi­cer Pe­ter Reg­gio, who has ticked the boxes on all of the big re­gat­tas - Amer­ica’s Cup, Olympics, TP52 Med Cup, RC44 Cham­pi­onship Tour, Farr 40 Worlds, Melges 24 Worlds. His unique ex­per­tise and rep­u­ta­tion for fair­ness makes him a pop­u­lar choice. He will be joined by renowned mark lay­ers and a team of seven um­pires of in­ter­na­tional stand­ing led by Ital­ian Marco Mer­cu­ri­ali.

Why Malta

For an is­land with a mar­itime his­tory span­ning thou­sands of years and boast­ing of the one of the finest ‘nat­u­ral har­bours in the world, Malta has be­come a fit­ting choice to host high cal­i­bre events like the RC44 Val­letta Cup.

Fol­low the rac­ing

Fol­low­ing the rac­ing couldn’t be sim­pler. For the boat-vs-boat match rac­ing on 23 Novem­ber, it is a sim­ple game of wins and losses. With the high­est score over the 2016 sea­son to be crowned the match rac­ing cham­pion.

For the Fleet rac­ing from 24 to 27 Novem­ber, points are al­lo­cated on the stan­dard World Sail­ing ‘low point sys­tem’, so the boat that comes first in a race gets one point, sec­ond gets two points etc. The team with the fewest points at the end of each event is that event’s fleet rac­ing win­ner.

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