Saison start in Muscat
In the regatta world, you have to expect anything. But the fact that Black Star Sailing will start its fourth season as GC32 World Champion comes as a bit of a surprise. Although we have been consistently striving for this success, the magnitude of it can only be experienced in everyday life.
The 2022 season barely ended in December, and we are already facing the first regatta this year with the 44Cup Oman. The time in between was shorter than ever before. It was used to take a breather and enjoy the holidays and the turn of the year with the family – but above all to organise the new season. The effort of sailing two such different high-performance classes is especially evident off the water. On the one hand, two boats have to be checked down to the smallest detail and all wearing parts have to be replaced; on the other hand, it is important to move forward as a team, to analyse the performances and to have personal conversations.
While the GC32 world champion catamaran is in Switzerland and can be polished and refitted here on site, the Black Star RC44 yacht is being overhauled in Muscat and is already waiting at the end of February to start the new season with us.
Updates in the RC44 class
With the 44Cup, our event calendar starts a little before the GC32 Racing Tour. Accordingly, the RC44 class is currently in the foreground for us: Apart from an upgrade of the winch systems on the yacht, which will be replaced in the course of the year, the transition in the crew line-up is certainly the biggest, and most visible change: After our first season in the new class with eight, we will fill the ninth place on the boat for 2023 and thus complete our team.
In the RC44 class, it was decided in 2022 that from the 2023 season onwards, teams must implement the promotion of women in addition to the existing requirements. This decision is absolutely in line with our own objectives, as Black Star Sailing defined the integration of young female and male sailors as a core task as soon as it was founded.
At the beginning of 2022, Black Star Sailing entered the RC44 class, partly because the ambition of promoting young talent in the GC32 racing circus had faded somewhat into the background. Right away, Nick Zeltner joined Black Star and, as a young talent from Switzerland, was the eighth man in the RC44 team. However, due to his upcoming compulsory military service in the Swiss army, Nick decided to redefine his goals at the end of 22. This presented us with the challenge of filling a second position in addition to the ninth crew member.
Finally: Women Power
In the challenge of filling two positions on the boat, we also saw the opportunity to bring two women into the team. After reviewing various applications and countless interviews, it was clear that the positions could indeed be filled by two young women: For the so-called “Bow” position, we are hiring Anina Fässler, a young Swiss woman who already has experience on big yachts at international regattas in this position. The “Floater” position will be taken over by Celia Willison. Celia is from New Zealand and has recently moved to Switzerland. She is vice world champion in match racing and thanks to her experience she can contribute to the success with tactical inputs in the pre-start phases and during the races.
More about the new Black Star Sailing Team line-up on our website.
The fact that the first RC44 regatta with the new line-up will take place a few weeks before the start of the GC32 Racing Tour is quite convenient. So we will use the 44Cup Oman for intensive team building. Normally you travel to a country for a regatta, see the hotel, the marina and lots of sea. Rarely is there time to linger a bit. In Muscat, we intend to break this routine for a while, so that we can really get to know each other in the new constellation away from the water and define goals together. Of course, the pleasure of a little culture and history should not be neglected… After that, it’s time to get together on the yacht and coordinate the procedures in order to complete the training sessions at a high level as quickly as possible.
The excitement in the whole team for the new season and the new challenges is tangible and we are confident that we will be able to build on last year’s successes to improve further.
More about the 44Cup Oman and the Black Star Sailing Event Calendar on our website.