Report 44Cup Calero Marinas 2024


44Cup Calero Marinas, 28 February – 3 March 2024, Porto Calero, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain

Opening regatta in the anniversary year

After finishing the 2023 season in Lanzarote last November, we were able to start the new regatta year at the same location at the end of February.

Black Star Sailing begins its fifth regatta season with the 44Cup Calero Marinas. So 2024 is an anniversary year for us and the 44Cup World Championship on Lake Uri will be the highlight, where we will present our best side to our fans and the Swiss home crowd… But back to the first event of this still young season.

Team building on volcanic ash

Starting the new season with a day out is already something of a tradition for the Black Star Sailing Team. This year, our get-together on the volcanic island of Lanzarote was on the programme, which we hoped would be an interesting journey of discovery with lots of information about the country, the people and the cultures – but above all a day together away from our usual surroundings.

A private tour of the Timanfaya volcano area was initially planned in a minibus. The volcanoes have long been extinct, but there is still so much heat rising from countless holes in the ground that our sweat was running in rivulets within minutes.

Even the morning before our excursion, the weather was extremely windy, which is why the coast greeted us with a spectacular scene on our return from the excursion: the surf was pounding the craggy rocks with such force that the spray seemed to spray up into the sky in places.

After the lunch break, a visit to a nearby go-kart track was on the programme. The roaring little speedsters leave hardly anyone cold – but athletes always develop a special competitive spirit. A rivalry for the best positions on the ring soon broke out, and after a few warm-up and qualifying laps, the ultimate Black Star Sailing Team Go-kart Race got underway. The winner was Grégoire Siegwart ahead of Will Alloway and Freddie White.

In the evening, we were able to let the accumulated adrenalin and the many impressions of the day fade away in a local restaurant.

Training without water

The RC44 class regulations stipulate that only one day is available for training immediately before a competition. This regulation of training time is intended to contribute to equal opportunities, which, in addition to the standardised yachts, also ensures even conditions in the preparations. Accordingly, the teams can only hold unlimited training sessions between seasons.

On the Sunday and Monday after our team event, we therefore tried other ways to banish the winter rust from our limbs and minds. We discussed the manoeuvre sequences as thoroughly as possible with newcomer Kilian and tried to compare the theory with existing video recordings. This allowed us to switch into race mode with him on land.

On Monday morning, the available weather models showed us a lot of wind and therefore a lot of waves for the whole week ahead. We tried to determine time windows based on the available forecasts so that we could train on the water for as long as possible. But on Tuesday, the wind conditions were already so extreme in the early morning that it was out of the question to set sail.

The following day welcomed us with unchanged conditions. The regatta briefing on Wednesday morning was quickly completed. The warm welcome among the teams and the race committee took place over a cosy coffee. It was then announced what everyone already suspected: due to the strong winds, there would be no practice race and instead the season would start directly with the actual competition on Thursday.

The forecast remained at the upper limit for the whole week and required a lot of flexibility and even more patience from the regatta organisers and participants.

Starting signal in roaring seas

As expected, the actual competition began in strong winds. This was still quite unusual for us, as we had hardly ever had the opportunity to gain experience as a team in such conditions before.
After a mediocre start to the first race, we found a good set-up surprisingly quickly and were able to catch up with the field before the first turning buoy. With a wild ride downwind, we managed to establish ourselves in the midfield.
The conditions remained extreme throughout the entire regatta: we often had 23 knots of wind with gusts of over 30 knots right from the start. All the teams had enormous fun sailing their yacht in such conditions, testing their limits to become even faster – without endangering themselves or others. Sailing downwind at 27 knots literally gets under your skin, especially when the boat breaks through the high waves and the entire crew gets soaked by the spray and surf.
Manoeuvring then really means that you have to stand together as a team, with everyone concentrating on their task and trusting each other 100%.

Thanks to the exceptional conditions on Lanzarote, we were definitely able to take another step forward. And we are also satisfied with our seventh place at the end, as the individual races gave us clear results that allowed us to analyse the situations in the respective debriefings and improve.

We keep on fighting.

The volcanic island of Lanzarote enchants with its barren landscape ...
The volcanic island of Lanzarote enchants with its barren landscape …
... and offers a lot of interesting facts for those interested.
… and offers a lot of interesting facts for those interested.
But the Black Star Sailing Team only really blossoms on the coast, ...
But the Black Star Sailing Team only really blossoms on the coast, …
... and really gets going when there is a competition to be contested.
… and really gets going when there is a competition to be contested.

Find photos of the regatta in our RC44 picture gallery.