Report 44Cup Calero Marina 2023
Forward on spot
“Keeping in place” is usually equated with standstill. But that doesn’t have to be the case: In its fifth regatta of 2023, the Black Star Sailing Team built on the sum of its experience and knowledge, but was unable to reap the rewards of this investment straight away.
Lots of sun, little wind
The season finale took the RC44 racing circus to Lanzarote. While winter was already setting in in more northerly latitudes, we were looking forward to warmer temperatures and sunshine. As far as temperatures were concerned, the Lanzarote Canary Island actually lived up to its reputation. But unfortunately it disappointed in terms of wind…
With a third place from the last event in Gibraltar in our luggage, we arrived in Porto Calero for the first briefing a few days before the actual start of the regatta in good spirits. Having rented two holiday homes, we could once again look forward to Bryony Johnson’s culinary skills. One of the great advantages of self-organised accommodation is that having your “own” cook provides additional enjoyment and variety. In addition, specific dietary requirements can be better catered for. This in turn ensures more peace and quiet and gives the entire team more time for regeneration and preparation.
Adapted, realised, but not evident in the result
Despite the joy of our own performance in Gibraltar, we were fully aware that it would not be easy to confirm the result in Lanzarote. On the one hand, the other teams are also constantly trying to improve. On the other hand, we found significantly different wind and wave conditions in Lanzarote than in the previous regattas. The races were held on the Atlantic off the coast of Arrecife. The waves were high according to the wind directions, but as mentioned at the beginning, the wind was often not so strong. This demanded a lot of steering skills, but cooperation with the trimmer team is just as important, as the position of the sails also had to be constantly adjusted along with the corrections at the helm.
We started the first practice race in second place, which initially gave us some confirmation that we were travelling well in terms of speed. Like the other teams, we also used our old sails during training to protect the actual competition sails. Unfortunately, this caused us some problems and we didn’t quite find our form from Gibraltar.
The actual 44Cup Calero Marinas regatta was mostly a midfield affair for us – sometimes a little further ahead, sometimes a little further back. What may sound a little uninspired, not to say boring, in the race description is anything but boring in the actual competition on the sea. In the past, we have seen just how demanding it is to be at the front in this class – and have already reported on it in previous articles: The sailing level of these regatta participants is so high that often all nine yachts within a radius of around 30 metres (!) round the buoys. If you consider that the yachts have a length of just under 15 metres, you can imagine the crowds and, above all, the loud shouts for the right of way….
It is precisely these situations that are the source of much of the fascination of regatta sport and the promotion of young talent, and of course the team’s own urge to constantly improve and grow together more and more as a team. Because in these highly demanding situations, a team can only keep up if every position on board fulfils its task 100% and fits in perfectly with the timing of the other crew members so that everything runs quickly and smoothly. It is not possible to simply “blindly” train speed in the sequences. This is because the conditions, manoeuvres, right-of-way situations and sometimes last-minute changes by the tactician require an individual’s ability to react, which makes the whole thing even more exciting. Sudden changes of position are often the result of such situations at the buoys.
The primary aim is therefore to “free” yourself in the heats and sail away from the others so that the buoy manoeuvres can take place with as little jostling as possible.
In the last regatta of this season, we were almost constantly surrounded by competitors. The way to the top is almost always through the midfield – and is correspondingly challenging.
To no longer be at the bottom is already a great success. It goes without saying that we want to continue fighting our way forward through the midfield in 2024. And is still our declared goal.
We look forward to your interest and will keep you up to date.
You can find more pictures of the 44Cup regattas in our RC44 gallery.