Report 44Cup Cascais
44Cup Cascais, 11 – 15 May 2022, Cascais, Portugal
On 12 May, a Swiss team competed in an RC44 Cup for the first time. Black Star Sailing set a historic mark by crossing the starting line: never before has a Swiss team competed in this boat class.
However, it was also shown to us straight away that even in this boat class the rewards are high and that we cannot simply sail along at the front. But let’s take it one step at a time.
After the transport and fitting out of the new yacht in the shipyard was massively delayed, we were offered the opportunity to rent the yacht of the RC44 class association. This yacht is made available at every event for exactly this purpose, to attract possible interested parties to the class. This is a great thing – but also has a few snags. For example, we had to overhaul some areas during set-up and replace various ropes, blocks and pulleys. Also, the choice of sails was not easy, as we could choose between sails that were five years old and those that were even older. The problem is that old sails were usually used a lot. While this is less of an issue with a mainsail, the headsails, called genoa or jib, are “blown out” after a certain period of use. This means that they have lost their shape due to the enormous strain, which results in a loss of performance. However, we decided against taking our own unused sails because manoeuvring and boat handling are just as important for success. In the end, we preferred to start with used sailcloth, as a sail can also be damaged as a result of a failed manoeuvre.
From test to training to race
Before the regatta, we had the opportunity to familiarise ourselves with the yacht, first alone, then later with other teams. Manoeuvres, sail changes, launching exercises, buoy roundings, in short, we tried to go through everything at least once.
With wind around 20 knots and a swell of up to two metres, it was not always easy for me as helmsman to keep the boat in balance. Nevertheless, we could see a steady improvement over the course of the regatta and the team worked together perfectly from the first day. The chemistry was right and everyone gave their best. In the individual races, we were able to put an exclamation mark from time to time. We were almost always “in the pack”, but too often failed to bring our performance to the finish. Wrong manoeuvres, lack of boat speed, broken material, the list of deficits and mistakes is still quite long. Time and again, however, we were able to make progress as a team and cross one item off the list.
The next event will be in Marstrand, Sweden. We will sail there again with the rented class boat, and would like to improve wherever possible and make another step forward.
See our 44Cup gallery for impressions of our first regatta in Cascais.