44cup Baiona: Switzerland’s day in the sun

44cup Baiona: Switzerland’s day in the sun

44cup Baiona: Switzerland’s day in the sun


By 44Cup
10/05/2024 - 19:25

History was made on the 44Cup today when, for the first time, a team representing land-locked Switzerland was top scoring boat of the day. Admittedly this came after an awkward one race day, but victory in this for Christian Zuerrer’s Black Star Sailing Team is indicative of the Swiss team’s forward motion in the hotly competitive owner-driver one design class.

Day two of the 44Cup Baiona, held out of the Monte Real Club de Yates de Baiona (MRCYB) within Baiona’s 14thcentury Monterreal Castle, was a tricky one for the race committee, but ultimately couldn’t have been simpler for the nine RC44 teams racing here, with what proved to be a one-way race track. With a series of course options, conveniently it was the Bay of Baiona itself immediately off the marina that offered the only breeze. After being held ashore for an hour the fleet took to the race course, when the wind continued to not materialise, they were sent home. Finally after lunch the wind filled in and stabilised adequately for the RC44s to be called back out for one race to get underway at 1530. 

Due to the race course being in a bay, the wind bend on the right side was clearly favoured, offering a lift into it and a lift out of it, so to counter this PRO Maria Torrijo heavily favoured the pin end of the start line. In the event the majority tacked on to starboard from the committee boat end of the line while conversely Black Star Sailing Team gained the benefit of starting at the favoured pin, albeit it being further from the right side. The favoured pin seemed so attractive to Calero Sailing Team that they chose to start on port tack – a high risk strategy, rarely seen in this accomplished fleet but which on this occasion didn't pay dividends.

Of their tactics, Black Star Sailing Team tactician Cameron Dunn explained: “The pin was very favoured, by around 15-20° but it was very clear we must go right inland where was better pressure with the wind wrapping around the headland - we had 305°s at the bottom and 325-330° at the top.

“We got a really nice start and managed to get across and were strong on the first intersection out on that right hand layline. We tacked ahead of Charisma and from there, because it was so one-sided, it was a relatively simple race course with few places changing. But we’ll take the win!”

Owner-driver Christian Zuerrer was pleased with their progress after their disappointment yesterday when they had twice been called over early at the start. “We had a good briefing, talking about our starts. Today we had to get to the right and we managed to get ahead early. It is easier once you’re in front.”

Black Star also seems to be showing improved speed, which is down to rig changes they have made. “The boat is feeling nice,” commented Cameron Dunn. “We made good progress this week with the rig tune and set-up. We have got confidence now. In Lanzarote, we were slow in the breeze and we have got plenty of work to do upwind in the breeze still. But here at the moment we are feeling good. Are we as consistently good as the top teams? No. But we are improving.”

While Black Star led from start to finish, Team Nika was second home but all eyes were on the fight for third between Nico Poons’ Charisma and Igor Lah’s Team Ceeref Vaider. This landed in Charisma’s favour. As a result Charisma has now taken the overall lead by a slender point at this half way stage of the 44Cup Baiona.

“We are back on track,” commented Poons. “It is working out fine with Andy [Horton, tactician]. Last time [in Lanzarote] we had two new people and this time we have another one (one of our crew has just had a child and will be back with us at the next event). We have some changes in the team - some new people and a new tactician - and before the last event we didn’t get much training in because of the weather and the heavy conditions. But now we have the feeling we are getting back on track.” 

Racing continues tomorrow, scheduled for 1200 when hopefully there will be more wind.

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