First event win for Artemis Racing in eight long years

First event win for Artemis Racing in eight long years

First event win for Artemis Racing in eight long years


By 44Cup
12/05/2024 - 18:46

Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing demonstrated herself to be categorically back on form after winning five races out of nine at the 44Cup Baiona. The second event of the 2024 44Cup concluded today in the Galician port where it has been hosted by the Monte Real Club de Yates de Baiona (MRCYB). 

After a long wait for the wind direction to stabilise, finally a light northwesterly filled in and two races were sailed. In the first Chris Bake’s Team Aqua started well, tacking at the committee boat, winning the right and subsequently the race. For the former serial World Champions and Series winners this was a ray of light after a generally disappointing week. “The boat has been going well all week, but I think we just couldn’t get in the right place at the right time. That cost us dearly…” commented Bake.

In this race, Artemis Racing started on the left, which proved the wrong choice. Despite this in today’s second race both teams chose the same sides again but this time it was more even Artemis Racing just getting the inside berth at the top mark, striding away from there. She ended the 44Cup Baiona beating Team Nika by six points. 

“I am absolutely delighted,” said Törnqvist. “I think it was the perfect regatta for us. Everything seemed to work from the boat set-up to the teamwork, the coordination on board, the tactics, the speed, etc. When you feel that, your confidence level goes up. We have also changed a few things and Hamish [Pepper, tactician] has been on a winning boat for the two seasons. You improve all the time and all the team learn from each other which results in a class which is at the highest level that’s possible in sailing.” 

Artemis Racing first joined the RC44s in 2008 but remarkably this is the first time since 2016 that they have won a regatta. Clearly a major part of their turnaround has come from Hamish Pepper becoming tactician having won the last two seasons with Nico Poons’ Charisma. For this event they also had two stand-in crew in Brad Ferrand on the bow and Luke Muller as offside trimmer/grinder which may have additionally helped change the dynamic on board. “They fitted in the team really well – it really came together,” admitted Pepper. 

A worthy second was Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika. Remarkably, while Artemis Racing scored five bullets, Team Nika won no races but had only two results deeper than fourth, to end the event six points adrift of the winner. Their performance here also breaks ‘the curse of the golden wheels’ (the 44Cup’s equivalent of the yellow jumper in cycling) in retaining their position as 2024 44Cup season leaders. 

“We are happy with the week - second is very good in this class,” admitted Prosikhin, whose team, like Artemis Racing seems also to be strongly on the ascent. “I hope it is coming together - you never know. I keep my fingers crossed. Artemis’ result is probably the best result ever. Maybe we were a bit lucky because it was a very tricky course and you cannot guarantee you’ll be in front. In Lanzarote we had very good speed. Here we had to fight and was very different - the course is not uniform. In one race we were first…first…first and then they got huge pressure on the right and some lift and then we were second…third…fourth and ended up ninth! But what can you do? Artemis’ result is very well deserved. Torbjörn does so much for the class and he has made some very good changes.”

Christian Zuerrer’s Black Star Sailing Team won two races to end up equalling their best event result ever – a third, which they also managed at 44Cup Alcaidesa Marina last autumn. For the rest of the teams Igor Lah’s Team Ceeref Vaider, Aleph Racing (on which Pietro Loro Piana was standing in for Hugues Lepic), John Bassadone’s Peninsula Racing, Nico Poon’s Charisma, Chris Bake’s Team Aqua and Daniel Calero’s Calero Sailing Team, the 44Cup Baiona proved a high scoring regatta with occasional moments of brilliance.

If the race area was occasionally uncooperative, there was otherwise unanimous praise for the venue and the event organisation by the Monte Real Club de Yates de Baiona. As Chris Bake, the RC44 Class Association President, commented: “It is a tricky race course, but in terms of sailing and the environment it is phenomenal - we are really pleased with it. The club facility is beautiful. They have been very hospitable, which is really nice. I think they are keen to have us back and everyone is pretty excited about that.”

The next event on the 2024 44Cup will be the third in Marstrand over 19-23 June followed by two more new venues for the 44Cup - Brunnen, Switzerland for the RC44 World Championship over 21-25 August, the season concluding at Nanny Cay, Tortola in the BVI over 20-24 November.

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