Russell Coutts and ORACLE Racing have shown their commitment to their new latest favorite kind of sailing by not showing up at RC44 World Championships held over the weekend. Two other America’s Cup teams did manage to work the event into their calendar and one of them – Artemis Racing, managed to win the event.
The 2011 RC44 World Championships came down to the eleventh and final race of the event to be decided.
It was Katusha (RUS), steered by Steve Howe this week with Francesco Bruni calling the shots, who relished the windier conditions in Puerto Calero, Lanzarote. The team did not put a foot wrong, as the wind touched 23 knots at times, storming to victory in every race. But even three wins was not enough to get close to the leaders Artemis Racing (SWE).
The Swedish team slotted in a fourth and then a second giving themselves a six point lead going into the final race of the Championships, to be assured victory they needed to finish in the top seven in the final race of the day. They started well but as they approached the windward mark they had it all on, Ironbound were pushing Katusha for the lead and Artemis Racing were eighth. By the finish Torbjorn Tornqvist, Morgan Larson and the team had gained one place to seventh, enough to give them the title by two points.
Torbjorn Tornqvist, owner / driver Artemis Racing said:
“It’s great to finish the season like this, we had a good regatta, it was tight racing and an exciting event but it got a bit scary in the end. It wasn’t until the last round before it was clear where we had come. We were lucky we had consistent good team work and I’m really happy with the team. Next year is a new season, hopefully we will be able to sail with the same team, like we did last season, and be able to pick up from where we left off.”
David Murphy (USA) Ironbound team said:
“We had great boat speed all day thanks to Andy (Horton) and the crew, it’s been a special day. Everyone on the team is so happy with the result, we’ve had a rough season and to come back here and do as well as we have is really encouraging. We will be back next year for sure and will try to do it again.”
The RC44 World Championships also doubled up as the final event of the RC44 Championship Tour. With Team Aqua already securing the 2011 Championship Tour title, Artemis Racing needed to win in Lanzarote to secure second. So Puerto Calero ended up as a double celebration for the Swedish team, World Champions and second in the 2011 Championship Tour.
Third place went to ORACLE Racing, even though the team were not in Lanzarote, their consistent season was enough to give them the final podium position.