Another sailing first for Bermuda
The countdown continues for the first RC44 regatta to be held in Bermuda’s waters.
The RC44 class will kick off its tenth championship series in the Great Sound, the venue for the 35th America’s Cup, from March 2 to 6.
The annual tour, which features both fleet racing and match racing formats, is regarded as a “key series” to compete on in the international yacht racing circuit and features 12 teams, including Artemis Racing, Swedish challenger for the America’s Cup.
The RC44 is named after the boat’s co-designer Sir Russell Coutts, a five-times America’s Cup winner and Oracle Team USA chief executive officer.
“The boat was originally designed a 42-footer and it was when I was 44 years old, and so we decided to add another two feet to the boat to make it 44 to match my age,” Coutts said.
The RC44 championship involves amateur and professional sailors who compete on monohull yachts at some of the most beautiful and diverse sailing venues around the world.
“This is the first time they are coming to Bermuda and I think the America’s Cup being here in the first place had a big influence on that,” Coutts said. “Obviously one of the owners is the owner of team Artemis so I think they thought, ‘if it’s good enough for the America’s Cup to come to Bermuda, then why not us’. They will come here and love it.
“In terms of the sailing world Bermuda has kind of been rediscovered now and the secret is out. It was a well-kept secret until the America’s Cup was announced, and now that’s all changed obviously for the good and it was a bad idea keeping Bermuda a secret in a way.”
The RC44 is a light displacement, high-performance one-design racing yacht. The boats are strictly identical in terms of construction, shape of hull, appendages and weight distribution, as well as a 50-50 split between amateurs and professionals in each eight-person crew.
With everything, from the keel to the tip of the mast, made entirely from carbon, and with a powerful sail plan, the RC44 is rapid downwind, commanding upwind and performs exceptionally in both light winds and heavier breezes.
“They’re a fun boat to sail and I think if you ask the owners they all love it,” Coutts said.
“They are very even in performance between the fleet so really the best sailing team wins.”
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