Artemis skipper hails amazing RC44 triumph
Artemis Racing, the Swedish challenger for the 35th America’s Cup, celebrated a second victory in three weeks after claiming the RC44 Cascais Cup in Portugal at the weekend.
They did so in dramatic fashion, coming from behind on the final run in the final race to pip RC44 Fleet Racing Championship leaders Team CEEREF for the honours.
The triumph was Artemis’s first in the one-design RC44 keelboat in nearly a year and arrived on the heels of the yacht racing syndicate’s victory at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Toulon.
Torbjörn Törnqvist, the team skipper and owner, and crew gained a huge advantage after their nearest rivals were pegged back after encountering spinnaker problems in heavy breezes gusting to 25 knots.
“That is amazing after one week of racing,” Törnqvist said. “And it was all coming down to the last run — it was incredible. Obviously there was a bit of luck involved, but it was our lucky day.”
Victory in the final race of the 11-race series capped an impressive fightback by Artemis, who found themselves in last place at the end of the opening day of the regatta.
Also on board the victorious boat was Francesco Bruni, the team tactician and 2013 King Edward VII Gold Cup winner, who attributed the team’s success to the well-drilled crew.
“For sure we wouldn’t have won without them,” said Bruni, who joined the Swedish team from Italian challenger Luna Rossa Challenge last year. “We reacted to problems better than the other teams. Today was probably the best day Artemis Racing has ever had.”
Trimmer Christian Kamp, a member of Artemis’s team that won the World Series Toulon, competed in Portugal at the weekend. The team’s latest triumph arrived on the same day Kalle Torlen, the team trimmer, celebrated his birthday.
Meanwhile, Team CEEREF and Team Nika rounded off the podium in Portugal.
The series, which started in Bermuda in March, concludes with the final regatta to be held in Malta from November 23 to 27.
The RC44 is a high performance one-design racing yacht co-designed by five-times America’s Cup winner Sir Russell Coutts, the Oracle Team USA chief executive officer, with naval architect Andrej Justin.
• Sunday marked a special occasion for Oracle Team USA, holders of the America’s Cup.
It was the third anniversary of the racing syndicate’s successful defence at the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco in 2013 after producing what many regard as the greatest comeback in sport.
Pushed to the brink of defeat, Oracle clawed their way back from an 1-8 deficit to pip Emirates Team New Zealand, the challenger, in the first to nine points series.
Oracle will rest their title on the line in Bermuda in June 2017, the first time a defender has defended outside of home waters by choice.