The Portuguese Leg of the RC44 started with an unexpected domination of the Russian team Nikita and a very good performance of a new team : Charisma. On the last days the more experienced teams dominated and the victory come to Peninsula Petroleum followed by team Aqua (both British) that are also leading the championship by that order.
A very good 3rd for the Russians from Nikita and a spectacular 4th to Charisma, a Monaco team on a charted boat. Well they can fly the Monaco banner but they have nobody from Monaco on the crew :-), the owner is a Dutch, Nico Poons. He won already the Swan 45 world championship and the Farr. 40 North American championship. The tactician is the Australian Tom Slingsby ,olympic Gold Medallist and America’s Cup ORACLE Team USA strategist.
I bet these guys when they got their boat and started to be more used to it will be fighting for leadership on the championship. First race and they are already 7th!!!!
Also a note in what regards Russian teams on this championship: 5, and two of them doing very well overall. They are 3th and 5th on the championship. Some top American and Australian sailors but no American or Australian team. This seems to indicate that Russians like sailing and have sponsors (or rich owners) that can bring Russia to the top of the sail racing panorama. I hope this will be the beginning of a big Russian participation in what regards sail racing: sailing needs more countries deeply involved in international racing at top level. As a foot note, Russians are also among the ones that are following this blog ;-)
Regarding the sailing conditions in Cascais they were great for sailing as usual and allowed some spectacular images: