While the forecasts had looked glum and windless, the Bay of Kotor somehow allowed PRO Peter Reggio and the race committee successfully to lay on two races on the opening day of the 44Cup Porto Montenegro.
Despite the major shifts, the leaderboard is remarkably close after day one with Team CEEREF a mere point ahead of Team Nika with Peninsula Petroleum a further two astern.
Race one saw Igor Lah’s Team CEEREF doing well on the right up the first beat to lead around the top mark from Team Nika.
The wind backing hard, caused the boats to reach the leeward gate without gybing, however up the second beat the two leaders separated and, doing better on the left, Team Nika managed to bounce Team CEEREF back to the right to take the lead at the top mark.
This Team Nika held to the finish as the breeze continued to clock left and fade with Nico Poon’s Charisma moving up to second at the line.
After a pause, the new southerly breeze had piped up to 15 knots for race two.
In this there was an equal split up the first beat and following a considerable number of port-starboard incidents coming into the top mark, it was John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum that emerged ahead with Team Nika once again doing well in second.
Ultimately with the wind again going left, several boats gybed early on the final run, a move that enabled Team CEEREF and Team Aqua to overhaul the leaders and take first and second in the race’s closing stages.
This season Team Nika has another new tactician following on from the likes of Russell Coutts, Ed Baird, Terry Hutchinson and Dean Barker. Now in this role is Australian Laser gold medallist turned America’s Cup and SailGP sailor Tom Slingsby.
After two races, the PRO sensed his luck was running out and sent the boats in.
44Cup Porto Montenegro results after 2 races
1st Team CEEREF (11) – Igor Lah 3 1 – – 4 pts
2nd Team Nika (RUS10) – Vladimir Prosikhin 1 4 – – 5 pts
3rd Peninsula Petroleum (GBR22) – John Bassadone 4 3 – – 7 pts
4th Team Aqua (GBR25) – Chris Bake 8 2 – – 10 pts
5th Charisma (MON15) – Nico Poons 2 8 – – 10 pts
6th Tavatuy Sailing Team (RUS21) – Pavel Kuznetsov 5 6 – – 11 pts
7th Bronenosec (RUS18) – V. Liubomirov & K. Frolov 9 5 – – 14 pts
8th Artemis Racing (SWE26) – Torbjörn Törnqvist 7 7 – – 14 pts
9th Aleph Racing (FRA17) – Hugues Lepic 6 9 – – 15 pts