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RC44 Match Racing Tour decided in tense final

In its tensest conclusion ever, the RC44 Match Racing Championship today came down to the very last race of the very last flight, victory ultimately falling the way of Torbjorn Tornqvist's Artemis Racing.

Going into the final match race of the season, this left the Artemis Racing tied with Team Nika. The final race would decide the 2016 Championship.

In this Artemis Racing led off the start line, maintained her advantage through a tacking duel up the first beat and rounded the top mark ahead, before a spinnaker sheet issue on the downwind allowed Team Nika to gain the upper hand.

The two boats split at the gate and Artemis Racing picked up a favourable shift that had brought them back into the game by the next cross.

Here the experience of the Swedish crew paid, as Team Nika tactician Ed Baird explained:

"We went to lee bow them and it was a little slow. They did a nice job of keeping their speed and then ducked us at the last moment to become the leeward boat. Under the new rules we had to tack away and that put them into the lead again."

From there Artemis Racing defended well to finish narrowly ahead of Team Nika and claim the 2016 RC44 Match Racing Championship title.

With Team Nika second overall, an outstanding day for Team Aqua – joint top scorer today with Artemis Racing – allowed Chris Bake's team to claim the third spot on the 2016 RC44 Match Racing Championship podium.

Today was not only the last day of match racing in the 2016 for the RC44s. Going forward the decision has been made to change to an entirely fleet racing regatta format from next season on.

RC44 Valletta Cup - Match Race Results Wins and losses

Artemis Racing 4-0
Team Aqua 4-0
Team Nika 3-2
Bronenosec Sailing Team 3-2
Artemis Racing Youth 2-2
Team CEEREF 2-2
Charisma 2-3
Peninsula Petroleum 2-3
Katusha 1-4
Aleph Racing 0-5