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RC44 Championship kick-off in Sotogrande

The RC44 Championship Tour enters its 11th season next week in Sotogrande, Spain.

Eight teams representing five nations, and 64 of the world's finest sailors take to the water to compete in the opening regatta of the five-stop tour between the 27 – 30 April.

Hosted by Marina de Sotogrande for the third time, the event title had previously been lifted by Vladimir Liubomirov's Bronenosec Sailing Team in 2014 and Igor Lah's Team CEEREF in 2016.

After third and second placed finishes in the previous events at Sotogrande, John Bassadone's 'home team' Peninsula Petroleum will be working hard to gain as much of a 'home advantage' as they can to make it third-time lucky.

Amongst the line-up for the 2017 season, a few strong contenders return. Terry Hutchinson is back on board Team Nika after last leading the team to victory at the 2014 Oman Cup.

Morgan Reeser joins Nico Poons' Monaco-based team Charisma and an all new crew for Bronenosec Sailing Team sees Cameron Dunne take on tactician duties.

Here's how the teams are shaping up for the start of the 2017 season:

Team CEEREF – Igor Lah (SLO) / Adrian Stead (GBR) - Defending World and Series Champions

Team Aqua – Chris Bake (GBR) / Cameron Appleton (NZL) - Aqua revival to continue

Artemis Racing - Torbjorn Tornqvist (SWE) / Francesco Bruni (ITA) - All-star operation to stay at the top

Katusha - Alexander Novoselov (RUS) / Andy Horton (USA) - Time to shine

Bronenosec Sailing Team - Vladimir Liubomirov (RUS) / Kirill Frolov (RUS) / Cameron Dunn (NZL) - New all Russian line up

Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team - John Bassadone (GBR) / Vasco Vascotto (ITA) - Hunting for a home victory

Team Nika - Vladimir Prosikhin (RUS)/ Terry Hutchinson (USA) - Hutchinson to lead recovery

Charisma - Nico Poons (NED)/ Morgan Reeser (USA) - Time to rise through the ranks

Artemis Racing Youth - Gustaf Lidvall (SWE) / Freddy Loof (SWE) - Youth team to return in Porto Cervo

Racing kicks off on Thursday 27th April

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