Russians reassert their dominance on a big downwind Day 4

Three more races were completed for the Cascais SB20 World Championships on the penultimate day of racing, Friday September 2, with more strong breeze and big swell conditions providing superb racing for the asymmetric sportsboat fleet.

The breeze kicked in right on time for the 75 boats to start their first race of the day at 1300hrs, with 15-18 knots and the typical Atlantic rolling swell this Portuguese venue is famed for, making for some fast and fun downwind legs. Once again starting cleanly proved key, with five boats penalized for being OCS at the first gun of the day, including top British boat, John Pollard’s Xcellent (GBR3724).

For the second race the breeze had built to over 20 knots, and the right-hand side was strongly favoured due to a strong current running along the shore. This race was a real Cascais classic that saw boats regularly hitting 18 knots downwind.

SB20 World Championship 2016 - Cascais (POR) - Day 04 © Neuza Pereira

SB20 World Championship 2016 – Cascais (POR) – Day 04 © Neuza Pereira

For the final race of the day, and 12th of this demanding series, the breeze once again began to drop late afternoon, fading from 12 knots at the start to around 8 knots by the middle of the race, with lots of holes and shifts to increase the tactical challenges. The fading conditions also saw the fleet towed in again with no wind outside the marina, although all were relieved to dock at 1730 after yesterday’s late-night marathon effort. There was plenty of time for the fleet to enjoy an outdoor dinner reception put on this evening by the host city.

Having had to retire from the final race yesterday, Hugo Rocha set out to re-establish his place at the top of the leaderboard on New Territories (RUS3711), which he achieved with an incredible 2-1-2 scoreline. This has put New Territories firmly back on the top of the table, with 45 points to France Jeune SB20’s (FRA3653) 61. However, with yesterday’s 77-point DNS hanging over the Russian crew they have no margin for error on the final day tomorrow.

Gabriel Skoczek on France Jeune SB20 won the final race of the day, while Massimo Fullone on Mercy Bocu (ITA3637) took the first – their third win of the event, but with two DNC’s on the first day the Italian team is only just inside the top 10.

SB20 World Championship 2016 - Cascais (POR) - Day 04 © Neuza Pereira

SB20 World Championship 2016 – Cascais (POR) – Day 04 © Neuza Pereira

There is a strong battle going on between two Australian teams with Flirtacious (AUS3735) in fourth on 93 points and Michael Cooper’s Export Roo (AUS3731) two points behind in fifth. Cooper commented after racing: “We had a better day today and it is really tight with Chris Dare (Flirtacious) keeping the Australian interest going, but with our third team member suffering a bit today it looks like the Nation’s Cup will have to wait for the 2018 worlds in Tasmania!”

Chris Dare, who is sailing with Oliver Tweddle, one of Australia’s top Olympic Finn sailors, was equally impressed with how tight the competition is at the top of the fleet and is looking forward to going head-to-head with Cooper tomorrow where Australian bragging rights will be on the line.

Marco Van Driel, whose MXTC (NED3714) is hovering just outside the top 10, was today scratching his head. “What do we have to do to get involved in the top 10? They are so fast, so consistent and no-one makes mistakes… it is so hard to mix it here and one small mistake sees you back in the pack!”

SB20 World Championship 2016 - Cascais (POR) - Day 04 © Neuza Pereira

SB20 World Championship 2016 – Cascais (POR) – Day 04 © Neuza Pereira

Tomorrow is the final day of competition with two races planned. The Cascais SB20 World Championship, is hosted by the Cascais Naval Club thanks to the backing of the Municipality of Cascais and sponsorship by companies including Vista Alegre, Sagres, and Gaspar Simões and LG. Media Partners are JC Decaux, Commercial Radio and TVI24, as well as fleet suppliers Sportsboat World, Harken and Hyde Sails.

The Cascais SB20 World Championships feature live tracking, allowing spectators to watch the action online – visit http://regatav6.ru/?type=event&id=1034

Full information, including daily results, will be available at http://www.cncascais.com/

Watch all the action from Day 4 with the daily video at https://youtu.be/Y_YCfbzoTWU

SB20 World Championship 2016 - Cascais (POR) - Day 04 © Neuza Pereira

SB20 World Championship 2016 – Cascais (POR) – Day 04 © Neuza Pereira