RC44 teams training in Valencia
Sunday was just another perfect day with spectacular sailing conditions and I doubt it could ever get much better. Similar to what has been taking place for the last two weeks, the sun breeze was already blowing nicely from as early as 10:30am. Starting at 6-7 knots it built up during the day reaching 13-14 knots at 2pm and that's when it got really funky.
I had the chance to spend the day onboard Sea Dubai, one of the 11 RC44 yachts that will race in the RC44 Valencia Cup next week. When I was informed that dockout would be at 11am, I was surprised and didn't expect much of a breeze so early. It turned out I was completely wrong. It was getting more interesting and fun as the day progressed but when the sea breeze fan was turned to the maximum at around 2:30pm it was simply great. I saw a peak of 20.7 knots true wind speed and 17.6 knots boat speed while planing downwind. I had the intention to do my own "TV & Media trials" on an RC44 but with 20 knots of wind, waves and a yacht heeling 31 degrees, not going overboard was my main worry. As a result, my photos must definitely be much tamer than the ones the TV crews onboard BMW Oracle's boats got.
Sailing onboard the RC44 Sea Dubai. Valencia, 25 July 2010. Photo copyright
In fact, the current Defender of the America's Cup was conducting its TV and Media Trials at the same time we were sailing. The four American yachts, the two RC44's and the two Extreme 40's, left their base at 2pm and although they were too far to take any meaningful picture, they were close enough to observe them. The RC44 sloops were Sunday's protagonists and carried out a number of upwind-downwind races, very close to the beach but with the difference that the starting line was placed no more than 200 meters from the weather mark. Unfortunately, I missed the starts but the downwind legs were full of action and close gybing duels. Unless they do it on purpose, today's footage will be anything but dull, boring or uninspiring.
If these fantastic conditions continue next week, the RC44 Valencia Cup promises to be thrilling. In addition to Sea Dubai and the two BMW Oracle RC44 yachts, I spotted sailing No Way Back and Team AEZ while Mascalzone Latino's yacht was in her base, getting the final touches before Monday's, I suppose, first sail after a long absence from the circuit.
Sailing onboard the RC44 Sea Dubai. From left, Yann Gouniot (mainsail trimmer), Harm Mueller-Spreer (fleet racing helmsman), Markus Wieser (match racing helmsman / tactician). Valencia, 25 July 2010. Photo copyright
Sailing onboard the RC44 Sea Dubai. From left, Yann Gouniot (mainsail trimmer), Harm Mueller-Spreer (fleet racing helmsman), Markus Wieser (match racing helmsman / skipper). Valencia, 25 July 2010. Photo copyright
Harm Mueller-Spreer at the helm of Sea Dubai. Valencia, 25 July 2010. Photo copyright