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Entrato a far parte della classe RC44 lo scorso settembre, in occasione della tappa triestina, il team di Artemis si è immediatamente imposto all'attenzione...

[singlepic=770,250,170,,left]RC44 Championship Tour – Lanzarote – Entrato a far parte della classe RC44 lo scorso settembre, in occasione della tappa triestina, il team di Artemis si è immediatamente imposto all’attenzione come uno degli equipaggi più forti. Torbjorn Tornqvist, armatore e guida del team svedese, è un personaggio molto conosciuto sul panorama internazionale, specie nell’ambito della classe TP52, che lo vede impegnato da tre stagioni. Al timone dell’RC44 di Tornqvist durante l’evento di match race, e tattico durante le regate di flotta, è Dean Barker.

Torbjorn, perchè avete scelto la classe RC44?
“Sono stato per lungo tempo coinvolto nella classe TP52, ma avevo desiderio di provare il match race. Seguo la classe RC44 dall’inizio e penso che l’equilibrio tra flotta e match race sia eccellente. Inoltre, sono un non professionista e tra i TP52 sono l’unico. L’RC44 si adatta perfettamente alle mie esigenze e poi Dean Barker aveva voglia di creare un team”.

Com’è stato il tuo esordio?
“Ottimo, l’accoglienza è stata unica. La logistica è molto curata e il lavoro dell’organizzazione davvero eccellente. Sono un uomo d’affari e non buttare via tempo è per me importante. Nell’RC44 non ci sono tempi morti: tutto fila liscio e finita la regata puoi staccare sino all’evento seguente”.

Che criteri hai scelto per formare il tuo team?
“Dean Barker ha fatto gran parte del lavoro, portando nel gruppo alcuni dei suoi uomini più fidati di Emirates Team New Zealand. Del mio equipaggio ho portato un componente che impiego ogni volta, cui si affiancano altri a seconda delle necessità”.

Che obiettivi vi siete posti?
“Migliorare le mie capacità nell’uno contro uno, seguendo i consigli di Dean Barker. La barca è divertente da timonare, è molto sensibile e nervosa. Mi piace. Quando affronto le nuove avventure, mi piace sempre dare il massimo. In questo caso, la sfida è rappresentata dal confronto con i migliori velisti al mondo”. 

[singlepic=771,170,250,,left][RC44 Class Press Release] Artemis joined the RC44 Class in September 2008 in Trieste, and immediately proved that it was one of the best teams. Owner Torbjorn Tornqvist is already well known in the sailing world, having competed successfully for the past three seasons on the TP52 circuit. Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker is the team’s pro skipper, acting as tactician during the fleet races and steering the matches.

Torbjorn, why did you decide to join the RC 44 Class?
I have been involved in the TP52 Class for a while, but I also wanted to do some match race. I followed the development of the RC44 Class since the beginning and I think that the combination between fleet and match race is excellent. Another factor is that I am an amateur, and I am the only one left in the TP52 Class. The RC44 Class seems more appropriate for me. Dean wanted to put a team together, so it is a great fit.

How was your arrival in the Class?
This Class is very easy to fit in and get welcome. It is also easy for logistics as we get a lot of support from the Class. I am an active businessman, and time is valuable. It is very important for me to combine work and sail, and the RC44 Class seems to allow this combination very well.

How did you put your team in place?
Dean Barker has been doing most of the job, bringing in some of his team mates from Emirates Team New Zealand. There is also one guy from my TP52 campaign and some other guys will join from case to case.

What are your personal objectives with this project?
I really want to get into match racing, and Dean and I will share steering duties. The boat is fun to steer, it is very sensitive and nervous, I like it. When I do things, I always try to do them at the best possible level. In this case, I want to see how good I can do when I sail against all those top level sailors.

Per Andersson, Mister RC44 sails
Per Andersson has been involved with the RC 44 Class since day one, helping Andrej Justin and Russell Coutts to develop the sail concept and rules.

Is this development now finished?
“Well, it’s not that simple. In reality, development is ongoing & never stops, but it certainly narrows in with time. There are currently 2-3 sailmaking companies involved with the Class, and I don’t think there is space for any radical new development.”

Has it been a difficult process to get there?
“We certainly didn’t do everything right from the onset, but we have evolved well and I think in the right direction. Russell is always full of ideas; he throws them at you and he is never shy to evolve, but obviously he is not alone and it was important to convince all owners when changes were needed.”

Do you think the rule needs to evolve more?
“I think it’s a matter of details, but luckily the Class is still small and flexible enough to handle change. For example, I think it would make sense to allow more match race sails, because they really get a beating during the matches. But we are not far off being on the spot.”

What about design: Is there still space for improvement?
“Yes, definitely, and there will always be. However, the design rule works well and I don’t think there is space for anything ‘radical’ that would force teams to buy new sails. Development is ongoing; you see this with the Mumm30’s and Farr 40’s: they still improve year after year despite having been around for much longer than the RC 44’s. The fabrics evolve; new materials mean new designs, research and development.”

Where is the biggest potential?
“We observe sensible differences between the downwind sails. The teams are only allowed two of them (on the boat while racing); therefore the difficulty is to decide where the crossover is. For most teams, it is approximately 9 knots but some see things differently. The size, weight, type of fabric and shapes can change. For example, light wind sails are smaller, from 15 to 20 square meters depending on the teams and the venue. For a heavy air venue, you may change to a ‘bigger lower end sail ‘and move your crossover to a higher range.”

And upwind sails?
“Many experiments have been made; however, the experience shows that the safest crossovers are at 12 knots from the No1 genoa to the No 2 Jib and then around 20 knots for the smallest jib. It’s very important for the teams to take the right decisions, because it takes approximately 10 minutes to do a headsail change. You will never see a team changing jib during a leg. Anticipation is therefore essential.”

Is the number of sails allowed by the rule right?
“I think it is fairly liberal and luckily not too restrictive. Some teams don’t use all their buttons and some teams use all buttons and have ‘practice sails’ as well.”

Do some teams have a speed edge?
“At the beginning of the season, Hiroshi seemed to have a little advantage over the rest of the fleet. They surely had good sails, designed by Giovanni Cassinari, from North Sails Lake Garda, but the reason why they were faster remain to be confirmed: they were sailing extremely well. The fleet is getting closer at every regatta, which is a sign of a great ‘One Design Class’!”

Are the teams copying each other?
“Well, there are trends and people tend to follow those trends, for sure. Nobody is copying, but some sail designers talk, others don’t. With the Americas’ Cup on hold and a lot of AC teams joining the Class, the sail designers come with the team and keep the designs confidential even within the same sailmaking company!”

Is R&D an important part of an RC 44 campaign?
“With a one design class that has been active for 3 years now it is not essential but there is always space for it. Normally, most of the ‘time consuming and costly’ research happens within the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race. But the Cup situation has “freed” a lot of people; crews, tacticians and helmsmen, but also sail designers. They may not have been able to dedicate the time otherwise, so the consequence is that the top one-design Classes benefit from this situation. The RC 44 is obviously one of them.”

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