RC44 Sailing in Sotogrande

 RC44 competition SotograndeIt’s another ‘first’ for Sotogrande! The world famous RC44 Championship Tour is coming to Sotogrande from 24th – 29th June. The area has a justified reputation for hosting world-class events, such as the Ryder Cup and Volvo Masters held at Valderrama Golf Club, but this is the first time that the RC44 class has visited the Andalusian coast. Why has this competition got sailing fans all throughout the region so excited?

The RC44 Tour is the ‘child’ of five-times America’s Cup winner and New Zealand native, Sir Russell Coutts, who launched it in 2005. RC44 refers to the yacht designed by Coutts and Slovenian designer Andrej Justin in that same year. Their aim was to create a craft that was equally suitable for both the amateur and professional helmsman, and in the process they launched a competition held in the same spirit.

All craft taking part in the Championship Tour must therefore conform to the RC44’s strict one-design racing format, with competitor crews that are comprised of eight persons with a 50-50 mix of amateurs and professionals.

So spectators can expect to see some exciting racing in the Sotogrande-San Roque waters. Typically, the RC44 is all about match racing, if you’re unfamiliar with sailing terminology, a match race is a dual between two identically matched boats. Races are short, fast and action-packed; spectators may find themselves holding their breath as boats fly across the finishing line with only a fraction of a second separating them.

The 2014 RC44 Championship Tour actually started in the Caribbean in February this year before it crossed the Atlantic. Portugal hosted the competition in April and Sweden in May. Now it’s Sotogrande’s turn before the fleet sails for Oman where the Tour concludes in November.

One really exciting innovation the RC44 Tour introduced is the VIP Guest Experience, where guests are offered the opportunity to become the 9th member of the crew. RC44 event co-ordinator Hubert Detrey explains: “ The guests sit in the back of the boat just behind the driver,” enabling them to experience the excitement and motion of competitive sailing in full swing.

The RC44 competition promises to be a sailing highlight for competitors and spectators alike, bringing a world class sailing event to the Sotogrande shores this June.

By Jackie Cruz - Manifesto · June 20th 2014