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Zhik 2024 March - LEADERBOARD

Calero Sailing Team punches above its weight at the 44Cup Baiona

by Calero Sailing Team 12 May 22:32 BST 8-12 May 2024
Calero Sailing Team punches above its weight on Day 3 in Baiona - 2024 44Cup Baiona © Nico Martinez / 44Cup

Among the nine teams competing at the 44Cup Baiona, one, Calero Sailing Team, has a crew that has sailed together for less than 10 days. This week in Galicia they are facing eight other crews which have raced on the high performance owner-driver one design keelboats at the highest level for more than a decade, while among them are Olympic medallists, leading America's Cup sailors and countless world champions.

Yet, almost impossibly, across today's first two (of four) races, the newbie team from Lanzarote was the top scoring RC44 across the nine boat fleet. In three races today the crew led by Daniel Calero and his Lanzarote tactician Alfredo Gonzalez defied the odds to round the all-important first windward mark in second place. Ultimately their score for the day of 2-3-6-9 was the fourth highest in the fleet.

"We are very happy about everything," said owner-driver Daniel Calero. "We made a lot of decisions about rigging and sails because the wind was increasing and you need to adapt everything. Then during the races, in this class if you make a mistake you pay. And we paid! In the first two races we chose the correct side and everything was good. The third race also started well but in the end we couldn't hold our position. The last race was a pity - we made a bad start and then maybe there was some misunderstanding on board - we tacked too late and we got a penalty. But we were in the fight all day which is superb - it is our goal."

Previously Calero Sailing Team has performed well on the upwind legs, but today they demonstrated they can handle downwinds too. "We didn't lose many positions and I think we had a little bit of luck - sometimes when you are ahead it is easier to sail, you can control things, you can look back, etc. We are all happy about today," said Calero.

Generally the user of the 44Cup's 'black boat' is expected to come a resounding last, but going into the final day Calero Sailing Team is lying eighth, within five points of fifth and just 14 from the podium. Technically three races could be held tomorrow with 27 points still on the table.

Calero's crew were also delighted with their day. Silvia Más, the reigning women's champion in the Olympic 470 dinghy, who is floater with Calero Sailing Team, said: "It was quite a tricky day because the wind was picking up, but also going down, so it was difficult and you had to have your head out of the boat all of the time. Between the races the same side wasn't always paying, so it was quite difficult."

Tactician Alfredo Gonzalez added: "I am very happy with the team. We are very happy with the positions on board - our crew is good and we feel very confident in Daniel [Calero] has sailed a lot of dinghies in the past and has a good feeling. We are improving the speed of the boat: It isn't better than the others but when you start in a new class that is to be expected."

Racing at the 44Cup Baiona concludes tomorrow.

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