Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 2 - RC44 Cagliari Cup - Wind Whips Fleet

After yesterday’s light start to the event the action kicked in today with a shifty building breezes throughout the day that turned into a mini Mistral by the afternoon with gusts measuring up to 32 knots
Photo: Nico Martinez/RC44
In race one, series leaders Oracle Racing wanted the left, won the pin end of the line, but rounded the first windward mark in 11th place.  Islas Canarias Puerto Calero got it right.

“In the first race we went right which was a good side, helped by good team work, new sails that are working very well in the strong wind,” said tactician Jose Maria Ponce
Photo: Nico Martinez/RC44
But near disaster struck the Spanish team as they neared the leeward gate, a ripped spinnaker left them sailing with just their jib, and Team Aqua (GBR) and Katusha (RUS) snuck through. The top three places didn’t change from then on and Team Aqua that took the gun followed by Katusha and a relieved Islas Canarias Puerto Calero in third. Oracle Racing fought to get back in the pack, gaining three places to finish eighth.
With the wind increasing the call was made by the race committee to go for small kites in race two. On the start line Katusha fought for the committee boat end of the line and nailed it while Team Aqua opted for the middle, with Islas Canarias Puerto Calero and Oracle at the pin end.
Photo: Nico Martinez/RC44
This time the left paid off as Islas Canarias Puerto Calero rounded the windward mark first again. A great downwind leg by Howe/Coutts saw Oracle Racing take the lead and pull away from the fleet.

Behind the leaders the fleet were fighting tooth and nail as  the breeze increased. John Bassadone (GBR) and his Spanish team on Peninsula Petroluem moved from fourth to second, closely followed by Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, Artemis and Team Aqua. With the finish line within their sights Peninsula Petroleum broached in one of the monster gusts and dropped to fifth.

The unluckiest boat of the day was David Murphy’s Ironbound (USA), who broke their steering gear on the final leg of race two, sending the boat into an uncontrollable broach.  “We broached, it was a crew mistake and we threw a chain off one of our gears, so lost all steering,” Murphy said after racing.

Team Aqua leads the standings with two races sailed, on equal points with Islas Canarias Puerto Calero. “Defiantly making it round safely. We’re doing well and I think what it comes down to is everyone onboard knowing what they are doing and going steadily through manoeuvres. It was great sailing though, really exhilarating,” said Team Aqua's owner Chris Bake.

Artemis Racing, with Torbjorn Tornqvist at the helm, racked up fourth and third place to sit two points off the leaders in third place.

Lulu Roseman

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