Thursday, August 18, 2011

Team Aqua On Top at RC44 Sweden Cup

The Sweden Cup  in Marstrand this week marks the halfway mark of the RC44 Championships Tour and after three events  Team Aqua (GBR) is leading both the match and fleet racing rankings. The first day of an RC44 regatta is always match racing day, and the only day the pro’s are permitted to take the wheel. However, some of the owners decided to challenge themselves against the pros.
 Ceeref    Photo: © Dan Ljungsvik
Igor Lah enjoyed a good day at the helm of his Slovenian Team Ceeref, winning three out of the four matches sailed that included wins against two of the top teams, ORACLE Racing (USA) and Katusha (RUS) with Paul Cayard at the helm. Ceeref’s score-line was only marred by a loss to Russia’s Team Nika after being called over the line early. Team Ceeref move up from fifth to third in the overall match race rankings after four events.
Artemis Racing Photo: © Dan Ljungsvik
Sweden’s home team Artemis Racing, led by Torbjorn Tornqvist, were keen to show their prowess in their home waters but it wasn't to be.

In the sixth flight of the day, ORACLE Racing (USA) were drawn against Artemis Racing but the American team were having a shocker, with three loses from three races sailed. Russell Coutts, who shared the helm with owner Larry Ellison, was determined to get a run on the board. In an action filled match, Coutts lead into the start-line early, only to be hooked by Artemis, a split tack start saw Artemis take the advantage. But Artemis with owner Tornqvist at the wheel conceded two penalties in the close and aggressive racing and it was game over for them with ORACLE Racing picking up their first and only win of the day.
ORACLE Racing and Artemis Photo: © Dan Ljungsvik
“It’s very exciting that the (RC44) Class is here in Sweden, we’ve talked about it for a while and I’ve been in the class for two years now. It’s great that we could organise this regatta here in Marstrand, it’s a real mecca for Swedish sailing,” Torbjorn Tornqvist said.

The Spanish team Islas Canarias Puerto Calero were on fire, winning four out of their five matches with Inaki Castaner (ESP) at the helm.
Islas Canarias Puerto Calero Photos: © Dan Ljungsvik
“We’re getting better and better at each event and look forward to continuing this. To have 16 boats out tomorrow will be a lot of fun!,” said Daniel Calero, owner Islas Canarias Puerto Calero.

The Team Aqua pair of Chris Bake/Cameron Appleton continue to dominate the match racing leader-board. They shared the helm today, steering two races each and the team finished the day with just one loss to Peninsula Petroleum (GBR). They are now three points clear of second placed Katusha (RUS) who claimed two victories from the four matches sailed today.
Chris Bake/Team Aqua Photo: © Dan Ljungsvik
“It’s the first time I’ve helmed in a match race for a really long time. I think match racing is a really interesting component to the class. I really like it. It’s important to see how the boats respond in a match racing environment. Although it’s typically a lot closer quarters compared to the fleet racing, with 16 boats on the start line tomorrow that may not be so,” owner Chris Bake said.

Tomorrow sees the commencement of four days of fleet racing and with sixteen yachts on the start line there will be plenty of action with no discards allowed in the series.

Racing is due to start at 11.30 (CET) with three races planned. You can follow the racing live via live tracking on both your computer and smartphone and the live blog

Lulu Roseman

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