Thursday, December 13, 2007

Team Omega dominates day 1 of the Dubai Gold Cup

[Source: RC44] The first day of the Dubai Gold Cup exceeded the sailors’ expectations, with three races sailed despite the light wind forecast. Indeed, a fairly regular sea breeze started blowing after lunch time, allowing the eight strong RC 44 fleet to set sail and compete in light but good conditions.

Clearly on great form, Vittorio Codecasa, the 65 years old helmsman onboard Russell Coutts’ Team Omega – and President of the Swan 45 Class – took the best start in the first race. He was also first to reach the windward mark and set the trend: he was not going to let any competitor sail a single mark ahead of him throughout the afternoon!

The first race was very intense, with Isao Mita’s Beecom – always very good by light wind - chasing Team Omega and being pressurised by Team Aqua. Less lucky, James Spithill and Igor Lah’s Team Ceeref struggled to come back after arriving too late on the starting line, finishing the race in sixth.

First day of the Dubai Gold Cup. Dubai, 13 December 2007. Photo copyright Jacques Vapillon

The young Australian sailing talent took his revenge on race two, coaching his owner Igor Lah perfectly over the starting line and throughout the race, finishing second. Also looking for a revenge, Miroslav Reljanovic and the team of Cro-A-Sail, disappointing eighth of the first race, started well and sailed a consistent race concluded in fourth. But the good surprise of the day came from Armando Giulietti’s Team Hiroshi – Citta di Milano, who managed to improve from his previous fourth place and finish third. A great achievement for this new team.

Team Omega took once again a great start in race three, benefiting from an early lead ahead of Cro-A-Sail and Team Hiroshi. The racing was fierce, and the umpires – who were judging directly on the water – had a lot of work. First victim, Team Ceeref was penalised for a classic port-starboard situation against Team Aqua. Soon after, it was Chris Bake’s turn to maker a 360° after a close encounter with Team Hiroshi. This was the conclusion to a very bad day for Chris Bake’s team, who didn’t manage to confirm their leadership over the RC 44 Class today.

Team Omega leads the Dubai Gold Cup with three points, ahead of team Hiroshi – Citta di Milano (10 points) and Team Beecom (12 points).

The professional sailors will be back at the helm tomorrow for a match racing round robin.

Armando Giulietti, Team Hiroshi – Città di Milano: “It’s a new boat for us, so we needed to find the right adjustments. We are obviously happy with our result. I am grateful to our pro sailor Sébastien Col, who has been doing a great job. Before every race, we talk and analyze what we need to achieve. We set clear goals. Then we don’t talk too much during the race. Lorenzo Bodini is very helpful with the main sail and Sébastien gives me some advice. There is a great mentality on board. No “Italian shouting”.

Yoichi Yabe, world Class sailing photographer and guest on board Beecom: “It’s always great to be on board during a race; it’s a real privilege. From a photographer’s point of view, it is interesting too. The boats look good and the sailing is aggressive and very exciting.”

James Spithill, pro-sailor, Team Ceeref: “This boat is good for the crewmembers, because there is work for everyone. On other classes, half the crewmembers are just sitting on the rail. Here it’s full on.”

Patrick De Barros, Team ES Bankers Dubai: “Alongside the racing, we organized a corporate day with ES Bank. It’s a Portuguese group who has just been granted a license here in Dubai, so the Gold Cup is a great platform to organize such an event. We had the CEO and some personalities from the local finance on board; everybody was happy, it was great. I’m the only one unhappy: our results were not too good but we’ll come back!”

Vittorio Codecasa, guest helmsman, Team Omega: “The boat is great, very sensitive to steer. Compared with the Swan 45, it’s a completely different concept. It’s purely racing oriented. With the Swan I can cross the Atlantic. Here it’s like a dinghy. I like it.”


Team Omega (1, 1, 1) 3 points
Team Hiroshi - Città di Milano (4, 3, 3) 10 points
Team Beecom (2, 6, 4) 12 points
Team Ceeref (6, 2, 5) 13 points
Cro-A-Sail, (8, 4, 2) 14 points
Team ES Bankers Dubai (5, 5, 7) 17 points
Team Aqua (3, 8, 6) 17 points
Team Organika (7, 7, 8) 22 points



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