Friday, May 30, 2008

Team Ceeref confirms its current leadership in the RC 44 Class, ahead of Team Aqua

[Source: RC 44] With Igor Lah at the helm and James Spithill calling the shots, the Slovenian team had another excellent series on day one of the fleet race event of the RC 44 Austria Cup, taking the lead ahead of Team Aqua and Team Banco Espirito Santo.

Gmunden, May 30, 2008 – The specific conditions on Lake Traunsee definitely have an impact on the RC 44 Championship Tour. Some love it, others don’t. But at the end of the day, two teams clearly lead the way: Igor Lah’ Team Ceeref and Chris Bake’s Team Aqua, respectively winner and second of the match race event yesterday and clear leaders of the fleet race event after three races.

The fleet regatta started in the early afternoon, with a light thermal breeze (8 – 10 knots). Team Aqua took an excellent start and led the entire fleet throughout the race. At the other end of the ranking, BMW ORACLE Racing – with John Kostecki calling the shots for Larry Ellison, managed to fight its way back from last to second during the first downwind leg, benefiting from on a stronger pressure on the right of the course. During the last downwind leg, Ceeref made a fake jibe, sending BMW ORACLE Racing to the less favoured right side of the course and grabbing the second spot with style.

The second race was entirely dominated by Ceeref, who increased its lead leg after leg. On great form, Markus Wieser’s Team Sea Dubai managed to grab the second spot, just ahead of Team Aqua. Four teams got penalised at the first windward mark (Team Organika, BMW ORACLE Racing, Cro-Aut-Sail and Team Hiroshi) for establishing their bowsprits before reaching the windward gate. The strong action by the Jury reshuffled the cards and spread a certain amount of discontent within the fleet.

The last race of the day saw once again Team Aqua take a great start and lead the fleet. As for Ceeref, it started last and managed to fight its way back, shift after shift and puff after puff, overtaking Aqua in the last downwind leg to win the race; an impressive display of smart boat handling and strategic clairvoyance.

The event carries on until Sunday. Tomorrow Saturday, the RC 44s will compete in the long distance DHL Trophy, which is part of the fleet race ranking.

They said:

Igor Lah, helmsman, Team Ceeref: “Our team work was excellent and this is the main recipe to our success, together with our strategy. During the race, James Spithill and Michele Ivaldi were talking a lot at our different options and they clearly did a good job. As for me, I was just concentrating on optimal steering.”

Chris Bake, helmsman, Team Aqua: “We have done much more team work during this event than previously this year. Our set up is also good, and my focus is back. We can clearly see that it pays off. I also want to add, on another note, that our team sails under the colors of the World Land Trust. We sail with a zero carbon footprint; this is a message that I want to bring across and I want to encourage others to follow in our wake.”

Noel Drennan, BMW ORACLE Racing: “We have spent our entire day looking outside of the boat, trying to anticipate the shifts and the gusts. This is very interesting sailing. It’s a nice change for us; we are used to 5 degrees shifts out at sea. It reminds me of my dinghy years. Both because of the lake and the RC 44: it reacts like a dinghy.”

Armando Giulietti, Team Hiroshi – Città di Milano: “I don’t like this. It’s very shifty, and we can’t anticipate the shifts. I am not very happy; we need to change the way we sail during the following days. We need to minimize the damage.”

Fleet-race, provisional results after three races (no discard):

(Name of team, helmsman, No of victories / defeats, points)

1) Team Ceeref, Igor Lah, 2, 1, 1 - 4 points
2) Team Aqua, Chris Bake,1, 3, 2 - 6 points
3) Team Banco Espirito Santo, Patrick de Barros, 4, 4, 4 - 12 points
4) BMW ORACLE Racing, Larry Ellison, 3, 9, 3 - 15 points
5) Team Beecom, Isao Mita 7, 5, 5 – 17 points
6) Sea Dubai, Markus Wieser 6, 2, DSQ – 18 points
7) Team Hiroshi - Città di Milano, Armando Giulietti, 5, 7, 6 - 18 points
8) Cro-Aut-Sail, Rene Mangold, 9, 6, 8 - 23 points
9) Team Organika, Maciej Navrocki, 8, 8, 7 – 23 points



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