Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tricky conditions on day one of the Cagliari RC 44 match race contest

[Source: RC44] Two flights could be completed on day one of the Cagliari Cup match race event. The winners of the day are Team Puerto Calero Islas Canarias, undefeated, and No Way Back, who managed to beat the match race champion Ceeref. Team Aqua, Artemis and BMW ORACLE Racing are also unbeaten.

The first day of the Cagliari RC 44 Cup proved to be tricky for the navigators as well as the race organiser’s nerves. Indeed, big black clouds started building up over Cagliari early in the afternoon, forcing Race Officer Peter Reggio to send everyone home after the two first flights. The nine RC 44’s then sailed back out once the shower and thunder were gone, but only for a short time as the next threatening weather system was arriving fast.

Highlights from the opening day of the RC44 Cagliari regatta. Cagliari, 22 April 2009. Video copyright RC44

The first flight saw fairly easy victories from Team Aqua, BMW ORACLE Racing and Puerto Calero against respectively Team Sea Dubai, Team Austria and Team Organika. The most interesting match was the one opposing Team No Way Back and Artemis. The two teams kept in contact all along, showing how much the Dutch have improved since the last regatta. Both boats arrived together at the last windward mark, and went into a spectacular dial up that turned out to Dean Barker’s advantage. Despite loosing the race, Philippe Presti and his crew onboard No Way Back got the proof that their long training session in Lanzarote had paid off. They would soon have another confirmation of their progress.

Indeed, sailing in the second flight against the favourite of the match race contest, Ceeref, with Sébastien Col at the helm, No Way Back managed to control most of the regatta, loosing the lead shortly during the second beat but regaining it in the last downwind leg to win the race. Not many RC 44 teams can say that they have beaten Ceeref in a match; No Way Back’s owner Pieter Heerema can tick this one in his list of achievements.

Team Puerto Calero, Artemis and Aqua are unbeaten after two races. BMW ORACLE Racing is also unbeaten; however after sailing only one match, against Team Austria.

Seven flights remain for the 9 teams assembled for this second event of the RC 44 Championship Tour. Peter Reggio will certainly impose an intense rhythm tomorrow. The racing is due to start at 11:30.

They said:

Pieter Heerema, owner, No Way Back: “I am happy because we seem to be more in the race than before. We trained very hard after the last regatta and it has paid off. We had a good session in Lanzarote with Team Puerto Calero; we tuned up together and progressed a lot. We will do the same next month with the Austrians. It is an apprenticeship for all of us. We are learning a lot. At this stage, I am convinced that it is more important for us to spend a week sailing than to buy new sails.”

José Maria Ponce, helmsman, Team Puerto Calero Islas Canarias: “We took very good starts and managed to control the rest of the two races against Organika and Sea Dubai. We had a good speed, which is partly the result of our training session with No Way Back. We tested some trimmings, sails, configurations etc. It was extremely useful.”

Christian Binder, helmsman, Team Austria: “I have been trying to play it too safely today. We took good starts, but just a little bit behind our opponents; then we tried to hunt but our speed wasn’t very good in this light wind. We also had problems with our drop line. We will make a big debriefing tonight to see what we can improve.”

Match-race, provisional results after 2 flights (out of 9):
(Name of team, helmsman, No of victories / defeats, points)

1) Puerto Calero Islas Canarias, José Juan Calero, 2/0, 2 points
1) Team Aqua, Cameron Appleton 2/0, 2 points
1) Artemis, Dean Barker, 2/0, 2 points
4) BMW ORACLE Racing, Larry Ellison, 1/0, 1 point
5) No Way Back, Philippe Presti, 1/1, 1 point
6) Ceeref, Sébastien Col, 0/1, 0 point
7) Team Organika, Karol Jablonski 0/2, 0 point
7) Team Sea Dubai, Markus Wieser, 0/2, 0 point
9) Team Austria, Christian Binder, 0/2, 0 point



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