Spithill wins fleet racing

A report from the final day of racing for the RC 44s

Sunday September 9th 2007, Author: Bernard Schopfer, Location: Italy
As the RC44 owners met to discuss the plans for the upcoming RC44 Gold Cup in Dubai and the 2008 racing programme, the crews were busy preparing the RC44s for the final day of racing at the Slam Cup.

It was another classic day on the Ligurian coast, with a steady five to eight knot breeze that began to fill in at midday. But what started out as a tranquil Sunday morning, soon became much more exciting as the Yacht Club Italiano ran four seamless races for the fleet.

Going into today it was the new Slovenian team, with James Spithill on tactics, that was leading the fleet racing. It was clear however, that Team Aqua’s smooth teamwork and excellent boat handling would put the newcomers to the test as they battled to determine the overall winner of the Slam Cup.

During the first windward leg of the first race, Team Lightbay tacked a bit too close to Team Ceeref, resulting in a penalty for the Italians and damage to the stern spoiler of the Slovenian RC44. Armed with duct tape and a bailer, the team was determined not to let this damage disrupt their chances of winning the fleet racing element of the Slam Cup.

Team Ceeref performed steadily on the racecourse with a fourth, first and two second place finishes today. Team Aqua led by tactician Cameron Appleton, finished three points behind Spithill’s squad in the fleet racing, but their success in the match racing element of the Slam Cup, meant that the Dubai team were victorious and that they maintain their lead of the RC44 Championship Tour.

The prizegiving at Santa Margherita’s Casa del Mare was the perfect conclusion to the first ever SLAM Cup, a tradition that is expected to continue in years to come.

The next and ultimate stop on the RC44 Championship Tour is Trieste, where the RC44s will also participate in Italy’s most famous regatta, the Barcolana.

Michele Ivaldi of Team Ceeref said: “The credit goes to the owner, Igor Lah. Jaro Furlani also did a great job helming the boat - he’s a former Optimist world champion. What he lacked in big boat experience - we brought to the team.”

Cameron Appleton of Team Aqua added: “I thought we sailed well today. We tried hard to attack the fleet, as we had a deficit at the beginning of the day. It was unbelievably tight racing and we got outsailed in the fleet racing in the final stages. The introduction of the new teams is a great step forward for the RC44 Class. We are pleased to maintain our of the Championship Tour.”

Overall Fleet Racing Results - Provisional Ranking – no discard

1) Team Ceeref (4,2,2,3,1,3,1,1,4,1,2,2) 26 points
2) Team Aqua (1,1,1,2,3,1,6,4,2,3,1,4) 29 points
3) Team Omega (3,4,4,1,2,5,5,2,1,4,3,3) 37 points
4) Team Beecom (6,3,3,4,6,2,3,5,3,5,4,1) 45 points
5) Team Lightbay (Magia), (2,5,5,5,5,4,2,6,8,2,5,6) 55 points
6) Team Cro-a-sail (5,6,7,6,4,6,4,3,5,6,6,5) 63 points

Match Racing Final Results: (wins/losses, points)

1) Team Aqua (4/1) 4 points
2) Team Omega (3/2) 3 points
3) Team Cro-A-Sail (3/2) 3 points
4) Team Beecom (3/2) 3 points
5) Team Ceeref (2/3) 2 points
6) Team Light Bay (0/5) 0 points

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