With two bullets, a second and a fourth place, Armando Giulietti, the owner of Team Hiroshi-Città di Milano, was satisfied: he did even better than his brilliant pro-skipper Sébastien Col earlier in the week during the match-race event!
Held in 15-18 knots of wind, under a blazing sunshine and on big waves, the first day of the fleet-racing event will stay in the short RC 44 Class history as the funniest and best racing day to date.
Even before the start of the first race, as the teams were warming up under jib and main sail, speeds of up to 20 knots were reached while surfing the swell.
Those conditions didn’t in any way prompt the teams to start on the back foot. On the contrary, they were hot on to the line, aggressive and pushing hard. Team Sea Dubai even pushed so hard that it closed the door on Team Aqua, who had no where else to go but to crash badly on the Committee boat, unfortunately continuing its series of bad luck in this event. Thankful the damage occurred to the crash box at bow and Team Aqua’s crewmembers could repair it quickly and rejoin the fleet for the third race.
Sailing fast and very well, Team Hiroshi-Città di Milano took the lead away from Sea Dubai on the first downwind leg, winning the race despite Patrick De Barros’s numerous attacks.
The scenario was similar on race two: Team Sea Dubai made a good start, sailed very well to the windward mark before being overtaken by Armando Giulietti on the run. As for Patrick De Barros’s Team ES Bankers Dubai, it suffered a jib tackle breakage during the first beat. The crew’s reaction was quick, allowing the team to finish fourth; a few points in the pocket that could well prove crucial at the end of the week considering how close the racing is.
With Russell Coutts’ advice, Patrick De Barros climbed back to the lead on race three and four, winning respectively against Team Hiroshi-Citta di Milano and Igor Lah’s Team Ceeref. Sailing for the first time in these conditions, Lah improved throughout the day, going from fifth to second. His opponents will have to watch him tomorrow: the same conditions are forecast and the man learns fast!
After racing Armando Giulietti, owner of leading boat Team Hiroshi-Città di Milano commented: “Our winter training gave us the results we wanted today. We were very well prepared and the crew did a fantastic job. It was very hard for them today… I enjoyed it a lot, particularly downwind as we were surfing the waves, it was great fun.”
While Patrick de Barros, owner of second placed Team ES Bankers Dubai added: “I am very pleased that we won two races but upset because of our gear failure. The conditions were just great. They reminded me of Cascais, where it is like this every day. It is very hard when we sail upwind, but great downwind. We were regularly sailing at around 17-18 knots.”
Two more days of fleet racing are scheduled, including the DHL Trophy - a long distance course to Dubai’s Palm - to take place on Friday.
Fleet-racing, provisional results (no discard)
1) Team Hiroshi (1, 1, 2, 4) 8 points
2) Team ES Bankers Dubai (3, 4, 1, 1) 9 points
3) Team Sea Dubay, (2, 2, 6, 3) 13 points
4) Team Ceeref (5, 3, 5, 2) 15 points
5) Cro-A-Sail (4, 5, 4, 5) 18 points
6) Team Aqua (DNF, DNF, 3, 6) 23 points