Final race clincher

Artemis nobbles Team Aqua in final race of the RC44's Malcesine Cup

Monday July 13th 2009, Author: Bernard Schopfer, Location: United Kingdom
Everyone knew this morning - as the teams were getting ready on the pontoons - that this last day would be a tough one with four teams separated by just seven points ahead of race 6. Everything remained possible with four more regattas to complete.

Quite unfortunate at times earlier in the week, Torbjorn Tornqvist, Dean Barker and their team on board Artemis started the first race in the middle of the line while the provisional leader Team Aqua chose the pin. The racing was very close until Aqua’s runner clip suddenly broke. The loose runner slashed Chris Bake in the back and put an end to their hope of winning this regatta, despite the team’s bowman Matt Cassidy climbing up the mast in no time to secure the rig. Unable to hoist a spinnaker, the Aqua boys had no other options than to see Artemis sail away, win the race and take the provisional lead of the event. Team Sea Dubai finished second, proving once again how much progress they have made since the beginning of the year.

Chris Bake later on described the incident as an “adrenaline rush”. It certainly made a strong effect on the team, who won the next two regattas.

The top three boats of Race seven ( Aqua, BMW Oracle Racing and Ceeref) crossed the arrival line within two seconds while Artemis and Team Sea Dubai were separated by half a boat length in fourth and fifth!

The eighth race - the last before lunch break and the final race - turned into a spectacular Aqua show, the team from the UAE winning the regatta with a massive lead over Ceeref and Artemis. At this stage and ahead of the last race, Team Aqua had a two points advantage over Artemis and seven over BMW Oracle Racing with No Way Back one point behind. Everything remained possible!

Both Artemis and Team Aqua made good starts, with a small advantage to Artemis. As soon as the opportunity arose, Tornqvist tacked on top of Aqua, forcing the latter to head back to the shore. This was the (premature) end of the regatta, which turned out to be a procession.

“When Artemis tacked on us, we knew that we couldn’t win the race," reflected Team Aqua's Chris Bake. "We finish the event in second, which is very good. I am proud of what the team has done. This morning, when we broke our halyard, the guys reacted fantastically. What they achieved is a real testament to their seamanship. Cam is also a great leader; he took the right decisions.”

Artemis' Torbjorn Tornqvist commented: “We didn’t look at Team Aqua at all during the last race; we did our own regatta. We tacked over them in the first beat, but we would have done so with any other boat; it was just a race situation. I think that we have found the right balance between speed and height. We also changed our set up after the morning races and this helped our speed a lot.”

After winning the match race event on Thursday, Artemis came out on top in the fleet regatta and were therefore winners overall of the Malcesine Cup. Team Aqua finished second overall in both the fleet regatta and the overall ranking, whilst BMW Oracle Racing completed the podium.

Russell Coutts, tactician on BMW ORACLE Racing said: “This was a great regatta and we have seen some new teams performing very well. Artemis was very fast and dominant during this regatta; Team Aqua also has a little edge over the other teams. But I am very pleased to see that team Austria or Team Sea Dubai performed well. The standard is now really high.”

Sailing his first race in the RC44 class Hong Kong-based Frank Pong of Team Jelik said: “I am very happy with our fifth place in the last race. However, one thing at the time… Now I am going to concentrate on the Asian circuit but I will definitely come back on the RC 44 circuit. I have enjoyed this very much. It is fantastic to sail against the best sailors in the world. At first, I was intimidated but looking back at it I can only recommend to people who hesitate to join this Class.”

The next regatta will take place on September 30 – October 4 in Portoroz (Slovenia).

Fleet race, final results after nine races and the double points DHL Trophy (no discard):
(Ranking, name of team, helmsman, results, points (DHL Trophy double points in bold)

1) Artemis, Torbjorn Tornqvist, 1, 9, 10, 5, 1, 1, 1, 4, 3, 1 – 36 points
2) Team Aqua, Chris Bake, 2, 5, 6, 1, 5, 2, 10, 1, 1, 9 - 42 points
3) BMW ORACLE Racing, Larry Ellison, 6, 2, 4, 8, 3, 4, 5, 2, 7, 4 - 45 points
4) No Way Back, Pieter Heerema, 7, 3, 2, 4, 7, 3, 3, 7, 4, 6 - 46 points
5) Ceeref, Igor Lah, 3, 4, 12, 7, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 3 – 47 points
6) Team Sea Dubai, Yousef Lahej, 5, 1, 18, 2, 2, 6, 2, 5, 6, 2 - 53 points
7) Team Organika, Maciej Navrocki, 4, 8, 16, 3, 6, 8, 7, 6, 5, 8 - 74 points
8) Team Austria, René Mangold, 8, 6, 8, 6, 8, 10, 6, 9, 8, 10 - 79 points
9) Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, Daniel Calero, 9, 7, 14, 10, 9, 7, 8, 8, 9, 7 - 88 points
10) Jelik, Frank Pong, 10, 10, dnf 22, 9, 10, 9, 9, 10, 10, 5 – 104 points

RC 44 Malcesine Cup overall ranking:

(Ranking, match race, fleet race, points)

1) Artemis, 1, 1 – 2 points
2) Team Aqua, 4, 2 – 6 points
3) No Way Back, 2, 4 – 6 points
4) Ceeref, 3, 5 – 8 points
5) BMW ORACLE Racing, 6, 3 – 9 points
6) Team Sea Dubai, 5, 6 – 11 points
7) Team Organika, 8, 7 – 15 points
8) Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, 7, 9 – 16 points
9) Team Austria, 9, 8 – 17 points
10) Jelik, 9, 10 – 19 points

More photos on page 2...

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