Sea Dubai claims DHL Trophy

Difficult conditions for the long distance race at the RC44's Austria Cup

Saturday May 30th 2009, Author: Bernard Schopfer, Location: United Kingdom
Today’s races won’t be remembered in the sailing history as the most pleasant ones. Indeed, most of them took place under a gray sky, cold rain and shifty wind that made it very hard for the tacticians to establish any reliable strategy.

The first regatta of the day, the long distance DHL Trophy, was the best and most regular one of the day. The race started soon after 10:00am, in a light, but fairly stable breeze. The RC 44 fleet immediately split in two with Puerto Calero, Artemis and Ceeref choosing the right side of the lake while the others opted for the left, mountainous side. The right looked good for a while, until those on the right - and particularly Team Aqua - benefitted from a massive shift enabling them to take the lead.

Most boats reached the stunning Traunkirchen monastery at the same time, except for Ceeref, Organika and Puerto Calero which had got stuck in a wind hole. The tacking duals down the picturesque coast were interesting, the RC 44s gliding along like ghosts on the flat water, controlling each other’s moves as they neared the mark. Artemis was first round, just ahead of Team Sea Dubai and BMW Oracle Racing.

The downwind ride proved tricky, with unpredictable puffs coming down from the mountain and a breeze that died close to the finish line. On Team Sea Dubai Markus Wieser proved to have the best understanding of the situation and led his helmsman Stefan Linder in on the right track winning the double points race. This was a welcome recovery following yesterday’s counter performance, when they had to retire after having to chop their spinnaker halyard after a spectacular broach.

Artemis finished the DHL Trophy in second, ahead of BMW Oracle Racing and Team Aqua.

Two standard windward-leeward races followed but in very difficult, light and unpredictable conditions. Team Austria was leading the first one in style when the wind completely dropped. Light puffs came from here and there, propelling some teams randomly towards the finish line, but not the poor Austrians. Team Aqua crossed the line first, followed by No Way Back and Team Sea Dubai. Artemis, which had been in the lead alongside Team Austria for most of the race finished last.

Pieter Heerema, owner of No Way Back commented: “We were leading the DHL regatta during the first half of the beat, but then the ghost of the lake started playing with us… All together we had a very good day and Ray Davies did a fantastic job. He is great at reading the course, but also at communicating with us and that’s essential. It was cold and wet but we enjoyed it a lot. The training we did in Copenhagen this winter certainly paid off today.”

René Mangold, owner of Team Austria said: “The conditions were very tricky. I think that in order to excel, you need to be very calm and wait to see what happens. We were often too impulsive, and tacked as soon as the wind changed a bit. The good news is that we were fast, but we definitely need to work our starts and manoeuvres.”

The second regatta took place in similar conditions causing PRO Peter Reggio to shorten course at the windward mark. Pieter Heerema and Ray Davis had a lot of confidence in the left side p the beat and this proved to be the right choice; No Way Back won the race ahead of Organika, Ceeref and Team Aqua.

At the end of the day the Dutch team leads the overall results on 19 points, just ahead of Ceeref and Team Aqua on 21.

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

1) No Way Back, Pieter Heerema, 5, 3, 8, 2, 1 - 19 points
2) Ceeref, Igor Lah, 2, 1, 12, 4, 2 – 21 points
3) Team Aqua, Chris Bake 8, 2, 6, 1, 4 - 21 points
4) Artemis, Torbjorn Tornqvist, 1, 4, 2, 9, 7 – 23 points
5) Team Sea Dubai, Stefan Linder, 11 (DNF), 11 (DNS), 0, 3, 5 - 30 points
6) Team Organika, Maciej Navrocki 3, 8, 10, 6, 3 - 30 points
7) BMW ORACLE Racing, Ian Vickers, 6, 6, 4, 5, 9 - 30 points
8) Team Austria, René Mangold, 4, 5, 14, 7, 6 - 36 points
9) Puerto Calero Islas Canarias, Daniel Calero, 7, 7, 16, 8, 8 - 46 points

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