Barker beaten

Karol Jablonski upsets the applecart while Cameron Appleton's Team Aqua leads the RC44's Austria Cup

Thursday May 28th 2009, Author: Bernard Schopfer, Location: United Kingdom
The teams involved in the RC 44 Austria Cup faced difficult conditions on day one of the Austria Cup, with shifty and irregular winds that tested the tacticians' nerves and generated some unexpected come backs and upsets. At the end of the day, the most popular words that could be heard on the pontoons were “we should” and “we could”.

The first flight of the day immediately set the tone, with an unexpected come back from Team Puerto Calero against Organika in a situation that would have been desperate in normal conditions.

The same fate hit Paul Cayard’s Ceeref on flight two: the American was fairly easily controlling the situation against Team No Way Back - with owner Pieter Heerema at the helm - when the Dutch boat executed a complicated and pretty poorly executed gybe set at the last windward mark, catching a nice puff right after to grab the lead.

The second flight also coincided with Dean Barker and Artemis’ first defeat since March in a tense match against Karol Jablonski’s Organika.

Dean Barker commented: “I don’t think we were very lucky today. For example in our match against Aqua, we had a huge lead but they came back from behind with a gust and passed us. The conditions were quite typical of lake sailing and I sometimes had the feeling that we were not really match racing. We often had to play the weather rather than the opponent. But it was good fun.”

The local Austrian team fought with all its heart throughout the day, putting up a good show and gaining valuable experience despite missing victories through the accumulation of little mistakes; the often mentioned lack of experience. The closest call was in flight three when Christian Binder and his team managed to sail in Ceeref’s wake throughout the match, crossing the arrival line just behind Paul Cayard. Equally unlucky, Team Sea Dubai only managed to grab a point against Puerto Calero in the second flight and had a painful incident in their third match when they ripped their spinnaker and had to take their mainsail down to untangle bits of tissue wrapped around the battens.

The 'match of the day' took place in the fourth flight, between Organika and Ceeref. The two teams reached the starboard layline together and engaged a brutal luffing dual. Surprised by the action, Organika’s bowman fell in the water and the jury raised a first penalty flag against the Polish team for responding too late. The second flag came up seconds later, during the mark rounding, when Karol Jablonski tried to squeeze in between the mark and his opponent in an illegal way. The Pole executed a perfect penalty turn and bravely carried on chasing Cayard until the arrival line, losing a great match by a few boat lengths.

“I am happy with our day but I really believe that we could have finished with the perfect score," said Karol Jablonski later. "It was very close all along. We should never have lost the first race against the Spaniards; they were a long way behind a came back with a puff. Then we had a close situation against Cayard and my bowman fell in the water; I didn’t really agree with the Jury but that’s match racing!”

The last flight of the day took place in a dying breeze that didn’t deliver much action, except for a very close match between Ceeref and BMW Oracle Racing. Cayard just managed to cross the arrival line ahead of Rod Davis before the breeze completely disappeared.

Rod Davis commented: “It was definitely a difficult day wind wise and sometimes a bit of a lottery but we had a lot of fun. I just had one hour to practice before the start, so I am still learning a lot. I think most of our races were good, except the one against Paul Cayard. We should have won that one.”

Team Aqua leads the contest on four points, ahead of Ceeref, Artemis and Organika (all on three points). The last three flights (or four for some boats) will take place tomorrow.

Match-race provisional results
After 4 or 5 flights depending on the teams (out of 9):

(Name of team, helmsman, No of victories / defeats, points)

1) Team Aqua, Cameron Appleton 4/1, 4 points
2) CEEREF, Paul Cayard, 3/1, 3 points
2) Artemis, Dean Barker, 3/2, 3 points
2) Team Organika, Karol Jablonski 3/2, 3 points
5) BMW ORACLE Racing, Rod Davis, 2/2, 2 points
5) No Way Back, Pieter heerema, 2/2, 2 points
5) Puerto Calero Islas Canarias, José Juan Calero, 2/3, 2 points
8) Team Sea Dubai, Markus Wieser, 1/3, 1 point
9) Team Austria, Christian Binder, 0/4, 0 point

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