Dodging the squalls

RC44 match racing gets underway in Cagliari, Sardinia

Thursday April 23rd 2009, Author: Bernard Schopfer, Location: United Kingdom
The first day of the Cagliari RC 44 Cup proved to be tricky for the sailors as well as the race organiser’s nerves. Big black clouds started building up over Cagliari early in the afternoon, forcing Race Officer Peter Reggio to send everyone home after the two first flights. The nine RC 44s eventually sailed back out once the rain and thunder were gone, but only for a short time with the next threatening cloud line imminent.

The first flight saw fairly easy victories for Team Aqua, BMW Oracle Racing and Puerto Calero against respectively Team Sea Dubai, Team Austria and Team Organika. The most interesting match was between Team No Way Back and Artemis. The two teams kept in contact throughout, showing how much the Dutch have improved since the last regatta. Both boats arrived together at the last windward mark, and went into a spectacular dial up that turned out to Dean Barker’s advantage. Despite losing the race, Philippe Presti and his crew onboard No Way Back got the proof that their long training session in Lanzarote had paid off. They would soon have another confirmation of their progress. Sailing in the second flight against the favourite of the match race contest, Ceeref, with Sébastien Col at the helm, No Way Back managed to control most of the regatta, losing the lead early on in the second beat, but regaining it in the last downwind leg to win the race. Not many RC 44 teams can say that they have beaten Ceeref in a match; No Way Back’s owner Pieter Heerema can tick this one off his list of achievements.

“I am happy because we seem to be more in the race than before. We trained very hard after the last regatta and it has paid off," confirmed Heerema. "We had a good session in Lanzarote with Team Puerto Calero; we tuned up together and progressed a lot. We will do the same n16ext month with the Austrians. It is an apprenticeship for all of us. We are learning a lot. At this stage, I am convinced that it is more important for us to spend a week sailing than to buy new sails.”

Team Puerto Calero, Artemis and Aqua are unbeaten after two races. BMW Oracle Racing also remains unbeaten; however they only sailed one match, against Team Austria.

Christian Binder, helmsman, Team Austria: “I have been trying to play it too safely today. We took good starts, but just a little bit behind our opponents; then we tried to hunt but our speed wasn’t very good in this light wind. We also had problems with our drop line. We will make a big debriefing tonight to see what we can improve.”

Seven flights remain for the nine teams assembled for this second event of the RC 44 Championship Tour. With racing lost today, PRO Peter Reggio will have his work cut out tomorrow when racing is due to start at 11:30.

Match-race, provisional results after 2 flights (out of 9):

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

1) Puerto Calero Islas Canarias, José Juan Calero, 2/0, 2 points
1) Team Aqua, Cameron Appleton 2/0, 2 points
1) Artemis, Dean Barker, 2/0, 2 points
4) BMW ORACLE Racing, Larry Ellison, 1/0, 1 point
5) No Way Back, Philippe Presti, 1/1, 1 point
6) Ceeref, Sébastien Col, 0/1, 0 point
7) Team Organika, Karol Jablonski 0/2, 0 point
7) Team Sea Dubai, Markus Wieser, 0/2, 0 point
9) Team Austria, Christian Binder, 0/2, 0 point

More photos on page 2...

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