Artemis claim fleet racing
The four boats, who were leading the provisional overall results ahead of today’s races, started the first race at the pin end of the line and headed for the left of the course. All other teams went right and benefited from a slightly better angle. Sailing fast and well, Artemis just managed to squeeze in and take the lead while BMW Oracle Racing - sailing no more than one boat length behind Artemis - had no other choice than to give way to the other boats, finally rounding the top mark in last place.
The wind was quite irregular, resulting many changes within the fleet. No Way Back played the shifts well, grabbing the second place ahead of Team Aqua and Ceeref while BMW Oracle Racing only managed to climb back up to the seventh place.
The wind started to drop before the start of the second race, leading BMW Oracle Racing and Organika to switch to genoas while the others boats carried on sailing under jib. A massive left shift gave the lead to the teams who had chosen the left in the first beat, whilst the second beat heavily favoured those who went to the right. Pieter Taselaar and Paul Cayard got it right on board Katusha, winning the race ahead of Artemis and Team Aqua, finally on good form after a difficult start in the event.
Artemis was by then sure to win the event. Owner and helmsman Torbjorn Tornqvist, commented: “This morning we decided to do our own race without looking too much at the ranking and the other boats. We had a very good first race and were a little bit lucky in the second; that was it! The spirit onboard is excellent; there is never a harsh word even when things are not going the way we want. It is very important for me. Obviously, we want to win but the goal is also to have fun. The two go together.”
Meanwhile only one point separated No Way Back and BMW Oracle Racing. The last race would therefore be decisive for the second place of the podium.
The breeze was down to eight knots at this stage, and clearly favourable on the right side of the course. Team Aqua started at the committee boat end of the line and immediately tacked, grabbing an early lead and extending throughout the race. Sailing in the middle of the pack, Pieter Heerema’s No Way Back never missed an opportunity to tack over BMW Oracle Racing. The American boats suffered from this and finished the race in the ninth place, losing their second place overall to the Dutch - fourth in this last race.
Thus No Way Back won the combined fleet race/match race thanks to their third place in the match race. Owner and helmsman Pieter Heerema commented: “We always sail in nice places but this event has been fantastic and the people have been great. Today was interesting. Obviously we knew that we had to beat Russell. We didn’t sail against him, we did our own race and it turned out fine. At the beginning of the season, I said that our goal was to win one match race, one fleet race and one overall ranking. All we need to do to achieve this is to win a match. The pressure’s on Ray!”
The Dutch finished ahead of Paul Cayard’s Katusha, winner of the match racing but fourth in the fleet racing - a brilliant result for the Volvo Ocean Race winner's first participation in an RC 44 regatta. Fifth in the match race, Artemis ended up third overall.
Russell Coutts, tactician on BMW Oracle Racing commented: “We did some great racing this week and it was definitely the most competitive regatta for the class so far. Artemis had a great race, they really dominated this event. We also had a good week. We suffered a bit today; Pieter Heerema knocked us back all day and we didn’t get out of the starting line the way we wanted. But it has been great fun.”
The next regatta will take place on 25-29 November in Dubai (UAE).
Fleet race, final results after ten races:
(Ranking, name of team, helmsman, results, points (DHL Trophy double points in bold)
1) Artemis, Torbjorn Tornqvist, 2, 2, 5, 6, 2, 2, 1, 1, 2, 5 – 28 points
2) No Way Back, Pieter Heerema, 11, 6, 1, 1, 4, 8, 3, 2, 4, 4 – 44 points
3) BMW Oracle Racing, Ian Vickers, 1, 1, 8, 4, 10, 1, 2, 7, 5, 9 – 48 points
4) Team Katusha, Pieter Taselaar, 3, 7, 10, 2, 8, 6, 4, 9, 1, 3 – 53 points
5) Team Aqua, Chris Bake, 6, 5, 6, 3, 16, 3, 11, 3, 3, 1 – 57 points
6) Ceeref, Igor Lah, 9, 9, 2, 7, 6, 4, 7, 4, 9, 7 – 64 points
7) Organika, Maciej Nawrocki, 8, 3, 3, 5, 20, 7, 5, 5, 7, 6 – 69 points
8) Team Sea Dubai, Yousef Lahej, 7, 4, 4, 9, 18, 5, 9, 10, 10, 2 – 80 points (incl 2 penalty points)
9) Team Austria, René Mangold, 10, 11, 9, 10, 12, 10, 8, 6, 8, 11 – 95 points
10) Modri Gaj, Michael Reardon, 4, 10, 11, 8, 14, 11, 6, 11, 12, 8 – 97 points (incl 2 penalty points)
11) Puerto Calero Islas Canarias, José Juan Calero, 5, 8, 7, 11, 23, 9, 10,8, 6, 10 – 97 points
Bank Sarasin RC 44 Portoroz Cup combined fleet race / match race results:
1) No Way Back, 5 points
2) Team Katusha, 5 points
3) Artemis, 6 points
4) Organika, 9 points
5) BMW Oracle Racing, 11 points
6) Team Aqua, 11 points
7) Ceeref, 13 points
8) Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, 15 points
9) Team Sea Dubai, 17 points
10) Team Austria, 20 points
11) Modri Gaj, 20 points