Early lead for Team Sea Dubai
The first match races of the RC 44 Championship Tour 2010 took place today, and immediately brought the confirmation that the racing will be tougher in 2010 than it ever was before.
Team Austria (10th last year) won its first race against Ceeref (winner of last year’s match race ranking), while Sea Dubai (9th in 2009) got a bullet against Paul Cayard’s Katusha.
Pursuing their winning streak, Markus Wieser and Team Sea Dubai won the next four matches against some of the event’s favourites: Team Aqua, Katusha, No Way Back and Team Austria, concluding the day undefeated. “It’s not that we sailed badly in the past”, commented Markus Wieser at the end of the day. “But we were always making one or two little mistakes and this is what made the difference between winning and finishing in the middle of the ranking. We trained hard over the winter and managed to avoid mistakes today. The result is immediate.”"
Wieser contined: “We had a great training session this winter with No Way Back. Our team cohesion has definitely improved and we see the result today. We also have a new fleet race helmsman, Raimondo Tonelli, who has brought us precious advice.”
Competing for the first time in the RC 44 Class, Terry Hutchinson on Artemis and Adam Minoprio at the helm of BMW Oracle Racing didn’t need much time to get into the groove. Minoprio got convincing wins against No Way Back (Pieter Heerema/Ray Davies) and Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (José Maria Ponce), dropping races to Team Aqua and Artemis.
“The boat is new to me and I need some more time to get my bearings”, explained Minoprio. “The RC 44s are very fast and they accelerate super quickly. Normally, with this type of wind I sail at 5 knots and the accelerations are slow. But here we are immediately at 7-8 knots; it makes a big difference and requires some time to adapt.”
Minoprio continued: “The racing was absolutely awesome and the boats are great to sail. Our match against Puerto Calero was great. We got a penalty in the pre-start but then managed to block them in the middle of the first beat. We stayed in a dial up during something like five minutes, before managing to escape and complete our penalty turn. We just needed to be patient. I hope we have a good day tomorrow, because we want to get Russell a good result!”
Used to sailing on big and fast boats, Terry Hutchinson and his Team Artemis were in a different situation. The American helmsman won four races in a row; also concluding the day undefeated – yet one point behind Team Sea Dubai. “The level of the Class is exactly as I expected it to be: very high," commented Hutchinson. "I’ve read all over the place how good this Class is and I am not disappointed. This is great sailing.”
The match between Artemis and Team Sea Dubai, scheduled in Flight 7 tomorrow, will be an interesting one to look at!
Today’s races took place in a very pleasant sea breeze and a fairly choppy sea. The wind grew from 6-7 knots to 10-12 by the end of the afternoon, allowing the race committee to complete five flights. The conditions should be similar tomorrow, with a light sea breeze and a flatter sea.
Match-race, provisional results after five flights:
(Ranking, name of team, helmsman, No of victories / defeats, points)
1) Team Sea Dubai (Markus Wieser), 5/0, 5 points
2) Artemis (Terry Hutchinson), 4/0, 4 points
3) CEEREF (Rod Davis), 2/2, 2 points
3) BMW ORACLE Racing (Adam Minoprio), 2/2, 2 points
3) Team Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (José Maria Ponce), 2/2, 2 points
3) Team No Way Back (Pieter Heerema / Ray Davies), 2/2, 2 points
7) Team Aqua (Cameron Appleton), 1/3, 1 point
7) Katusha (Paul Cayard), 1/3, 1 point
7) Team Austria (Christian Binder), 1/3, 1 point