Team Aqua consolidates
Day two of fleet racing at the Al Maktoum Sailing Trophy RC 44 in Dubai proved another interesting one with a very hot wind blowing up to 25 knots and the sky covered with sand and dust from the desert.
Torbjorn Tornqvist and his Artemis enjoyed those tough conditions: they got the best results today with a second, a third and a first place in today's three races and are now only two points away from the leader Chris Bake's Team Aqua.
The first regatta of the day was the closest one, with the top five boats crossing the finish lineless than 15 seconds apart. Leading for most of the regatta, Team Aqua had to avoid Katusha, which broached brutally in front of them, at the windward mark, by crash-tacking and heading to the less favoured right side of the course. Ceeref, Artemis and No Way Back benefitted from this incident to take the lead and cross the arrival line in this order. “We were not far from seeing two RC 44’s sink", explained Chris Bake at the end of the day. “It was a really close one and we were all quite shaked by this incident!"
Team Aqua recovered well during the second race of the day, sailing to the left of the course before tacking at the first big left shift and extending its lead throughout the race. The second beat saw a different – and rare – scenario, with Team Sea Dubai recovering from a fairly big deficit by sailing on their own to the right and climbing up to the second place, just ahead of Artemis.
The third race gave Torbjorn Tornqvist and Artemis the opportunity to close in on Team Aqua. Artemis made an excellent start while his main opponent struggled at the Race Committee end of the line, suffering during the beat as the wind was slowly shifting left. The boats then started heading for the windward mark, tacking one after the other over Team Aqua. “That’s the game", commented Bake. “I would have done the same." A
s a consequence, Artemis, Katusha and Team Austria started extending their lead, finally crossing the arrival line in this order after a fabulous fight. “I just can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed today", said Torbjorn Tornqvist a few minutes later. “Those boats are really something special in those conditions. It’s just fantastic.
“The wind was strong but we were within the limits of this boat and I never worried. We had no failures and could concentrate entirely on our racing."
Three to four more races are scheduled tomorrow weather permitting it. A bad storm is announced over Dubai tonight, and even rain is expected. A rarity in Dubai!
The results so far show that all the teams have managed to finish races in the top five while seven of them have achieved top threes. As for the leaders, their worse result is a sixth for Team Aqua and a fifth for Artemis.
Worth noting is that four different teams have managed to win each race - consistency in the top five definitely seems to be the key to victory...
Fleet racing, provisional results after seven races:
(Ranking, name of team, helmsman, results, points)
1) Team Aqua (Chris Bake), 1, 2, 1, 2, 4, 1, 6 – 17 points
2) Artemis (Torbjorn Tornqvist), 3, 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 1 - 19 points
3) CEEREF (Igor Lah), 2, 7, 3, 3, 1, 5, 4 - 25 points
4) Team No Way Back (Pieter Heerema), 4, 1, 7, 7, 3, 4, 5 - 31 points
5) Katusha (Bob Little), 5, 5, 2, 8, 8, 7, 2 - 37 points
6) Team Sea Dubai (Raimondo Tonelli), 6, 6, 8, 4, 6, 2, 7 - 39 points
7) Team Austria (René Mangold), 8, 3, 9, 5, 9, 8, 3 - 45 points
8) Team Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (Daniel Calero), 7, 8, 4, 9, 5, 6, 9 - 50 points
9) BMW ORACLE Racing (Mike Perris), 9, 9, 6, 6, 7, 9, 8 - 52 points