BMW Oracle Racing on countback

Ellison and Coutts claim the RC44 Austria Cup match racing

Friday April 30th 2010, Author: Bernard Schopfer, Location: Austria

Leader of the provisional ranking this morning, Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts on BMW Oracle Racing didn’t start the day well, losing a precious point to Ceeref in their first match. The pressure was on for the American team, who then had to sail against Cameron Appleton's Team Aqua in a match that would prove decisive for the title.

Both teams crossed the start line at full speed, unconventionally on port tack, and then swapped the lead on several occasions during the first beat and run. The decisive moment of the race occurred during the second beat, as both boats were nearing the windward mark. Team Aqua managed to grab the inside and it was looking good for them; however their sailing angle towards the mark was slightly tighter than their opponent’s, which allowed BMW Oracle Racing to round the mark with greater speed and to grab the lead. Larry Ellison, who was steering the American boat, controlled the situation until the finish.

Both Team Aqua and BMW Oracle Racing won their next matches (two for Team Aqua and only one for BMW Oracle Racing), finishing on a tie with seven points each.

Paul Cayard’s Katusha also had an excellent day, with four big matches in which she scored three victories against No Way Back, Puerto Calero and RC 44 Challenge and one loss to Team Aqua. As a result Katusha finished third overall, ahead of No Way Back and Team Sea Dubai. Markus Wieser and his Team Sea Dubai crew unfortunately didn’t have a good day, losing three races dropping them from second overall to fifth, on a tie with the Dutch team, but behind on count back.

Russell Coutts commented: “This has been a great Series for us and we are very happy. We’ve been practicing well before this regatta, and Larry - who was steering - did a great job. Our match against Team Aqua was key, and both teams knew this. On such short courses the starts are essential and so is crew work. This put a lot of pressure on everyone, but the guys handled it well.”

From Team Aqua, Cameron Appleton said: “We knew that the match against BMW Oracle Racing was the one! And it turned out to be a great match. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to win it despite trying hard. We sailed well, but they defended even better. Never mind, we are happy with our result and it is always awesome to sail here.”

Ray Davies, helmsman on No Way Back added: “We kept in contention for the podium until the last race, which is what we always want, so I am very pleased about this. The only problem is that our last race against Katusha turned into a nightmare. I am the one that messed it up; the guys did a great job.”

Paul Cayard, said: “We are happy with the final outcome. We didn’t sail that well yesterday but we improved today, which is a good thing. I have enjoyed this match race. This place is just idyllic and the sailing has been great so far.”

Tomorrow the RC 44s will compete for the long distance 'City of Gmunden Trophy', a fun event around Lake Traunsee that doesn’t count for the Championship Tour. The fleet regatta begins on Sunday, with the team owners back at the helm.

Match-race, final results after 12 flights:

(Position, name of team, helmsman, No of victories / defeats, points)

1) BMW Oracle Racing (Russell Coutts / Larry Ellison), 7/3, 7 points
2) Team Aqua (Cameron Appleton), 7/3, 7 points
3) Katusha (Paul Cayard), 6/4, 6 points
4) Team No Way Back (Morten Henricksen / Ray Davies), 5/5, 5 points
5) Team Sea Dubai (Markus Wieser), 5/5, 5 points
6) RC 44 Challenge (James Spithill), 4/6, 4 points
7) Artemis (Terry Hutchinson), 4/6, 4 points
8) Ceeref (Rod Davis), 4/6, 4 points
9) Team Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (José Maria Ponce), 2/8, 2 points
10) AEZ RC 44 Sailing Team (Christian Binder), 1/9, 1 point


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