RC44s underway in Denmark
Seven flights got completed today in perfect conditions on the opening day of match racing at the RC44's Copenhagen Cup. Unbeaten, Cameron Appleton and his Team Aqua lead the contest ahead of Ceeref (Rod Davis) and five teams on a tie in third. Sailing for the first time in Northern Europe, seven match race flights got completed in winds ranging from 8 to 18 knots.
Team Aqua's day started with a tough match against the America’s Cup defender James Spithill, sailing on a boat called 17. There was no such thing as an observation round: the pre-start was very intense, and led to a premature start by Spithill that allowed Team Aqua to win a fairly easy point. The team from the UAE then followed with further victories showing great confidence, finishing the day unbeaten and without being seriously threatened.
“We had a very good day today and I am very pleased with our crew work and the tactical choices we made," said Appleton. "I have already sailed here several times, and it is always a pleasure."
The Slovenian team Ceeref, with Rod Davis at the helm, also had a smooth ride, winning its first four matches of the day and only losing to James Spithill’s 17 in today's last flight.
Rod Davis commented: “The conditions were the best we’ve had so far this season for match racing. It led to very close and interesting matches. Copenhagen has a huge sailing history and it is a very good place to sail in."
Five teams are tied in third: Team Sea Dubai, No Way Back, Artemis, BMW ORACLE Racing and 17.
The weather was fine all day, with the wind blowing up to 18 knots in the middle of the afternoon. Some great matches took place, including a spectacular dual between Ceeref and Team Sea Dubai (with Danish skipper Jes Gram Hansen at the helm), separated at most by one boat length during the entire regatta. Other hot moments included Katusha smashing into and sinking the arrival mark, BMW ORACLE Racing getting stuck in the windward mark, Terry Hutchinson testing his vocals against the referees and several teams fishing with their spinnakers…
The weather forecast for the coming days is variable, with some rain forecast tomorrow and a slight improvement in the coming days. As for the wind, it is usually not an issue here. Not surprising in a country that produces 20% of its energy through windmills!
Russell Coutts, tactician on BMW Oracle Racing concluded: “It is great to sail in Northern Europe after having visited Dubai and an Alpine lake in Austria earlier in the same season. It really makes this Class special and it is one of our objectives. Our next plan is to move to the United States and organise some events there."
Match-race, provisional results after seven flights: (Ranking, name of team, helmsman, No of victories / defeats, points)
1) Team Aqua (Cameron Appleton), 6/0 - 6 points
2) CEEREF (Rod Davis), 4/1 - 4 points
3) Team Sea Dubai (Jes Gram Hansen), 3/2 - 3 points
3) Team No Way Back (Ray Davies), 3/2 - 3 points
3) Artemis (Terry Hutchinson), 3/3 - 3 points
3) 17 (James Spithill), 3/3 - 3 points
3) BMW ORACLE Racing (Russell Coutts / Larry Ellison), 3/3 - 3 points
9) Katusha (Paul Cayard), 1/4 - 1 point
9) Team Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (José Maria Ponce), 1/5 - 1 point
9) AEZ RC 44 Sailing Team (Christian Binder), 1/5 - 1 point