BMW Oracle Racing comes from behind

Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts claim the RC44's Copenhagen Cup

Sunday June 13th 2010, Author: Bernard Schopfer, Location: Denmark

The tricky conditions, strong and shifty wind, put one team after the other out of contention for the RC 44 Copenhagen Cup fleet race title. Separated by one point going into the last race, BMW Oracle Racing and No Way Back had a last race of their own…

Cold and windy conditions prevailed for the last day of fleet racing, with four races held.

Igor Lah’s Ceeref was the first and biggest casualty of the day, going from second overall to eighth. “Just a day of hell”, summarised tactician Rod Davis. The team’s worse moment occurred when they collided with Paul Cayard’s Katusha during a tacking dual. Ceeref got a two point penalty while Katusha had to stop racing in order to change their crash bow. They got redress from the Jury.

Many teams broached, ripped their spinnakers or suffered in a way or another. Team Sea Dubai, which scored some brilliant results today – including a second and a first – lost it all because of two DNFs due to a spinnaker problem and a man overboard during the last race; an incident that occurred as the team was controlling its third place overall against Artemis and that cost four places in the overall results

The wind was blowing quite hard throughout the day, at 18 knots with gusts up to 25 that put great emphasis on crew work and tactical decisions.

BMW Oracle Racing, which was fifth overall this morning, started the day with a first and a second. On the other hand, No Way Back couldn’t manage any better than a fourth and sixth. With both Team Aqua and Artemis failing to obtain consistent results, the final race would definitely be between the two former teams.

Both of them started the last race at the pin end of the line, with BMW Oracle Racing controlling No Way Back. The American team reached the top mark ahead of its opponent, but chose the worse side of the course during the run, letting the Dutch team grab the lead within this personal race (John Kostecki’s 17 had a huge lead over the rest at this point).

Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts then opted for the left of the course during the second beat while Pieter Heerema and Ray Davies went right. The American’s choice proved the right one. They then controlled No Way Back until the finish, crossing the line in third, two places ahead of their opponent.

So the winner of the fleet racing and second in the match race event earlier in the week, BMW Oracle Racing has won the RC 44 Copenhagen Cup – the combined fleet / match race ranking ahead of Chris Bake’s Team Aqua.

Larry Ellison commented: “This has been a fantastic event. Yesterday we practiced in strong winds and reached the speed of 25 knots. In hindsight, it has helped us a lot today: I felt very confident and more precise at the helm. Having said this people sometimes put too much credit on the helmsman: this is a real team effort and all the guys did a great job. Russell was also fantastic at making the tactical choices.”

Pieter Heerema, helmsman on No Way Back added: “Everything was open ahead of the last race; unfortunately we were a bit out of phase. I am happy with our result but not pleased with the way we got there. It was all a bit messy. Of course the conditions were difficult but we should be able to master this. Altogether I have loved this event. I just found that the weather was unfair with the venue.”

The next regatta for the RC44s will take place in Valencia on July 27 – August 1.

Fleet race, final results after eight races:

1) BMW ORACLE Racing, Larry Ellison, 8, 6, 2, 41, 2, 4, 3 – 30 points
2) Team No Way Back, Pieter Heerema, 10, 1, 4, 1, 4, 6, 2, 5 – 33 points
3) Artemis, Torbjor Tornqvist / Martin Hestbaek, 3, 5, 8, 2, 5, 5, 6, 4 – 38 points
4) Team Aqua, Chris Bake, 2, 3, 9, 5, 6, 9, 3, 2 – 39 points
5) 17, Anders Myralf 4, 7, 6, 7, 9, 1, 7, 1 – 42 points
6) Katusha, Guennadi Timtchenko, 6, 8, 1, 8, 3, 4, 7 (RDG), 5,3 (RDG) – 42,3 points
7) Team Sea Dubai, Harm Muller Spreer, 7, 4, 3, 6, 2, 11 (DNF), 1, 11(DNF) – 45 points
8) CEEREF, Igor Lah, 5, 2, 7, 3, 7, 8, 10, 8 – 50 points
9) Team Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, Daniel Calero, 1, 10, 5, 9, 8, 7, 5, 7 – 52 points
10) AEZ RC44 Sailing Team, René Mangold, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 3, 9, 6 – 66 points

RC 44 Copenhagen Cup – Overall results

1) BMW ORACLE Racing, 2, 1 – 3 points
2) Team Aqua, 1, 4 – 5 points
3) No Way Back, 4, 2 – 6 points
4) Artemis, 3, 3 – 6 points
5) 17, 5, 5 – 10 points
6) Team Sea Dubai, 7, 7 – 14 points
7) Ceeref, 6, 8 – 14 points
8) Katusha, 9, 6 – 15 points
9) AEZ RC44 Sailing Team, 8, 10 – 18 points
10) Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, 10, 9 – 19 points


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