Nico Martinez / RC44 Class Association

Early lead for Ellison

Fleet racing begins at the Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego

Thursday March 3rd 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: United States

Day two for the Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego was classic, one design racing at its best – consistency was vital, but hard to come by.

After the excitement of yesterday’s match racing, the 11 boats with their owners at the helm were given an even tougher challenge. They started the first day of fleet racing on a line just metres from the end of Broadway Pier. It meant that the fleet was compressed into a tight space before they had even lined up for the final approach to the line. There were plenty of oohs and ahhs from the spectators jostling for a view on the end of Broadway Pier as a result.

It was a day when good tactical management and consistent speed through the gears were the keys to a good performance. The breeze pulsed up and down between eight to sixteen knots. It shifted left and right by up to 30-40° around the mean westerly direction. The current swirled around the bay and then changed for the final fourth race to keep everyone on their toes right up to the end of the day.

Perhaps it was no surprise then, that it was the reigning class champions that led the way. Larry Ellison steered Oracle Racing to a win, a couple of seconds and a fifth. It put them into the overnight lead with a four point advantage over Katusha, steered by local Long Beach resident, Bob Little – who kept it tight with two thirds and two fourths.

David Murphy’s Ironbound found consistency a little harder to come by. This is the boat’s rookie year and they are having an eventful introduction to RC44 racing. At the end of day one, Ironbound’s scoreline read; 10, 2, 11, 1, for a sixth place overall. Owner and helmsman David Murphy reflected on a cascading series of events: "We made the mistake of leaving our protest flag behind today, and if we had it with us we would have had a fourth or fifth [rather than a tenth]. We got fouled at a mark rounding, and the judges didn’t acknowledge our protest, that led to another incident where we hit one of the boats and that knocked our bow off, so we were 43ft, rather than 44ft this afternoon." Still, Murphy can take consolation in scoring a first and a second despite being an RC43 for most of the day.

Ironbound was definitely not short of speed in the flat water and light to moderate breezes. When a couple of the pro sailors were asked who they thought was sailing fast, Artemis’ tactician Morgan Larson said "I thought the American team Ironbound had some good pace when they got free and clear, they were really ripping. Katusha wasn’t slow either, and whenever we were close to the other Russian team, Synergy, they seemed to always have some wheels."

Team Aqua’s tactician, Cameron Appleton agreed: "All the guys up the front were pretty quick. Ironbound seems to be fast at times, along with Katusha, Oracle Racing and us... we all had our moments." So while there’s one American team at the top of the standings, the new guys are also giving the locals plenty to cheer about on the end of Broadway Pier.

Paul Cayard writes: 

Another excellent day for Artemis Racing and Katusha. Both teams sailed well at the front of the fleet today, battling with the winner of the day, Oracle Racing who has 10 points. Katusha had scores of 4,3,4,3 to end the day in second place on 14 points and Artemis Racing is in third place with 16 points, having won 2 of the races.

Once again, the conditions inside San Diego Bay were beautiful for the 11 boat fleet. The action is very tight and boats can overtake or lose six boats very quickly. It is truly 'never over 'til it's over' type of sailing.

Racing continues tomorrow with four more fleet races scheduled.


Pos Boat Helm R1 R2 R3 R4 Tot
1 ORACLE Racing (USA) Larry Ellison 2 1 5 2 10
2 Katusha (RUS) Bob Little 4 3 4 3 14
3 Artemis Racing (SWE) Torbjorn Tornqvist 1 10 1 4 16
4 Team Aqua (GBR) Chris Bake 3 5 3 8 19
5 RC44 TEAM CEEREF (SLO) Igor Lah 7 6 2 5 20
6 Ironbound (USA) David Murphy 12 2 11 1 26
7 Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team (GBR) John Bassadone 6 4 9 7 26
8 AEZ RC 44 Sailing Team (AUT) Rene Mangold 8 8 7 6 29
9 Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) Daniel Calero 5 11 8 9 33
10 Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS) Valentin Zavadnikov 11 7 6 10 34
11 No Way Back (NED) Peter Heerema 10 9 10 11 40




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