Team Aqua ahead
The 2012 RC44 Championship Tour kicked off in Puerto Calero, Lanzarote with a full day of match racing. A familiar team was at the top of the leaderboard after nine flights and six matches a piece, and some new faces showed they will be real contenders this season.
Ask Team Aqua what makes them so good and they will always answer ‘consistency’, and the key to that consistency has to be their team. Match race helm and tactician Cameron Appleton was at the helm today and had a familiar team around him, names like Matt Cassidy and Andrew Estcourt. With six wins and no defeats their season started as it ended in 2011 and credit went to the team. “The guys really need to take credit for today they did a great job, it was tricky and everybody got tested, every boat had issues and a big part of what they did all day long was what got us around the race course in such good shape,” said Appleton.
Former World Match Race Champion Ed Bairdis new to the class; today he took the helm of Synergy Russian Sailing Team and they nearly finished the day with a clean sheet, had it not been for a ripped spinnaker in their race against Katusha, which also finished the day with a 5-1 score-line with new helmsman in the form of four-time America’s Cup winner Brad Butterworth.
Baird was happy with his first day’s racing with the Russian team: “It was really exciting conditions today with the big shifts and big gusts which was a lot of fun. The team is fantastic these guys are very well prepared I’m impressed with how well they sail the boat, it makes my job a lot easier when I know that everything is going to go smoothly. Unfortunately we had one race where we broke the spinnaker and lost that race but otherwise it was a very good day!” Tomorrow owner Valentin Zavadnikov will take over the helm.
The Netherland's Pieter Heerema was the top rated owner driver on the water with No Way Back winning four, and losing two, defeats coming from Team Aqua and the French Aleph Sailing Team steered by Mathieu Richard. A good start to the 2012 season and some new additions to the team as Heerema explained. “We thought it might get a bit too windy for a good day of match racing but it worked out really well, in fact the weather was absolutely fantastic.We have some new team members and our new tactician (Ross MacDonald) worked really well with the crew, so we’re very happy.”
With the northeast wind picking up to 20 knots at times and the fleet raced to the leeward side of the Island, it really was a baptism of fire for the 14 teams. One team whose results really didn’t reflect their performance on the water was the new Italian team AFX Capital Racing Team, but they were in no way down beat at the end of the day. “The racing today was fantastic. I really enjoyed it even if we lost all of our match races. For me it was my first experience and for most of the team the boat is a new one so with each match we found more details that we need to improve on. I’m looking forward to the fleet racing; we can work on the boat speed and have some good races for sure, I am very optimistic about that,” said Massimo Barranco.
With six matches completed by each of the teams in Lanzarote, the continuous round robin will carry on throughout the season at every RC44 event until the end of the season in Croatia where the 2012 RC44 Match Racing Champion will be crowned.
The fleet racing which counts for the RC44 Championship starts tomorrow at 12.00 GMT.
|1||Team Aqua (GBR 2041)||6|
|2||Katusha (RUS 007)||5|
|Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS 13)||5|
|4||Aleph Sailing Team (FRA17)||4|
|No Way Back (NED 18)||4|
|6||RC44 TEAM CEEREF (SLO 11)||3|
|Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team (GBR 1)||3|
|AEZ RC44 Sailing Team (AUT44)||3|
|9||RUS-7 Sail Racing Team powered by AnyWayAnyDay.com (RUS7)||2|
|Artemis Racing (SWE44)||2|
|Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP 1)||2|
|12||Team Nika (RUS 10)||1|
|13||Ironbound (USA 1)||0|
|AFX Capital Racing Team (ITA 7)||0|