Team Aqua moves closer
Light winds eased the 12 competing teams gently into day one of the RC44 Sweden Cup in Marstrand, owners and pros took to the helm for the sole match race day of the event. And with three match racing events out of five now completed Katusha still cling to the top of the match race leaderboard, with the fleet pushing hard behind.
The annual RC44 Match Racing Championship is a rolling round robin raced for on the first day of each event throughout the season. Russia’s Katusha (Andy Horton) led the match race standings heading into the RC44 Sweden Cup with a three-point buffer over second placed Team Aqua (Chris Bake/Cameron Appleton).
Despite the breeze never blowing over 8 knots, eight flights and 44 matches were completed in Sweden. The tough level of competition meant no team managed to keep a clean sheet, on a day where the breeze continued to shift and you really needed to be in phase with the conditions.
Team Aqua, with Cameron Appleton at the helm, won the day with a 6-1 scoreline, losing just one match to Katusha, who in turn finished their day on 4-2. Appleton poured praise on the race committee for providing such a great days racing. “It was a fantastic day when you think about how many races were accomplished, the team headed by Peter 'Luigi Reggio probably had the best day! For us it was great, we had six wins, one loss in a really fickle breeze. We had a good race with Katusha that could have gone either way.” Team Aqua is now just one point adrift of Katusha on the overall match race leaderboard.
Torbjorn Tornqvist at the helm of Artemis Racing, was one of just two teams to finish the day with just one loss. The Swedish team’s 5-1 scoreline moves them up the leaderboard into fourth. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, helmed today by Ed Baird, matched Team Aqua’s six wins but lost two matches to France's Aleph and Artemis Racing. The Russian defending match race champions now move up into third overall.
Tornqvist clearly enjoyed his days racing and feels Artemis Racing is well prepared for the rest of the competition. “It’s really nice to sail in in Marstrand; it’s actually one of the very few opportunities I have to come back to Sweden, so it’s nice to spend a few days here. We are well prepared after today for the fleet racing the boat is going well, the crew work is excellent so it’s up to us, we are ready.”
A team making good progress in the match racing this season is Team Nika. Owner Vladimir Prosikhin took the helm in Sweden and won five out of their seven races to move up from 11th to sixth overall. However the team is still trying to recover from the first match racing event of the season in Oman where they ended up with -1 point after two collisions.
Russian match race Olympian Ekaterina Skudina was at the helm of Bronenosec Sailing for the team’s debut today, even with experienced RC44 tactician Michele Ivaldi onboard, standing in for Tommaso Chieffi, the new team failed score a point. Tomorrow owner Vladimir Liubomirov will take the helm for the start of four days of fleet racing at the RC44 Sweden Cup.
RC44 Championship Tour Match Race Ranking - (after three events)
1. Katusha – 14
2. Team Aqua – 13
3. Synergy Russian Sailing Team – 12
4. Artemis Racing – 11
5. Aleph Racing – 10
6. Team Nika – 7
7. RUS7 Sail Racing Team – 7
8. Aegir Racing – 6
9. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team– 6
10. RC44 Team CEEREF – 5
11. Team Italia – 5
12. Bronenosec Sailing Team – 2
13. MAG Racing – 2
14. Ironbound – 2