Sunday, December 16, 2007

Team Aqua are crowned RC 44 champions 2007

This morning, as they started the last day of the Dubai Gold Cup, Chris Bake and his Team Aqua were only fourth of the provisional fleet racing ranking. They knew however that a better score was a possibility as their direct opponents were only a few points ahead.

Held in fairly light wind, the first fleet race saw Patrick de Barros’ first victory on board Team ES Bankers Dubai, ahead of Team Omega and Team Aqua. De Barros started the race at the pin end of the line, at full speed, and dominated the entire regatta: the left side of the course was clearly the place to be.

Already a clear dominator in the fleet event since day one of the Gold Cup, Team Omega, with Vittorio Codecasa at the helm, got a fourth bullet in the eighth and last fleet regatta, giving his team a comfortable lead over its competitors before the concluding coastal race.

Behind Omega, the situation was particularly interesting with four teams fighting for the second place: Team Aqua, Ceeref, Hiroshi and ES Bankers, just separated by a handful of points.

The coastal race took the eight RC 44’s in the inner waters of the Dubai Palm - a surprising real estate development shaped as a palm. There has probably never in history been a sailing regatta surrounded by so many cranes!

Chris Bake’s Team Aqua wanted to win this coastal race more than anybody else. Based in Dubai, Bake had his family and many friends on the water to look at his passion. No doubt they got the show they were expecting! Indeed, Igor Lah’s Team Ceeref took a better start and dominated the first part of the race. As he reached the second windward mark, Bake opted for a jibe set and managed to gain a few meters over Ceeref; just enough to gain the interior at the next leeward mark. Despite Igor Lah and James Spithill’s numerous attacks, the Aqua boys remained in the lead throughout, jumping in the second place of the fleet ranking thanks to this victory; a result that also allows them to grab the second place overall ahead of Team Ceeref.

As for Russell Coutts and his Team Omega, he wins the Dubai Gold Cup after having won the fleet race and finished second of the match race.