Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Team Aqua unbeaten on day one of the RC 44 Copenhagen Cup

Seven flights got completed today in perfect conditions. Unbeaten, Cameron Appleton and his Team Aqua lead the contest ahead of Ceeref (Rod Davis) and five teams on a tie in third.

June 8, 2010 – Sailing for the first time in Northern Europe, the RC 44 Class benefited from great sailing conditions today. Seven match race flights got completed in winds ranging from 8 to 18 knots.

The winner of the day is Team Aqua, unbeaten after six matches and sailing very consistently throughout the day. Cameron Appleton’s day started with a tough match against the America’s Cup winner James Spithill, sailing on a boat called 17. There was no such thing as an observation round: the pre-start was very intense, and led to a premature start by Spithill that allowed Team Aqua to win a fairly easy point. The team from the UAE then aligned the victories with great confidence, finishing the day unbeaten and without being seriously threatened.

The Slovenian team Ceeref, with Rod Davis at the helm, also had a smooth ride, winning its first four matches of the day and only loosing to James Spithill’s 17 in the last flight of the day. Five teams are on a tie in third: Team Sea Dubai, No Way Back, Artemis, BMW ORACLE Racing and 17.

The weather was fine all day, with the wind blowing up to 18 knots in the middle of the afternoon. Some great matches took place, including a spectacular dual between Ceeref and Team Sea Dubai (with Danish skipper Jes Gram Hansen at the helm), separated at most by one boat length during the entire regatta. Other hot moments included Katusha smashing and sinking the arrival mark, BMW ORACLE Racing getting stuck in the windward mark, Terry Hutchinson testing his vocals against the referees and several teams going (herring?) fishing with their spinnakers…

The weather forecast for the coming days is variable, with some rain forecast tomorrow and a slight improvement in the coming days. As for the wind, it is usually not an issue here. Not surprising in a country that produces 20% of its energy through windmills!

They said:

Cameron Appleton, helmsman, Team Aqua: “We had a very good day today and I am very pleased with our crew work and the tactical choices we made. I have already sailed here several times, and it is always a pleasure."

Russell Coutts, tactician, BMW ORACLE Racing: “It is great to sail in Northern Europe after having visited Dubai and an Alpine lake in Austria earlier in the same season. It really makes this Class special and it is one of our objectives. Our next plan is to move to the United States and organise some events there."

Rod Davis, helmsman, Ceeref: “The conditions were the best we’ve had so far this season for match racing. It led to very close and interesting matches. Copenhagen has a huge sailing history and it is a very good place to sail in."

Match-race, provisional results after seven flights:
(Ranking, name of team, helmsman, No of victories / defeats, points)

1) Team Aqua (Cameron Appleton), 6/0 - 6 points
2) CEEREF (Rod Davis), 4/1 - 4 points
3) Team Sea Dubai (Jes Gram Hansen), 3/2 - 3 points
3) Team No Way Back (Ray Davies), 3/2 - 3 points
3) Artemis (Terry Hutchinson), 3/3 - 3 points
3) 17 (James Spithill), 3/3 - 3 points
3) BMW ORACLE Racing (Russell Coutts / Larry Ellison), 3/3 - 3 points
9) Katusha (Paul Cayard), 1/4 - 1 point
9) Team Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (José Maria Ponce), 1/5 - 1 point
9) AEZ RC 44 Sailing Team (Christian Binder), 1/5 - 1 point

Photo: Copyright Per Heegaard / RC 44 Class : The winner of the day, Team Aqua, with Cameron Appleton at the helm.