Friday, October 15, 2010

A new leader at the RC 44 Fleet Race Worlds

Stronger winds shuffle the standings and make the docks resemble pit lane
LANZAROTE, Canary Islands (15 October 2010) – BMW ORACLE Racing skipper Jimmy Spithill and amateur helmsman Anders Myralf of Denmark rode the strength of all single-digit finishes to push their yacht 17 in the lead for the RC 44 Fleet Race World Championship for the Islas Canarias Puerto Calero Cup.

Spithill, who today was named Australian Male Sailor of the Year by the Australian Yachting Federation, and Myralf posted finishes of 1-7-3-2 to overtake the previous leader, BMW ORACLE Racing, with local sailor Jose Juan Calero helming and Russell Coutts calling tactics.

On a day when good winds – southwesterlies between 8 and 16 knots – returned to the racecourse, there were four different winners of today’s heats: 17, Harm Müller Spreer and Sea Dubai, Pieter Heerema’s No Way Back from The Netherlands and Rene Mangold’s AEZ RC 44 Racing of Austria.

Myralf guided 17 to victory in the first race of the day, Race 4 of the series.

“It was quite hard to find the right lanes today, but Jimmy and the crew did a fantastic job finding those lanes,” said Myralf of Denmark. “We were leading that race at the first top mark, but then lost out on the finish line and placed seventh. It only shows how close this racing is; it’s so close.”

Müller-Spreer helmed Sea Dubai to victory in Race 5, guided by tactician Markus Wieser. Müller-Spreer is helming his third regatta, but finds himself in fourth place with a day to go.

Müller-Spreer won perhaps the most exciting race of the day. Sea Dubai was running third at the final windward mark, but gained the win in the final jibe to the finish.

“We had a good race, the one we won,” said Müller-Spreer. “We came from a bad position on the first upwind leg, but we fought hard the whole time and we caught up to first on the finish line.”

After recalling the win, Müller-Spreer went on to say that they need to become more consistent. Prior to the victory, they finished 10th in Race 4.

“I’m satisfied with the result because I’m sailing this boat for only the third time, but we have to do it a bit better because we had some bad results in between,” said Müller-Spreer.

Mangold and the AEZ crew can attest to that. The Austrians preceded their Race 7 win with finishes of 11-6-13. Sometimes it takes a last to forget worrying about the fleet and just go sailing.

“We had a good start, and then sailed well around the course,” said Mangold. “For us it’s better when there’s more consistent wind. We lost the race before it, and when that happens you feel freer, you can sail your own race and not worry about things.”

The conditions seemed to wake everyone up from the week-long slumber. After Monday’s opening day, the winds have rarely blown above 8 knots. The stronger winds put a premium on quick reflexes, otherwise collisions resulted. And there were a few.

The docks resembled a pit lane with damaged bows and stern scoops removed to be replaced by new pieces. The desire to win a world championship comes at a price.

Tomorrow’s final day of racing is scheduled to begin with a warning signal at 1130 local.

The event can be followed online at the class association’s web site,, and the event site,