Team Sea Dubai takes the lead in the Al Maktoum Sailing Trophy RC 44
The first match races of the RC 44 Championship Tour 2010 took place today, and immediately brought the confirmation that the racing will be tougher in 2010 than it ever was. Indeed, Team Austria (10th last year) won its first race against Ceeref (winner of last year’s match race ranking) whilst Sea Dubai (9th in 2009) got a bullet against Paul Cayard’s Katusha.
Pursuing their winning streak, Markus Wieser and Team Sea Dubai won the next four matches against some of the event’s favourites: Team Aqua, Katusha, No way Back and Team Austria, concluding the day undefeated. “It’s not that we sailed badly in the past”, commented Markus Wieser at the end of the day. “But we were always making one or two little mistakes and this is what made the difference between winning and finishing in the middle of the ranking. We trained hard over the winter and managed to avoid mistakes today. The result is immediate.”
Competing for the first time in the RC 44 Class, Terry Hutchinson (Artemis) and Adam Minoprio (BMW ORACLE Racing) didn’t need much time to get into the groove. Minoprio got convincing wins against No Way Back (Pieter Heerema / Ray Davies) and Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (José Maria Ponce), loosing to Team Aqua and Artemis. “The boat is new to me and I need some more time to get my bearings”, explained Minoprio. “The RC 44’s are very fast and they accelerate super quickly. Normally, with this type of wind I sail at 5 knots and the accelerations are slow. But here we are immediately at 7-8 knots; it makes a big difference and requires some time to adapt.”
Used to sailing on big and fast boats, Terry Hutchinson and his Team Artemis were in a different situation. The American helmsman won four races in a row; also concluding the day undefeated – yet one point behind Team Sea Dubai. The match between Artemis and Team Sea Dubai, scheduled in Flight 7 tomorrow, will be an interesting one to look at!
Today’s races took place in a very pleasant sea breeze and a fairly choppy sea. The wind grew from 6-7 knots to 10-12 by the end of the afternoon, allowing the race committee to complete five flights. The conditions should be similar tomorrow, with a light sea breeze and a flatter sea.
Markus Wieser, helmsman, Team Sea Dubai: “We had a great training session this winter with No Way Back. Our team cohesion has definitely improved and we see the result today. We also have a new fleet race helmsman, Raimondo Tonelli, who has brought us precious advice.”
Adam Minoprio, helmsman, BMW ORACLE Racing: “The racing was absolutely awesome and the boats are great to sail. Our match against Puerto Calero was great. We got a penalty in the pre-start but then managed to block them in the middle of the first beat. We stayed in a dial up during something like five minutes, before managing to escape and complete our penalty turn. We just needed to be patient. I hope we have a good day tomorrow, because we want to get Russell a good result!”
Terry Hutchinson, helmsman, Artemis: “The level of the Class is exactly as I expected it to be: very high. I’ve read all over the place how good this Class is and I am not disappointed. This is great sailing.”
Pieter Heerema, owner, No Way Back: “We are starting this season from scratch, without thinking about last year and the hierarchy between the teams. There is just no way we can say that we will win this year because we won last year. Our goal this season is to finish in the top three overall.”
Paul Cayard, helmsman, Katusha: “Last week the Artemis Louis Vuitton Trophy team (17 crew members) trained on two RC 44s, Katusha and Artemis, for five days. The conditions were excellent with 8-11 knot winds almost every day and plenty of sun. Today wasn’t a good day for us. I can’t identify one specific reason why we didn’t perform although we did some mistakes. Tomorrow will hopefully be a better day.”