RC44 Puerto Calero Cup - Day 1 Match Racing - New faces and old
by RC44 Class Association on 9 Feb 2012
The 2012 RC44 Championship Tour got off to a flying start with a full day of match racing in Puerto Calero and a familiar team residing at the top of the leader board after nine flights and six matches a piece. Some new faces showed that they will indeed be real contenders this season.
Match Racing at the RC44 Puerto Calero Cup 2012 Nico Martinez © http://www.nicomartinez.com
Ask Team Aqua (GBR) what makes them so good and they will always answer ‘consistency’, and the key to that consistency has to be their team. Cameron Appleton (NZL) was at the helm today and had a familiar team around him, names like Matt Cassidy (USA) and Andrew Estcourt (NZL). With six wins and no defeats their season started as it ended in 2011 and credit went to the team.
'The guys really need to take credit for today they did a great job, it was tricky and everybody got tested, every boat had issues and a big part of what they did all day long was what got us around the race course in such good shape.' Cameron Appleton, match race helm and tactician, Team Aqua.
Former World Match Race Champion Ed Baird (USA) is new to the class; today he took the helm of Synergy Russian Sailing Team and they nearly finished the day with a clean sheet, had it not been for a ripped spinnaker in their race against Katusha, who also finished the day with a 5-1 score-line with new helmsman in the form of four-time America’s Cup winner Brad Butterworth (NZL).
Baird was happy with his first day’s racing with the Russian Synergy team. 'It was really exciting conditions today with the big shifts and big gusts which was a lot of fun. The team is fantastic these guys are very well prepared I’m impressed with how well they sail the boat, it makes my job a lot easier when I know that everything is going to go smoothly. Unfortunately we had one race where we broke the spinnaker and lost that race but otherwise it was a very good day!' Tomorrow s owner Valentin Zavadnikov will take over the helm.
Pieter Heerema was the top rated owner driver on the water with No Way Back (NED) winning four, and losing two, defeats coming from Team Aqua and the French Aleph Sailing Team steered by Mathieu Richard. A good start to the 2012 season and some new additions to the team as Heerema explained. 'We thought it might get a bit too windy for a good day of match racing but it worked out really well, in fact the weather was absolutely fantastic. We have some new team members and our new tactician (Ross MacDonald) worked really well with the crew, so we’re very happy.'
With the NE wind picking up to 20 knots at times and the fleet raced to the leeward side of the Island, it really was a baptism of fire for the 14 teams. One team whose results really didn’t reflect their performance on the water was AFX Capital Racing Team (ITA), but the Italian team were in no way down beat at the end of the day.
'The racing today was fantastic. I really enjoyed it even if we lost all of our match races. For me it was my first experience and for most of the team the boat is a new one so with each match we found more details that we need to improve on. I’m looking forward to the fleet racing; we can work on the boat speed and have some good races for sure, I am very optimistic about that.' Massimo Barranco, owner AFX Capital Racing Team.
With six matches completed by each of the teams in Lanzarote, the continuous round robin will carry on throughout the season at every RC44 event until the end of the season in Croatia where the 2012 RC44 Match Racing Champion will be crowned.
The fleet racing which counts for the RC44 Championship starts on Thursday 9th February at 12.00 GMT. Racing continues through to Sunday 12th February.
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