Copyright Guilain Grenier - RC 44 Class. The RC 44 fleet at the start of race 1 - Friuli Venezia Giulia RC44 Cup
After another long postponement, the fleet regatta finally started today afternoon at 3:00 PM. Patrick de Barros’ Banco Espirito Santo made the best of the light breeze and won the race ahead of BMW ORACLE Racing (with Peter de Ridder at the helm) and Armando Giulietti’s Team Hiroshi – Città di Milano.
The Adriatic Sea off Trieste was once again better suited for water skiing than sailing today. Nevertheless, the nine strong RC 44 fleet managed to sail the first fleet regatta in a 5-6 knots breeze dying to 2-3 knots by the end of the regatta.
After an excellent start, Chris Bake’s Team Aqua was the first to approach the windward mark. However, Bake tacked too early and struggled to make it to the mark, looking frustratingly as several teams sailed past.
Patrick de Barros’ Team Banco Espirito Santo benefited most from this situation, taking the lead and controlling the rest of the fleet until the arrival line.
BMW ORACLE Racing, with Peter de Ridder at the helm, followed a few boat lengths behind whilst Armando Giulietti’s Team Hiroshi – Città di Milano – sailing without Sébastien Col (busy trying to win the world match race title in Bermuda) finished third.
Team Aqua finally crossed the arrival line 6 seconds before the time limit in seventh place, whilst Cro – A - Sail and ITA 7 didn’t make it in time.
Already winner of the three matches completed earlier in the week as tactician onboard BMW ORACLE Racing, Russell Coutts - calling the shots on Banco Espirito Santo for the fleet regatta – is currently unbeaten in Trieste.
Patrick de Barros, owner, Team Banco Espirito Santo: 'We trained during three days before the beginning of the event and this has certainly paid off. Russell has also done a fantastic job: during the first beat, we tacked precisely when we needed to and this has allowed us to take the lead.'
Sarah Roberts-Thomson, helmswoman, Artemis: 'It was very exciting for me to steer Artemis in this fleet regatta. I had never sailed with a wheel before in my life, so it took a bit of time to adapt. The boat is very exciting and fun to sail and steer, it reacts very well.'
Peter de Ridder, helmsman, BMW ORACLE Racing: 'I introduced the tillers on the TP 52 Class, so needless to say that I usually prefer them. However the steering is very interesting on the RC 44. The boat responds very well, you can feel the load on the wheel. I think that the boat is great. It is like a small Cup boat. I also like the idea that they got rid of all the silly IMS inside requirements such as the kitchen or toilets. This is just a pure race boat.'
Armando Giulietti, Team Hiroshi – Città di Milano: 'With this light wind it is difficult to catch up when you are behind. We were in the lead after the start but then we lost some places. All in all, we are quite happy with our third place. It is our goal in this regatta to be always amongst the top boats, and more than anything to avoid bad results that can affect the overall ranking badly.'
Provisional results after one race - (Ranking, name of team, helmsman, results, points)
1) Team Banco Espirito Santo, Patrick de Barros, 1, 1
2) BMW ORACLE Racing, Peter de Ridder, 2, 2
3) Team Hiroshi – Città di Milano, Armando Giulietti, 3, 3
4) Artemis, Sarah Roberts-Thomson, 4, 4
5) Ceeref, Igor Lah, 5, 5
6) Organika, Maciej Navrocki, 6, 6
7) Team Aqua, Chris Bake, 7, 7
8) Cro-A-Sail, Miroslav Reljanovic, DNF, 10
9) ITA 7, Peter Heerema, DNF, 10