by Jo Grindley
RC44 Austria Cup 2012 third day of racing was held on Lake Traunsee today, Saturday 2nd June. Morgan Larson is soon to be crowned ‘King of the Lake’ after Torbjorn Tornqvist’s Artemis picked up another two wins in today’s two races to take a commanding lead overall.
RC44 fleet - RC44 Austria Cup 2012
The start of the day didn’t look hopeful. The sky was grey and overcast with prolonged rain shutting off the wind. The twelve RC44s were held ashore, the start postponed by an extra hour, as Principle Race Officer Peter Reggio’s uncanny sixth sense for these things prevailed and racing got underway at 1230 CET in 10 knots from the south.
In the southerly ‘oberwind’, as it is known locally, the eastern shore of Lake Traunsee once again was the place to be. The team making the most of this would edge into the lead as they were lifted along the shore after they tacked, also enjoying better pressure and clean air. In today’s two races that team was Artemis.
But first you had to get there, as Larson summarised: 'Luigi [Peter Reggio] set out a nice starting line and it made it a challenge of whether you started at the favoured end or whether you started at the unfavoured end and got to the shore sooner, always with a little predicament at the shore as the boats were all calling for room.'
Artemis achieved her objective in different ways. In the first race she started towards the committee boat end of the line and Larson said they had enough pressure to block everyone out. In the second they started at the pin where there was the shortest distance to get to the shore line, led at the first cross and then it was a case of 'the rich get richer.' In an exact repeat of yesterday’s first race, Artemis held a giant lead by the time she finished race one.
In both races Russian boats came home second. In the first, Valentin Zavadnikov’s Synergy Russian Sailing Team edged out local favourites, Rene Mangold’s AEZ RC44 Team at the second weather mark rounding, while in the second, with the wind having dropped to 7-8 knots, it was Gennadi Timchenko’s Katusha, with Anders Myralf helming, that also did well by the shore on the first beat to trail Artemis around the course.
'We have been struggling half way through the races,' admitted Katusha’s tactician, Kiwi America’s Cup legend Brad Butterworth. 'Today the lake was a bit more consistent and we had two pretty good starts and the boats that got into the shore first won out big and that was Artemis and us. Overall we are pretty happy with the day. We have moved up the leaderboard a bit and we are enjoying it.'
As Artemis disappeared, the first race proved dramatic for those behind. Coming ashore after racing Peninsula Petroleum owner John Bassadone was kicking himself for having been OCS. 'We were at the pin with no pressure and bags of room, but perhaps too bow down, maybe we accelerated a bit too much. We managed to recover a couple of places, but we really needed a good result in that race.'
Coming into the first top mark rounding behind Artemis, there was a pile up as RUS-7 Sail Racing Team powered by AnyWayAnyDay.com came in on the port layline and slammed into AEZ RC44 Sailing Team, T-boning the Austrian boat’s sacrificial transom scoop, putting a major hole in her side.
AEZ tactician Markus Weiser recounted: 'They were just not getting the bow down and they misjudged the situation – at first they wanted to tack to leeward and then they tried to bear away and just hit our stern and they went fully through the scoop – the bow touched the cockpit, so it was big damage.' The impact was above the waterline so between races the Austrian crew was able to tape it up and continue, while Kirill Podolsky’s team received a three point penalty for the incident.
Apart from this, AEZ RC44 Sailing Team had a good day with a 3-8, raising them to fourth overall.
'We have issues getting out of the starting line,' admitted Weiser. 'We wanted to go left in both races but we couldn’t – we got squeezed and had to tack out, but we got a little right shift and we came back okay. If you couldn’t go left all the way to the shore line, then the race was gone.'
2011 champions Team Aqua managed to hold on to third place posting an 8-4, despite being penalised for a port-starboard incident on the opening beat of the first race. 'I thought I could make it, but I was probably a bit closer than I should have been,' admitted owner Chris Bake.
Generally Bake felt they were making good starts and had good speed, but they just got a few unlucky breaks. 'We couldn’t quite join up some of the gusts we needed to. In the first start we got pinned on the left shoulder and couldn’t make the cross. For the rest of the race we had decent boat speed and we held on to our position well, but it certainly doesn’t feel like a good day.'
Still holding second overall is Igor Lah’s RC44 Team CEEREF. 'There was definately a pattern in the race track which Artemis nailed pretty well with two great races,' said CEEREF’s tactician, Michele Ivaldi. 'We came twice in the top five, which should be the goal for every race, to try to be consistent. Igor drove really well and the guys onboard kept the boat fast all the time, so it was a good day for us.'
According to Ivaldi, tomorrow should be warmer with less cloud cover. If this comes true then it is possible the northerly sea breeze might establish, but this won’t be well into the afternoon.
While Artemis is the runaway leader, there will be an almighty fight for the podium with just seven points separating third from 10th.
RC44 Austria Cup 2012 Ranking (After seven races sailed)
1 Artemis Racing 9 2 1 1 8 1 1 (2*) – 25
2 RC44 Team CEEREF 3 5 7 3 9 4 5 – 36
3 Team Aqua 8 4 5 8 3 8 4 (1*) – 41
4 AEZ RC44 Team 6 1 10 7 7 3 8 – 42
5 No Way Back 1 8 6 11 5 11 3 – 45
6 Katusha 5 12 9 9 2 6 2 – 45
7 Synergy Russian Sailing Team 2 7 12 5 12 2 7 – 47
8 Team Nika 12 6 2 10 1 7 10 – 48
9 Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team 7 9 3 4 10 9 6 – 48
10 Aleph Sailing Team 11 3 8 6 6 5 9 – 48
11 AFX Capital Racing 4 11 4 2 11 10 12 – 54
12 RUS7 Sail Racing Team powered by AnyWayAnyDay.com 10 10 11 12 4 12 11 (3*) – 73
RC44 Championship Tour Ranking (After two events)
1 Team Aqua – 3
2 Artemis Racing – 9
3 Peninsula Petroleum – 9
4 Katusha – 11
5 RC44 Team CEEREF – 13
6 Aleph Sailing Team – 14
7 AEZ RC44 Team – 14
8 Synergy Russian Sailing Team – 16
9 Ironbound – 16
10 No Way Back – 17
11 Puerto Calero – 18
12 Team Nika – 21
13 RUS7 Sail Racing Team – 25
14 AFX Capital Racing Team – 26
15 Aegir – 29