Winner of the RC 44 Championship Tour for the third year in a row, Team Aqua achieved most of its objectives in 2013. Team owner Chris Bake and tactician Cameron Appleton look back at a great season, and discuss their plans for the future.
RC44 Sweden Cup - Team Aqua
Chris Bakes’ Team Aqua is one of the founding members of the RC 44 Class. The team won the Championship Tour for the first time in 2007, and then back-to-back in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
The team won this year’s Tour in style, conquering both the match race, fleet race and overall season title. For team owner Chris Bake, it has been an incredibly good season. 'We have a lot to be proud of', he says. 'The entire team, managed by Cameron Appleton, did a fantastic job. I am also very proud on a personal note, because I steered three match race events and we won the overall title. This means a lot to me, and I feel that my general understanding of everything that happens on the boat has increased a lot since I started in the Class.'
'Chris has definitely raised his game and understood how important he is to the success of the team', observes tactician Cameron Appleton. 'Our results in the match race reflect his capacity to succeed as well in sports as he does in business. The team benefits from what all team members bring from a sports and competitive perspective, but also from Chris’ input in terms of organisation and decision making. As for our third consecutive win, it is a great reward for the hard work every single team member has been putting into this project, and I am very grateful to each one of them for their involvement.'
In 2013, the team has once again given the opportunity to young sailors from most of the countries visited to compete at the highest level the sport can offer, developing a great network of young, passionate and competent sailors worldwide. 'It's been fantastic to have these young sailors join the team. I think this is an important step to keep boosting yachting and make sure we all have new and talented indviduals coming into our sport.'
Team Aqua has good reasons to be proud of its accomplishments in 2013. However, the team would also have loved to win the Class’ World Championship in Lanzarote. 'It was actually our target', confesses Bake. 'And it is quite disappointing that we didn’t reach it. But the fact is we didn’t sail as well as we could, whilst Team Ceeref sailed an exceptional race and totally deserved to win the title.'
For Appleton, this title would have meant a lot: he had already won the Melges 32 and Farr 30 world titles earlier in the year, and winning a third title would have been very special. 'We can only have regrets because we played a dominant role throughout the season', he says. 'However, the level is very high, and there were seven teams in a position to win. It would have been beautiful, but it’s something you can only dream to achieve...'
Team Aqua will once again compete in the RC 44 Championship Tour 2014, with very competitive objectives. 'We will try to do as well as this year', specifies Appleton. 'And winning the World Championship will definitely be one of our main goals. In parallel, we want to look at different horizons, and explore new territories. We are currently finalising a three years plan that includes some offshore regattas such as the Fastnet Race or the Middle Sea Race, with a structure very similar to the one we have now. Adding new events on different types of boats is a great way to reinforce our motivation.'
'One of the great strengths of our team is that it has remained very similar to what it was when we started', observes Chris Bake. 'All the credit goes to Cameron: he can really be proud of the way he runs the team. I am looking forward to next year: obviously, the season opener in the Virgin Islands will be nice, but we also want to explore new horizons and move on to other classes. I want to do some offshore sailing, and compete on bigger boats whilst obviously keeping the desire to be highly competitive.'
Team Aqua carries the colours of the World Land Trust and 2041. The World Land Trust is an international conservation charity that works to preserve rainforests and other threatened wildlife habitat. The World Land Trust also participates actively in raising awareness and improving understanding of the importance of wilderness conservation through education and information programs.
2041 is an organisation founded by polar explorer, environmental leader and public speaker Robert Swan, OBE, the first person in history to walk to both the North and South poles, and dedicated to the protection of the poles.
Team Aqua offsets its carbon footprint and promotes sustainable development by following the challenges set by 2041. The team has - amongst others - developed an innovative system aimed at saving water and reuse water bottles, that led to a drastic decrease of consumption of plastic bottles.
Team Aqua website