Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

Spithill leads RC44 Puerto Calero Gold Cup

by Event media on 11 Dec 2008
Team Ceeref, Puerto Calero RC44 Gold Cup 2008 © Gilles Martin-Raget http://www.martin-raget.com/

Lanzarote delivered on its promises of strong wind today, with the six RC44 teams battling to master the gusty conditions while also trying to win their five flights of intense match racing. The only boat to keep a clean sheet was Igor Lah’s Team Ceeref, helmed by James Spithill.

When the wind is gusting up to 25 knots, with some big shifts thrown in for good measure, sometimes winning in the RC44 fleet is a matter of keeping the wheels on the wagon. So it didn’t look too good for Team Ceeref when, on the first beat of the first race, the hydraulic ram on their forestay broke. This immediately led to the jib being shredded to within a few yarns of its life. They were lucky it didn’t disintegrate altogether. At this point James Spithill was still leading the match from his colleagues on board BMW ORACLE Racing, but with Larry Ellison rapidly closing in on the wounded Croatian boat.

Thanks to some 'creative trimming', as Spithill put it, they managed to get to the top mark just ahead of the American boat without the jib breaking completely. It was neck and neck on the fast downwind leg but Igor Lah’s team rounded the leeward mark first. They extended to win quite comfortably when the American boat broached a few hundred metres before the finish line.

Having survived that early scare, Team Ceeref sailed a near faultless day, looking solid in the pre-start and going on to win all five matches in some challenging conditions, with the north-easterly wind shifting hither and thither off the mountainous coast of Lanzarote. Not a bad outing for Spithill who, after many weeks of high-speed training on BMW ORACLE’s giant multihull, admitted to being 'a little rusty'.

Team Aqua lost their last match of the day against Ceeref, but apart from that it was an excellent set of races for Chris Bake’s team from United Arab Emirates. Kiwi helmsman Cameron Appleton sailed some aggressive pre-starts and made them work well for the team. He also took maximum advantage of his rivals’ errors.

In the match against Banco Espirito Santo from Portugal, Team Aqua was leading round the final turning mark but had problems setting their spinnaker. Mark Mendelblatt looked set to surf the Portuguese boat into the lead when they suffered their own spinnaker problems through a messy gybe. Appleton was off the hook, and regained the advantage to seal victory.

Islas Canarias Puerto Calero are the new kids on the block in the RC44 class. This was their fourth day sailing the boat, and what a tough way to start their campaign - against the world’s best match racers in some of the toughest conditions. Gear breakage and unfamiliarity with equipment proved their undoing, but against Aqua they led all the way round the race course.

However on the final run to the finish, Chris Bake’s team were the first to spot the big left-hand shift and they gybed almost as soon as they rounded the windward mark. José Maria Ponce found himself stranded on the outside of the new breeze and had to flog the spinnaker to get across the finish line. An opportunity missed, but he and the rest of Daniel Calero’s crew are fast learners. Perhaps tomorrow they will get their first victory in the RC44 fleet.

Larry Ellison was steering a brand new boat, and so was suffering the inevitable teething problems. However, the Americans looked stronger as the day went on and in the final match against Artemis they managed to beat Dean Barker, moving BMW ORACLE Racing into third overall with a 3:2 scoreline, and relegating the Swedish team to fourth overall with 2:3.

Today was windy. Tomorrow is expected to be windier. Another day where it will be all about keeping the wheels on the wagon.

The match racing event concludes Thursday, followed by three days of fleet racing.

RC44 Match-race, results after five flights:
(Name of team, helmsman, No of victories / defeats, points)

1) Team Ceeref, James Spithill, 5/0 - 5 points
2) Team Aqua, Cameron Appleton 4/1 - 4 points
3) BMW ORACLE Racing, Larry Ellison, 3/2 - 3 points
4) Artemis, Dean Barker, 2/3 - 2 points
5) Team Banco Espirito Santo, Mark Mendelblatt, 1/4 - 1 point
6) Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, José Maria Ponce, 0/5 - 0 points

Bakewell-White Yacht DesignZhik Isotak Ocean 660x82Naiad

Related Articles

2014 RC44 Championship Tour trophy – Video highlights
The 10 competing teams at the RC44 Oman Cup enjoyed a great sailing day on the Gulf of Oman for the penultimate day of t The 10 competing teams at the RC44 Oman Cup enjoyed a great sailing day on the Gulf of Oman for the penultimate day of the 2014 Championship Tour. Terry Hutchinson continued to guide Vladimir Prosihkin’s Team Nika the right way around the course, extending their lead in the overall standings, adding another race win to their scoreline, Team Aqua stay second with Charisma hanging onto third.
Posted on 24 Nov 2014
RC44 Oman Cup - Nika wins and Team Aqua clinch their fourth RC44 title
RC44 Oman Cup: With no team able to discard last event of season, podium positions were by no means secure on last day. With no team able to discard the last event of the season, the podium positions were by no means secure as last day of racing got underway at the RC44 Oman Cup, in a sedate seven-knot breeze. Going into the final day Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika, with tactician Terry Hutchinson calling the shots, sat at the top of the leader board having shown an unmatched level of consistency in Muscat.
Posted on 24 Nov 2014
RC44 Championship Tour - A great sailing day on the Gulf of Oman
At the RC44 Oman Cup the 10 competing teams enjoyed a great sailing day on the Gulf of Oman At the RC44 Oman Cup the 10 competing teams enjoyed a great sailing day on the Gulf of Oman for the penultimate day of the 2014 Championship Tour. Racing started in a seven-knot north-westerly breeze which built steadily throughout the day.
Posted on 23 Nov 2014
2014 RC44 Oman Cup - Challenging day + Videos
Oman RC44 Cup delivered another challenging sailing day for the fleet competing in the final event of 2014 Champs Tour. 2014 RC44 Oman Cup - Consistency was hard to come by and no team managed to stay in the top half of the fleet in all three races. Chris Bake’s Team Aqua (GBR) was the most consistent team of the day picking up 11-points, Nika and Charisma both added 12-points to their overall score.
Posted on 22 Nov 2014
RC44 Oman Cup - Consistency hard to come by
The Oman RC44 Cup delivered another challenging sailing day for the fleet competing. The Oman RC44 Cup delivered another challenging sailing day for the fleet competing in the final event of the 2014 Championship Tour. Consistency was hard to come by and no team managed to stay in the top half of the fleet in all three races. Team Aqua was the most consistent team of the day picking up 11-points, Nika and Charisma both added 12-points to their overall score.
Posted on 22 Nov 2014
RC44 Oman Cup - Team Nika gets a taste for the podium + Video
After finishing third in the annual RC44 match race championships, Team Nika seem to have got a taste for the podium. After finishing third in the annual RC44 match race championships, Team Nika seem to have got a taste for the podium. It was a tough day on the water for the start of fleet racing at the RC44 Oman Cup, with many teams struggling for consistency.
Posted on 21 Nov 2014
RC44 Oman Cup - Synergy crowned RC44 Match Race Champions
The RC44 Oman Cup opened with the season’s final day of match racing. The RC44 Oman Cup opened with the season’s final day of match racing. Defending champions Team Aqua held a slim one-point lead over Synergy Russian Sailing Team who were fighting for the trophy they last won in 2012. Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika started the day in third, with Hugues Lepic just two-points adrift in fourth and keen to get the French flag onto the podium.
Posted on 20 Nov 2014
RC44 Puerto Sotogrande Cup - Kinky and quite difficult conditions
At the RC44 Puerto Sotogrande Cup, PRO Peter Reggio and his race management team made up for yesterday’s single race. At the RC44 Puerto Sotogrande Cup, Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio and his race management team made up for yesterday’s single race by successfully holding four on the penultimate day. Racing was held in conditions which Nico Poons, skipper of Charisma, described as: 'Quite kinky! Quite difficult with the shifts.'
Posted on 29 Jun 2014
RC44 Puerto Sotogrande Cup - Day 3
Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika, on which RC44 circuit founder Russell Coutts is calling tactics, takes a win. After two days of strong winds, conditions turned light with a change of wind direction into the northeast for day three of RC44 Puerto Sotogrande Cup
Posted on 28 Jun 2014
RC44 Puerto Sotogrande Cup - Challenging conditions on day 3
For day three of the RC44 Puerto Sotogrande Cup, the Mediterranean laid on different conditions to the first two days. For day three of the RC44 Puerto Sotogrande Cup, the Mediterranean laid on different conditions to the first two days. While the sun remained, there was initially no wind and when it did fill in, it was blowing down the coast, from the northeast, rather than the westerly offshore breeze of the first two days.
Posted on 28 Jun 2014