With two fleet race bullets and an epic match against Russell Coutts’ Team Omega, Chris Bake and his boys are clearly back at the top after a difficult start in the Dubai Gold Cup. The third day of the Dubai Gold Cup proved to be another intense day, with the last three fleets of the match race event followed by three fleet regattas.
All started well for Chris Bake’s Team Aqua and pro helmsman Cameron Appleton, with an easy victory over Cro-A-Sail. The second match proved to be harder, although it was 'definitely the team’s best match this season', as explained Team Aqua bowman Matt Cassidy. The match started with a fierce circling between the two teams, who ended up crossing the starting line together.
They then slowly worked their way towards the windward mark, tack after tack. But that’s when things really got interesting, with an endless dial up that took both teams way above the mark. 'We got a penalty and fought back all the way down to try to get it back to Omega. We didn’t succeed, but it was just great', comments Cassidy. Aqua finally got a second penalty soon before the arrival line and lost the race. But what a match it was!
Having won yesterday against all the teams, James Spithill and Team Ceeref are the winners of the match racing event, ahead of Russell Coutts’ Team Omega and Team Aqua.
The breeze carried on increasing throughout the afternoon, reaching 12-14 knots for the fleet regattas. The Japanese entry Beecom, under performing since the beginning of the event, won the first race ahead of Team ES Bankers and Team Omega, proving that they were a team to count on, amongst other reasons thanks to their new recruit Ray Davies.
The second and third fleet races confirmed Team Aqua’s come back. Indeed, Chris Bake’s team won both races with comfortable margins, climbing back into fourth overall just 7 points behind the leader Team Omega.
Another notable performance came from Team Organika, from Poland, who posted their best results so far in the RC 44 Class with a second and a fifth place.
Tomorrow, the RC 44s will sail a coastal race through the famous Palm, and more fleet races to conclude the Dubai Gold Cup.
Chris Bake, owner, Team Aqua: 'I certainly felt the pressure of sailing at home, and didn’t perform to my usual level in the opening days of the Gold Cup. I also missed the training day and have paid the price for this. It’s not a surprise: you need practice on these boats to be at the top.'
Maciej Nawrocki, owner, Team Organika: 'This is a new experience for us. We are all from Poland, and basically a group of friends. We are only starting to operate as a team. So obviously we are very happy with the results we have obtained today; it’s a reward, and the proof that we can make it. I am very happy to have joined this class. I was looking for something new and wanted to compete at an international level. The RC 44 is very interesting economically and it is also good fun. We will compete in the entire circuit next year.'
Isao Mita, owner, Beecom: 'The reason why we had a good day today is because we had a good night last night! We took good starts. I have a lot of confidence in Ray Davies, he gives me good advice and I just follow. We have obviously learnt a lot from Morten Henrikson at the beginning of the season. But Ray takes us one step above: he is the best tactician in the world.' Match-racing (final results)
Ranking, number of victories/losses, points
1) Team Ceeref (7/0) 7 points
2) Team Omega (6/1) 6 points
3) Team Aqua (4/3) 4 points
4) Team Cro-A-Sail (3/4) 3 points
5) Team ES Bankers Dubai (3/4) 3 points
6) Team Hiroshi (2/5) 2 points
7) Beecom (2/5) 2 points
8) Team Organika (0/7) 0 point Fleet racing (provisional results)
1) Team Omega (1, 1, 1, 3, 5, 6) 17 points
2) Team Beecom (2, 6, 4, 1, 6, 3) 22 points
3) Team Hiroshi - Città di Milano (4, 3, 3, 6, 4, 2) 22 points
4) Team Aqua (3, 8, 6, 5, 1, 1) 24 points
5) Team ES Bankers Dubai (5, 5, 7, 2, 3, 4) 26 points
6) Team Ceeref (6, 2, 5, 4, 8, 7) 32 points
7) Cro-A-Sail, (8, 4, 2, 7, 7, 9) 37 points
8) Team Organika (7, 7, 8, 8, 2, 5) 37 points