The match race event of the RC 44 Malcesine SLAM Cup couldn’t have started any better, with six flights held in 8-14 knots of typical Lake Garda thermal breeze.
The races took place alongside the beautiful local club, Fraglia Vela di Malcesine, an eco-club-house with a grass covered roof, hardly noticeable from the water. The set up was ideal for the public and the partner’s guests, with a starting line splashed hundred meters away from the shore, often forcing the RC 44’s to tack less than ten meters away from the shore and the crowd.
The leaders of the Championship Tour clearly confirmed their status today, with Team Hiroshi – Città di Milano (Sébastien Col) and Team Aqua (Cameron Appleton) sharing the lead, with five wins and one loss each, ahead of James Spithill’s Team Ceeref (4 points), Team Banco Espirito Santo (Dean Barker) and BMW ORACLE Racing (Larry Ellison), both with three points.
On great form, Team Aqua only loost to Banco Espirito Santo by a couple of seconds. The two helmsmen, Cameron Appleton and Dean Barker, know each other well: they were sharing helming duties on board Team New-Zealand in 2003.
Team Aqua and Team Hiroshi – Città di Milano have five points each; however, Aqua has beaten Hiroshi today. Tomorrow, both teams have a bye and both have to sail against James Spithill’s Team Ceeref, who will sail three races. Needless to say that these matches will be intense!
Banco Espirito Santo has a good card to play tomorrow, with three matches scheduled against BMW ORACLE Racing, Organika and Carbon Affairs. Also competing for a place on the match race event podium, Larry Ellison, Russell Coutts and their crew on board BMW ORACLE Racing are the only team to have beaten Ceeref since the Cagliari Cup in April. They will sail their three last races against Sea Dubai, Carbon Affairs and a final match against Banco Espirito Santo.
They said : Cameron Appleton, helmsman, Team Aqua:
'We are very happy. We worked very hard on our sailing and it paid off. The level carries on increasing and I am grateful to the guys in the crew who helped us keep in control and in the front.' Marco Constant, crewmember, Team Hiroshi – Città di Milano:
'It was a pretty good day points wise, but not so much regarding our sailing. We still have lots to improve. Our speed is good but our starts were mediocre. We like those conditions, when the wind is steady and fairly strong.' Michel Vaucher, helmsman, team Carbon Affairs:
'The level has hugely increased since last year, it is very impressive. We have only put our team together recently, and the boat is not very well prepared; this is just not enough to achieve results in this class.' James Spithill, helmsman, Team Ceeref:
'It was a very technical day, with shifty winds. Our speed is good and we are pretty happy. However, there are not many passing opportunities; the other guys really have to make a mistake to be overtaken.' Russell Coutts, helmsman, BMW ORACLE Racing:
'We didn’t have a great day and made many errors. It’s been a while since we sailed in fairly strong winds, and the courses are very short. It’s hard to overtake and you need to make perfect maneuvers, which we didn’t. All in all, we are happy with our three wins although we didn’t really deserve many of them.' Match-race, provisional results after six flights:
(Name of team, helmsman, No of victories / defeats, points)
1) Team Aqua, Cameron Appleton 5/1 - 5 points
2) Team Hiroshi - Città di Milano, Sébastien Col 5/1 - 5 points
3) Team Ceeref, James Spithill, 4/1 - 4 points
4) Team Banco Espirito Santo, Dean Barker, 3/2 – 3 points
5) BMW ORACLE Racing, Larry Ellison, 3/2 - 3 points
6) Sea Dubai, Markus Wieser 2/3 – 2 points
7) Team Organika, Philippe Presti 2/4 – 2 points
8) Team Beecom, Isao Mita 0/5 – 0 point
9) Team Carbon Affairs, Michel Vaucher, 0/5 - 0 point