The Adris RC44 Cup fleet sailed under the backdrop of Rovinj’s old town with the beautiful grand St. Euphemia Church towering above the start line. The fourteen teams competed in four great fleet races in the Croatian NW thermal ‘mistral’ wind today.
Mistral winds may conjure up ideas of 25 knots plus winds, but the fleet saw no more than 12 all day. It’s a term used in Croatia for the NW sea breeze that begins in the mid morning, reaches its peak early afternoon and disappears around 1600 each day.
There was no standout performance on the fleet race opener. Three boats took race wins with Oracle Racing, (Stuart Hebb /Russell Coutts) winning the first and third race, Artemis Racing, (Torbjorn Tornqvist/Morgan Larson) taking the second and Team Aqua (Chris Bake/Cameron Appleton) the fourth and final race of the day.
It was hard to be consistent competing against 13 other one design boats in the fluctuating winds. Both Oracle Racing (USA) and Artemis Racing (SWE) picked up a 10th place to add to the race wins and finished the day on equal points – 16 apiece – the American’s two wins seeing them at the top of the leaderboard.
But as ever in yacht racing, it could have been very different had the Spanish team not been caught out by the final shift of the day. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero were looking to end the day on a high, they led the fleet in the final race of the day, extending out to have a clear lead at the leeward gate. But on the final beat a big left hander trapped them on the wrong side of the course, they consolidated and finished fifth. Their consistent score-line (3, 7, 2, 5) leaving them just one point adrift of the leading duo.
The series leaders, Team Aqua, day didn’t get off to a good start picking up a thirteenth place in the day’s opener. 'It was a very tough day and we had a tough first race and got a stupid penalty because I put the boat in the wrong place,' said owner Chris Bake after racing. But as Artemis Racing’s Torbjorn Tornqvist was quick to point out 'Aqua is a great team and they always come back.' The team finished the day fourth overall with 22 points.
For the watching spectators the surprise of the day had to be that after a 1.3 mile long beat and a race course that was seeing 15 degree shifts, the fleet always seemed to converge together at the windward mark. This kept the international umpires busy, seeing them hand out four separate penalties, to Aqua, Ironbound, AEZ and Synergy, on one rounding alone.
Tomorrow the mistral wind is expected to come again with the fleet racing at the Adris RC44 Cup continuing until Sunday October 2nd and racing due to start at 11.30 CET daily.
Torbjorn Tornqvist – Owner and match race helm – Artemis Racing: We had very good day, in particular the first three races everything went our way, the last race it was lighter winds and it was difficult, we chose the wrong side of the course and the result wasn’t that good but overall a great day.
This is the first day of four and tomorrow could be completely different, we’ve seen it before. Aqua is a great team and they always come back, they won the last race of the day which shows how good they are.
It was a big disappointment with the crash (in Sweden) at the last event but coming back now the boat is repaired, they did a great job and it looks like we haven’t lost anything we have the same good boat speed and it’s a real confidence boost for the team to do well today.
José Maria Ponce – Tactician – Islas Canarias Puerto Calero: It was a really tricky day, very shifty with different pressure in the racing area. We aim to be top five in every race and finally we had good results, we had a good position at the top mark and good speed up wind and downwind so we were very consistent the whole day.
Yesterday we had a few problems when we hoisted the spinnaker so today we changed some manoeuvres and now I think we have solved the problem, having a good day has really encouraged the team to do well, we know it’s going to be very difficult and every day will be different but we only try to be in the top five and wait to see what happens.
Russell Coutts, tactician and match race helm, Oracle Racing: It was a good day for us we got some things right and we’re really happy, good racing! I’m looking forward to the rest of the regatta it’s going to be challenging light winds but the racing has been fantastic.
Chris Bake, Owner, Team Aqua: It was a very tough day and we had a tough first race and got a stupid penalty on that one because I put the boat in the wrong place, it took a while to get up to speed and once we got back in the flow and figured out the wind conditions it was a bit better. A win was a nice way to end the day.
Adris RC44 Cup 2011 Results (After four races):
1 Oracle Racing 1 10 1 4 = 16 2 Artemis Racing 2 1 3 10 = 16 3 Islas Canarias Puerto Calero 3 7 2 5 = 17 4 Team Aqua 13 2 6 1 = 22 5 No Way Back 5 6 9 3 = 23 6 Ironbound 11 5 12 2 = 30 7 RC44 Team CEEREF 10 8 4 8 = 30 8 Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team 6 11 7 6 = 30 9 Aleph Sailing Team 4 9 11 7 = 31 10 Team Nika 12 3 8 11 = 34 11 AEZ Sailing Team 9 4 13 9 = 35 12 Katusha 7 13 5 13 = 38 13 Synergy Russian Sailing Team 8 12 10 12 = 42 14 RUS-7 Sail Racing Team powered by AnyWayAnyDay.com 14 14 14 14 = 56