The RC 44 Austria Cup May 10th – 15th will be a special occasion for Team Aqua as they race in their new boat for the first time.
Chris Bake’s Team Aqua has been a leading force on the RC44 circuit since its launch in 2007. The team won the RC 44 Championship Tour in 2007, and finished first in the match race ranking in 2010 with pro sailor Cameron Appleton at the helm. Team Aqua was however sailing on the oldest boat in the fleet up until now, and decided that to maintain the momentum a new boat would be invested in for the 2011 season.
“The RC 44 boat and concept are a winner, says Bake. “Dynamic one design boat, ease of transport, varied locations, competitive, huge support from the class and ultimately fun. I absolutely love it and I am determined to carrying on competing at the highest level. The fact of acquiring a new boat is a testimony to the quality of this Class. We hope many other teams will join in in the near future.
Boat captain Nigel King has been working closely with RC 44 boat builders Pauger to make sure that the new boat is ready and raring to go by the time racing commences at the RC 44 Austria Cup on Lake Traunsee. He explained: “Chris Bake is a massive supporter of the class and committed for the long-term so the team felt it was the right time to invest in a new boat to see Aqua through the next few years.
“Nigel King, Karl Funk and Chris Noble have done a great job at preparing the boat, said Cameron Appleton, the team’s project manager, match race helmsman and fleet race tactician. “Thanks to their hard work we will have a race-ready boat for the next race on Lake Traunsee. We are all looking forward to this; those are exciting times for our team.
Besides being one of the principal contenders of the Tour, Team Aqua uses its boat as a platform to promote an eco-friendly message. The team supports the World Land Trust and “2041, 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.
Team Aqua is an international sailing team owned by Dubai based businessman Chris Bake. Kiwi sailor Cameron Appleton is the team’s pro skipper; crewmembers are Matt Cassidy, Andrew Estcourt, Ben Graham, Chris Noble, Nigel King, Christian Kamp, Jimmy Maloney and Karl Funk. Chris is a passionate sailor who grew up in Spain, sailed through school in England and University in America. “Aqua, the Spanish word for water, is a reference to his kids’ names. The team’s objective is to be competitive, to always look for solutions to enhance its performance and to ensure that it functions as a team.
The cold and windy conditions prevailed for the last day of the RC 44 Copenhagen Cup. Four beautiful races took place today; they led to the elimination of one team after the other from contention for the fleet race and overall titles.
Igor Lah’s Ceeref was the first and biggest casualty of the day, going from second overall to eight. “Just a day of hell, summarised tactician Rod Davis. The team’s worse moment occurred when they collided with Paul Cayard’s Katusha during a tacking dual. Ceeref got two points penalty whilst Katusha had to stop racing in order to change their crash bow. They got redress from the Jury.
Many teams broached, ripped their spinnakers or suffered in a way or another. Team Sea Dubai, who got some brilliant results today – a 2nd and a 1st – lost it all because of two DNF’s due to a spinnaker problem and a man overboard during the last race; an incident that occurred as the team was controlling its third place overall against Artemis and that cost four places in the overall ranking!
The wind was blowing quite hard throughout the day, at 18 knots with gusts up to 25 that put great emphasis on crew work and tactical decisions.
BMW ORACLE Racing, who was fifth overall this morning, started the day with a 1st and a 2nd. On the other hand, No Way Back couldn’t do any better than 4th and 6th. With both Team Aqua and Artemis failing to obtain consistent results, the final race would definitely be between those two teams.
Both of them started the last race at the pin end of the line, with BMW ORACLE Racing controlling No Way Back. The American team reached the top mark ahead of its opponent, and chose the worse side of the course during the run, letting the Dutch team grab the lead within this personal race (John Kostecki’s 17 had a huge lead over the rest of the pack).
Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts then opted for the left of the course during the second beat whilst Pieter Heerema and Ray Davies went to the right. The American’s choice was the right one. The american team then controlled No Way Back until the arrival, crossing the line in third, two places ahead of its opponent.
Winner of the fleet regatta and second of the match race event earlier in the week, BMW ORACLE Racing conquers the RC 44 Copenhagen Cup – the combined fleet / match race ranking ahead of Chris Bake’s Team Aqua.
The next regatta will take place in Valencia on July 27 – August 1.
Pieter Heerema, helmsman, No Way Back: “Everything was open ahead of the last race; unfortunately we were a bit out of phase. I am happy with our result but not pleased with the way we got there. It was all a bit messy. Of course the conditions were difficult but we should be able to master this. Altogether I have loved this event. I just found that the weather was unfair with the venue.
Terry Hutchinson, tactician, Artemis: “This was a tough day for the helmsmen and it also required a great team effort to succeed. There were massive wind shifts but at the end of the day it didn’t really matter if you went right or left; you just had to be in phase with the shifts. This morning Torbjorn told us to make the best of it and have fun. That’s what we did; I feel very privileged to have an owner like him.
Chris Bake, helmsman, Team Aqua: “It has been very challenging few days. Today we struggled during the first two races and then I started to feel settled. I am pleased that Team Aqua won the match; it was difficult for me to arrive and settle in immediately, I took me a little while.
René Mangold, helmsman, AEZ RC44 Sailing Team: “We were sailing with two new people and we struggled because of this: we couldn’t look out of the boat. We definitely need more practice and we will do this in the future.
Fleet race, final results after eight races: Ranking, name of team, helmsman, results, points (no discard)
1) BMW ORACLE Racing, Larry Ellison, 8, 6, 2, 41, 2, 4, 3 – 30 points
2) Team No Way Back, Pieter Heerema, 10, 1, 4, 1, 4, 6, 2, 5 – 33 points
3) Artemis, Torbjor Tornqvist / Martin Hestbaek, 3, 5, 8, 2, 5, 5, 6, 4 – 38 points
4) Team Aqua, Chris Bake, 2, 3, 9, 5, 6, 9, 3, 2 – 39 points
5) 17, Anders Myralf 4, 7, 6, 7, 9, 1, 7, 1 – 42 points
6) Katusha, Guennadi Timtchenko, 6, 8, 1, 8, 3, 4, 7 (RDG), 5,3 (RDG) – 42,3 points
7) Team Sea Dubai, Harm Muller Spreer, 7, 4, 3, 6, 2, 11 (DNF), 1, 11(DNF) – 45 points
8) CEEREF, Igor Lah, 5, 2, 7, 3, 7, 8, 10, 8 – 50 points
9) Team Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, Daniel Calero, 1, 10, 5, 9, 8, 7, 5, 7 – 52 points
10) AEZ RC44 Sailing Team, René Mangold, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 3, 9, 6 – 66 points
RC 44 Copenhagen Cup – Overall Ranking: (ranking, name of team, match race, fleet race, points)
1) BMW ORACLE Racing, 2, 1 – 3 points
2) Team Aqua, 1, 4 – 5 points
3) No Way Back, 4, 2 – 6 points
4) Artemis, 3, 3 – 6 points
5) 17, 5, 5 – 10 points
6) Team Sea Dubai, 7, 7 – 14 points
7) Ceeref, 6, 8 – 14 points
8) Katusha, 9, 6 – 15 points
9) AEZ RC44 Sailing Team, 8, 10 – 18 points
10) Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, 10, 9 – 19 points