RC44 Team Aqua  (Photo © Nico Martinez)

RC44 Team Aqua (Photo © Nico Martinez)


Involved in the RC 44 Championship Tour since 2007, Team Aqua has won its fourth RC 44 Championship Tour in a row. A remarkable achievement for team owner Chris Bake, tactician Cameron Appleton and the entire team.

December 3, 2014 – Chris Bakes’ Team Aqua has just accomplished one of sailing’s greatest achievements in 2014, winning the RC 44 Championship Tour for the fourth consecutive year. Team Aqua’s opponents are no les than Terry Hutchinson, Iain Percy, Mathieu Richard, Tom Slingsby, Nathan Outteridge, Vasco Vascotto or Ed Baird, to name a few…

’It has been another fantastic year for us‛, admits team owner Chris Bake. ’We’ve managed to remain consistent throughout the year, and to keep our heads down when things didn’t work the way we wanted, like in Sotogrande. It is harder every year to remain at the top in this class, as the other teams become more competitive. I consider it a privilege to still be there, and to sail with great people like Cameron Appleton and all the members of our team!‛

A founding member of the RC 44 Class, Bake’s Team Aqua has won the Championship Tour for the first time in 2007, and then back-to-back in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

’The end of the season is always a good time to look back at what we have achieved and to reflect on what our team is all about‛, says team manager Cameron Appleton. ’For me, the last few years have been hugely successful and when I look back, I can see many great moments and achievements. It’s really pleasing!‛

Appleton attributes the team’s success to the ’fantastic group‛ he has developed around owner Chris Bake. ’It’s a very strong, and united group‛, he says. ’Matt Cassidy on the bow, Ben Graham grinding, Andy Estcourt at the main, and Chris Noble have been members of this team for many years. They are all key to our success. We’ve also benefited a lot from our coach Brett Jones, who’s helped us get to top speed. Per Andersson, from North Sails, was also instrumental and contributed a lot to our excellent speed, especially downwind.‛

Unlike last year, the team didn’t manage to win both the fleet and match race titles this year, the latter going to Synergy Russian sailing Team, helmed by Ed Baird. ’Every day you go out sailing you get reminded how hard it is…‛, says Appleton. ’I think we sailed very well this year, but Synergy simply outsailed us. They fully deserved to win the match race title and I am happy for them.‛

In 2014, Team Aqua has once again given the opportunity to young sailors to compete at the highest level thanks to their youth program, developing a great network of young, passionate and competent sailors worldwide.

The team carries the colours of the World Land Trust and 2041. The World Land Trust is an international conservation charity that works to preserve rainforests and other threatened wildlife habitat. The World Land Trust also participates actively in raising awareness and improving understanding of the importance of wilderness conservation through education and information programs.

2041 is 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 by following the challenges set by 2041.

Team Aqua will once again compete in the RC 44 Championship Tour 2015, with competitive objectives although Chris Bake won’t be able to attend all events due to other commitments. ’It’s always a challenge to find the right balance between work, family and sport‛, he confesses. ’It will also be nice to make different experiences next year, and to change a little bit from our routine although I remain fully committed to the RC 44 class.‛

Team Aqua members:

Chris Bake, owner & helmsman
Cameron Appleton, tactician, helmsman and project manager
Matt Cassidy, Bowman
Andrew Estcourt, Mainsheet trimmer
Ben Graham, Grinder
Chris Noble, Boat captain and offside trimmer
Jono Swain, Trimmer
Dylan Clarke, Shore team
Simon Johnson, Pitman
Brett Jones, Sail Design, Downwind Trimmer
Photos: ©Nico Martinez http://www.martinezstudio.es

RC44 Team Aqua Championship Prizegiving (Photo © Nico  Martinez )

RC44 Team Aqua Championship Prizegiving (Photo © Nico Martinez )

Team Aqua (Photo by Nico Martinez)

Team Aqua (Photo by Nico Martinez)

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.


BMW Oracle Surfing A Wave (Photo by Per Heegaard / RC44 Class)

BMW Oracle Surfing A Wave (Photo by Per Heegaard / RC44 Class)


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!

Artemis (Photo by Per Heegaard / RC44 Class)

Artemis (Photo by Per Heegaard / RC44 Class)

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.

RC44 Fleet At Copenhagen Cup (Photo by Per Heegaard / RC44 Class)

RC44 Fleet At Copenhagen Cup (Photo by Per Heegaard / RC44 Class)

They said: 

Larry Ellison, helmsman, BMW ORACLE Racing: “This has been a fantastic event. Yesterday we practiced in strong winds and reached the speed of 25 knots. In hindsight, it has helped us a lot today: I felt very confident and more precise at the helm. Having said this people sometimes put too much credit on the helmsman: this is a real team effort and all the guys did a great job. Russell was also fantastic at making the tactical choices.”

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

Larry Ellison and BMW Oracle Team Celebrate Copenhagen Win (Photo by Per Heegaard / RC44)

Larry Ellison and BMW Oracle Team Celebrate Copenhagen Win (Photo by Per Heegaard / RC44)