[Source: RC44] Team Aqua accomplishes the hat trick by finishing the match race event unbeaten and setting up a new standard in the RC 44 Class. Cro-A-Sail finishes second, ahead of Team Omega. Tomorrow, the last fleet races will determine the overall winner of the Portoroz Cup.
“This is a fantastic boat to sail; it brings the right answers to everything that is lacking in the other one design classes.” Winner of the match-race series of the Portoroz Cup, and leader of the fleet race (to be completed tomorrow), Chris Bake (UAE) was all smiles on the pontoons this evening. Indeed, his team – led by kiwi pro Cameron Appleton – had just won the match race event of the Portoroz Cup, finishing unbeaten ahead of last year’s leading team Cro-A-Sail and Team Omega with Russell Coutts at the helm. A great achievement!
The day started under thick grey clouds and a light rain, but the sun was soon back together with a light thermal breeze, allowing a glorious conclusion to the match race event. Team Omega, Beecom and Ekipa 44, who were even after ten flights, put all their energy in the fight for third place during the last matches of the day.
This is when Team Omega, on great form, won a decisive match against the Croatian team, putting an end to their hopes of final victory. Indeed, Team Aqua had previously beaten Coutts’s team, taking a decisive leadership on the ranking.
The last match of the day, between Team Aqua and Cro-A-Sail, confirmed the fleet’s hierarchy, Cameron Appleton dominating Tomislav Basic to end up with 12 victories / 0 defeats.
Another happy team is the Japanese entry Beecom, who finishes fourth with six victories. “We lost against the same teams during the first and second round robins”, commented Morten Henriksen, helmsman for the match race. “But we really feel that we have improved a lot, particularly our on-board communication, which is tricky with an international team such as ours.”
Tomorrow, the seven strong RC 44 fleet will conclude the fleet race event. The overall winner of the Portoroz Cup will be the team with the best combined results in the match and fleet races.
Cameron Appleton, match race helmsman, Team Aqua:
“This is one of the most pleasurable matches I have sailed for a very long time. I love this kind of racing; the boats and the format are great. I think that it is the direction the sport should take. The parallel with America’s Cup boats is huge in the way we sail, handle the boat and crew. But of course the teams are much smaller and a campaign much simpler to handle.”
Mitja Margon, Ekipa 44:
“It is fair to say that we are the less experienced team in the fleet. We’ve had only six days to train before the event. We are a group of friends, but with many Olympic or very experienced sailors. We are improving every day. Our big advantage is that we live where the boat is moored. Unlike the other teams, we will be able to train a lot before the next race in Split.”
Alberto Leghissa, Magia Alikè:
“Our boat was very fast and we are happy with our trimmings. But we lack practice. We are improving a lot. Today, we lost against Team Omega and Cro-A-Sail. It’s not really a surprise. Personally, I haven’t sailed a match for over a year, so it is great to be able to win some matches…”