The third event of the RC 44 Championship Tour 2009 will take place in Austria on May 22 - 26. Emirates Team New Zealand’s Ray Davies joins the RC 44 Class on board Pieter Heerema’s No Way Back, whilst Paul Cayard steps onboard Igor Lah’s Ceeref. The four leaders of the Tour are separated by four points only.
René Mangold's new RC44, Team Upper Austria, sailing off Cagliari, Sardinia. Image copyright Anne Hinton. All Rights Reserved.
by Bernard Schopfer
Following two successful regattas held in Lanzarote (SPA) and Cagliari (ITA), the RC 44 fleet is getting ready for the third stage of the RC 44 Championship Tour 2009. The RC 44 Austria Cup will take place on May 27 – 31 on the beautiful Lake Traunsee, in the middle of snow-capped mountains and on a lake well known for its consistent thermal breeze.
Four teams are currently dominating the Championship Tour: Chris Bake’s Team Aqua, who currently sails with the Championship Tour leader’s gold wheel, Larry Ellison’s BMW ORACLE Racing, Igor Lah’s Ceeref (who will sail the Austria Cup with Paul Cayard) and Torbjorn Tornqvist’s Artemis. These teams are only separated by four points.
The battle is also fierce amongst the followers. Pieter Heerema’s Team No Way Back will sail for the first time with Emirates Team New Zealand’s tactician Ray Davies. Led by Christian Binder, the local Austrian team expects a good race in front of its public. These two teams have already been training together on Lake Traunsee, hoisting the sails as early as 6:00 AM to make the best of the local breeze.
Team Sea Dubai will also be keen to climb up the provisional rankings after showing a great potential in Cagliari, obtaining an excellent fifth rank in the fleet regatta with its new fleet race helmsman Yousef Lahej. As for Karol Jablonski, he certainly hopes to take Organika to a level – and ranking - that corresponds to his huge talent. Finally, Team Puerto Calero will be keen to confirm its results from the beginning of the season.
The flat water and sometimes tricky tactical conditions could well change the Class’ hierarchy. The strict one-design concept of the Class also favours changes, giving all the teams the opportunity to fight for victory. The statistics speak for themselves: since the beginning of the season, all the teams involved in the Tour have finished at least one race in the top three whilst six of them have won regattas.
The RC 44 Austria Cup will be organised by PROFS. The company’s CEO, Christian Feichtinger, says he is proud to host this regatta for the second consecutive time. “It is a great honour for us. The level has improved since last year and it is really impressive. Our organisation is ready. We will have a big vessel for our “Special Guest Club”, with 200 people following the races every day.”
The RC 44 Austria Cup will take place just after the Traunsee Woche; a regatta that unites 650 sailors on 220 boats.
The teams involved:
(Name of team, owner, pro sailor)
Team Aqua, Chris Bake / Cameron Appleton
Team Ceeref, Igor Lah / Paul Cayard
Sea Dubai, DIMC, Markus Wieser
BMW ORACLE Racing, Larry Ellison / Russell Coutts
Team Organika, Maciej Nawrocki / Karol Jablonski
Puerto Calero Islas Canarias, José Juan Calero / Jose Maria Ponce
Artemis, Torbjorn Tornqvist / Dean Barker
No Way Back, Pieter Heerema / Ray Davies
Team Upper Austria, Christian Binder / René Mangold