The team from the UAE recovered from yesterday’s counter performance with a splendid victory in the DHL Trophy followed by a 3rd and a 5th. Thanks to its excellent results (4, 2, 1), Team No Way Back is now the fleet race provisional leader
Team Sea Dubai, winner of the DHL Trophy and fifth overall. Image copyright GEPA pictures/Marie Rambauske/RC44 Class Association.
by Bernard Schopfer
Today’s races won’t be remembered in the sailing history as the most pleasant ones. Indeed, most of them took place under a gray sky, cold rain and shifty wind that made it very hard for the tacticians to establish a reliable strategy.
The first regatta of the day – the long distance DHL Trophy – was the best and most regular one of the day. The race started soon after 10:00 AM, with a light but fairly stable breeze. The RC 44 fleet immediately split in two, with Puerto Calero, Artemis and Ceeref choosing the right side of the lake whilst the others opted for the left and mountainous side. The “countrymen” looked good for a while, until the “mountaineers” – and particularly Team Aqua - benefited from a massive shift to get back to the top.
Most boats reached the stunning Traunkirchen monastery at the same time, except for Ceeref, Organika and Puerto Calero who remained in a windless spot for too long. The tacking dual alongside the picturesque coast was interesting, with the RC 44’s gliding like ghosts on flat water, controlling each other’s moves as they neared the mark. Artemis was first up there, just ahead of Team Sea Dubai and BMW ORACLE Racing.
The downwind ride proved tricky, with unpredictable puffs of wind coming down from the mountain and a breeze dying closer to the arrival line. Markus Wieser had the best understanding of the situation and led his helmsman Stefan Linder in the right spot, winning the double points race. This was a welcome recovery following yesterday’s counter performance, when they had to retire after a spectacular broach in order to re-establish their spinnaker halyard.
Artemis finished the DHL race in second, ahead of BMW ORACLE Racing and Team Aqua.
Two standard windward leeward races took place after the DHL Trophy, in very difficult, light and unpredictable conditions. Team Austria was leading the first one with style when the wind completely dropped. Light puffs came from here & there, propelling some teams randomly towards the arrival line but avoiding the poor Austrians. Team Aqua crossed the arrival line first, followed by No Way Back and Team Sea Dubai. Artemis, who had been in the lead alongside the Austrians for most of the race finished last.
The second regatta took place in similar conditions; so much so that Race Officer Peter Reggio had to shorten the course and establish the final ranking at the windward mark. Pieter Heerema and Ray Davis had a lot of confidence in the left side of the course and this proved to be the right choice; team No Way back won the race ahead of Organika, Ceeref and Team Aqua. The Dutch team leads the overall ranking with 19 points, just ahead of Ceeref and Team Aqua (21).
Markus Wieser, tactician, Team Sea Dubai: “We had a very bad start in the DHL race, but then we played the shifts nicely and slowly came back. I think that the conditions were stable enough for a good race. On the way back we controlled the rest of the fleet well and managed to win the race.”
Pieter Heerema, owner, No Way Back: “We were leading the DHL regatta during the first half of the beat, but then the ghost of the lake started playing with us… All together we had a very good day and Ray Davies did a fantastic job. He is great at reading the course, but also at communicating with us and that’s essential. It was cold and wet but we enjoyed it a lot. The training we did in Copenhagen this winter certainly paid off today.”
René Mangold, owner, Team Austria: “The conditions were very tricky. I think that in order to excel, you need to be very calm and wait to see what happens. We were often too impulsive, and tacked as soon as the wind changed a bit. The good news is that we were fast, but we definitely need to work our starts and manoeuvres.”
Daniel Calero, owner, Team Puerto Calero Islas Canarias: “It’s the first time we are sailing on a lake and we are definitely suffering. In the DHL race for example, we were very good and confident. One minute later we were last; it’s really painful. You have to be a good chess player and to anticipate well to be good at this game.”
Ian Vickers, helmsman, BMW ORACLE Racing: “I got told at the last minute that I would be steering the boat and I feel very fortunate. During the races I mostly concentrate on my speed and I can’t look much out of the boat. Luckily, I get good advice from Russell. I haven’t raced much at all since 2000. Before this I was sailing as an amateur on keelboats; I also competed in the 470 Class and won the nationals (NZL) in 1990. I have been BMW ORACLE Racing’s boat captain since Trieste last year.”
Fleet race, provisional results after five races (no discard):
(Ranking, name of team, helmsman, results (in bold, double points for the DHL Trophy), points)
1) No Way Back, Pieter Heerema, 5, 3, 8, 2, 1 - 19 points
2) Ceeref, Igor Lah, 2, 1, 12, 4, 2 – 21 points
3) Team Aqua, Chris Bake 8, 2, 6, 1, 4 - 21 points
4) Artemis, Torbjorn Tornqvist, 1, 4, 2, 9, 7 – 23 points
5) Team Sea Dubai, Stefan Linder, 11 (DNF), 11 (DNS), 0, 3, 5 - 30 points
6) Team Organika, Maciej Navrocki 3, 8, 10, 6, 3 - 30 points
7) BMW ORACLE Racing, Ian Vickers, 6, 6, 4, 5, 9 - 30 points
8) Team Austria, René Mangold, 4, 5, 14, 7, 6 - 36 points
9) Puerto Calero Islas Canarias, Daniel Calero, 7, 7, 16, 8, 8 - 46 points