Wednesday, 27 May 2009

RC44s: Time for action for the RC 44 Class on Lake Traunsee, Austria

The third event of the RC 44 Championship Tour 2009 starts Wednesday in Austria on the picturesque Lake Traunsee. A fairly strong wind is forecast, with temperatures dropping after today’s record temperatures.

Start of a practice race on Lake Traunsee. Image copyright Nico Martinez/RC44 Class Association.

by Bernard Schopfer

Representing eight nations, the nine RC 44s involved in the RC 44 Austria Cup did two practice starts in a very light breeze today, preparing for the beginning of the competition scheduled Wednesday at 11:30 AM.

Last year Gmunden (Austria) hosted the Championship Tour for the first time and it proved one of the Circuit’s most memorable regattas. The world’s best sailors involved in the Tour were unanimously impressed by the scenery, the greenness of the forests that overlook the lake and the highness of the surrounding mountains.

One year later the RC 44 fleet is back with a highly competitive fleet that includes some new names such as Paul Cayard (Ceeref), Ray Davies (No Way Back) and Rod Davis (BMW ORACLE Racing). The Class’ other “usual suspects” such as Dean Barker, Cameron Appleton, Daniel Calero or Markus Wieser have also been spotted walking up & down the pontoons over the past few days, preparing for another exciting regatta in this challenging circuit.

Speaking this morning during the event’s opening press conference - held at the stunning Seeschloss Orth (Lake Traunsee’s emblematic castle) - both Dean Barker and Ray Davies mentioned how refreshing it is for them to sail on a mountain lake. “Usually when I go to this sort of resort it is in New Zealand’s southern Island and I am going skiing”, said Barker. “It is a nice change.” Paul Cayard went as far as saying that “this is such a beautiful place that I could very well consider living here”.

Unbeaten in match race in Cagliari last month, Dean Barker and Artemis are the favourites of the series although Ceeref still leads the overall ranking. Paul Cayard replaces Sébastien Col for this event, and he clearly hopes to maintain his team on top of the leader board. “I haven’t competed in a match since almost two years, and this is a welcome “refreshing course” for me. The fleet is obviously highly competitive, but I am definitely here to try to win.”

Christian Binder, skipper of the local team Austria, explained that his team is still fairly new. “We are learning every day”, he said. “But we have been working hard and we had some good training sessions over the past weeks. We definitely hope to get a good result”.

The weather forecast for the coming days is not good and a low pressure from the West is expected.

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, Russell Coutts / Rod Davis
Team Organika, Maciej Nawrocki / Karol Jablonski
Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, Daniel Calero / Jose Maria Ponce
Artemis, Torbjorn Tornqvist / Dean Barker
No Way Back, Pieter Heerema / Ray Davies
Team Austria, René Mangold / Christian Binder


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