Markus Wieser and his team from the United Arab Emirates win the match race title of the Al Maktoum Sailing Trophy RC 44, ahead of No Way Back (NED) and Artemis (SWE)
Team No Way Back, with Pieter Heerema and Ray Davies at the helm, finishes second in the Al Maktoum Sailing Trophy match race behind Team Sea Dubai. Image copyright Nico Martinez/RC44.
by Bernard Schopfer
Unbeaten after seven flights, Markus Wieser and his Team Sea Dubai only had to avoid a penalising collision today to win the match race title of the Al Maktoum Sailing Trophy. That’s what they did, winning in the mean time a difficult race against Puerto Calero and losing the last one to BMW ORACLE Racing.
However, the real action was behind, in a tough contest between six teams for the second and third places overall. Leader of this “secondary ranking” ahead of the last day, Terry Hutchinson’s Artemis - rejoined today by owner Torbjorn Tornqvist - started in the worse possible way by losing the first race to Team Austria. Pushed to the right of the course during the first beat, the Austrians seemed to benefit from a better pressure: they took the lead and increased it slightly throughout the match.
The points were particularly precious at this stage, and No Way Back went from a potentially difficult situation – loosing their start against Team Aqua – to a sudden solid option on the overall ranking’s second place when they overtook Cameron Appleton’s Team Aqua during the first downwind leg. Rod Davis (Ceeref) also won an important point against BMW ORACLE Racing, rejoining Artemis and No Way Back in the group of candidates to second overall ahead of the last race.
Sailing the last race against Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, Pieter Heerema and Ray Davies - joint helmsmen onboard No Way Back - managed to block the Spaniards on the wrong start of the Committee boat at the moment of the start. Team Aqua did the same to Katusha five minutes later. Observing this, Rod Davis obviously liked the idea and tried to inflict the same fate to Artemis; however the trick didn’t quite work and Terry Hutchinson just managed to squeeze in between the Committee boat and Ceeref’s bow whilst Davis remained stuck head to the wind during long, long seconds, finally crossing the line one minute late.
No Way Back and Artemis finish the event on a tie, however the Dutch team gets the second rank overall thanks to their victory in the direct confrontation. Ceeref finishes fourth on a tie with BMW ORACLE Racing.
Match-race, final results after nine flights:
(Ranking, name of team, helmsman, No. of victories/defeats, points)
1) Team Sea Dubai (Markus Wieser), 8/1, 8 points
2) Team No Way Back (Pieter Heerema/Ray Davies), 5/3, 5 points
3) Artemis (Terry Hutchinson), 5/3, 5 points
4) CEEREF (Rod Davis), 4/5, 4 points
5) BMW ORACLE Racing (Adam Minoprio), 4/5, 4 points
6) Team Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (José Maria Ponce), 3/6, 3 points
7) Team Aqua (Cameron Appleton), 3/6, 3 points
8) Katusha (Paul Cayard), 3/6, 3 points
9) Team Austria (Christian Binder), 2/7, 2 points