Thursday, 12 May 2011

RC44: World class match racers and first timers take the stage at the RC44 Austria Cup

Vladimir Prosikhin at the helm during his first RC44 Match Race. Image copyright Nico Martinez.

by Jessica Gray

The RC44 class had a mix of world class match racers along with match race novices fighting it out for honours at the RC44 Austria Cup today.

Mathieu Richard (FRA) was runner up at the 2010 World Match Racing Tour, today he was at the helm of the new Aleph Sailing Team’s RC44. He finished the day with two wins, but lost to on form boats – Team Aqua and ORACLE Racing.

It was Russell Coutts steering ORACLE Racing who finished the day undefeated, winning three tough matches against Katusha, with Paul Cayard at the helm, Aleph and Team Aqua.

Chris Bake may have missed the first competitive outing of his newly christened Team Aqua, but Cameron Appleton and the team did a great job with four out of five wins, leaving them at the top of the RC44 match racing leaderboard after two events.

“We went out there just wanting to do the basics right, feel our way in to it, but the new boat is fantastic.” Explained tactician and match racing helm Cameron Appleton (NZL). “It’s almost like we haven't changed boats. We've still got a few things to learn with the new sails, new mast, new everything, but it’s been a good day.”

Winners of the RC44 Austria Cup Match Racing: Team Aqua, sailing their brand new boat. Image copyright Nico Martinez.

Another man who was very pleased with his results today was Russian technology entrepreneur Vladimir Prosikhin, at the helm of his newly acquired Team Nika. The team finished the day with two defeats,but two race wins against Artemis Racing and No Way Back. “This is my first match race ever, my first race in a RC44 and my first race on the lake in these tricky conditions, so I’m completely fresh. Today was just pure adrenaline for me, I enjoyed it so much and I hope it will be the same feeling tomorrow.” An elated Prosikhin said after racing.

The format now changes to fleet racing for the remaining four days of the event. Katusha leads the series, but tactician Paul Cayard is aware that sailing on a lake surrounded by mountains will be full of snakes and ladders. “Leading one event doesn't really mean much here, all the boats are really competitive and very equal. Racing in Lake Traunsee is always very difficult, the conditions are often a bit unstable and you need to take that in to account when you’re doing your tactics, there will be 10 or 12 races over the next few days maybe more, so you just have to try to avoid really bad finishes and try to realise that the race is never be over until it’s over and hang tough.”

The RC44 class also announced a new partnership today with BELUGA, Russia’s finest and most delectable vodka for the 2011 season.

The relationship between BELUGA and RC44 started in October 2010, when the Synergy Russian Sailing Team backed by BELUGA made its debut in RC44 Championship Tour. Two months later the finale of the 2010 Championship’s was celebrated with a BELUGA party.

Katusha and ORACLE Racing match racing at the RC44 Austria Cup. Image copyright GEPA pictures.

ORACLE Racing won the RC44 Austria Cup in 2010. Who will come out on top on Lake Traunsee will play out over the next few days.

For live video for each day's racing, click here

Match Racing Series Total
 (after two events)
1 Team Aqua (GBR) Chris Bake / Cameron Appleton - 8
2 ORACLE Racing (USA) Steve Howe / Russell Coutts - 7
3 Katusha (RUS) Gennady Timchenko / Paul Cayard - 6
4 Team Ceeref (SLO) Igor Lah / Michelle Ivaldi - 6
5 Artemis (SWE) Torbjorn Tornqvist / Morgan Larson - 6
6 Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) Daniel Calero /Jose Ponce-4
7 No Way Back (NED) Peiter Heerema /Tom Slingsby - 3
8 Peninsula Petroluem (GBR) John Bassadone / Inaki Castaner-3
9 Synergy (RUS) Zavadnikov Valentin / Evgeniy Neugodnikov - 3
10 Ironbound (USA) David Murphy / Peter Evans - 3
11 Team Nika (RUS) Vladimir Prosikhin / Tomislav Basic - 2
12 Aleph Sailing Team (FRA) Hugues Lepic / Mathieu Richard - 2
13 AEZ (AUS) Rene Mangold / Christian Binder - 1