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17 December 2007, 10:20 am
COUTTS' Takes Honours In Dubai
The RC 44s sail in the middle of a forest of cranes
The RC 44s sail in the middle of a forest of cranes, in Dubai's Palm

Dubai Gold Cup 2007
Dubai, UAE

Russel COUTTS' Team Omega conquers the Dubai Gold Cup, whilst Chris BAKE and Team Aqua were crowned 2007 RC 44 champions.
The Gold Cup ended up in style on Sunday, with two superb fleet races and an interesting coastal race through the surprising Dubai Palm. Held in fairly light wind, Sunday's first fleet race saw Patrick DE BARROS' first victory on board Team ES Bankers Dubai, ahead of Team Omega and Team Aqua. DE BARROS started the race at the pin end of the line, at full speed, and dominated the entire regatta: the left side of the course was clearly the place to be.

Already a clear dominator in the fleet event since day one of the Gold Cup, Team Omega, with Vittorio CODECASA at the helm, got a fourth bullet in the eighth and last fleet regatta, giving his team a comfortable lead over its competitors before the concluding coastal race.

Behind Omega, the situation was particularly interesting with four teams fighting for the second place: Team Aqua, Ceeref, Hiroshi and ES Bankers, just separated by a handful of points.

The coastal race took the eight RC 44s in the inner waters of the Dubai Palm - a surprising real estate development shaped as a palm. There has probably never in history been a sailing regatta surrounded by so many cranes!

One team wanted to win this coastal race more than anybody else: Chris BAKE's Team Aqua. Based in Dubai, BAKE had his family and many friends on the water to look at his passion. No doubt they got the show they were expecting! Indeed, Igor LAH's Team Ceeref took a better start and dominated the first part of the race. As he reached the second windward mark, BAKE opted for a jibe set and managed to gain a few metres over Ceeref; just enough to gain the interior at the next leeward mark. Despite LAH and James SPITHILL's numerous attacks, the Aqua boys remained in the lead throughout, jumping in the second place of the fleet ranking thanks to this victory; a result that also allows them to grab the second place overall ahead of Team Ceeref.

As for Russell COUTTS and his Team Omega, he wins the Dubai Gold Cup after having won the fleet race and finished second of the match race. COUTTS commented, "It's good to finally win a race! The level of the class is increasing; you just need to see that Team Aqua was dominating earlier on this season and that there are now many teams capable of beating them."

The Dubai Gold Cup was the last regatta of the RC 44 Championship Tour 2007. After dominating the entire reason, with five event victories, BAKE, Cameron APPLETON and all the boys from Team Aqua are crowned 2007 RC 44 Champions. Sailing superbly since the beginning of the season, BAKE and APPLETON (respectively owner and pro skipper) have managed to put together a strong crew and keep the same team throughout the year, which is with no doubt one of the recipes to their success.

Interviewed a few seconds before being thrown in the water, a delighted BAKE said, "This last victory is a nice ending to a phenomenal season and we certainly finish this event better than we started it! The coastal race was great; it allowed us to test all our points of sailing."

Team Aqua's crewmembers are: Jeff BROCK, Matt CASSIDY, Andrew ESTCOURT, Ben GRAHAM, Kevin KELBLE and Scott KENNEDY.

RC 44 Championship Tour - www.rc44.com
Bernard Schopfer (As Amended By ISAF)
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