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23 April 2007, 02:15 pm
Cro-A-Sail Conquers
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Croatia Boat Show Cup 2007
Split, Croatia

Team Aqua finished overall winner of the Portoroz Cup, the first leg of the 2007 RC 44 Championship Tour. Having won both the fleet and the match race events, Chris BAKE's (NZL) team - with a 21 year old talent at the helm - left no chances to Cro-A-Sail and Team Omega.
With Chris BAKE (NZL) back at the helm, Team Aqua left no chances to its competitors, winning two out of three races to take the fleet racing trophy of the Croatia Boat Show Cup, ahead of Team Omega and Cro-A-Sail. However, the local Croatian team is the overall winner of the event thanks to its victory in the match racing event. Team Aqua finished second, ahead of Team Omega, Beecom, Magia Alikè and Ekipa 44.

The sailing conditions were once again perfect today in Split, allowing three fleet races to be sailed in a 10-12 knots sea breeze and under a blazing sunshine. With only four points between the top three teams, the last racing day was full of promises. The racing got closer than ever as the day progressed, the teams being separated by a few seconds on the arrival line.

The first race saw the domination of Team Omega, with Patrick DE BARROS (POR) at the helm and Russell COUTTS (NZL) calling the shots. After taking the best start, Team Omega controlled the fleet to win the event ahead of Team Aqua and Beecom (JPN). Sailing for a top three position, Ekipa 44 lost all its chances when it got penalized by the jury for 'aggressive tacking' ahead of a competitor.

Race 2 proved to be the closest regatta of the day, Team Aqua winning with a five seconds margin over Team Omega. After missing their start completely, BAKE and his team had no other choice than to sail to the right of the course, unlike all the other teams who chose the left. At the windward mark, the leader was… Team Aqua; a position they maintained throughout the race despite Team Omega's constant attacks.

Finally, the third race was marked by a very spectacular windward mark rounding. Stuck between Beecom and Ekipa 44, Cro-A-Sail lost speed, nerves and their hopes of victory, ending up at the rear of the fleet. Team Aqua later on benefited from a mistake by Team Omega to take the lead of the fleet and cross the arrival line, appropriately moored at the heart of Split harbour, a few hundred metese away from the stunning old town.

The smiles on the faces of the sailors on the pontoon told better than words how happy they were with this very successful event.

Miroslav RELJANOVIC (CRO) from Team Cro-A-Sail said, 'We are extremely happy with our week. The racing just becomes more and more interesting and I enjoy it immensely.'

Bernard Schopfer (As Amended By ISAF). Image, The RC 44s sailing towards the arrival line during the second race :© Ivan Bura
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