It went down to the last hurdle between BMW ORACLE Racing and their America's Cup team mates on board RC 44 Challenge, with both teams separated by three points ahead of the last race.
"We didn't think we were still in a position to win the race", confessed tactician John Kostecki at the end of the day. "If we had known this, I guess we would have done some things slightly differently". Nevertheless, the tandem Kostecki / Spithill and their amateur helmsman Ian Vickers couldn't have done much better in this last race, winning by a comfortable margin.
The outcome of the fleet race therefore unfolded behind, in a very tough battle between five teams competing for a podium position. BMW ORACLE Racing started the last race in the middle of the line and struggled to find clear air. The team then spent the regatta swapping places with No Way Back, Islas Canarias Puerto Calero and Ceeref, trying hard to keep as close as possible to the leader. BMW ORACLE Racing eventually crossed the finish line in fourth, just a couple of meters ahead of the Spaniards after overtaking them during the last run; a move that proved to be synonymous with overall victory.
The fight for the third place on the podium also proved superb, with four teams separated by one point ahead of the last race. Pieter Heerema's No Way Back - unlucky early in the day when it got stuck in a fishing line and had to send a crewmember in the freezing cold waters of Lake Traunsee to cut the line off - fought its way back up the ranking, finishing third in the last race and third overall ahead of Team Sea Dubai and Ceeref.
Both Artemis, Katusha and Team Aqua - used to the spotlights - suffered today. Team Aqua and Artemis - the winners of the last event in Dubai - finished respectively 9th and 7th in the fleet regatta. As for Katusha, 8th in the final ranking, its situation is quite different: the boat owner - Guennadi Timtchenko - started sailing for the first time during this regatta. He did a great job, staying in touch throughout the event thanks to the help of his coach, Paul Cayard
Winner of both the match and fleet race, BMW ORACLE Racing conquers the RC 44 Austria Cup; a ranking based on the combination of both fleet and match racing. No Way Back finishes second and RC 44 Challenge third.
Thanks to their third place overall in Dubai and Austria, No Way Back currently leads the RC 44 Championship Tour 2010 ahead of Artemis and Team Sea Dubai.
Nicholas Verwilghen, helmsman, BMW ORACLE Racing: "I felt very bad when we finished the first race today in ninth… Then we won two regattas and finally secured the title in the fourth, so I come out of it OK. I absolutely loved it today, it was great. I hadn't steered an RC 44 for over a year so it took me a little while to get the right feeling. I also found that Russell was much more relaxed than when I sailed with him in the past. But he still shouted at me when I messed a tack"
John Kostecki, tactician, RC 44 Challenge: "The wind was quite shifty and it was difficult to control today: sometimes you take more risks if you try to cover another boat and I felt it was one of those situations. Having said this, if I had known that there were only three points between us and BMW ORACLE Racing in the last race, I would probably have done some things differently."
Daniel Calero, owner, Islas Canarias Puerto Calero: "We had a great day today (2, 3, 5). The crew was fantastic, our tactician Gustavo Martinez Doreste did a great job and I was feeling well at the helm. Our level has definitely improved a lot since last year. We are much more competitive."
Harm Muller Spreer, helmsman, Team Sea Dubai: "I needed some time to feel comfortable at the helm and today I am very happy that it happened. It's an incredible feeling for me to beat guys like Terry Hutchinson. It's the beauty of one-designs: all the boats have similar performances and the teams make the difference. It's just the best."
Fleet race, final results after eight races: Ranking, name of team, helmsman, results, points (no discard)
1) BMW ORACLE Racing, Larry Ellison / Nicholas Verwilghen, 1, 2, 8, 2,9,1,1,4 - 28 points
2) RC 44 Challenge, Ian Vickers, 3, 5, 2, 3, 3, 5, 6, 1 - 28 points
3) Team No Way Back, Pieter Heerema, 2, 1, 3, 8, 8, 9, 5, 3 - 39 points
4) Team Sea Dubai, Harm Muller Spreer, 6, 4, 10, 6, 1, 3, 2, 9 - 41 points
5) CEEREF, Igor Lah, 10, 3, 1, 1, 10, 6, 9, 2 - 42 points
6) Team Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, Daniel Calero, 5, 7, 5, 10, 7, 2, 3, 5 - 44 points
7) Artemis, Torbjorn Tornqvist, 4, 9, 4, 5, 4, 4, 7, 7 - 44 points
8) Katusha, Guennadi Timtchenko, 8, 6, 9, 7, 2, 8, 10, 6 - 56 points
9) Team Aqua, Chris Bake, 7, 10, 7, 4, 5, 10, 8, 8 - 59 points
10) AEZ RC44 Sailing Team, René Mangold, 9, 8, 6, 9, 6, 7, 4, 10 - 59 points
RC 44 Austria Cup - Ranking, team, match race, fleet race, points:
1) BMW ORACLE Racing, 1, 1 - 2 points
2) Team No Way Back, 4, 3 - 7 points
3) RC 44 Challenge, 6, 2 - 8 points
4) Team Sea Dubai, 5, 4 - 9 points
5) Katusha, 3, 8 - 11 points
6) Team Aqua, 2, 9 - 11 points
7) CEEREF, 8, 5 - 13 points
8) Artemis, 7, 7 - 14 points
9) Team Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, 9, 6 - 15 points
10) AEZ RC44 Sailing Team, 10, 10 - 20 points
During events, news items, results, photos and updates are posted on the Class website throughout the day at www.rc44.com/en/live/