The breeze really kicked in on for the final day of racing at the RC44 Sweden Cup in Marstrand.
Forecasters had predicting anything from 12-30 knots from the south, east or west; as the 12 competing RC44 teams headed out to the race course no-one knew quite what to expect. Ironbound (USA) won the only race of the day before the breeze reached 30 knots and the fleet were sent ashore. Team Aqua's
(GBR) fourth place was easily enough for Chris Bake's team to win their second event of the season, but the fight for the remaining podium positions went down to the wire.
Racing got underway on time in a 20 knot southerly breeze. Two teams, Peninsula Petroleum (GBR) and Katusha (RUS) were called over the start early. Synergy (RUS) looked like the early leader on the far left of the course until the rain came pouring down and the wind shifted 20 degrees to the right halfway up the first beat, switching the standings. Ironbound coming in from the middle right led at the top mark from Torbjorn Tornqvist's Artemis Racing. The shift helped Katusha recover to fourth from their premature start. Early leaders Synergy rounded last with Team Aqua in ninth.
With the wind increasing Artemis Racing were first to suffer a broach down the run, a slow recovery saw the Swedish team drop from second to twelfth by the leeward gate. Team Nika were the next to fall, after fishing with their gennaker Vladimir Prosikhin's team retired with ripped sail, two snapped battens and a broken hatch.
By the finish Ironbound had extended their lead to take their second win of the event, Beijing Olympic gold medallist Paul Goodison calling the shots for owner David Murphy. Katusha, with Andy Horton calling the shots for Steve Howe, finished second followed by Brian Benjamin's Aegir Racing (GBR) in third.
Cameron Appleton guided Team Aqua up through the fleet to finish fourth and win the 2013 RC44 Sweden Cup convincingly. Synergy's recovery to seventh place was just enough for the Russian team to take second place overall, their best ever fleet race result in three seasons of competing on the RC44 Tour.
Speaking after their second event victory this season, Team Aqua's owner driver Chris Bake knows they are the target and they need to continue to improve to stay ahead in this ever increasingly competitive fleet. "The team sailed phenomenally well this week, it's interesting that there are so many boats that did really well at points this week and at other points they made mistakes, like being over early and blowing shoots out."
explained Bake. "I'm slightly in awe of all the other boats and how quickly they have come up to speed, with a little bit more work they're going to be right there and it will be key for us to keep the pressure on ourselves."
With second to fourth places all tied on 48 points, the count back went to Synergy then Aegir Racing. Early leaders Peninsula Petroleum (John Bassadone /Vasco Vascotto) were disappointed to just miss out on the top three.
Aegir Racing's third place was their first ever podium position at an RC44 event since purchasing the ex ORACLE Racing at the end of last year. Owner Brian Benjamin, who is maybe better known for competing on the mini-maxi circuit, gave this thought on the teams success in Sweden. "What impressed me most this regatta was our consistency, I think our worst result was a eighth so we were very pleased with that. This is Ian's [Williams] second regatta so he took on a bigger role here, we're hopefully settling into our stride, my driving is getting better but I think the conditions suited us, it was pretty windy but the waves were manageable most of the time."
After three events in the 2013 RC44 Championship Tour overall standing, Team Aqua lead from Katusha and Synergy. The Tour now moves to Cascais, Portugal for the penultimate round of the season from 2nd-6th October.