After nine matches and eight victories, Cameron Appleton and his crew members on board Team Aqua have won the RC 44 Copenhagen Cup match race in style.
BMW ORACLE Racing finishes second whilst Artemis completes the podium. The pressure was on Team Aqua for the last day of the match race event. Unbeaten until the final day of match racing, Chris Bake's team - helmed by Cameron Appleton - had three difficult duals ahead, against Team Sea Dubai, Ceeref and Artemis.
The first race of the day was a copy-paste of the previous days' for the Aqua boys, who benefited from their opponent's premature start to sail away and win an easy point. Next came a race that could prove decisive, against Ceeref. The Slovenian team skippered by Rod Davis - second overall previously - had the mathematical possibility to win the contest by beating Aqua and then winning their last match against Paul Cayard's Katusha, on little form in this event.
Team Aqua and Ceeref started even and exchanged tacks throughout the first beat. The decisive moment of the race took place when Aqua - on port tack - surprised Ceeref by dipping them, gaining the inside at the top mark and winning the race and the title thanks to this move. As for Ceeref, it went on to loose the next match against Katusha, ending up sixth overall…
Out of the five teams who were on a tie in third in the morning, BMW ORACLE Racing, Artemis and No Way Back had the best day, winning three matches each and thus remaining on a tie, with BMW ORACLE Racing grabbing the second spot overall ahead of Artemis and No Way Back thanks to their direct confrontations.
Another happy team is the Austrian team AEZ, winner of their match against Paul Cayard's Katusha and eighth overall - their best result in a match race so far. Team AEZ recently announced the appointment of Gerd Habermüller - a retired top bobsled athlete, 185 centimetres and 105 kilograms of muscles - and their team going from nine to eight crewmembers.
Thursday is the practice day for the fleet regatta, due to start on Friday.
Cameron Appleton, helmsman, Team Aqua: "We knew that the match against Ceeref would be decisive but we didn't want to do anything differently. It went our way: we wanted the left and we got the left; then we managed to dip them; we made as if we were going to tack, and then brutally bore away, which gave us the inside at the top mark. This has been a great series for us; I am very happy for the team and for myself. We've also had a lot of fun."
Russell Coutts, tactician, BMW ORACLE Racing: "It was mainly down to reading the shifts correctly today, and also to the trimming of the sails because it was very choppy. It was good for us to have a good day because I felt that we gave some races away yesterday. We are very happy to finish second."
Jes Gram Hansen, helmsman, Team Sea Dubai: "I am happy to be back sailing at a top level. I used to sail with the RC 44 Class a while ago, and it is nice to see how much the Class has evolved. The level is really high, the teams are superb. I also enjoy sailing on my home waters, and seeing my friends and family."
Rod Davis, helmsman, Ceeref: "We knew the situation when we started our match against Aqua. They did a very good job at dipping us; they also benefited from a moment when we had a cell of bad wind over us; we were just sailing ten degrees lower than them; it was quite frustrating. It hasn't been a very good day for us; we were struggling with our speed and it made our life tough."
Ray Davies, tactician, No Way Back: "This has been a good event for us, with six wins and three losses. The last race was quite unpredictable; however the rest of the event has been fantastic, with great conditions. Our team is usually very good under pressure. We tend to keep the same attitude whatever the situation is and it usually pays off."
Match-race, final results after twelve flights: (Ranking, name of team, helmsman, No of victories / defeats, points)
1) Team Aqua (Cameron Appleton), 8/1 - 8 points
2) BMW ORACLE Racing (Russell Coutts / Larry Ellison), 6/3 - 6 points
3) Artemis (Terry Hutchinson), 6/3 - 6 points
4) Team No Way Back (Pieter Heerema / Ray Davies), 6/3 - 6 points
5) 17 (James Spithill), 5/4 - 5 points
6) CEEREF (Rod Davis), 5/4 - 5 points
7) Team Sea Dubai (Jes Gram Hansen), 4/5 - 3 points
8) AEZ RC 44 Sailing Team (Christian Binder), 2/7 - 2 points
9) Katusha (Paul Cayard), 2/7 - 2 points
10) Team Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (José Maria Ponce), 1/8 - 1 point