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16 October 2010, 09:10 am
James Spithill Wins Inaugural RC44 Worlds
Spithill
James Spithill and the yacht 17 team celebrate

RC44 World Championship 2010
Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Australian James Spithill, Anders Myralf of Denmark and the international crew of the yacht 17 concluded a banner week in the Canary Islands by winning the inaugural RC 44 World Championship for the Islas Canarias Puerto Calero Cup.
After three days of match racing at the outset of the week, the regatta wrapped up with the conclusion of the fleet racing, which counted ten races in total. The yacht 17 won the match racing and finished second in the fleet racing to claim the championship.

James Spithill, Myralf and the 17 crew entered the day in the lead, but an early start in one race and penalties in the other two nearly scuttled their regatta.

"We're feeling great," said Spithill, 31, of Sydney, Australia. "It was a tough day on the water for us. We tried to stay clean but got tangled up a couple of times. It was really unpredictable on the water, but at the end of day we hung tough and got it done."

Heading into the final heat of the fleet racing portion of the regatta the top three boats - No Way Back, BMW ORACLE Racing and 17 - were within one point of the title.

No Way Back and 17 each had to perform penalty turns in the race, which allowed BMW ORACLE Racing, led by tactician Russell Coutts and local helmsman Jose Juan Calero to claim the win.

"I'm very grateful to Russell Coutts and Mr. Ellison for giving me an opportunity to steer the boat," said Calero, whose family hosted the regatta at the Puerto Calero Marina. "It means a lot for me because we organized the event as well. It was very stressful at times, but big fun at the end of each race."

No Way Back, led by owner Pieter Heerema of The Netherlands and tactician Ray Davies of New Zealand, finished third in the fleet racing with 55 points. Coupled with their sixth-place finish in the match racing, they placed third overall.

"It was a great event. I love Lanzarote and Puerto Calero," said Heerema, last year's RC 44 season champion. "Being third makes me very happy. We've struggled a bit this season. We've just never sailed to our level. We were feeling we were sliding down, but to be a strong contender before the last race makes us feel good."

Top honors on the final day of racing went to Chris Bake's Team Aqua, with New Zealander Cameron Appleton calling tactics. Team Aqua posted the low score of 6 points on finishes of 1-1-4, a welcome day after two days of struggles.

"We redeemed ourselves a bit; finally figured out the racecourse and got our boat figured out," said Bake, who swept all three titles at the previous RC 44 event in Valencia. "It was massively difficult out there with the shifts and the bias in the course. It felt good to be leading the pack again."

With just the Miami RC 44 Cup remaining on the schedule, BMW ORACLE Racing leads the season standings with 8 points, followed by No Way Back with 10 points, 17 with 12 points, Artemis with 12 points and Team Aqua with 15 points.

The Miami RC 44 Cup is scheduled for 7 to 12 December.

Event Website

Bernard Schopfer
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