The RC 44 Championship Tour final event started today with the practice race. The conditions were absolutely perfect, with 15 knots of breeze and a big swell. “This particular wind is very rare in Dubai”, commented the Regatta Chief Executive Saeed Harib during the event's opening press conference this morning. “It was blowing last time the RC 44's were in Dubai, and it is there again today. I think the Class has taken a subscription.”
Starting perfectly at the Committee boat end of the line and tacking immediately to the right of the course, Team Austria – helmed by René Mangold – dominated most of the race, giving the victory away to Team Aqua and BMW ORACLE Racing in the last gibe. The Team from the UAE chose not to cross the line, letting the Americans win the regatta. Unfortunately, the forecast for the coming days isn't as good and the usual sea breeze should be back.
Ten RC 44 one-designs representing nine nations are competing this week for the Sea Dubai RC 44 Gold Cup and the season's overall trophies. Organised by Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC), the event starts tomorrow and Thursday with a full match race round robin and carries on until Sunday with the fleet regatta. The points will count for double.
Talking about their strategy for the event, both Dean Barker and Cameron Appleton – skippers of the two leading teams – said that they would sail their race without looking too much at their opponent. “We will sail this race like any other race”, commented Appleton. Barker replied: “We hope to be as lucky as we were last time.”
Skipper of the local entry Team Sea Dubai, Markus Wieser explained that his team had been training hard over the past few days and that he expects a good results, at least in the top five. “The pressure is on”, he concluded.
The teams involved:
(Name of team, owner, pro sailor)
Team Aqua, Chris Bake / Cameron Appleton
Team Ceeref, Igor Lah / Rod Davis
Team Sea Dubai, Yousef Lahej, DIMC / Markus Wieser
BMW ORACLE Racing, Neville Crichton / Ian Vickers
Team Organika, Maciej Nawrocki / Karol Jablonski
Puerto Calero Islas Canarias, Daniel Calero / Jose Maria Ponce
Artemis, Torbjorn Tornqvist / Dean Barker
No Way Back, Pieter Heerema / Ray Davies
Team Austria, René Mangold / Christian Binder
Team Katusha, Paul Cayard / Bob Little