Russell Coutts talks about the starting of the RC44 event in Lanzarote.
[Source: RC44 Class Association] The first three medals of the inaugural RC 44 World Championship for the Islas Canarias Puerto Calero Cup were awarded today in recognition of the match racing portion of the regatta.
Jimmy Spithill and the 17 crew won the gold, Terry Hutchinson and Artemis the silver and Russell Coutts and BMW ORACLE Racing the bronze.
Spithill, a winner in 2005 of the ISAF World Match Racing Championship, defeated Hutchinson 2-0 to claim the championship that began yesterday afternoon and concluded today.
"It feels fantastic, very satisfying. We were up against some tough conditions and top competition," said the 31-year-old Spithill, who won his first match racing regatta on the RC 44 circuit. "As a team we’re sailing a lot better than when we first came into the class this year. Before this event we did a lot of preparation with our coach, Philippe Presti, and our teammates."
Both races were sailed in light, streaky winds. Spithill and 17 won yesterday’s race with breathing room, but were under pressure to follow it up today. The 17 crew fell behind on the first leg and trailed for most of the race before nipping Artemis at the finish by 1 second.
"It’s like a swift kick in the crotch," said the ever-honest Hutchinson. "Credit to Jimmy and those guys for doing what they had to do. We sailed a loose race and tried to pick the shifts. Some went for us and some against, but we still led at the last top mark comfortably."
Coutts and his BMW ORACLE Racing crew won the bronze medal by defeating Paul Cayard and Katusha by a similar score of 2-0.
Coutts and crew held a slim lead at the first windward mark of their second race. After the rounding both boats performed a jibe set to starboard tack, but Katusha had trouble completing the maneuver and had to jibe back to port. That allowed BMW ORACLE Racing to gain control through the rest of the match.
"We’re pretty happy," said mainsail trimmer Dirk de Ridder. "The conditions were real dodgy. Yesterday we had a huge lead, like half a leg, and only won by one length. That’s part of sailing in these conditions."
In other racing, Cameron Appleton led Team Aqua to fifth place by defeating Ray Davies and No Way Back, 2-0.
Rod Davis and Ceeref defeated Markus Wieser and Sea Dubai also by a 2-0 score to place seventh and relegate Sea Dubai to eighth.
Racing resumes tomorrow with the commencement of fleet racing. All 13 boats will line up with amateur helmsmen in a series scheduled through Saturday with a maximum of four races per day.
RC 44 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP ISLAS CANARIAS PUERTO CALERO CUP
Match Racing Final
1. 17 (USA) Jimmy Spithill – 8-1
2. Artemis (SWE) Terry Hutchinson – 6-3
3. BMW ORACLE Racing (USA) Russell Coutts – 5-3
4. Katusha (RUS) Paul Cayard – 3-5
5. Team Aqua (UAE) Cameron Appleton – 7-2
6. No Way Back (NED) Ray Davies – 4-4
7. Ceeref (SLO) Rod Davis – 5-3
8. Team Sea Dubai (UAE) Markus Weiser – 4-5
9. Mascalzone Latino (ITA) Vincenzo Onorato
10. AEZ RC 44 Sailing Team (AUT) Christian Binder
11. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) Daniel Calero
12. Peninsula Petroleum (ESP) John Bassadone
13. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS) Evgeniy Neugodnikov