Santa Margherita (IT), 7 September 2007 – Big blue sky and warm sunshine – perfect weather for a beach party. Instead it meant challenging conditions for the RC44 fleet in the first round of match racing at the RC44 SLAM Cup. Following on from yesterday’s fleet racing, the professionals stepped up the to plate and met their rivals on the start line for five close races.
All bets were on for the showdown between three-time America’s Cup winner, Russell Coutts and Luna Rossa’s talented former helmsman James Spithill in flight three. The sharp Australian versus the legendary Kiwi did not disappoint spectators. It was a straight forward pre-start, but thanks to a bit of local knowledge from guest crew member, Corrado Isenburg, Team OMEGA smoothly won the match.
Spithill and Team Ceeref swiftly shifted gears for the next flight and were the only team of the day to beat fleet leaders Team AQUA, helmed by Cameron Appleton.
After the racing, Coutts was quick to admit that he was feeling “a bit out of practice”, but that this was about to change. Coutts indicated that he sees more match racing in the future for the RC44 Class as more America’s Cup sailors, possibly even teams, join the fleet. “We are even considering the possibility of splitting the fleet and match racing next year,” added Coutts.
Japanese Team Beecom were the only team to beat both Coutts and Spithill on the water today. While Team Cro-a sail with helmsman Jesper Radich, another sailor at the top of the World Match Racing Tour leader board, also expressed satisfaction with three out of five wins today.
This evening, the teams will enjoy cocktails at the Yacht Club Italiano in Portofino before returning to Santa Margherita- the perfect setting for tonight’s crew party at Delano Beach hosted by SLAM.
RC44 SLAM Cup
Overall Fleet Racing Results - Provisional Ranking – no discard
1) Team Aqua (1,1,1,2) 5 points
2) Team Ceeref (4,2,2,3) 11 points
3) Team Omega (3,4,4,1) 12 points
4) Team Beecom (6,3,3,4) 16 points
5) Team Lightbay (Magia), (2,5,5,5) 17 points
6) Team Cro-a-sail (5,6,7,6) 24 points
Match racing final results: (Name of team, wins, losses, points)
1) Team Aqua (4/1) 4 points
2) Team Omega (3/2) 3 points
3) Team Cro-A-Sail (3/2) 3 points
4) Team Beecom (3/2) 3 points
5) Team Ceeref (2/3) 2 points
6) Team Light Bay (0/5) 0 points