Chris Bake’s Team Aqua, led by New Zealand skipper Cameron Appleton, today won the match racing portion of the ORACLE RC 44 Cup Miami.
The close victory over Torbjorn Tornqvist’s Artemis Racing, led by American skipper Terry Hutchinson, also gave Team Aqua the season championship under the match racing format.
“It’s a great testament to the team and the work Cam has done,” said Bake, who’s been in the class since its inception. “He’s been consistent all year, especially on the match racing side. It makes me proud to see them win today.”
Hutchinson and Artemis won the start of the race, but Appleton was able to get to the right side of the racecourse and then used the advantage of starboard tack to gain control of the match near the first mark.
Team Aqua then fended off repeated challenges from Artemis to grab the double championship.
“Terry did a nice job in the pre-start and won comfortably, but we broke free and took advantage of a right shift the guys saw, and that was the difference,” said Appleton.
“Winning the match racing championship is a big highlight of the year. We feel we sailed well all year and the guys on board have done a fantastic job. It’s a strong crew to sail with,” Appleton said.
Hutchinson, known for his succinctness, summed the final up in one sentence: “We won the start, let him get to the right, and that was that.”
With the finish Artemis moved into second place in the match racing season championship, leap-frogging BMW ORACLE Racing, which placed sixth today and fell from a tie for first to third overall.
“We’re out there trying to do the best we can each race and whatever happens happens,” said headsail trimmer Ross Halcrow. “It was unfortunate we made a couple of unforced errors at the start of the round robin and that’s put us where we are.”
In other racing today Vincenzo Onorato’s Mascalzone Latino finished third with a victory over Synergy Russian Sailing Team, which placed fourth. Team Sea Dubai placed fifth by beating BMW ORACLE Racing in a close match.
RC 44 World Champion James Spithill guided the yacht 17 to a win over No Way Back to place seventh and relegate No Way Back to eighth.
Katusha beat Ceeref in the race for ninth and 10th, class newcomer Ironbound finished 11th with a win over Peninsula Petroleum, and Islas Canarias Puerto Calero returned from a broken mast on the first day to defeat AEZ RC 44 Sailing Team to place 13th.
Although Bake watched his crew win the title from off the boat, he’ll be at the helm for the upcoming fleet racing and finds great pleasure in setting aside his day-to-day worries for a brief time.
“For me, with limited time away from work and great passion for sailing, I can’t think of a better format to come out and test my skills,” said Bake, who’s been in the class since Day 1. “I have a challenging time on the water and a sociable and enjoyable time off it. We all have a lot on, but when I step on the boat I park my day-to-day things and focus on the boat and getting into gear, and that feels great. There’s nothing quite like it. It’s got me hooked.”
Image © Nico Martinez / RC44 Class Association