Three bullet Bake
Chris Bake seemed to light the touch paper on board his Team Aqua during the second day of fleet racing at the RC44 Valletta Cup.
The longest serving RC44 crew seemed to be in a different league as they achieved a perfect scoreline, winning three out of three races despite challenging conditions off the Maltese capital.
While the forecast suggested there were going to be some headaches today with the wind starting in the 20s, dropping and shifting right dramatically, in fact conditions were more benign but with a long swell making life difficult for the helms and crews on port tack in towards the Valletta shore.
In the first race, Team Aqua tactician Cameron Appleton found a good lane off the start and quickly tacking off to the favoured right.
He then kept it simple, sailing out to the starboard layline which he called perfectly to take Team Aqua directly to the top mark in first place ahead of Katusha. From there they defended well with Artemis Racing Youth pulling up to second behind them on the first run.
Race two and the right was less favoured. With teams instead playing the middle of the first beat it was Frenchman Hugues Lepic’s Aleph Racing which fought her way to the top mark in first.
But Team Aqua was close behind in second, rounding alongside Nico Poons’ Charisma. While Aleph Racing gybed immediately, Team Aqua left it a little longer and by the time they gybed back Bake’s team was out in front, rounding the leeward gate ahead of Charisma and with TorbjörnTörnqv is t’ s Artemis Racing, positions which were maintained to the finish.
Chris Bake’s team performed a similar feat in the third and final race of the day by which the time the wind had dropped to around 10-12 knots while the long swell was now causing boats to disappear in the troughs.
This time it was Vladimirs Br one no sec Sailing Team which was first to the weather mark, but once again Team Aqua was on the leader’s transom while behind there was a virtual gridlock as the rest of the RC44s attempting to round the mark simultaneously.
On this occasion Bronenosec continued on starboard and Team Aqua was the first to gybe and managed to find a lower mode causing her to roll the Russian tea and lead into the gate with Bronenosec and Team CEEREF astern overlapped.
The final run turned into a three horse race with Team Aqua successfully fending off advancing Teams CEEREF and Nika.
With her perfect scoreline, Team Aqua has soared into the lead at the RC44 Valletta Cup. Aside from Chris Bake’s team, today’s races were expensive in terms of points even for the top teams.
As results Team Aqua now holds a nine point lead over Artemis Racing and Katusha with two days of fleet racing left to sail.