|AEZ RC44 Sailing Team with good setup in San Diego |
New racing format brings tailwind for smaller teams.
The AEZ RC44 Sailing Team is way up front, not least alphabetically in the list of participants, but thanks to a new rule, which makes life easier for smaller crews with more amateurs on board, the Austrians and their AUT44 will set a course to gradually move up the rankings. In 2011, the carbon yachts, mercilessly trimmed to improve sportsmanship, will be in action for four of the five days of fleet racing, i.e. raced by their owners. The match races with the 'pros' at the wheel will only take place on one day. The new competition mode was trialled at the Oracle RC44 San Diego Cup that took place from 2nd to 6th March. The AUT44 achieved the ninth place overall and achieved its best result in the fleet racing discipline.
Even though one of the stars of the team, Christian Binder, was unable to participate due to another event, the setup was good. In California, his place was taken by Peter Evans. The New Zealander is a five-time America's Cup participant and has previously won the coveted trophy for his country and for Switzerland. Evans took over the helm depending on the competition category or showed off his talents as a tactician. He was ably assisted by two new arrivals in the pit and on the grinders, Eberhard Magg (all halyards and lots of sheet ropes) and Manuel Jesus Farrias. They supported old hands Markus Schelsinger, Stefan Glanz, Clemens Kruse, Werner Jettmer and owner René Mangold. After the first races Norbert Frohner, General Manager of sponsor AEZ, is looking forward to the new RC44 season, “In San Diego, we expected strong opposing winds from our competitors and this challenge won’t become easier, but a good sailing crew can still gain speed against the wind.” After America, the RC44 racing circus moves on to Austria (Gmunden) from 10th to 15th May; and that means home advantage for AUT44.