Katusha crowned RC44 Oman Cup champ

With strong winds reaching speeds of up to 38 knots on Sunday, principal race officer Peter Reggio had no option but to call off the third and final day's fleet-racing in the 2013 RC44 Oman Cup at The Wave, Muscat.

The concluding day was expected to witness an intense battle between overnight leader Katusha of Russia and defending champion Team Aqua of Great Britain as only ten points separated the two teams at the top. With just a point's difference between Artemis Racing of Sweden and Team Nika of Russia for the third place, a lot was expected from the teams.

However, unfavourable weather conditions put paid to Sunday's action of the RC44 Oman Cup and Gennadi Timchenko’s Katusha claimed the top honours in the opening event of the Championship Tour.

The 13 teams did go out onto the race course on Sunday, but with gusts continuing, the teams were quickly dispatched ashore.

For Katusha, it was a highly successful event under new tactician Andy Horton. The team was undefeated on the match race day and then Steve Howe took over for the fleet-racing, winning four of the eight races, leading from start to finish.

“We had a great week. We hope we can keep up the wins for the rest of the season, but there are some great teams out here,” Horton said.

Chris Bake’s Team Aqua fought back to second overall after the team was docked 14 points plus three additional penalty points for an incident that led to Ironbound’s scoop ripping dramatically away from its hull.

However, tactician Cameron Appleton was looking at the positives. He said, “We have sailed a pretty good event. Obviously, Katusha had an unbelievable event, so congratulations to them. From our side, we reached all of our goals and objectives. We had one very costly incident, but to bounce back to second after that and produce some good results on the back of it, that was the positive. It (the jury process) has clarified how we could have protected ourselves to walk away with a few less points if we ever found ourselves in the situation again.”

Artemis Racing finished third overall after a slow start to the regatta. Team owner Torbjorn Tornqvist was satisfied with the result and looked forward to the next event in Trapani, Italy - another new venue for the class.

Tornqvist said, “It’s not a bad start to the season. I’m pleased after all the ups and downs with our results, in the end to finish in third place is not bad. I’m looking forward to Trapani, it will be another new venue for me. We will have a few crew changes to deal with due to the America’s Cup, which is never ideal, but we will find a solution.”

Issa al Ismaili, director of events at Oman Sail, said, “It has been a really good event for Oman Sail. The appreciation has been good from all sides. We were happy to hear from the sailors and visitors that the event here exceeded their expectations and opened their eyes to what Oman has to offer.”

The Standings

Fleet-racing: 1 Katusha (28 pts), 2 Team Aqua (38), 3 Artemis Racing (40), 4 Team Nika (41), 5 Synergy Russian Sailing Team (53), 6 RC44 Team CEEREF (57), 7 Ironbound (60), 8 Aegir Racing (61), 9 Rus-7 Sail Racing Team (62), 10 Lunajets Aleph Racing (63), 11 Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team (67), 12 Team Italia (77), 13 MAG Racing (83).

Match-racing: 1 Katusha (6 pts), 2 Lunajets Aleph Racing (4), 3 Aegir Racing (4), 4 Synergy Russian Sailing Team (4), 5 Team Aqua (3), 6 Artemis Racing (3), 7 RC44 Team CEEREF (3), 8 MAG Racing (2), 9 Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team (2), 10 Rus-7 Sailing Team (1), 11 Team Italia (1), 12 Ironbound (-1), 13 Team Nika (-1).

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