Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego Katusha closes

Paul Cayard and Russell Coutts celebrate with the customary champagne
spraying - Photo credit - Fried Elliott San Diego, Sunday 6th March 2011: The Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego ended with a fabulous victory by the Russian team Katusha, after five days of feverishly competitive sailing off Broadway Pier. Bob Little was on the wheel, with Paul Cayard calling the shots to almost close out the overall win in the first two races of the day. It left them sailing defensively for the final race, watching others wrestle it out for the remaining places on the podium.

Things didn’t look too good first thing this morning with heavy and ominous cloud over San Diego Bay, but the sun quickly broke through and the crews were sent out on time. The westerly built in the warm sunshine to around ten knots. Paul Cayard had said earlier in the week that it was all about getting in a position to win the regatta on the final day. A strong performance yesterday maintained a two-point lead over Team Aqua into the home straight. Now they just had to close the deal.

ORACLE Racing came back to finish second overall - Photo credit - Fried
Elliott They got a big helping hand early on – Team Aqua picked up two penalties in the first race and could only recover to a seventh. Meanwhile, Katusha were battling Larry Ellison’s ORACLE Racing for the race win. Katusha had to settle for second, but it was still enough to move out to a six point lead, as ORACLE Racing’s win leap-frogged them over Team Aqua to take second overall by a single point. Artemis had been fourth going into the day, but they also struggled, scoring a sixth and dropping eight points behind Team Aqua.

The second race of the day saw Artemis come back strong and a fine win put them back into the game. But the Katusha juggernaut was still rolling, and another second place gave them an almost unassailable lead of eight points, as ORACLE Racing and Team Aqua were left fighting for fourth place. It was settled at the last cross before the finish, when Team Aqua went left, ORACLE Racing went right... the right paid, and ORACLE Racing consolidated a three point lead for second place, as Synergy also slipped in between them and Team Aqua.

Team Katusha win the Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego - Photo credit - Fried
Elliott The wind then made the racers and the big crowd on Broadway Pier wait for the grand finale. The delay lasted just over half an hour and when it got going it was in the lightest conditions of the week. Katusha made sure they were in the same piece of water as the only boat that could beat them overall - ORACLE Racing.

Katusha’s helmsman Bob Little commented, ‘We just sailed real conservative and didn't push anything, just got the job done. That was it. Getting the two seconds [places] helped us out a lot, [we stayed consistent by] not pushing the line too hard, and not getting ourselves too separated from the boats we were close on points with... just sailing smart.’

Katusha may have had their worst race of the week, but they did what they had to do and followed in behind ORACLE Racing, who finished seventh. Both Team Aqua and Artemis came desperately close to taking advantage of ORACLE Racing’s result – Artemis finished third and Team Aqua fifth, both just one place short of forcing a tie-break that they would have won.

Stadium sailing at Broadway Pier - Nico Martinez It was a particularly satisfying win for Katusha’s tactician, Paul Cayard. ‘I lived here in San Diego for 12 years and it’s been fun to be here this week. It means a lot to win this regatta in a town that I spent so much of my life in, and it’s been fun seeing all of my friends from some time past. Congratulations to all the teams, these races are extremely tough and it’s a lot of fun.’

The man behind it all, Russell Coutts - the ‘RC’ in RC 44 - was also happy with his week. ‘We are happy with second place, it was a tough regatta for us, lots of difficult conditions, but we’re very happy. This regatta in San Diego is one of our best for sure, it was just a great venue, lots of variables on the race course, lots of people here and lots of interest, it’s been fantastic. We are hoping to be back here again.’

It was great news for SEA San Diego’s President John Laun, as he reflected on their first event, ‘This is the first event for the Sailing Events Association (SEA) of San Diego. We’re a non-profit association formed to bring exactly this sort of event to San Diego, to get the local people excited about sailing and to stimulate our local economy for travel and tourism.

‘It’s really has been fantastic... we’ve had great sailing, the conditions have been exactly perfect, the venue has been great, and we’ve had spectators on the shore all week, all along Harbour Island and San Diego Bay. We’ve exceeded our expectations for delivering a really good spectator friendly event. We would hope to have the RC44s back every year, we’ve had a great time with them.’

2011 RC44 Championship Tour dates:
2 – 6 March- Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego, USA
11 – 15 May- RC44 Austria Cup Gmunden, Austria
29 June – 3 July- Italy / France
17 – 21 August- RC44 Marstrand Cup, Sweden
28 September–2 October -Spain
15 – 20 November- 2011 RC44 World Championships, Puerto Calero, Lanzarote

List of entrants – Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego
AEZ RC44 Sailing Team (AUT)
Owner – Rene Mangold (AUT)
Professional Skipper – Peter Evans (NZL)

Artemis Racing (SWE)
Owner - Torbjorn Tornqvist (SWE)
Professional Skipper – Morgan Larson (USA)

Ironbound (USA)
Owner – David Murphy (USA)
Professional Skipper – Kevin Burnham (USA)

Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP)
Owner– Daniel Calero (ESP)
Professional Skipper - Jose Maria Ponce (ESP)

Katusha (RUS)
Professional Skipper – Paul Cayard (USA)

No Way Back   (NED)
Owner – Pieter Heerema (NED)
Professional Skipper – Rod Dawson (NZL)

Owner – Larry Ellison (USA)
Professional Skipper – Russell Coutts (NZL)

Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team (GBR)
Owner – John Bassadone (GBR)
Professional Skipper - Iñaki Castañer (ESP)

Owner – Igor Lah (SLO)
Professional Skipper –Michelle Ivaldi (ITA)

Synergy Russian Sailing Team  (RUS)
Owner – Valentin Zavadnikov (RUS)
Professional Skipper – Evgeniy Neugodnikov (RUS)

Team Aqua (UAE)
Owner -Chris Bake (CAN)
Professional Skipper- Cameron Appleton (NZL)

Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego Results
(After 14 races)

1st  -  Katusha                           4,3,4,3,3,5,2,1,2,6,2,2,2,8 - 47
2nd - ORACLE Racing                       2,1,5,2,5,6,5,5,4,3,4,1,4,7 - 54
3rd - Team Aqua                           3,5,3,8,1,4,1,2,6,1,3,7,6,5 - 55
4th - Artemis Racing                      1,10,1,4,4,3,4,8,1,4,6,6,1,3 - 56
5th - RC44 Team CEEREF                    7,6,2,5,8,2,7,4,9,8,1,9,10,2  - 80
6th -Islas Canarias Puerto Calero         5,11,8,9,2,7,3,7,8,2,5,5,11,4 - 87
7th - Ironbound                           10,2,11,1,10,1,8,6,10,5,11,10,7,1
- 95
8th - Synergy Russian Sailing Team        11,7,6,10,7,8,6,3,3,9,9,11,5,9 -
9th - AEZ RC44 Sailing Team               8,8,7,6,9,9,10,9,7,11,7,3,8,11 -
10th - Peninsula Petroleum Sailing        6,4,9,7,11,11,9,10,11,10,8,8,3,10
- 117
11th - No Way Back                        9,9,10,11,6,10,11,12,5,7,10,4,9,6
- 120

To download images, video footage and media pack register at

RC44 Communication
Jo Grindley
M: 00 44 7788 106762

Into the Blue office
T: 00 44 1983 247286

Oracle RC44 San Diego Cup Media Manager
Dobbs Davis
M: +1 443 306 3620

Notes to the editor:

About the RC 44
Four-time America’s Cup winner Coutts conceived the design of the light-displacement, high-performance one-design RC44 with naval architect Andrej Justin in 2005. It was created for top level racing in international regattas under strictly controlled Class Rules. The concept and the design features of the RC44 are dedicated to the amateur helmsmen racing in fleet racing sailing events.

The class is unique in that the crew is made up of 50% amateur and 50% professionals, with an amateur driver required for fleet racing. The class attracts some of the world’s top business men, along with the best professional sailors in the world.  Top sailors who have competed on the circuit include: Volvo Ocean Race winner, seven-time sailing world champion, a five-time America's Cup veteran Paul Cayard, America’s Cup helmsman James Spithill, Olympic Gold medalist Kevin Burnham and a number of the world’s top match racing talent including Cameron Appleton, Terry Hutchinson, Sébastien Col and Marcus Wieser. Since its 2007 debut, the RC 44 class has held regattas in Europe, USA and the Middle East, attracting substantial spectator interest and media coverage.  The racing format will be a combination of both Match Racing (one-on-one racing similar to the America’s Cup) and Fleet Racing (Olympic-style racing with all the boats on one race course) The Class partners are: Oracle and SLAM (official clothes).