In commanding form of old, the American Paul Cayard jumped ship and wore the Russian colours of Katusha to win the match race section of the RC44 Sarasin Trophy today.
Earlier in the season he had been aboard the Slovenian boat Ceeref, but, as the circuit stages its fifth of six 2009 events in Slovenia, Cayard not only triumphed over the Slovenians but over another team whose colours he wears on the Audi TP52 circuit, Torbjorn Torqvist's Artemis. And, in the final, he beat the man he coached in the Spanish America's Cup team, Karol Jablonski of Poland.
"Paul did a really good job today," said Jablonski, whose own America's Cup path came to grinding halt with the German team when the AC hit the New York legal buffers and became a one-on-one dog fight between Switzerland's Alinghi and America's BMW Oracle.
Oracle skipper Russell Coutts, who designed the 44-foot one-design boats on the circuit he pioneered, could manage only eighth out of 11. Today they all switch to fleet racing.
This is Jablonski's first year on the RC44 circuit but he loves the challenge of a boat which has only eight crew. "Most sailors feel it is the boat to be on," he said. "It needs a lot of understanding and handling and the conditions out there were very, very tricky, especially for the tacticians."
Cayard has been making careful preparations, with two shore crew spending a month checking every detail of the new boat and the crew coming to the resort town for two extra days of pre-regatta practice.
"There's a time when you can be too much into match racing," he commented. "We kept it pretty simple."Reuse content