x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Team Artemis battle from behind to clinch overall victory

Recoveries seal Team Artemis' second place in the fleet racing format - behind Team Aqua - and the crucial overall victory.

DUBAI // Having begun the week saying that his crew's sole priority was to remain in the 2010 RC44 Championship Tour hunt during this week's opening round at the Dubai International Marine Club, Terry Hutchinson, the skipper of Team Artemis, was celebrating an unlikely overall victory last night. With a hostile onshore sandstorm reducing offshore visibility to such an extent that land was invisible to the nine identical RC44s as they navigated the 12 knot seas, not even a pair of poor starts held Team Artemis back.

After turning the leeward gate - or midway point - last in both of yesterday's final two races, Hutchinson's men recovered well to finish fourth and sixth, respectively. The recoveries sealed Team Artemis' second place in the fleet racing format - behind Team Aqua - and the crucial overall victory. Hutchinson praised the resolve of his weary crew. "We've had a good showing and it's turned out well, better than I hoped," he said.

"It's a bit early to start thinking about the season, but we're a brand new team and our learning curve is just beginning. We have leaps and bounds to gain and that's the good news." After dominating the match racing format, Team Sea Dubai only had to finish in the top three fleet racing positions to seal the Al Maktoum Sailing Trophy on home water. But the boat's form faded badly and instead it was Team Aqua - another Dubai-based boat - which scooped the fleet racing crown.

"After our disappointing performance in the match racing, it is very comforting to be able to show what we can do and be the front boat in the fleet races," said Cameron Appleton, the team tactician. The RC44 field now head to Europe for four summer regattas, before returning to Dubai for the season-finale at the end of the year. emegson@thenational.ae