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Chris Bake lights the touch paper at RC44 Valletta Cup

Chris Bake seemed to light the touch paper on board his Team Aqua, achieving a perfect score line in Friday's three RC44 races.

During the second day of fleet racing at the RC44 Valletta Cup the longest serving team in the RC44 class' 10 year history was in a different league, despite challenging conditions off the Maltese capital.

A foreboding forecast had predicted a 20+ knot wind, dropping and shifting right dramatically. In fact the southeasterly was more benign, peaking at 17 knots, although a long cross-swell made life difficult on port tack, heading towards the Valletta shore.

In the first race, Team Aqua tactician Cameron Appleton found a good lane off the start, quickly tacking off to the favoured right and kept it simple.

Continuing to the starboard tack layline - which he called perfectly - Team Aqua led into the top mark ahead of Katusha. From there the crew defended well with Artemis Racing Youth pulling up to second on the first run.

Race two and the right was less favoured. With teams playing the middle it was Frenchman Hugues Lepic's Aleph Racing which fought to round the top mark first.

But Team Aqua was close behind, rounding alongside Nico Poons' Charisma.

While Aleph Racing gybed immediately, Team Aqua left it longer and took the lead, rounding the leeward gate ahead of Charisma and Torbjörn Törnqvist's Artemis Racing, positions which were maintained to the finish.

Chris Bake's team performed a similar feat in the final race of the day with the wind now down to 12 knots and boats disappearing in the troughs of the long swell.

This time Vladimir Liubomirov's Bronenosec Sailing Team was first to the weather mark, but once again Team Aqua was on the leader's transom.

Team Aqua was first to gybe and managed to find a lower mode causing her to roll the Russian team and take the lead.

The final run turned into a three horse race with Team Aqua successfully fending off advancing Team CEEREF and Team Nika.

Team Aqua picked up just three points, while the next best scoring boat, on 14, was Nico Poons' Charisma, winner of last year's RC44 Valletta Cup.

Thanks to her performance Friday it is no surprise that Team Aqua is now overall leader in the RC44 Valletta Cup with a nine point margin over Artemis Racing and Katusha with two days of fleet racing left to go.

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