Turn around for Siemens

As Ian Walker and Eamon Conneely's team hang on to first place at conclusion of TP 52 Castellon regatta

Sunday July 9th 2006, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: none selected
After a disappointing 15th place in the 19 boat fleet at Punta Ala in May Siemens, skippered by British double Olympic medallist Iain Walker rang the changes. With Walker taking over steering duties himself, adding American tactician Dee Smith to the afterguard and making small changes to their sails and rig, Siemens proved the form boat here in Castellon, Spain clinching the overall Trofeo Ciudad de Castellon today.

While Warpath, skippered by Emirates Team New Zealand America’s Cup helm Dean Barker, won the final race today the winners of the Breitling MedCup TP52 series first regatta in Punta Ala, Italy had to settle for second overall here but still retain their overall lead in the Breitling MedCup Series.

Just as in Punta Ala, the final race of the final day offered up the lightest winds of the regatta. With the wind from west of south for the first time this upended the pattern of the previous five days and produced one final new challenge for the tacticians and navigators. The influence of the sea-breeze dragged the wind direction left all through the race, producing a regular dividend on this side of the course.

Warpath were quick to recognise this and were one of the first to break left. Siemens had a less than perfect start but managed to make amends quickly and were third around the first mark behind leaders Warpath and second placed Lexus, skippered by Paul Cayard with three times America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts on the helm.

Lexus erred to the far right on the first downwind leg where there was less breeze and lost Siemens. From the first leeward mark the top three places remained settled with Warpath extending winning relatively comfortable.

“I am very pleased. Today was actually remarkably comfortable after we got away from the start. We were okay and then we got the left which was always the plan and once we had done that it was all fine. The only wobble was when we got a bag on the keel on the last run. The guys did a good job but I think we might have been able to get a little more into Warpath if that hadn’t happened,” explained a relieved Ian Walker. “Our objective this morning was only to go out and get a top seven, and that felt like a relatively decent cushion but you just never know in this fleet. It is such a fine margin between success and failure.

“I can’t praise the crew highly enough. After Punta Ala it was tough because I felt they actually sailed well there, but Eamon (Conneely, Siemens’ owner) and the Siemens guys stood firm and we had a hard look at what we had to change. We worked it out but it was not easy at all.”
For Peter de Ridder and the Mutua Madrilena crew, like Warpath mainly off Emirates Team New Zealand, third overall here keeps the Spanish flagged boat in second overall in the Breitling MedCup Series standings for the season, and giving de Ridder his second successive Corinthian Trophy as top amateur helm:

“It is a nice reward but the main thing is to come here and win and meeting the challenge of lining up against guys like Dean and Ian and coming off best., " said de Ridder, who admitted that he had taken the decision to change his plans with his Farr 40 later this season in order to focus more strongly on the Breitling MedCup TP52 series.

Results, Breitling Med Cup TP52 Series, Trofeo Ciudad de Castellon:

Race 7:
1 Warpath (Dean Barker/Steve & Fred Howe, USA) 14:02:34
2 Siemens (Ian Walker/Eamon Conneely, Spain) +1minute 25 seconds
3 Mutua Madrilena/Mean Machine (Peter de Ridder/Peter de Ridder, Spain) +2 minutes 01 seconds
4 Santa Ana (Stuart Robinson/Stuart Robinson, J A Iniesta, Spain) + 2 minutes 33 seconds
5 Lexus (P Cayard/George Andreadis, Jaime Yllera, Spain) + 3 minutes 24 seconds.

Final Standings after seven races:
1 Siemens 30pts
2 Warpath 37pts,
3 Mutua Madrilena 38pts
4 Orlanda (L Bressani/A Pirera, Italy) 43pts
5 Caixa Galicia (R Bermudez/Vincenzo Tirado, Spain) 46pts
6 Bribon (Jose Torcida/Jose Cusi) 50pts
7 ONO (Inaki Castaner/Cable Europa, Spain) 52pts
8 Santa Ana 57pts
9 Lexus 64pts
10 Platoon (Harm Mueller Speer/Harm Mueller Speer) 76pts

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