De Ridder takes early lead
Friday July 21st 2006, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: none selectedAfter what must rank as the most exciting and demanding opening day yet of any Breitling MedCup TP52 regatta Peter de Ridder’s Mutua Madrilena leads by seven clear points.
After finishing second and third overall in the first two regattas of the season, a pair of second places followed by victory in the third and final race of the day was just the kind of start which has so far eluded de Ridder and his mainly Emirates Team New Zealand crew.
With the sea breeze building to 21-22 knots during the second race of the day, kicking up an awkward chop at times, conditions were - at times - testing for boats and crews, and it was the well rehearsed drills of the Mutua Madrilena team which prevailed, complementing good, clean starting. “We had nice clean starts and just heaps of really good boat speed and that always helps,” explained Mutua Madrilena’s trimmer Jon Gunderson, “and we had no really big problems, and that always helps. It’s certainly a great feeling to start like this but we are smarter than to think it is easy from here, but its certainly nicer to be looking over our shoulders than where we have been before on day 1.”
“We have not done too much to the boat, but we just started with a big list of small jobs and just steadily worked through it, but are getting to know the boat better all the time. We are still learning. It is just these really small things that all add up. We were lucky today with our boatspeed because we had a couple of small mistakes but when you have speed you van get away with them, but Peter did a great job steering today, especially off the start line and downwind which were we made most of our gains today.”
Stuart Robinson’s Farr-designed Santa Ana won the first race breaking from the left end of the start line they were first round the windward mark and managed to keep the Judel Vrolijk-designed Mutua Madrilena in check to the finish.
“We had a good start and were able to cross the fleet from the left and then were able to control the race and keep Mutua Madrilena behind us from there,” commented Adrian Stead, Santa Ana’s tactician. “In the next two races we did not quite get off the start line as well and consequently just weren’t able to get into the groove as well. But it was simply a cracking day’s sailing. 19-20 knots of breeze, 21 TP52s and sunshine. What more could you want?”
After a battling ninth place in the first race, Dean Barker and the series leading Warpath crew came back to win the second race of the day. Their start almost compensated for their first one, when they had to take a penalty for an infringement on the line. Showing good speed off the line they were a boat length clear within the first few minutes of the race and controlled the favoured left side to win comfortably from Mutua Madrilena. With the mid afternoon breeze peaking this leading pair had a decent margin over Siemens.
Michael Illbruck’s Pinta lead at the first turn of the third race but had to settle for second to Mutua Madrilena, while Warpath spectacularly blew their kite on the first run and finished fifth.
“Today’s racing was definitely the best we have had, testing the boats in their optimum conditions=,” confirmed Dean Barker skipper of Warpath which lies third overall, three points behind Siemens. “We know Mean Machine are pretty quick but all we can do is focus on trying to sail our best regatta and wait for them to make the mistakes. It is an amazing spectacle today with these things charging off downwind at 16-17 knots, it’s pretty cool. It’s close and you really get penalised pretty badly for making any mistakes.”
“We were pretty consistent today which was good. The first beat of the first race was a bit messy, but overall our starting was pretty good and our speed was good. The aim has to be to be in the top five at the first mark every time and we pretty much managed that, and that is very hard in this fleet. We were clear from the starts but we could have done with a little bit more speed. We made a bit of a mistake with our wrong mainsail. We thought the breeze would peak at 14 knots and saw 21 knot,” said Ian Walker, Siemens skipper.
|1||M.MADRILEÑA-MEAN MACHINE||PETER DE RIDDER||PETER DE RIDDER||2.00||2.00||1.00||5.00|
|3||WARPATH||D.BARKER||FRED & STEVE HOWE||9.00||1.00||5.00||15.00|
|4||PINTA||JOHN KOSTECKI||MICHAEL ILLBRUCK||11.00||4.00||2.00||17.00|
|5||SANTA ANA - STAY CALM||S.ROBINSON||S.ROBINSON - J.A.INIESTA||1.00||6.00||12.00||19.00|
|6||ANONIMO||RICARDO SIMONESCHI||RICARDO SIMONESCHI||4.00||7.00||13.00||24.00|
|7||CAIXA GALICIA||ROBERTO BERMUDEZ||VICENTE TIRADO||17.00||5.00||4.00||26.00|
|8||BRIBON||S.M.JUAN CARLOS DE BORBON||JOSE CUSI||8.00||12.00||6.00||26.00|
|9||CRISTABELLA||JOHN COOK||JOHN COOK||10.00||8.00||8.00||26.00|
|10||LEXUS - ATALANTI||RUSSELL COUTTS||G.ANDREADIS - J.YLLERA||5.00||11.00||11.00||27.00|
|11||BAMBAKOU||JOHN COUMANTAROS||JOHN COUMANTAROS||7.00||10.00||10.00||27.00|
|12||PLATTON||HARM MULLER SPREER||HARM MULLER SPREER||3.00||22.00||9.00||34.00|
|14||ONO||IÑAQUI CASTAÑER||ONO CABEL EUROPA-E.GALDON||15.00||22.00||7.00||44.00|
|15||RUSH VALLE ROMANO||THOMAS L.STARK||THOMAS L.STARK||13.00||15.00||19.00||47.00|
|16||FRAM XVI||H.M.KING HARALD V||H.M.KING HARALD V||12.00||19.00||18.00||49.00|
|17||TAU CERAMICA ANDALUCIA||MANUEL DORESTE||JAVIER BANDERAS||18.00||16.00||16.00||50.00|
|18||ORLANDA||LORENZO BRESSANI||ALESSANDRO PIRERA||16.00||13.00||22.00||51.00|
|19||AIFOS||SAR DON FELIPE DE BORBON||ARMADA ESPAÑOLA||19.00||18.00||15.00||52.00|
|21||C-QUADRAT||RAINER WILHEIM||RAINER WILHEIM||21.00||14.00||22.00||57.00|
More of Richard Page's images on the following pages....