De Ridder back on song
Tuesday August 1st 2006, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: none selectedAs Corinthian owner-drivers dominated the top three places today, good fortune also played a hand in the success of Peter de Ridder’s Mutua Madrilena in the early stages of what proved to be a taxing outer loop windward leeward race.
In an unsettled sea breeze which yielded many shifts in direction and changes in wind pressure across the race track Mutua Madrilena Mean Machine soon rallied from having to tack across several sterns after the start, going on to win the second race for the Breitling MedCup TP52 fleet at the 25th Copa del Rey.
With a fourth and a first over the first two days of racing, Mutua Madrilena go into tomorrow’s long offshore race with a two points lead over Ian Walker and the crew of Siemens, who finished sixth today.
Second place today, holding off the American Farr sistership of Tom Stark's Rush Valle Romano leaves Santa Ana Stay Calm sitting in third place overall. Mutua Madrilena’s start left them decidedly second ranked off the line, but they tacked behind the main mid-line raft of boats off to the middle right and were quick to benefit as the breeze shifted slightly to their favour. Rounding the windward marks in fourth, they held furthest to the right corner downwind and were rewarded with more breeze and a faster angle in to the leeward turn. Choosing the right hand turning mark of the leeward gate, easing through early leader Santa Ana. The British flagged boat led at the windward mark but gybed earlier on the downwind leg and struggled with less pressure and rounded the first leeward turn second.
As if to illustrate just how tough it was to decipher the breeze Caiza Galicia, a renowned light airs performer with Torben Grael on tactics for Roberto Bermudez steering, found themselves in the depths of the fleet, recovering to 18th while Warpath, Steve and Fred Howe’s boat with Dean Barker steering posted a 16th.
Adding to their chagrin, both were holding strong positions in the second race of the day which was abandoned when the breeze faltered. Possibly the most upset at the abandonment was the crew of Bribon which had worked out a useful lead by the offset mark when the race was gunned off.
“We had a blinder in that first race,” remarked Ray Davies Mutua Madrilena’s tactician, “We did not start that well. We had wanted to go left from the windward position. We didn’t really want to go right and we popped into our own little breeze and we found a really nice lane all the way back to the left hand side. And then the breeze rotated to the right and we made a gain and then got a nice lane back on port tack so we really ended up sailing in clear air nearly all the time to the top mark. Down the run we had a really nice run, passing three boats. We gybed below the leaders on the port layline and had more pressure and were ahead at the bottom mark and from there it was pretty much follow the leader.
“It was an interesting sea breeze today with quite a bit more cloud around. And the left was not as strong as before. I think they could have finished the second race, especially with the King leading. There could be a beheading! But I do think there was just enough breeze to keep going. I think they called it off just a little early, certainly it was getting just a little fickle. Two days and two races? I guess that is just maybe the way it is at this regatta. They did the right thing yesterday.
“We are looking forward to the offshore, being able to stretch our legs a little more. Hopefully the breeze will not be too random, with a good north easterly gradient and that is going to probably wrap round the corners of the island which is going to create some interesting scenarios, with the sea breeze fighting the gradients. I expect there will be some park ups maybe but certainly some transition zones to get through. We have a fair bit of offshore experience on board, and having Vasco Vascotto on board helps because he has done this regatta a few times, and we will pick Nacho Postigo’s brains as much as we can before we go out on the water as much as we can."
“The offshore will be important because it carries two times points. Tom Dodson will back me up driving and Jono Swain will trim the main then. We did pretty good coastal races so far,” commented Mutua Madrilena’s owner/helm Peter de Ridder.
Proving an excellent day for the Corinthian owner-drivers Stuart Robinson clinched second steering Santa Ana Stay Calm ahead of Tom Stark on the helm of Rush Valle Romano. “We had a great start and good first beat," recalled Adrian Stead, Santa Ana’s tactician. "On the downwind we were surprised because we were on the layline and the wind shifted and Mean Machine beat us to the the mark but we managed to hold Rush which was important.”
A little ingenuity and hard work means Santa Ana have overcome a technical problem which had stopped them moving the heel of their rig further forward. Accomplishing this they have been able to set a straighter mast and a slight re-cut to the main by Peter ‘Spike’ Doriean all contributed to more confidence in their light airs speed. “We are really pleased. And to have had the confidence in the second race, even though it was abandoned, was good going into the coastal (offshore) race. We have done okay in the last coastal races so we are looking forward to it and will have Neal (McDonald) with that. I think we will see how we go, but we are looking forward to it, but we are very happy to be lying third overall.”
Third for Tom Stark’s Rush sees them in fourth overall after two races: “We have a couple of new trimmers which has helped us out a lot and the communication has gone up a lot. We always seemed to lose on the downwinds so we seem to have got our acts together now and are happy with where we are sitting now in the regatta,” said Stark.
Day Two - Race Two
1. Mutua Madrilena (Peter de Ridder/Peter de Ridder)
2. Santa Ana (Adrian Stead/Stuart Robinson)
3. Rush Valle Romano (Tomasso Chieffi/Tom Stark)
4. Artemis (Russell Coutts/Torbjorn Tornqvist)
5. Orlando (Lorenzo Bressani/Alessandro Pirera)
Overall Standings – Event 4 – Breitling MedCup – Copa del Rey
1. Mutua Madrilena – 5 points
2. Siemens – 7 points
3. Santa Ana – 11 points
4. Rush Valle Romano – 11 points
5. Cristabella – 14 points