First time winner
Sunday August 6th 2006, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: none selectedWhile Inaki Castaner’s ONO escaped to their first win of the XXV Copa del Rey for the Agua Brava Camper Trophy, leading the 20 boat Breitling MedCup TP52 fleet from the first turning mark to the finish, an eighth place was enough to keep Ian Walker and the crew of Siemens 11pts ahead of the chasing pack going into Sunday’s final races.
There was another long wait for the sea-breeze to arrive and it was late afternoon and after one failed start that the fleet got away in nine knots of southerly breeze. Once again there were differences in wind strength across the course and an ample supply of shifts and bends in the wind direction to take advantage of.
ONO, the first generation Botin & Carkeek design which won the circuit last year as Pisco Sour, took up their regular position on the pin end of the long start line. This time they took the best of the shifts on the left and were round the first windward mark with a lead of nine seconds over Alessandro Pirera’s Orlanda, with Gonzalez Araujo’s Balearia in third. All three started on or near the pin end of the start line and worked left earliest.
While ONO won by 36 seconds, Orlanda faded to seventh after they hung on too long to the right of the first run, losing five places immediately. Balearia made their early showing stick, finishing second while Tom Stark’s Rush Valle Romano took places on each leg to finish third.
Siemens had a conservative start, not prepared to go to the extremes of the course. Rounding ninth at the first windward buoy they sagged low on the run and lost wind pressure dropping a place, but a good final beat when the wind swung again ensured they rose to eighth.
“For us the most important bit is the start because we are an older boat so we have to one extreme of the line otherwise we get stuck and as the rest of the boats know this they try to box us in as much as they can. But we were lucky this time to be able to break away so cleanly. We were fortunate tactically to be able tack on the windshifts and we read them well and were able to keep ahead,” explained ONO’s Inaki Castaner of their second win this season, after a win in Castellon. As for the pressure of the chasing pack he said: “The secret is not to look behind. If you do you just put yourself under more pressure.”
Third for the Farr-designed Rush Vallee Romano sets up what will be a fascinating duel with John Cook’s Vrolijk-designed Cristabella which finished sixth.
While the British boat holds the upper hand, second on tie break, they share the same points tally. Cristabella’s tactician Dee Smith again proved his consistent ability to work back up the fleet. From 14th at the first mark they took three boats on the run, five on the next beat and nailed fourth when they passed Anonimo and Caixa Galicia on the final leg.
So the final day will see Team Shoshloloza’s tactician Smith up against his America’s Cup team’s helmsman and match racer Tomasso Chieffi, calling the shots for Tom Stark.
“That was good.” asserted Ian Walker. “The place to be was the pin but we were right in the middle of the fleet at the top mark. We chose the wrong jib, going with the super light, which was not ideal when it was 12 knots on the first beat. We struggled for pace. Fortunately we took three boats on the last beat which turned it from a bad race to a perfectly acceptable result. I guess the best thing tomorrow would be one race and I guess we need to be in the top 12.”
“This has been an excellent regatta for us, we are very excited,” smiled owner-driver Tom Stark, who leads the Corinthian standings as well. “We have made some crew changes and we have some continuity and we have learned from our previous events. And our boat is designed for a little lower windspeed and a little more chop and that seems to be paying off. So we have felt fast all week.
“Our trimmers have changed. Being a half amateur half professional crew not everyone can make all the events, so rather than anyone getting ‘the flick’ it is simply scheduling and here, and in fact for the next three events, we have the best guys in the pool. And when the trimming is better and Tomasso gets better at each event as he gets more comfortable with our team and me and my limitations. If I have to line up against Coutts and Cayard he doesn’t push us too tight. This is the first time we have sailed together this season and now the days just go a little easier.”
Dee Smith reported: “We got fouled at the start by Mean Machine and were forced to the right. We were playing the right, which was not too bad because we were flat off the line and went round 13th or something at the windward mark and then just sailed fast and smooth. We passed boats on every leg and chipped away and chipped away and all of a sudden we are back in the race.”
And of Cristabella’s ability to make such regular comebacks: “Today there were a lot of opportunities there haven’t been before. There were good shifts to take. There were boats ahead of us which were more worried about the boats around them than us that kind of let us use the shifts a little bit more than them. So, for example if you get a clear lane at the leeward mark and go round the right mark then you are gone.”
|1||SIEMENS||IAN WALKER||EAMON CONNEELY||1||6||1||4||1||8||21|
|2||CRISTABELLA||JOHN COOK||JOHN COOK||2||12||10||2||2||4||32|
|3||RUSH VALLE ROMANO||THOMAS L.STARK||THOMAS L.STARK||8||3||3||3||12||3||32|
|4||PINTA||JOHN KOSTECKI||MICHAEL ILLBRUCK||11||8||2||5||4||11||41|
|5||WARPATH||DEAN BARKER||STEVE & FRED HOWE||10||16||4||1||3||10||44|
|7||M.MADRILEÑA-MEAN MACHINE||PETER DE RIDDER||PETER DE RIDDER||4||1||8||12||14||13||52|
|8||SANTA ANA - STAY CALM||STUART ROBINSON||S.ROBINSON - J.A.INIESTA||9||2||14||9||5||16||55|
|9||LEXUS||PAUL CAYARD||J.YLLERA - G.ANDREADIS||12||10||6||6||10||12||56|
|10||ARTEMIS||RUSSELL COUTTS||TORBJORN TORNQVIST||16||4||12||11||9||9||61|
|11||ORLANDA||LORENZO BRESSANI||ALESSANDRO PIRERA||13||5||13||8||15||7||61|
|12||CAIXA GALICIA||ROBERTO BERMUDEZ||VICENTE TIRADO||3||18||7||14||17||5||64|
|13||ANONIMO||RICARDO SIMONESCHI||RICARDO SIMONESCHI||5||13||11||16||18||6||69|
|14||ONO||IÑAKI CASTAÑER||ONO CABLE EUROPA-E.GALDON||19||7||16||19||16||1||78|
|15||BAMBAKOU||JOHN COUMANTAROS||JOHN COUMANTAROS||17||19||9||7||13||17||82|
|16||AIFOS||JAIME RODRIGUEZ TOUBES||ARMADA ESPAÑOLA||20||9||17||17||6||14||83|
|17||FRAM XVI||H.M.KING HARALD V||H.M.KING HARALD V||14||14||15||15||7||19||84|
|18||BRIBON||S.M.JUAN CARLOS DE BORBON||JOSE CUSI FERRET||6||15||18||10||19||20||88|
|19||TAU CERAMICA ANDALUCIA||SANTI LOPEZ||JAVIER BANDERAS||18||20||19||20||8||15||100|
|20||IMB||RAINER WILHEIM||RAINER WILHEIM||15||17||20||18||20||18||108|