Neck and neck

Emirates Team NZ and Artemis vie for the lead at the Audi MedCup's Portugal Trophy

Thursday August 20th 2009, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: United Kingdom
'Challenging and, at times, humbling.' That was the assessment of Emirates Team New Zealand's navigator Kevin Hall after the Kiwi team posted a third and a first today to lead the Portugal Trophy after five races have been sailed.

The gusty, puffy breeze was, once more, rich with both pitfalls and opportunities. Even when the north westerly had kicked in and the wind topped 20-21 knots there were lines of lighter breeze to avoid.

While Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) led the TP52 Series regatta, so too the GP42 Series leaderboard has a familiar look too now as Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) emerge with a one point lead after two wins and a third from the first three races here.
Big gusts, especially on the downwind legs, were not only a big payout for those who struck it rich from the weather mark, but offered the viewing spectators great action as the TP52s surfed at speed.

Emirates Team New Zealand promoted themselves from fifth after the first day to lead in to the coastal race, albeit on countback, from Artemis (SWE).

"It was good," commented Dean Barker. "In the first race we were going well, had a good first beat and ended up a little bit conservative and lost a couple of places, but in the second race we were good. The boat is going really well and it was nice to stretch away.

"For us it is still about getting a good clean start, not necessarily winning whichever end of the line that is favoured but wanting a lane just to be able to sail how you want. It is not always easy.

"Once the breeze went round to the NW’ly direction it was nice. It made for some great sailing, but you could see that even when the breeze was up in the 20-21 knots range there were lines of lighter breeze. But it was enjoyable sailing."

Kevin Hall added: “We were a little disappointed after the first run today to seemingly make the same mistake to yesterday. On the other hand with the same information we had at the time, you would make the same decision again. But the second race was nice.

"There is more pressure outside for the runs, and that carries for the day, but mostly it is the shifts at the top of the beat which is important, with the ‘righty’ (right hand shift) in the top corner.”

Artemis The Swedish flagged 2007 champions, with Paul Cayard calling tactics, remained consistent today with a second and a fourth, in no small way thanks to one long surf down the final run of the first race which allowed them to pass Emirates Team New Zealand to finish just behind Portugal’s victors Bigamist 7.

TP52 Race 1

The first race was won by Pedro Mendonça’s Portuguese team on Bigamist. They were able to overtake Emirates Team New Zealand on the first run to secure their second successive win, their seventh winning gun of the season.

In 13-14 knots of westerly breeze Emirates Team New Zealand led around the windward mark first time up after choosing the early left in better wind pressure, but on the first run they let Bigamist to the stronger breeze. As the breeze shifted right for the second beat they were able to extend.

On the final run the preferred downwind route according to the wind shift would have been inshore but the bonus wind pressure offshore, down the right was there for Artemis and Matador (ARG) in particular.

Artemis surfed down nearly the entire run with a big speed advantage on those to their left. Torbjorn Tornqvist’s crew crossed ahead of ETNZ to pip them for second, gaining three places on the run, so too Matador dragged themselves up from seventh to fourth, riding the same gust pattern.

TP52 Race 2

In the second race Emirates Team New Zealand were able to take control early on the first beat after getting the start they wanted. They could cross to win the favoured right, Praia Rocha shore on the upwind leg. This time they made no mistake on the first run, choosing to stick with the right, offshore lane. Synergy (RUS) were able to hold second with Quantum Racing (USA) third.

After leading the regatta on the first day, Quantum Racing were one of the teams to lose out to the left, starved of less pressure on the second run of first race, dropping from fourth to a weighty eighth.

Bigamist 7 jumped the start gun for Race 2. It took them time to extricate themselves from a tight line up. After rounding the first mark 300 metres behind the last boat they fought back to eighth, but now lie fourth overall.

Results:

Pos Boat Owner Skipper Nat R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 Tot
1 Emirates Team NZ ETNZ Dean Barker NZ 2 3 6 3 1 15
2 Artemis Torbjorn Tornqvist Torbjorn Tornqvist SWE 3 4 2 2 4 15
3 Quantum Racing Doug deVos/Fred Howe Terry Hutchinson USA 1 1 4 8 3 17
4 Bigamist 7 Pedro Mendonça  Afonso Domigos  PORT 5 5 1 1 8 20
5 Bribon Jose Cusi Thierry Peponnet SPA 6 2 3 7 7 25
6 Matador Alberto Roemmers Guillermo Parada ARG 4 11 7 4 5 31
7 Synergy Valentin Zavadnikov  Sergey Pichugin  RUS 7 11 8 5 2 33
8 Cristabella John Cook John Cook GBR 10 6 9 6 6 37
9 Audi TP52 powered by Q8 Riccardo Simoneschi Riccardo Simoneschi ITA 8 8 5 10 9 40
10 Valars III Podolsky Kirill Serguei Chevtsov  RUS 9 7 10 9 10 45

GP42 Series

In winning the third and last race of the day, the youthful team of 'Canarias Kids' led by Jose Maria Ponce (ESP) on Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) have taken an early lead in the GP42 Series on scores of 1-3-1. Unlike their first win, which was achieved in just the last few metres of the final run into the finish line, their win in the last race was achieved nearly at the start. On a starting line shortened to fit the GP42s, the Canarias Kids chose to stay well away from the fray in the middle-right of the line by accelerating towards the pin, shooting off the line with speed, and within less than a minute had enough space to tack and cross the group towards the favored right side of the course.
From there they led and never looked back.

Runner-up in the standings is Roma 2 (ITA), who on consistent 2-2-2 scores showed they have the potential to win at any moment, especially now that regular helmsman Paolo Cian (ITA) is back in action.

But the win by Caser-Endesa (ESP) in the second race showed that they too have the potential to get to the top, as most races were pitted battles between these three teams for the lead.

Results:

Pos Boat Owner Skipper Nat R1 R2 R3 Tot
1 Islas Canarias Pto Calero Jose A. Calero Rodriguez Jose Ponce  ESP 1 3 1 5
2 Roma MK2 Filippo Faruffini  Paolo Cian ITA 2 2 2 6
3 Caser-Endesa Javier Goizueta Grasset Juan Luis Paez  ESP 3 1 3 7
4 Turismo Madrid José María Van Der Ploeg  José María Van Der Ploeg  ESP 4 5 4 13
5 Airis Roberto Monti Cameron Appleton ITA 5 4 5 14
6 Swing Keisuke Suzuki Keisuke Suzuki JPN 7 7 7 21

Paul Cayard reports from Artemis:

Another good day on the Artemis today! Finishes of 2, 4, 2 has us tied for first with Team New Zealand on 15 points. Quantum is third with 17.

The first raced was very tricky because we started in a wind direction of 245 and finished in a wind direction of 305. In the middle, the wind went light and then banged right as predicted.

We were in good shape up the first windward leg rounding the top mark 5th. Down the run, the transition happened and the fleet bunched up. We made a gybe away from the group that paid us well and we rounded the gate fourth.

We held fourth up the 2nd windward leg in a tough fight with Synergy and Quantum. Bigamist the local boat had the race won and Team New Zealand was comfortably in second.

Down the final run, Team New Zealand gybe set while we and Bigimist bore away and went offshore. We had 4 knots more wind out in that corner and came back to cross TNZ by one length to steal second place from them. Quantum ended up 8th!

The second race was started in 20 knots from 310. We had an ok start but Bigimist was over early. We got tacked on by Team New Zealand off the line and that set us back a bit. So we were on the back foot as we came up to the top mark but managed to get around in 5th with some tight work on Audi Q8. Down the run we moved up to 4th and that is pretty much where we stayed for the rest of the race. Team New Zealand had the good lane off the start and was very fast upwind and went on to win that one. Synergy had a good race in second and Quantum was just un front of us in third.

So all in all, another solid performance for us on Artemis. Very consistent and steady. Tomorrow is the coastal race.

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