Second regatta to Emirates Team NZ
Emirates Team New Zealand’s boss and mast-man Grant Dalton had his wish today as the Mistral breeze returned to present a final crescendo as the Kiwi team sailed cleanly through three final races to secure the Region of Sardinia Trophy, their second successive regatta title after also winning last month in Marseille, France.
Dalton spoke this morning of hoping for a decent wind-strength for the final day of racing, declaring his team were just trying to ‘hang on’ after Friday’s changeable sea-breeze conditions.
Not only did the New Zealand crew ‘hang on’, they sailed with exceptional patience and composure while their two principal rivals - Matador and Artemis - suffered their own, largely self-inflicted problems.
“We did not sail that well, we started badly once and just with the breeze and so on…. but we sailed with composure too, we managed to not crack under pressure while people were cracking around us, but that is just the way we sail," said Dalton. "Credit to the guys, though just having been sailing together for a while. The points flatter us a bit, as they did in Marseille in the end, Artemis were right there, but it certainly did not feel like that after the first race this morning. The second race did not hurt. But I thought our best race was our last race. We knew what had to be done. Matador helped by getting their penalty, but we were sailing ourselves out of the course but we got right back into when the breeze came on.”
Artemis (SWE) made infringements in both the first and second races, while Matador blotted an otherwise strong day when they tacked too close to Emirates Team New Zealand and had also to take a penalty, then spectacularly hooked the windward mark and could not release it until 100 metres down the final run.
In contrast Emirates Team New Zealand sailed with precision across their races to score a third, a first and, as a final flourish in the 22 knot mistral, a second place which ensured they topped the final standings by 14.5 points ahead of Matador. Artemis who started the day in second slipped to third place for the regatta.
After arriving in Cagliari with a lead of 16 points last week, the Emirates Team New Zealand’s second regatta triumph ensures they head for Portimao for next month’s Portugal Trophy having more than doubled their lead, while Matador have climbed to second overall at the expense of Quantum Racing (USA). The current Audi MedCup champions best race finish came today with a second in the second contest, but they ended the regatta in seventh place.
Racing for the first time at this regatta in the northwesterly breeze, the mistral direction, with the windward turn less than one mile from the weather shore, at the top of the U-shaped Bay of Cagliari, the course offered a rich choice of gusts and shifts for the tacticians to work their magic.
In race nine, Matador won the first race when they recognised the small gain to the right of the first beat which they hooked into after an excellent start, to chase Valars 3 around the first windward mark. Emirates Team New Zealand took third, while Artemis’ frustrations were enhanced after taking a penalty for fouling Audi Q8, when they partially dropped their gennaker on the final run.
In response to his afterguard’s call for the right side on the first beat of race ten, helm Emirates Team New Zealand helm Dean Barker responded with a swift, neatly timed port tack departure which ensured they could dictate terms to the fleet. While Matador kept the pressure on their Kiwi rivals with a fourth, Artemis fouled Audi Q8 and had to take a penalty turn.
The final race was won by Bigamist (POR) when Bribón could not set their jib at the leeward gate, rounding bare-headed in 23 knots of breeze, while Emirates Team New Zealand, fighting to the end, stole third place from Synergy (RUS). Artemis took a second successive penalty, this time on the final run, close to the finish.
Of Matador's second place overall behind the Kiwis, skipper-helm Guillermo Parada commented: “When we look back now, second is okay, it’s good. We obviously took some risks in the last races and they did not come off. But we are happy with our boat speed and we sailed pretty well, so we are looking forward to the next two events.”
In the GP42 Series Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) won four of the final five races to take the Region of Sardinia Trophy, needing only to finish in the final race to be sure of their first regatta win this season.
After a general recall in race 9 Islas Canarias Puerto Calero fought back to win after being one of two boats which were individually recalled. At the leeward gate as Caser Endesa (ESP) and Airis (ITA) tussled, they chose the opposite mark and were able to extend in to clear air and clinch the regatta title.
In the second and final race of the day, Caser Endesa won after being first to earn the dividend presented by extra wind pressure on the right of the first beat, enough to take second by two points from third placed Airis.
Audi MedCup Circuit 2009 - Region of Sardinia Trophy