Decisive win for Emirates Team NZ
|Emerging with a sixth from a scrappy, difficult final race which was contested in conflicting breezes
Emirates Team New Zealand clinched the Marseille Trophy by 14 points, the biggest regatta winning margin on the Audi MedCup Circuit since
Mean Machine won in Portimao in 2007.
Winning four races and never finishing worse than sixth in the ten races here, the Kiwi team skippered by Dean Barker with past MedCup winner Ray Davies as tactician move 16 points clear at the head of the Audi MedCup TP52 Series standings ahead of defending Circuit champions Quantum Racing.
“It feels better here than losing in Alicante,” Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton deadpanned afterwards. “And regattas always feel better a couple of days later, and winning is always just a relief that you did not lose. It is really is nothing more than that.”
In the Audi MedCup GP42 Series a third in the final race ensured that the team on Roma Mk2 skippered by Paulo Cian leave France with the Marseille Trophy and head for their native Italy with a lead of four points over Alicante Trophy winners Islas Canarias Peurto Calero on the Audi MedCup Circuit GP42 Series standings
Four winning guns for Emirates Team New Zealand were supported by a consistent string of scores, reflecting as much their fortitude as a team, able to come back better from their occasional visits to the lower depths of the fleet. Typical of that, they pulled back to sixth today from eighth in a final race which was afflicted by two very different, breezes tussling for supremacy on either side of the course.
But in their de-brief the Kiwi circuit leaders will consider that their current leading margin belies how close the racing has been here, and in Alicante and reflects Quantum Racing’s two premature starts, and third placed Matador’s headfoil failure in the coastal race. They have no room for complacency.
In the final race, race 10, Portugal’s Bigamist staged a remarkable come-from-behind victory with two incredible downwind legs to take their second race win this season. Pedro Mendonca’s crew lie fifth overall on the TP52 Series and finished fourth overall in the regatta.
The Portuguese team from Cascais had to make a penalty turn at the first windward mark after they tacked on the bow of Cristabella. They rounded the offset mark a distant last but recognised the stronger breeze on the left, contrasting with the collapse on the right, and rounded the leeward turn in fifth. The same tactic on the second run allowed them to pip Pisco Sour to win in the final 200 metres of the race.
In today’s final day of racing in the GP42 Series, a large 8-point spread between series leader Roma 2 and runner-up Islas Canarias Puerto Calero was going to make it hard for the Italian team to lose the regatta. There would have to have been two races with Roma getting last place and Canarias first place in both for Roma to lose.
And as unlikely as that would have seemed, at the bottom gate rounding of today’s first race that’s precisely what was happening, as a huge hole in the wind accompanied by a significant shift in direction completely reshuffled the positions in this highly-competitive fleet. Caser-Endesa , being last around the top mark having been over early at the start, got vaulted into vying for the lead with Canarias, and Roma got shot out the back to having to fight Swing for fifth.
Yet despite this and yet another big shift and drop in pressure on the last run to the finish, Canarias kept their cool, covered the fleet, and coasted to their third win in the series. Roma was able to dig back to third but not before nearly getting rolled by Turismo Madrid in the final few metres of this strange race.
Turns out that third was enough to seal the deal for Roma, as even a last place in any second race would go to them in the tie break, having won more races than anyone else. So when race managers could not set a course for Race 2 due to the irregular breeze, the outcome was a fait accompli, and Roma wins her first GP42 Series stage in the Audi MedCup Circuit.