Quantum show 2008 form
At times it was spectacular as the sea breeze off Alicante built to 17 knots at times, but it was never easy or straightforward as Terry Hutchinson's team on Quantum Racing eased into the overall lead of the City of Alicante Trophy Regatta.
Quantum Racing struck gold early, winning the first race of the day, threatening the kind of dominant performance which they displayed in certain conditions last season but it was their consistency across races 3 and 4 which resulted in them ending the day with a three point lead over second placed Matador.
Alberto Roemmers' Matador, new this season, led the overall standings after race 3 but were slow off their final start and could only manage an eighth to share the same points tally as third placed Emirates Team New Zealand.
Terry Hutchinson admitted the Quantum Racing crew were satisfied with their day but confirmed that although the action looked brisk and exciting, there were always differences in pressure and wind strength to make gains and losses on every leg.
Quantum Racing squeezed inside Valars III at the windward mark in the first race of the day to lead at each turn to take the win from 2007 champions Artemis.
Hutchinson recounted: “The guys at the back of the boat did a really good job sniffing out all the wind shifts. That first race in particular we started where we wanted to but not necessarily with the fleet balancing as we expected, we were the leeward-most boat but Mark [Mendleblatt] and Morgan [Larson] were really, really strong on the left hand side. We had a nice little left hand shift and extended away from there."
A wind shift to the right just as the second race started, with the breeze peaking at 16-17 knots, made life interesting at the right hand end of the start line, where the bunching at the committee boat was pronounced. In this melée Bribon fouled Quantum Racing, but the American boat was still able to extricate themselves going on to finish third behind Matador and Synergy.
“We still managed to get away," said Hutchinson of their start in this race. "There was no space but we let them in so there were not collisions with other boats. But the positive from that was that we got the start we wanted. We would have been a lot faster had that not happened.
“ The third race we hit four or five waves in the middle of the course and were slow but did nice work to get up to fourth. Morgan, Mark and Robert did a really good job in keeping an open mind. Really good communication about the phases of the wind, and the guys racing the boat did nice work with the boat handling. It is a five regatta Series so you know how I feel this early, but don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to be leading but there are so many good teams around this season.”
The Russian team on the Reichel-Pugh designed former USA-17 concluded a strong day in winning the third race. With New Zealander Cameron Dunn calling tactics and Chris Main trimming main for Ukrainian helmsman Sergei Pichugin they could have been even better but for catching a plastic bag round their keel.
Having won the second race, Matador came home a disappointing eighth in today's third race. “We sailed badly in the third race," commented Guilermo Parada, Matador's skipper-helmsman. "I made a bad start and we just did not take advantage of the opportunities that we got to be able to climb the fleet when we could. This fleet you just cannot afford mistakes. We are not happy with our performance but there is a lot of racing left in this regatta and we expect to be able to win races."
Tied with Matador are Emirates Team New Zealand. Tactician Ray Davies described their day: “It was an interesting day. The right hand side ended up being very strong in the first couple of races and then in the third it started trending back towards the left a little beat, but there were some big gains down the run, mainly to gybe early. There was nearly always more pressure to the right looking upwind. And the guys that could gybe early and sail their own mode were launched. We had a little tussle with the Spanish and lost three boats towards the finish in the second race, which was a little bit of a disappointment.
“All in all we had a pretty good day. We can definitely sail better as a crew and so we are pretty happy to be just three points off the lead. It is never nice losing a boat on the finish line but we had to protect on the two boats behind, you cant cover everyone and the Russians were sailing really well having a second and a first.
"We feel like we go well downwind when the breeze is up a little bit. Upwind our speed is fine. The boat has great potential and we are still learning. It is a very different boat to what we are used to. You need to stay much more on top of it, trim a little bit more than previous boats we have sailed in this class, and so we have to be more on our game.”
Sailing their first TP52 regatta Switzerland's Flavio Marazzi lies in fourth. Marazzi commented: “It was a good day for MarazziSailing and we are very happy with the first two races. A sixth and a fourth in the first two races is a very pleasing result but obviously a ten in the last one is not something to write home about. We wanted to go to the right which was the favored side of the course but we didn’t get off the start line. As a result, we were unable to find a lane and got stuck in the left side. From the point we were struggling to get back into the race and we were last in the top mark.
"The left side was definitely better at the beginning but as the day progressed the right became stronger and stronger. We were on top of the wind and the shifts but we have to execute better.
"We are satisfied in terms of boat speed and performance and we can definitely be there and race amongst the newest yachts. The results clearly demonstrate it. ”
His navigator Marc Lagesse added: “Today was actually a very nice seabreeze day. The forecast called for 12 to 15 knots and we got 10 to 18. So it was perfect sailing. The forecast was bang on; we had nice sunshine, so life is good.
"In the last race we didn’t have an ideal start and had to stick to the left side while the right was heavily favored. We finished 10th but we could have easily finished 12th. In this competitive fleet, one position can make the difference.
"In the first race, the left side had some potential but in the two following races, the further right you went, the better you got. The pressure and the shifts were there.
"Our starts have a potential for improvement but if we are able to get off the line nicely and go where we want to go we are definitely competitive. Emirates Team NZ and Quantum are very fast boats and I would say that Matador is exceptionally fast. If it were a drag race they would probably beat us but throughout the course we are competitive and if we stay on top of the shifts we can stay in the race”
First blood for the GP42s
Emerging as the day’s winner on an impressive 1-1-2 record in the GP42 class, the Roma 2 team, led by Mascalzone Latino helm Paolo Cian (ITA), showed their experience from two previous years of GP42 campaigning in having strong starts and fast pace all around the course, but particularly downwind where they often stretched their lead when ahead and closed the gaps when behind. Designed by Farr, the boat has just emerged from tummy-tuck surgery to the stern sections to better optimise performance downwind and in light air.
“The team did a great job,” said Cian. “We were very aggressive at working every wave and puff, and seemed to gain the most here. It was a great day for us a fantastic start to the season.”
The Roma team is pushing hard in this GP42 Series, even on the GP42 class 800 kg weight limit: a post-race weight check revealed the team to be a mere 6 kg under the limit, where even the slightest infraction in this class yields a disastrous DSQ on the scorecard of any offending team.
Results - TP52s
|1||Quantum Racing||USA||Terry Hutchinson||5||1||3||4||13|
|3||Emirates Team New Zealand||NZ||Dean Barker||4||4||6||2||16|
|4||Marazzi Sailing||SUI||Flavio Marazzi||4||6||4||10||24|
|7||Bigamist 7||PORT||Afonso Domingos||3||12||5||5||25|
|8||El Desafio||SPA||Laureano Wizner||8||7||10||3||28|
|9||Pisco Sour||ITA||Vasco Vascotto||9||9||7||6||31|
|10||Audi TP52 Sailing Team Powered by Q8||ITA||Riccardo Simoneschi||6||8||8||11||33|
|11||Valars III||RUS||Sergei Shetsov||12||3||12||12||39|
Results - GP42s
|1||Roma 2||ITA||Paolo Cian||1||1||2||4|
|2||Islas Canaries Puerto Calero||SPA||Jose A. Calero Rodriguez||3||2||1||6|
|4||Caser-Endesa||SPA||Javier Goizueta Grasset||4||4||4||12|
|5||Turismo Madrid||SPA||José María Van Der Ploeg Garcia||6||5||5||16|
More photos on page 2....