Tougher than ever
Of the 13 TP52s set to line up for the first time this year on Tuesday with the regatta’s official practise race, eight took part in impromptu short race practise today. Lining up against each other at different times in winds of between 11 and 16 knots were all three of the new boats - Matador (Alberto Roemmers, ARG), Emirates Team New Zealand (Dean Barker, NZL) and Artemis (Torbjorn Tornqvist, SWE) as well as the benchmark 2008 Audi MedCup winner Quantum Racing (Terry Hutchinson, USA). Half of the six GP42s also made use of the conditions.
“We did some big long line-ups against Artemis and the former Artemis (now MarazziSailing, SUI) and then we got into some racing," said Ray Davies, tactician on Emirates Team New Zealand. "The boat performed really well around the pre-start. We have bigger foils on the boat, similar to what Quantum Racing had last year and that just gives you a little bit more bite. Speed-wise as well it is pretty positive. But this is going to be a very tough year and it going to be, again, all about avoiding the ‘shockers’",
“We still have got a lot of work to do before the start. We have to check out a couple more sails and to work on being smooth on the boat with crew weight. It is the beginning of the season so you are concentrating on the basics, on doing them well.”
Davies continued: “There is a lot expected from this team, and we expect a lot of ourselves. I think the whole fleet has gone up another level again, and I think this will be tougher again than last season’s regatta. Slightly fewer boats makes it more difficult.”
“We are about right in terms of our overall preparation. We had a little extra work than we were hoping on measurement. But the weather has been perfect and now it is down to the finer details, learning the characteristics of the boat. That can take a long time, to understand the different modes. This is a very, very powerful boat with bigger appendages and so trying to learn where we are vulnerable is important.”
“There is a lot of rivalry out there, but Quantum Racing is the standard to beat. They were pretty incredible last season the way they just kept improving. They are going to be the boat to beat, I have them as favourite, I think followed closely by Matador and Artemis, but them also the likes of the Italian Audi boat ( Audi Sailing Team powered by Q8) have sorted their boat out and are going to be a lot quicker. Bigamist ( Bigamist 7, ex Platoon powered by Team Germany) have a decent boat for the first time in a while, and the Russians have now had a lot of time with their boats, so I think it is going to be tough and very close.”
Ed Reynolds, Project Manager of defending champions Quantum Racing commented: “It was good out there. No big surprises. The people we expected to be going well were going well. I think everybody was just getting a hold of it right now. We think we are we should be. Things are going just fine.” “For us it is now about getting up to full-on race mode, spending some time just gelling as a team. We have done a lot of tuning and testing as a team, now it is about lining up against other people and getting to race mode.”
The Audi MedCup race village for the City of Alicante Trophy opens on Tuesday and will feature a number of exciting new innovations and attractions for visitors, including, for the first time in Audi MedCup history, real time tracking of the races and audio commentary.