Game set and match
Steered by skipper Terry Hutchinson (USA), who started putting the winning campaign together just less than one year ago and has raced on the circuit over each of the three previous years, Quantum Racing won in Cagliari on Sardinia in Italy, at the Breitling Regatta on Mallorca, Spain and now in Portimao on Portugal’s Algarve coast.
As well as their three regatta wins Quantum Racing finished third at the first regatta of the season in Alicante. Fifth in Marseille in June was acall to raise their game, according to Hutchinson, and their fourth place last month in Cartagena, Murcia, Spain was enough to keep them firmly on course for the championship title they clinched yesterday.
A first and a fourth placed today for Quantum Racing pushed them to the top of the overall Portugal Trophy standings, winning by four points from Matador (ARG) who were let down by a disappointing 11th in the first race.
Alberto Roemmers’ Matador team have been the most consistent over the second half of the season finishing second in Mallorca, second in Murcia and now runners-up in Portugal. Their hat trick of second places ensured that they take third place on the season-long Audi MedCup Circuit standings.
Jose Cusi’s Bribón (ESP) finished with a second and a fifth today to cement their best ever season’s end finish in four years on the MedCup circuit, second overall.
Steered by Dean Barker (NZL) with Ross MacDonald (CAN) as tactician, Bribón won in Cartagena, was second in Alicante at the start of the season and finished third in Marseille, fifth in Cagliaria and, ironically, had their worst score on the boat’s home waters off Palma, seventh.
Winds were light again today and expired entirely in the late afternoon but the re-scheduled morning start allowed two decent windward-leeward contests to be completed. Quantum’s sharp starting and acute tactics were key to their victory in the first race, just holding off Bribón by seven seconds.
Bringing the tally of teams which have won a race or more than one race this season to 13, Vicente Tirado’s CXG Corporacion Caixa Galicia (ESP) took the final winning gun of the season. Second at the first mark behind Matador, CXG’s tactician Andy Horton (USA) spotted better breeze and sniffed out a wind shift inshore which brought them through to lead at the first leeward mark.
With 53 races completed this has been a long and demanding season traversing most of the Mediterranean and finishing on the Atlantic. Countering the supposition that a new TP52 is vital for success, the second and third placed boats for 2008 are both well optimised 2007 build Judel Vrolijk design boats.
Quantum Racing is the only new Botin Carkeek design on the circuit and is the Spanish design house's first MedCup Circuit winner since Pisco Sour in 2005.
The winning Quantum Racing crew are a mix of long-standing friends and some former members of the Team New Zealand team which won the Louis Vuitton Cup with Hutchinson as tactician last year, including Mark Mendelblatt (USA) as Quantum Racing’s strategist, navigator Ian Moore (GBR/IRL) and Jeremy Lomas (NZL) bowman.
“We were all friends before and when we have difficult times on the boat and difficult conversations on the boat we can have good open, honest, candid conversations about improvement and in order to get better this season we had to do that, and I can’t than them enough for the efforts that they have put in. And to end it like this is for them because of the effort they have all put in.” concluded Terry Hutchinson
“It has been a long hard season with a lot of jobs but everything has worked well. The level of the teams has increased so in general the level of the Circuit is so high now. I think we have the best sailors in the world sailing on this Circuit and any team that enters has to hire the best sailors they can to try to hold the page with the top guys.” says Nacho Postigo (ESP) the Audi MedCup Circuit’s technical director.
Ignasi Triay (ESP), Project Manager of Bribón (ESP), second overall on the Audi MedCup Circuit: “We have had six events with several that were very windy, so the season has been a bit of a marathon, but as we have enjoyed it, it has flown by, as time does when you are having fun! We are very happy to finish second with such a high level here in the Audi MedCup; eight new boats on the fleet and our boat being second generation, up against such good crews and a lot of events that weren’t with the kind of conditions our boat best respond to. We were fighting the whole time and are all really pleased with our result.
“We always went out to win each event, so sometimes the second is not what you would prefer, but looking at Quantum’s performance and level, the taste is sweet. We have stayed in there, toughing it out and never giving up. I think that our most important moment was in Cartagena, certain times when it seemed that we were losing and we came back to win. Our team has shown an incredible capacity to fight back the whole year. Quantum has had an incredible season, not only winning the circuit but three out of six events, and that performance only adds value to our second place in the circuit.”
Guillermo Parada (ARG), skipper-helm of Matador (ARG), third overall on the Audi MedCup Circuit added: “ We are obviously happy with the third place overall in the circuit but the second place in this Trophy is painful. After being second in the last two regattas we were really wanting to finish the year with a win. Unfortunately I had a bad start in the first race and we didn’t use the opportunities to pass boats well and we just couldn’t get Quantum. But they have sailed very well and intelligently all year, and today they did the same making the most of the opportunities we gave them and they are the very worthy winners.
Torbjorn Tornqvist (SWE), skipper and owner of Artemis (SWE), fourth overall on the Audi MedCup Circuit, and 2007 MedCup Champion said: “A well deserved win for Quantum, they have prepared their campaign well from the beginning, and just got stronger and stronger, rarely showing any weaknesses. They are the worthy winners, not just today but in all the other regattas.
“I can’t deny that it has been a little bit of a disappointment for Artemis. We thought we came out well in the beginning and were kind of fading towards the end. I think that it wasn’t an ideal situation with a number of crew changes, which was unsettling but that is sport and you learn from it. For us now it is to take it in the right way and we are going to do everything possible to do our best in the worlds. We are already planning for the next year; I think it is a great event. I personally really love the Audi MedCup and as an amateur it is fantastic for me to be sail with these great sailors. This season has been a little disappointing for us, but sport is sport! And at these moments it is when you have to show what it’s all about!”
Paul Cayard (USA), Helmsman of EL Desafio (ESP), seventh overall on the Audi MedCup Circuit: “ Quantum did a great job. They were on the game at the beginning of the season so they got nicely ahead. I think the rest of the group caught up a little and the last couple of regattas got a little bit more competitive and I’m sure it was great for them to win this last one and not just rely on accumulated points to win the season.”
“ Desafio actually had one of their worst days today, I don’t know if we have ever finished last in a race but try not to let it overshadow the progress we have made during the year, we are a much better more competitive team now than we were at the beginning of the year and we still have the worlds coming up so hopefully we will do well, and also can look forward to next year. I think we have paid our dues a little bit now and are ready to be competitive next year.”
Final standings after eight races.
Place, Boat Name, Nationality, (R1, R2, R3, R4, R5, R6, R7, R8, Total points)
1. Quantum Racing USA (4,8,1,6,10,3,1,4, 37)
2. Matador ARG (8,5,10,1,2,2,11,2, 41)
3. Bribón ESP (1,11,12,5,4,10,2,5, 50)
4. CXG Corporación Caixa Galicia ESP (7,3,9,3,13,4,12,1, 52)
5. Platoon p.by Team Germany GER (11,10,8,2,1,1,9,12, 54)
6. El Desafio ESP (10,2,3,7,3,9,8,15, 57)
7. Audi Q8 ITA (2,9,2,15,4,13,6,7, 60)
8. Mutua Madrileña ESP (12,4,5,8,9,6,15,9, 68)
9. Synergy RUS (9,1,4,14,5,12,14,11, 70)
10. Valars III RUS (6,13,15,9,7,7,7,6, 70)
AUDI MEDCUP 2008 FINAL STANDINGS:
AFTER 53 RACES in Alicante, Marseille, Cagliari, Puerto Portals Mallorca, Cartagena and Portimao
Final placing, Boat Name, Nationality, Points:
1. Quantum Racing USA 252
2. Bribón ESP 306,2
3. Matador ARG 328
4. Artemis SWE 347
5. Platoon by Team Germany GER 364
6. Mutua Madrileña ESP 393,4
7. El Desafío ESP 409
8. CxG Corporación Caixa Galicia ESP 456,6
9. Audi Q8 ITA 511
10. Mean Machine MON 631