Clinched on the final run
It was a fitting climax, the final twists and turns settling a great event as Cartagena delivered a whole new set of challenges to the TP52 fleet in testing winds on a challenging race arena, complemented ashore by a warm and very enthusiastic reception on the docksides and around the streets of an historic City.
Locals and visitors wholheartedly embraced the first ever visit of the MedCup Circuit to a fast emerging region of Spain and were rewarded when overall victory went to one of Spain’s best known racing yachts.
After four days of moderately fresh breezes, the final two races were contested in a light sea-breeze which carried some big changes in direction to frustrate and challenge crews, particularly in the first windward-leeward contest.
Just nine points separated the top four boats before the first race. It was always going to be close, but as the principal protagonists, Bribón and Alberto Roemmers’ Matador (ARG), took the fight to each other, both sailing to the less favoured side of the first windward leg, Paul Cayard (USA) and the Spanish America’s Cup team on Desafio narrowly won the first race, just pipping Audi MedCup Circuit leaders Quantum Racing to the finish gun. With Bribón back in tenth and Matador, who were the biggest victim of a 30° shift on the second beat, finishing 12th Desafio became the fourth team to lead this regatta.
Going in to the final race Desafio headed the fleet by one point from Bribón and Quantum Racing, with Matador two points off the lead, and in the unstable late afternoon breeze, running close to the 1600hrs time limit, patience and coolness under pressure were well tested.
Realising that being too consumed in their own battle had jeopardised both of their chances, Matador and Bribón sailed a more open first beat, with Ross MacDonald (CAN) calling the top end of the first leg to perfection coming in from the right in the changeable breeze, the Spanish boat lead at the first windward mark, with Matador second after sailing the left. Desafio led Quantum round in tenth and 11th .
While Bribón looked to have gained the winning edge Matador came back on the second beat, sailing faster inside their rivals in a strand of stronger wind, and set off down the final run with a tiny lead. If they could hold off Bribón they would win the regatta.
The two were neck and neck for most of the leg until Bribón were able to stay higher into slightly better breeze and Matador gybed lower. Only on the final gybe was it clear that the winning gun and the overall trophy would go to Cusi’s Bribón which is usually skippered by SM Juan Carlos, the King of Spain.
Bribón win the regatta by two points and regain second place overall on the Audi MedCup Circuit 2008, behind Terry Hutchinson and the crew of Quantum Racing who leave Murcia and head for the final regatta in Portimao having extended their overall lead from 30 points to 41.2 points.
“I am very, very happy on two counts," enthused Bribón’s Ignasi Triay (ESP). "This is a great win for this Bribón crew but also the welcome and enthusiasm here shown in Cartagena has been just fantastic. To walk around the streets and be stopped by people wanting to congratulate you and interested in how the racing is going has just been wonderful.”
Matador’s tactician Thierry Peponnet (FRA) added: “It could have finished much better for us than it did, but we have had a good regatta with this team who are on the podium for the second MedCup regatta. My worst moment was much more in the first race when we were on the wrong side of the 30° wind shift, that was painful and I should not have let us get there. We just didn’t quite have the speed to hold them off on the last run, but it has been fun to fight to the very last run.”
“Today has been really impressive. We couldn’t have made it more exciting if we had tried! In the first race we focussed too much on Matador who we knew we had to beat, and overlooked the rest of the fleet. The Race Committee did a fantastic job waiting until the very last moment for more wind to pick up and we went out for the kill!
“It really was time for Bribón to win a trophy this year. We got very close in Alicante, but missed out at the last minute. We have been fighting hard all year to win one, and suffered right up to the last few metres before the finish line. The fact that Matador sailed so well makes the victory even sweeter, it wasn’t in the slightest bit easy!”
Paul Cayard (USA) Skipper-helmsman of Desafio said: “We are very competitive and that is a big change for us. Desafio were getting stronger every regatta. We had the best day today but it wasn’t enough to catch up although we were nine points down going into the day and just four points from first place which is a great day for us. We have to take some satisfaction from the upward trend on Desafio. It was extremely light out there; we would have liked to end before the last race obviously but there were four boats that could win, points were so close that it has been fantastic. We are able to win races now and are feeling a lot more confident. We know the boat better, we are sailing well.”
Region of Murcia Trophy Regatta - overall standings after 10 races.
Place, Boat Name, Nationality, race results and total
1. Bribón ESP(1,3,9,3,5,4,4,8,1,10,1, 47)
2. Matador ARG (2,6,6,5,3,1,6,1,6,12,2, 49)
3.El Desafio ESP(9,4,3,1,7,5,7,4,4,1,6, 51)
4. Quantum Racing USA (5,1,4,8,4,6,2,6,8,2,8, 54)
5. Mutua Madrileña ESP(6,5, 2, 2,1,3,14,2,15 RAF,4,3, 57)
6. Platoon powered by T. Germany GER (11,2,1,15DNF,2,2,8,5,2,8,12, 68)
7. Caixa Galicia ESP(4,10,7,6,13,7,3,9,9,3,7, 76)
8. Artemis SWE (3,9,5,4,6,8,5,10,3,7,11, 80)
9. Audi Q8 ITA (8,7,8,7,8,10,11,3,7,13,13, 94)
10. ONO ESP (10,11,13,12,10,11,1,12,11,6,4, 100)
Audi MedCup 2008
Standings after 45 races including Alicante, Marseille, Cagliari, Portals and Cartagena
Place, Boat Name, Nationality, total
1. Quantum Racing USA 215
2. Bribón ESP256,2
3. Artemis SWE 271
4. Matador ARG 287
5. Platoon by Team Germany GER 310
6. Mutua Madrileña ESP325,4
7. El Desafío ESP352
8. CxG Corporación Caixa Galicia ESP404,6
9. Audi Q8 ITA 451
10. Mean Machine MON 455