Cayard in Cagliari

A update on the Desafio Espanol TP52 campaign on the Audi MedCup

Sunday July 6th 2008, Author: Paul Cayard, Location: United Kingdom
With a ten o'clock first start, the teams were up early and off the dock by 0830. The mistral continued all night and perfectly until 1500, when it abruptly shifted 180 degrees and a sea breeze filled in on the bay.

Fortunately we go our three races in by 1430 and we were headed back to the dock by the time the big shift occurred.

We had a decent day on Desafio, with a 5, 10 and 6. The first race was a bit frustrating as we were second around the first mark and even with the leader around the gate at the bottom of the first run. We lost three boats on the second windward leg and last run with wind shifts that we got on the wrong side of. The second race we had a good start but down the line and the wind went 10 degrees right and we got pinned all the way out to the left and over stood the windward mark. We were last around the gate in this race and managed to pass three boats. That was painful. In the last race we had a nice start up toward the committee boat and we were fighting with Quantum Racing and Matador most of the race, in fourth, and fifth and sixth. In the end Quantum got around Matador and us on a shift on the last run. By that point we were just following Matador around as we could not catch Bribon for fifth overall and we had a few points on Matador who finished seventh overall.

I feel a bit better about this regatta than the Alicante regatta. Our starts were good and our boat speed was above average. We have made some improvements in the way we sail the boat but clearly was have some improving to go. I think Desafio is now in a position to compete with the other teams.

One factor that I think is bearing itself out a bit is our mast. When we started this ambitious project to build a TP 52 in four months, the one item we could not get was a new mast. So we bought the spare mast of Audi Q8 form the 2007 season which was new in 2006. It was actually broken when we got it. It is two years old in terms of design and materials, so it is soft and bendy compared to the others. This translates in not being able to get the headstay and tight which has an effect on jib shape, especially at the upper end of the range.

We are getting our new mast in August and will have it in the boat for the last regatta of the Med Cup series in Portimao, and the World Championship in Lanzarote. So the good news is that our boat is currently very good and competitive, but it may get a bit better at the end of the year and for next year.

I am not going to be joining the team in the next regatta in Palma for the Breitling Regatta, nor in the Copa del Rey, as I am going to be racing to Hawaii with my boat, Hula Girl, and my very young crew.

Cagliari was a great venue. Excellent conditions everyday! I am sure the TP 52 fleet will be back here. One other thing is that the gelato is very good here. Going for a steak and gelato tonight. SFO tomorrow.

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