Quantum forges ahead
While Mean Machine posted a second and third from an interesting day’s racing which, despite the slightly one-sided courses, proved a good test of starting, upwind and downwind strategies, Quantum’s two near identical starts and the ability to earn the lion’s share of the favoured right early in both races, was the key to their twin successes today.
Quantum showed good speed throughout the day over both races which were sailed in 11-15 knots of what is proving a consistently reliable sea-breeze, reliable to the point that some crews might be really looking forward to new challenges of tomorrow’s coastal race, and to Friday when a change in the wind direction and conditions is forecast.
For Hutchinson, tactician Chris Larson (USA) and crew three wins from five starts is a welcome reward for the hard work they have been putting in since Marseille last month. The team on the green and black-hulled Botin & Carkeek design have been addressing their perceived weaknesses. In particular today their starting was pin sharp in terms of time on distance and speed off the line, but their positioning, such that they did not risk being compromised at the busy committee boat end, was equally surefooted.
As is their policy this season, Quantum Racing were the first boat out on the Gulf here, training since last Thursday.
Terry Hutchinson explained: “After Marseille we worked on my starts at the windward end of the line. Ian (Moore, GBR, navigator) and Morgan (Larson, USA, tactician) have done a good job of their analysis of stuff, and when push comes to shove then there are certain times when all of us have to do our jobs on the boat and its good to be able to do it. But it’s a really good fleet. It’s the end game we are focused on. We need days like this to win races but then follow up with another good race. A lot of things have to happen well for us.”
The remarkably consistent string of results for Jose Cusi’s Bribon was upset for the first time today. Their seventh in the first race, followed by Bribon’s first double figures score of the season, 11th in the second contest, meant they concede the overall Circuit lead to Quantum. Bribon were squeezed out on the finish line by the Russians on BMW Oracle Racing's former USA 17 now called Rusal Synergy and had to bear away, gybe and approach again but lost only one boat in the porcess.
“We had not particular dramas, no issues, just a bad day at the office really.” Dean Barker (NZL), Bribon’s helm explained. “ It happens from time to time. In the second race on the first run we went right and did not get a lot of pressure and we got stuck under a number of boats and just had watch others sail past, there was not much we could do really. It is tough going out there. The sailing is great here and pretty straightforward, but when the advantage is slightly one sided then the fast boats can get there quicker. Quantum is probably the fastest boat out there on the water.”
While Quantum won their second gun of the day Roberto Bermudez and the team on CxG Caixa Galicia proved they are getting to grips with the substitute boat they have (the former Tau Ceramica) while theirs is being repaired when they took a confidence boosting second place - equaling their best finish of the season in Marseille.
And in the first race Paul Cayard drove El Desafio to third behind Mean Machine.
“We had two good starts but even so that just doesn’t seem to be enough in the second race we had a good start but suddenly found ourselves in 8th or 9th place at the first mark," commented Cayard. "But we worked hard and I guess we did a few things right and clawed our way back up to sixth or seventh in the second race. It is very tough all the boats are similar in speed and there is not a lot of room for any kind of mistake. We felt that we had the right sail choices not being able to cross we were put back a few boats, the timing is also important, you can get lucky as to when you are going to meet someone, going to meet someone and it makes all the difference. I am not 100% happy today either because we still had a few issues on board but if we keep on improving it will be satisfying.”
Going into tomorrow’s coastal Race, which effectively offers double points, the top two boats have already built a decent points cushion in the quest for the Audi Region of Sardinia Trophy. After five races Bribon lies in third place, 17 points behind Quantum.
Audi Region of Sardinia Trophy
Results after five races: (Place, Boat Name, Country, Race 1, Race 2, Race 3, Points total)
1. Mean Machine MON (1,4,1,2,3, 11)
2. Quantum Racing USA (3,1,6, 1,1,12)
3. Bribón ESP (4,2,5, 7,11,29 )
4. Artemis SWE (9,5,4,5,7,30)
5. Mutua Madrileña ESP (2,11,7,8,4,32)
6. Matador ARG (7,8,3,6,8,32)
7. El Desafío ESP (6, 7, 11,3,6,33)
8. Platoon by Team Germany GER (5,10,8,9,5, 37)
9. Caixa Galicia ESP (12,9,9,10,2,42)
10. Audi powered by Q8 ITA (8,3,10,12,10,43)
Audi MedCup Circuit 2008
Standings after 21 races in Alicante, Marseille and Cagliari.
(Place, boat name, country, points. )
1. Quantum Racing USA 104
2. Bribón ESP 109,2
3. Artemis SWE 122
4. Mean Machine MON 130
5. Platoon by Team Germany GER 136
6. Matador ARG 149
7. El Desafío ESP 168
8. Mutua Madrileña ESP 183,4