Mean Machine comes good
José Cusi’s Bribón, with double Olympic medallist Ross Macdonald (CAN) calling tactics for helm Dean Barker (NZL), won the first race and then posted a pair of fourth places to lead Doug De Vos (USA) and Fred Howe’s (USA) Quantum Racing, while the 2005 MedCup Champions, Mutua Madrileña skippered by Vasco Vascotto (ITA) sit third overall.
With the sun breaking through later in the afternoon the breeze increased across the races to provide a great blend of tactical racing in 5-7 knots in the first contest, giving way to a more physically demanding 15-16 knots in the third.
Mean Machine's winning tactics from Ray Davies (NZL) and Tom Dodson (NZL) were a facsimile from Race 4 to Race 5, flipping early to the right side of the course and extending to hook into a favourable shift, they proved they have speed when they built a comfortable margin in the final race today. In contrast Macdonald was more measured and less extreme with Bribón.
Macdonald, the analytical, calm Canadian former Star World Champion, admirably dealt with the high wire act required in this white hot 16 boat fleet, sailing consistently. As he put it on Monday: "there is no need to try and hit it out of the park. Just try and not make mistakes." Their strategy worked today: good first windward beats to build a platform to work from and the Spanish boat showed they lack nothing in speed.
"It was a good day with perfect conditions, just typical of the Mediterranean," commented Macdonald. "The boat was moving well, and we were just trying to be consistent. The key today was there were a few windshifts around and differerences in wind strength across the course, and it was really a case of just trying to link those up. When it gets light then the angles between the boats really open up, and so you really need to keep the boat in the best (wind) pressure. That was much more important in the first race, which we won. "It is interesting against the new boats because I think it is very even on speed."
Mean Machine's Ray Davies added: "We had clean starts and that made a difference and with more breeze I think the boat was going better. It was not so fickle and we were able to let the boat really stretch her legs. I made a few mistakes yesterday, but today we managed to keep it pretty clean."
Morgan Larson (USA), Quantum Racing's tactician said: "In the first race of the day I was not happy with the decisions I took, but overall I am happy with the day. Our goal was to average better than fifth for the day and we achieved that. I think our boat is a little stronger up the wind range. The boat is certainly good which is a reward because I think the designers and the build team and everyone has put all that they could into it, so we are pretty happy."
At the theoretical half-way point of the ten planned races of this City of Alicante Trophy Regatta, leading into tomorrow’s critical coastal race which carries a double points bounty, the 2007-built Bribón heads a healthy mix of six new 2008 boats in the top 10.
Although not a new boat, Bribón underwent surgery during the winter to reconfigure the aft sections to improve their speeds in fresher conditions, such as prevailed in the third race of the day.
1 - Bribon ESP (3, 3, 1, 4, 4, 15)
2 - Quantum USA (4, 5, 9, 3, 2, 23)
3 - Mutua Madrilena ESP (2, 4, 8, 8, 3, 25)
4 - TAU Ceramica Andalucia ESP (1, 1, 6, 9, 9, 26)
5 - Mean Machine MON (7, 16, 5, 1, 1, 30)
6 - Platoon powered by Team Germany GER (5, 9, 2, 5, 14, 35)
7 - El DesafÌo ESP (9, 6, 7, 11, 5, 38)
8 - Matador ARG (10, 14, 3, 2, 10, 39)
9 - Artemis SWE (12, 11, 4, 10, 7, 44)
10 - Cristabella GBR (11, 2, 15, 7, 12, 47)
11 - Audi TP52 Powered by Q8 ITA (13, 10, 12, 6, 6, 47)
12 - Ono ESP (8, 12, 10, 12, 11, 53)
13 - Caixa Galicia ESP (15, 7, 11, 13, 8, 54)
14 - Cam - Caja del Mediterraneo ESP (6, 8, 16, 14, 15, 59)
15 - Rusal-Synergy RUS (14, 13, 13, 16, 16, 72)
16 - Valars RUS (16, 15, 14, 15, 13, 73)