2009 champions move ahead
But for an error by TeamOrigin requiring them to take a penalty turn early in the second race, the emerging duel between the Kiwi Audi MedCup champions and the British team might be even closer.
Conditions were ideal for the third day of racing for the 11 strong TP52 fleet, 16-22 knots of breeze and two good tests proved enjoyable tests for crews through the fleet. As the breeze peaked during the both races, several gennakers were shredded - a tough punishment for small mistakes, and consistency was never easily achieved.
Since their faltering opening day, when they scored a sixth and 11th, languishing at the back of the pack at the finish of race 2, Emirates Team New Zealand are back to something close to their best. Now they have won three of the last five starts and lead TeamOrigin by three points going into tomorrow’s coastal Race.
With 2008 champions Quantum Racing (USA) remaining slightly compromised in the absence again today of skipper-helm Terry Hutchinson (USA), who was still under final observation after taking a knock on the head before yesterday, Emirates Team New Zealand have found themselves an adversary very close to their level in TeamOrigin who are still only on day 3 of their TP52 racing experience.
Emirates Team NZ skipper Dean Barker said: “The standard is much higher than last year. The teams have put in more time preparing. The boats are all in very good condition and certainly the fleet seems to be cruising along pretty much the same speed, so it's all about small gains here and there. TeamOrigin has picked up very quickly and are very tough competitors. We made a lot of mistakes during the first day, but we've sailed much better during the last two days. TeamOrigin is a very strong team, we know the guys very well. Ben was part of Team New Zealand in 2007 so know the guys very well, it's always going to be very interesting racing against Ben and his guys. There is a huge amount of talent there, they were a very strong team in the Louis Vuitton events and they have a new boat here which is pretty competitive. It is good racing. There's certainly other teams with chances, this is a long way from being over, there's a coastal race and two more races on the last day which should be just as tough, it's a tough tough race course. We have to be patient and take opportunities.”
Adrian Stead took the helm of Quantum Racing again today but, according to the Quantum Racing team, Hutchinson should be back on board for tomorrow’s coastal race.
TeamOrigin won the first race and were serious contenders in the second heat of the day, until they had to take a penalty for infringing Jochen Schuemann and the crew of Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE near the top mark. But the British team has otherwise been consistently strong starting and nailing the vital windshifts. Tactician Iain Percy spoke yesterday of not putting themselves in potentially expensive positions, and so they will draw important conclusions from their de-brief today.
TeamOrigin's Team Director Mike Sanderson commented: “We are learning the whole time that we are sailing, it's the ninth or tenth time on the water with the boat, and now also our eighth or ninth race in the TP52 Circuit for most of us, not our fifth or sixth year so we couldn't be happier with how it's going. It's exactly what we hoped, race is amazingly tight, the fleet is very, very competitive, the start line are incredibly intense. It is ticking all the boxes we hoped it would. We chose to take a penalty, it was a very close port starboard at the top mark. We got a pretty unlucky, a little windshift right at the top when we were trying to cross the Audi A1, right at the port hand layline. You know it's a long series, it's a 50 race regatta, so better doing a penalty turn now than having to go into the room and try to defend it all time.”
The Russian team on Synergy, with Pole Karol Jablonski as helm and Kiwi Rod Dawson as tactician, have been impressive with their regular results – third in the second race today – keeps them two points ahead of Torbjorn Tornqvist’s Artemis which paired a second to a seventh today.
TP52 Series - Race 6
Emirates Team New Zealand led off the pin end of the start line and were able to get to the favoured right side of the course early to gain the initial advantage along with TeamOrigin. But TeamOrigin managed to get a better wind shift slightly inshore to round in the lead ahead of them.
The breeze built from inshore on the last run, when Emirates Team New Zealand stayed further off. After gybe setting, as did TeamOrigin, Bribón (ESP) stole ahead of the champions on the final run, challenging for second, but when a problem with their spinnaker sheet after their final gybe, just 100 metres from the finish line, dropped the Spanish boat to fourth. TeamOrigin won comfortably and Luna Rossa (ITA) gained on the final run to earn third.
TP52 Series - Race 7
Emirates Team New Zealand led from the first mark to the finish line, with another display of cohesive team work and immaculate tactics. With the breeze peaking at over 23 knots, the action near the windward mark which was some 600 metres off the shore, was intense and exciting. Artemis took second place.
|1||TEAMORIGIN 1851||Ben Ainslie||4||9||2||4||2||21|
|2||EMIRATES TEAM NEW ZEALAND||Dean Barker||6||11||1||1||4||23|
|4||QUANTUM RACING||Terry Hutchinson||1||5||8||2||10||26|
|5||AUDI A1 POWERED BY ALL4ONE||Jochen Schuemann||9||7||4||6||1||27|
|9||LUNA ROSSA||Robert Scheidt||5||3||9||10||6||33|
|10||BIGAMIST 7||Afonso Domingos||11||4||11||7||11||44|
GP42 Series: Puerto Calero extends their lead
The reigning Audi MedCup champions are showing themselves as the team to beat, as the Canarias-based Puerto Calero team extended their lead in the GP42 Series withan impressive scoreline of 2-1-2 in the three races sailed today. Their consistency has put them in a four point lead over their B&C-designed sistership, Madrid–Caser Seguros , which finally put a win of their own on the scoreboard for the first time today.
“It was a tough day, very windy and at times shifty,” said Puerto Calero helmsman Jose Maria Ponce (ESP), “but we sail pretty well in these conditions, and the team did a great job of making very few errors.”
His tactician Gustavo Martínez Doreste added: "The key is not making any mistakes and we've managed not to make any and be as consistent as possible. Races were very even, and we've had to wait till the last minute to know who was going to win, so we've decided not to take any risks and sail more conservatively. The most important thing is that we've been fighting to win and we've managed one first and two second places in the three races. We are happy and we must keep on sailing cool headed."
Jose María Van der Ploeg tactician and co-owner of iadded: "We are very happy with today's victory, happy cause yesterday we had a bad time tunning the boat, and we've solved it today. We've managed to concentrate and sail better, and the boat is performing much more consistently, so we've been able to concentrate on the tactics."
Windy indeed: the brisk northwest breeze today topped 22 knots, and seas built up to 2 metres, making upwind sailing a jarring ride at times but downwind an absolute blast, with all boats surfing at high speed on the 8-mile courses. Nonetheless, the teams are aware of the chess game chase for points at this halfway point in the competition.
|1||PUERTO CALERO||Jose Ponse||1||1||2||1||2||7|
|2||MADRID - CASER SEGUROS||Paolo Cian||3||2||3||2||1||11|
|3||IBERDROLA||Laureano Wizner Perales||2||5||1||3||3||14|
|4||PENINSULA PETROLEUM||John Bassadone||4||3||4||5||4||20|