Two bullets for Quantum Racing
It was a day of sharply contrasting fortunes for past and present Audi MedCup Champions on the Rade Sud today as the Marseille Trophy opened with three races which proved a very different test to last month’s breezy curtain raiser in Cascais, Portugal. Iberdrola won the GP42 Series Practice Race.
As 2008 champions Quantum Racing rekindled their winning mojo with back to back wins in races two and three to lead the regatta at the end of the first day, the reigning champions came off the water in ninth of ten and 2007 circuit winners in tenth.
Terry Hutchinson, Quantum Racing skipper said: “It’s been a great day, actually one of the best days we’ve had in a lot on Quantum Racing. In the first race what happened is that it got a little light and funky, and everything we did was a little bit off, but we made it up in the next two. The wind was shifty, tricky and puffy, and very hard to read, actually that was the hardest part in the first race, was trying to see the wind. It was a tricky day.”
Breezes rarely topped ten knots but it was the changes in strength and direction which made life especially testing for afterguards. Taking the positive benefits of the bend generated by the steep, bluff Marseilleveyre mountains was usual key. But there was no simple strategy, there were many traps, zones of light winds which were best avoided.
With Morgan Larson (USA), who won as tactician for the 2008 champions, returned to the afterguard fold for this regatta, Quantum Racing’s starts were strong and their tactical sailing a good blend of pushing when they needed to and managing the risks in the patchy breezes. They were able to hold off Synergy (RUS) by only 3 seconds in a thrilling finish to Race 2.
Winning, ahead of Audi A1 powered by All4One in the third race, sees Terry Hutchinson (USA) and the team end the day locked even on 10 points with the very consistent Matador (ARG) whose 3,3,4 for the day is a welcome tonic after their slightly disappointing Portugal Trophy regatta.
Guillermo Parada helmsman on Matador commented: "I think the clue today was to sail conservative, we could have done some gainings and passed some boats, but we've decided no to take any risks instead. But we are happy about the way we sailed, though this is only the beginning, but better to start like this than other ways.
“We had overall a good day, we had a first very good race and a second very good race and in the middle the second race didn't go that well, it's very shifty and tricky and in the second race we had a clear idea of what we wanted to do but at the end we didn't do it and we ended up second last so it's a good example on how close everything is so we had a second, a second last and a second over.”
Emirates Team New Zealand unfortunately repeated that off-key start that they made to the season’s first races, tenth in the first contest which was won by Bribon.
Kiwi team's helmsman Dean Barker said: “It was shifty, puffy and big holes and we certainly did not sail particularly well. It is always hard to focus on any one thing we did wrong, but we did not get to the best side of the course at the right time. I think that basically the other boats sailed better than us today. There is nothing too much to get stressed about, we just need to have a good consistent day tomorrow, and get some consistency into it. If there is a weakness with the boat it is in this, light and lumpy.”
This time, in the lighter conditions which are not the powerful Kiwi boat’s favourite, they failed to bounce back into the top tier of the fleet during the following two races, but so close are the points in this extremely tight class that they are only four points shy of the top half of the fleet.
Superstition in the GP42 practice race
Helmsman Paolo Cian (ITA) today acted on an age-old superstition common among sailors, which holds that winning the practice race before a big event brings bad luck.
He and his team on Madrid – Caser Seguros (ESP) were leading going into the finish of today’s practice race, but pulled away to score DNF, a move which he hopes will help him repeat his win here last year.
Meanwhile, 2008 Class Champion Iberdrola (ESP), making their Marseille Trophy debut, had no qualms in taking the practice race win, if only by 10 seconds over the team currently on top of the GP42 Series leaderboard. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) has regained not only their title sponsor of last year, but also a replacement team member for mastman Carlos Hernandez (ESP) who injured his hand yesterday while repairing the boom that was broken in transit to this event. Marcos Aliaga (ESP) will sail this week for the team.
Another critical repair was that of the masthead crane on Peninsula Petroleum (GBR), broken in Cascais just moments before the start of the last breezy day of racing there – in today’s 10 knots all looked well.
TP52 Series - Overall – Day 1
1. Quantum Racing (USA), 8+1+1=10 points
2. Matador (ARG), 3+3+4= 10
3. Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER), 2+9+2= 13
4. Cristabella (GBR), 6+4+3= 13
5. Bribón (ESP), 1+8+8= 17
6. Synergy (RUS), 9+2+6= 17
7. TeamOrigin (GBR), 4+7+7= 18
8. Luna Rossa (ITA), 5+5+10= 20
9. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 10+6+5= 21
10. Artemis (SWE), 7+12(RAF)+9= 28
11. Bigamist 7 (POR), 12(DNC)+12(DNC)+12(DNC)= 36
GP42 Series - Practice Race
1. Iberdrola (ESP)
2. Puerto Calero (ESP), +00:10
3. Peninsula Petroleum (GBR), +01:30
4. AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA), +02:04
5. Madrid-Caser Seguros (ESP), DNF