TeamOrigin 1851 on form
When they turned round the wrong side of the finish line, bowing to superstitions or not, TeamOrigin and Emirates Team New Zealand had done enough to prove during today’s official TP52 Practice Race that they should be contenders in the light breezes which are expected for the Regata Camper - Conde de Godó Trophy - Barcelona.
Racing in less than 10 knots of gentle sea breeze the British TP52 helmed by Ben Ainslie was more than one minute ahead at the finish, after gaining on each successive leg, but they turned back upwind through the finish line, as did the Kiwi reigning champions - both registering DNF's - leaving AudiA1 powered by ALL4ONE to take the winner’s gun.
The practice race played out pretty much in line with the expectations which have been voiced around Barcelona’s Moll de la Fusta dockside over recent days: this will be a close regatta, the TP52s will be very even in speed in the lighter winds, and anyone who gets off the start line and around the first turning mark in the top two or three has a good chance of holding on.
Today it was TeamOrigin which got the early jump, after another sharp start from the British crew who were able to get to the favoured right, inshore side early along with Bribón. The Spanish boat lost a little on the first run when TeamOrigin gybed off earlier into a favourable shift, but Bribón were in touch until the second beat when the clew-patch on their new headsail gave way and they were forced to quickly hoist a replacement.
It was a day when it was easier for the leader to profit and one which life among the main pack was very even and hard to make gains. As if to illustrate this on the finish line only eight seconds separated fourth placed Quantum Racing (USA) and ninth placed Cristabella (GBR).
The consensus is that this will be a long, intense and hard fought regatta in light winds and high daytime temperatures, and with up to 12 races it could prove pivotal as we pass theoretical half way mark of the 2010 season here.
"It was only the practice race," said TeamOrigin 1851 tactician Iain Percy. "It was fine and hopefully we are improving but we just keep learning about the boat and this is only Day 15 with the boat, so we are learning a little bit every day and trying to catch up on TP52 knowledge. You never know in the practice race who is using and who is using full race kit, so you can't take too much from it. But we had a good day yesterday as well. I don't think have any real weaknesses, but everyone is going at a similar speed, you take little bits when you can."
Dean Barker added: “It's going to be very difficult and tricky, especially around the start line, just getting clean away, and getting a bit of the line. Off the start is going to be sort of the key to having a good result, and I think if you can do that well, consistently well, you will be in a good position to win the regatta.
“With this wind boats are going pretty much the same speed, and it comes down to starting well and having a good game plan for the first beat. I think if you get round the top mark in the top two or three, normally the race is straight forward from there but if you are back in the pack a little bit it's a real battle. This is actually not a venue where many people have really sailed that much so learning the conditions is very hard and I think across the boats in general there's not many people with experience sailing here.”
GP42’s Readying to go
After a run of bad luck in the first two regattas in Cascais and Marseille, there is no crew keener to go racing again in the GP42 Series than John Bassadone and his Peninsula Petroleum (GBR) team. Twice in successive regattas they having broken their masthead crane, causing them to miss a race each time. The last time it was particularly heartbreaking, as they had just worked themselves up to lead around the top mark, only to have the crane crack and fail just moments before hoisting their spinnaker.
“We think they’ve finally got it right,” says tactician Iñaki Castaner. “The part is much thicker and the design is closed on the bottom to make it even stronger than the old, open design. It definitely weighs more than the original piece, but we cannot have this fail again. We’re ready to put this in the past and go out and win.”
The remaining GP42 teams are doing their final preparations and tuning to be ready for tomorrow’s Practice Race. Iberdrola (ESP), AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA), and Madrid - Caser Seguros (ESP) were also out on the water practicing, while Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) is awaiting for their remaining team members to arrive on site.
Audi MedCup Circuit 2010
1. Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER)
2. Matador (ARG), +00:18secs
3. Artemis (SWE), +00:26
4. Quantum Racing (USA), +00:57
5. Bigamist 7 (POR), +00:59
6. Synergy (RUS), +01:01
7. Bribón (ESP), +01:03
8. Luna Rossa (ITA), +01:04
9. Cristabella (GBR), +01:05
10. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), DNF
11. TeamOrigin (GBR), DNF