Photo: Ainhoa Sanchez/Audi MedCup

Not enough wind

However GP42s are able to get a practice race in on the opening day of the Audi MedCup in Barcelona

Wednesday July 21st 2010, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: Spain

There was no racing for the TP52 Series fleet today due to winds which were too light. Only the GP42 Series’ official practice heat was completed today, the first scheduled racing day of the Camper Regatta – Conde de Godó Trophy – Barcelona.

As María Torrijo (ESP), Principal Race Officer put it:  “The sea breeze has been struggling against the gradient breeze, and in the end neither of them won. The final wind direction was between the 120 and 180, but the breeze was too light. We've decided to call two practice starts and the practice race because the fleet was already out on the water and the race didn't count for anything. The TP52’s were keyed up to go but the wind just never was enough.”

The 11 strong TP52 Series fleet representing 10 different nations, were left waiting, poised and ready for their first ever points racing off Barcelona, but the light breezes proved insufficient to get competition under way.

Around five hours in the hot summer Mediterranean sunshine, tracking the fickle breeze proved to be in vain for the TP52 teams who watched closely to see what they could learn from their smaller GP42 cousins as they took part in a slow, shifty practice race. But the breeze all but evaporated before the second windward leg was completed and their race was shortened before the final downwind.

For the GP42s the light airs practice was considered a good chance to get attuned to the kind of conditions which are expected to prevail for some of this regatta. Their practice race today started in a promising 8 knots, but soon degraded to less than 6 knots with many light air zones and shifts in direction down.

Even though AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA) had an enormous lead around the first top mark, they fell prey to the fickle conditions and Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) was able to take and hold the lead into the finish. This must be promising for the Canarias team, as light air has not been their strong suit in previous stages.

Madrid Caser-Seguros (ESP), runner-up in the practice race today and a sistership to Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, has been aggressively changing their boat set-up to optimize for light air. They did this by removing some heavy items on board and adding corrector weights to get to the absolute bare minimum all-up weight (4200 kg) which was verified by class measurer Jorge Flethes (ESP) on a crane scale yesterday. This and “a few rig and sail changes,” says Italian helmsman Paolo Cian, “will make us a little faster in the light air. But overall we feel really good for this regatta.”

While they retired today, another team to watch in the light air will be Iberdrola (ESP), who won handily in the first day’s light air at the last stage in Marseille. They have an older generation Botin Carkeek design that has proven to be a good overall performer, and in the light they seem to have an edge on the newer Botin Carkeek designs. And if only through sheer will, Peninsula Petroleum (GBR) will be strong in their quest to dig out from the points deficit.

Laureano Wizner helmsman of Iberdrola commented: “I don’t think they should have made a start. In the end we retired because it was really hard and frustrating to sail in such a light breeze, and it was really hot.”

Nacho Postigo, Technical Director of the Audi MedCup Circuit looked into his crystal ball at the weather ahead: “The forecast says we'll have wind tomorrow, around 15 knots in the morning, and that it'll drop a bit in the afternoon, but will pick up later again, up to 8-12 knots. It'll be from the NE-E, so we might have some waves too.”

Opening party

Last night the Audi MedCup Regatta village for the Camper Regatta – Conde de Godó Trophy – Barcelona on the Moll de la Fusta came alive for a huge opening party which drew more than 700 invited guests, including many local Barcelona celebrities and VIP’s.

Three races are scheduled for the both the TP52 Series fleet and the GP42 Series fleet tomorrow (Thursday) with this evening’s forecast seeming to offer the prospect of a racing breeze.

All the racing can be followed live on Audi MedCup TV which starts broadcasting daily at 1250hrs (CET).

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