High scoring TP52s
Quantum Racing (USA) emerged as overall leaders of the Camper Regatta – Conde de Godó Trophy – Barcelona after opening with two fifth places and a second on what proved an especially testing first day of racing as the Audi MedCup Circuit competes for the first time ever off the Catalan capital.
As an introduction to a new venue nothing was gained easily in the moderate 9-13 knots northeasterly breeze. With the start line set directly in front of where the Olympic village was for the 1992 Olympic Games, relatively close to the shore, there was an awkward choppy sea kicked back off the beach to contend with. The variable cloud cover moved the wind around from time to time, the breeze varied in strength across the course and the racing for the most part was extremely close with small errors punished heavily in the intense competition.
The Quantum Racing team came back to the dock at the city’s Moll de la Fusta, greeted by huge crowds. After a long day on the water the 2008 Audi MedCup champions looked mildly frazzled but content to have stuck within their budgeted 12 points for the day which leaves them leading by only one point from a trio comprising Emirates Team New Zealand in second, Artemis (SWE) in third and Bribón (ESP) in fourth, whilst Cristabella (GBR) lies fifth.
As if to highlight how hard it was to stay regular in these conditions, in the TP52 fleet, Britain’s Cristabella took second in the first race, won the second race and then rode the rollercoaster down to an 11th in the third. Three different boats won races.
After weak openings in Cascais and Marseille, Emirates Team New Zealand seemed to despatch any talk of a first day hoodoo when they won the first race, profiting when early leaders Bribón let them squeeze inside them at the leeward gate.
In the third race the all-Italian Luna Rossa team read the top of the first beat to perfection and led Quantum Racing across the finish line to post their first win of their Audi MedCup Circuit TP52 campaign.
In the light of losing out the first planned day of racing there will now be no Coastal Race at this regatta.
“Consistency is the key here for sure," commented Terry Hutchinson. "The middle race was a little frustrating for us because we lost two boats within a hundred metres of the finish line, and so that was hard race because we had sailed really, really well. But then in the last race, Ado, Kevin, Tom and all the guys did really nice work and we battled. One of the things we talked about as a team is that if you go 1,1,2 and then 9,10, then the 1,1.2’s don’t really do a lot for you. So our goal for the day was to come out with 12 points or less and we did that."
As to the conditions Hutchinson added: “Oh man, it was really hard. The last race was 12-13, the middle race was about 11-13 and it was really, really lumpy. The NE’ly breeze was bouncing off the beach and the sea wall and we had a lot of chop and standing waves, and that on top of everything else when you are competing against really, really good sailors, you have to contend with that. But it is hard for everyone. But that is only one day and we enjoy that for a couple of minutes and move on to thinking about the next ones.”
Ray Davies, tactician Emirates Team New Zealand described their day: “We had a good day today, we are happy with the day, one point off the lead at the end of the day. We’ll take that any time. At the start of the day we obviously started really strong but in the last race we slipped back on the first run, losing a couple of boats there and that was sort of a turning point in that race for us.
“In these particular conditions everyone is going to have difficult tricky races, the big thing downwind is you can get a surge on a wave and the situation can change quite dramatically. We got on the wrong side of a couple down the first run of the last race and lost a couple of boats there.”
Cristabella navigator Simon Fisher said: “It was a pretty difficult day today, complicated with all the wind not a very typical Barcelona day really so there was a lot to think about, to try and manage in terms of the weather. We had gradient breeze and sea breeze a lot of clouds coming over the course. It was a tough day for the tacticians. Nevertheless we had a very good day. We had a second and a first, and unfortunately we couldn't sort of carry it through to the last one and didn’t do as well in the final race but it was a good day performance. But we are out there in the hunt so that's our objective.”
1. Quantum Racing (USA), 5+5+2= 12 points
2. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 1+4+8= 13
3. Artemis (SWE), 7+2+4= 13
4. Bribón (ESP), 3+3+7= 13
5. Cristabella (GBR), 2+1+11= 14
6. TeamOrigin (GBR), 10+6+3= 19
7. Luna Rossa (ITA), 9+11+1= 21
8. Matador (ARG), 4+9+9= 22
9. Synergy (RUS), 6+10+6= 22
10. Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER), 12(DNC)+8+5= 25
11. Bigamist 7 (POR), 8+7+10= 25
Hat trick in GP42 Series
In the GP42 Series Madrid Caser Seguros (ESP) kept up a perfect score through all three races in spite of the loss of skipper Jose Maria van der Ploeg. The 1992 Finn Olympic gold medallist had to miss out the opening race of the series off his home city after sustaining an ankle injury before the start. Helmsman Paolo Cian (ITA) took the early regatta lead. With a perfect 1-1-1, the team built a solid five point cushion over Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP).
The unusual big wave, light breeze conditions put a premium on teamwork as well as raw speed, and today Madrid Caser-Seguros showed supremacy in both.
“We worked hard to optimize our weight, rig, and sail settings,” said Cian, “and today it paid off. We had the speed when we needed it, and there were a few situations when it was critical.”
Van der Ploeg had to be taken by RIB off the boat pre-start and the team substituted sailing coach Carlos Llamas.“It's nothing really serious, but I think that leaving the boat [before racing] was the right call," he said. "We have to see how it evolves, but I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to sail tomorrow." Regarding the team’s winning today without him: "It's been great. I think that's the best gift they could give me. I'm really happy!"
1. Madrid – Caser Seguros (ESP), 1+1+1= 3 points
2. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), 2+4+2= 8
3. Iberdrola (ESP), 3+2+3= 8
4. AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA), 4+3+5= 12
5. Península Petroleum (GBR), 5+5+4= 14
From Chris Cameron/Emirates Team New Zealand - www.chriscameron.co.nz
From Sander van de Borch/Artemis - www.sandervanderborch.com