Photo: Stephano Gattini/Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup

Two bullets for Quantum Racing

After a blazing day with 28 knot gusts at the Audi MedCup Cascais

Friday May 20th 2011, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: Portugal

Not for the first time on the Audi MedCup Circuit, and likely not for the last time this season the common hue of the leading teams is green, and the complexion of those who are chasing in pursuit might already be a similar shade.

In the TP52s at the Cascais Trophy it is the newly launched green machine of Quantum Racing which today proved they are already well into in the straps for the season.

After winning the second race Thursday Ed Baird and crew extended their run to three successive wins from six starts, while their level of perfect symmetry, two wins today in robust conditions was not quite achieved in the Soto 40 series by the Iberdrola Team skippered by Jose Maria Torcida, but his team proved their powers of recovery when they took a pair of second places which ensures they retain their comfortable lead.

With winds which averaged more than 22 knots and gusted to 28 knots in the second race, the boisterous conditions took some crew closer to their early season limits, but the drama, such as it was, was confined to ill luck and the odd torn sail.

Early in the second race the Russian team on Synergy had their lifeline lashing which dumped three crew into the water, and on the first upwind of the first race Iberdrola compromised their prospects when they picked up a lobster pot and struggled to get free.

As Rod Dawson tactician on the Russian boat explain: “We had broken a stanchion yesterday but it was the lashing which went and three of us went in the water, including myself. We were picked up very quickly and were only in the water for a matter a a few minutes. According to the rule now we had to stop the boat and I think that is a good safety feature now. Everyone was OK it was just a mishap, but was a bit frustrating because we had made a good start and were in the mix."

Otherwise there were a few modest broaches and some slightly dented egos, but all in all it was another memorable day of racing in conditions which further endorse Cascais’ reputation as the wind capital of Portugal.Quantum Racing skipper Ed Baird commented: “We are very happy with how the day went, for sure, the boat is performing very nicely in that breeze. We are starting to get along more comfortable with how the boat sails. We didn´t do anything different, we were trying to do the same things that we did yesterday. We didn´t want to get in trouble ourselves but find a clear area in which to sail upwind over the first leg.

"But, look at how close the races are, we actually commented how small the leeward gate looks with all those boat squeezing in. Any mistake you make is going to cost you, we made some errors but luckily for us they were small and they didn´t hurt us with the rest of the teams”.

Tactician Adrian Stead added of their campaign generally: “It is a shame to lose some of the guys we did, but we did look carefully at the options who we bring in. It has kind of complemented what we had already, because we have Ben Durham coming in from Luna Rossa, we have Louie (trimmer Grant Loretz) coming in from Team New Zealand and that has given us just a slightly different take on how things work. We have a bit more horsepower on the boat, playing with the weights a bit we took the opportunity to be sure that when we have four people on the handles we have a lot of kilograms of strength on the handles, so that has worked well. We definitely feel stronger, we have people on the boat in Joe Spooner and Louie who have won the Circuit already and they bring new ideas and it is good.”

“Ed Baird is building more and more confidence. He learns more every day and the last race showed that, that for me is great. He is understanding the boat more and more, and has the confidence to say if the boat feels too loaded, say, it is just experience of driving the boat. He hasn’t done as much TP52 sailing as a lot of people and it is switching into a light weight boat, and here we are, today we get our best start yet this afternoon, we sailed our best downwind and we sailed our best upwind. We are pretty happy with where we are. We look back at where we were last Wednesday and I can see a big step forward, just confidence and time in the boat and my communication with Ed."

Second placed Container have retained a level of measured consistency from a very experienced crew who seemed rock solid in their boat handling today complemented by steady strategies from tactician Hamish Pepper. Their pair of third places today leaves Markus Wieser’s team three points behind Quantum Racing, while Italy’s Audi Azzurra Sailing Team bolstered an otherwise lacklustre first race sixth with a second place in the second race today to hold third, one point behind the debuting Germans.

The Golden Ticket

Though the first beats remain resolutely one sided – the favoured right closer to the Cascais shore is the golden ticket – on the first upwind it was those who judged the first layline best who were able to chase Quantum Racing hardest. Ross MacDonald and Marcel van Triest were able to set Bribon helm Gonjalez Aurajo a target which they achieved with little to spare, but they were able to squeeze around the first buoy in second which they held to the finish.

And in the second race it was Ed Baird’s perfect timing at the committee boat end of the line, Quantum Racing’s best start of the season yet, which was the foundation on which to build their second win of the day. This time Bribon slightly undercooked their approach and were judged to have skiffed the mark. A two turns penalty dumped them from challenging Container for second to a painful seventh place finish.

Patagonia, steered by class president Norberto Alvarez Vitale, with the Audi MedCup's Nacho Postigo on tactics, guided the largely amateur crew to their first win in Europe when they were able to profit as Iberdrola’s unexpected catch halted them, while Bigamist took third.

Local Star class Olympian Afonso Domingos on mainsheet, Hugo Rocha on tactics and Spain’s Inaki Castaner form the backbone of the Bigamist team and they proved the depth of their talent when they won Race 4, the second of the day, in the strong winds, despite only having sailed the Soto 40 for a matter of five days so far.

Quantum Racing lead overall by three points going into Saturday’s picturesque coastal race, which carries 1.5 points weighting, while the Soto 40s are scheduled to race two more windward-leewards.

Cascais Trophy results

TP52s after day 3

1. Quantum Racing (USA), 3+3+5+1+1+1= 14 points
2. Container (GER), 2+2+4+3+3+3= 17 points
3. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+1+2+2+6+2= 18 points
4. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 1+6+3+4+4+6= 24 points
5. Bribón (ESP), 4+7+1+6+2+7= 27 points
6. Ràn (SUE), 6+4+6+5+7+5= 33 points
7. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (EUR), 7+5+7+7+5+4= 35 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), 9DNC+9DNC+9DNC+9DNC+9DNC+9DNC=54 points

Soto 40 after day 2

1.Iberdrola Team (ESP), 1+1+2+2=6
2.Bigamist (POR), 2+4+3+1=10
3.Patagonia (ARG), 4+3+1+4=12
4.XXII Portuguese Sailing Team (POR), 3+2+4+3=12
5.Ngoni (GBR), 5+5+5+6+DNF=21



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