High scoring day
Winds may still have been predominantly light, but there was no shortage of variety and choice on the second day of racing at the Audi MedCup’s Marseille Trophy.
The TP52s had one race apiece on both of Marseille’s main race arenas, first the Rade Nord in a light and fitful sub-10 knots southeasterly breeze and the second on the Rade Sud in a 9-13kts southerly.
Across such a range of conditions, with some big changes in wind direction and drops in pressure, consistency proved a fragile concept as exhibited by regatta leaders Quantum Racing. The US team with Ed Baird helming had the ultimate rollercoaster day, an assured win in the first race but a disappointing eighth in the second when they started late and ended up on the unfavoured side of the first beat. Even Russia’s Synergy, which is now just one point behind Quantum, had a 7,2 for the day, while the best scoring boat for the day, Niklas Zennstrom’s Ràn scored a second and a fourth.
The up and down scoring in the TP52s now sees only six points separating the top six boats after four races, with third placed Bribon on the same 16 points aggregate as Ràn in fourth.
Waiting was one of the prime requisites required of the Soto 40 fleet. They mustered on the north race area, but it was only after the second TP52 race started on the southerly track that they got their first start away. Alain Fedensieu and the local crew on XXII-Marseille proved the values of their combined local knowledge to win the first race while the Cascais Trophy winners Iberdrola won the second. That triumph added to their third place in the first race gives them the overall lead on countback ahead of the French team.
A strong start was the key to Quantum Racing’s win in the first race, allowing them to dominate from the first beat going when the breeze went left, going on to win from Ràn which started off the pin end of the line and sailed a very economical, steady race – always in the best of the pressure – which allowed them to stay well clear of Audi Azzurra Sailing Team. While the leading two built their success early, Audi All4ONE blew their kite at the final hoist while Synergy were penalised two turns for fouling Gladiator at the windward mark. The British boat was able to make a fifth.
After the left shift in the first race some of the smart money seemed to be staked on the same effect on the Rade Sud course as well, but the breeze built offshore, to the right and it was Audi Sailing Team powered by All4ONE which was best placed to profit. For the next two legs the Franco-German crew led by Jochen Schuemann looked to be firmly on course for their first win here, but the late afternoon breeze had other ideas and dropped on the right of the run. Chris Main Gladiator’s tactician made the early call to work offshore and the British crew were rewarded with steady gains, able to finally gybe inside Synergy to win their first race on the Audi MedCup Circuit, on only their second day racing!
Gladiator skipper/owner Tony Langley said: “Yesterday we didn't get good shifts and had two 'eight out of eight' and that made us feel pretty low last night. We came with no expectations, so it´s quite nice to perform like we did today. We were pretty strong all the way though in the second one, it was three of us sailing pretty closely the last time going windward and it was tight at the last leg, we went a bit punchy at the last round and it paid off. Light conditions like today´s are the trickiest for me but I´m happy with it went today, we sailed a lot better than the first race. Some of the guys were at Palma Vela and we weren´t very happy, so we made a few changes."
Back to the Soto 40s and their ability to seek out the best of the breeze and keep pushing to the finish enabled the Marseille team to open their regatta on their own home waters with a victory. With the different breezes shifting back and forth down the final run XXII Marseille sailed deep and worked the best low angle to just pip Tony Buckingham’s Ngoni (GBR) to the finish.
The breeze was more uniform in strength, but still with 20-30° variances on either side of the course which ensured that Jose Maria Torcida and the Iberdrola had to constantly monitor the gains of their nearest opposition on each successive leg, but the Spanish crew were able to hold off Patagonia by Negra to win.
José María Torcida skipper-helm on Iberdrola Team gave his take: "It's been a very complicated day, in the first race there were lots of shifts and pressure up and downs, and a big swing of positions. The English boat took advantage of it all but in the end they were too rash and the XXII-Marseille won choosing the left hand side. In both races we've done good starts but in the second it's been specially good, to leeward of the fleet, we've forced them to the right where there was less pressure and then we were first in the first mark. In the second one the pack was more compact, Patagonia tried to pass us but we managed to keep them behind".
TP52s - after 4 races
1. Quantum Racing (USA), 4+1+1+8= 14 points
2. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 2+4+7+2= 15 points
3. Bribón (ESP), 3+2+6+5= 16 points
4. Ràn (SUE), 5+5+2+4= 16 points
5. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 1+7+3+7= 18 points
6. Container (GER), 7+3+4+6= 20 points
7. Gladiator (GBR), 8+8+5+1=22 points
8. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (EUR), 6+6+8+3= 23 points
Soto 40s - after 2 races
1. Iberdrola Team 3+1=4
2. XXII-Marseille 1+3=4
3. Patagonia by Negra 4+2=6
4. Ngoni 2+5=7
5. Noticia IV 5+4= 9
From Nico Martinez/Audi MedCup
From Ian Roman/Audi MedCup