First German victory
The Mistral won the day but Udo Schutz' Container won the regatta. The infamous strong northwesterly wind, kicking up big, awkward seas on the course area and at the entrance to Marseille harbour, meant the one final showdown race scheduled could not be run today leaving the German Container team victorious in the TP52 class at the Marseille Trophy, while Spain’s Ibedrola Team won the Soto 40 Marseille Trophy.
Container, debutants on the Audi MedCup Circuit, follow up there second place in Cascais last month, which was gained only days after launching their boat for the first time on the Portuguese capital’s racing waters.
The Markus Wieser-skippered crew become the first German-flagged team ever to win a regatta on the Audi MedCup Circuit, a victory for renowned owner Schutz, formerly a successful sportscar racer who won the 1993 Admiral’s Cup as part of a three boat German team. The veteran owner arrived to be on board for the finale today, but was thwarted by the brisk Mistral.
Ironically, so late was the inception of the Container TP52 programme that this was originally supposed to be their first regatta in the class. But, with a very experienced crew – a hard core evolving their two year Container STP65 programme – and assured tactics, they proved furiously consistent in Portugal.
In France over eight races they beat Cascais Trophy winners Quantum Racing five times on the hop. Yesterday their first ever win in the class was a vital victory over the 35 miles, high points value coastal race, to emerge this afternoon just 1.5 points clear of the America’s Cup winning skipper-helm Ed Baird and crew of Quantum Racing who took second.
If the Container team were visibly pleased with their regatta win, so too Quantum Racing were not overly disappointed to emerge from a very testing, tactical regatta during which the breezes proved extremely difficult to read. If the Cascais menu was strictly upscale, Marseille’s wind strengths delivered the full à la carte menu from six to 26 knots often with shifts of 15-30°, big variations in pressure, and different breezes on either flank of the windward-leeward tracks.
All five of the Soto 40 crews would have loved a Mistral-powered decider today, not least the sharp shooting South American guns on Patagonia by Negra, skippered by Uruguayan Nicolas Gonzalez, whose two wins from yesterday’s three races had got them to within three points of Jose Maria ‘Pichu’ Torcida’s Iberdrola.
But the strong winds stymied that too and Iberdrola Team, which won the Marseille Trophy here last year in their GP42, also extend their lead in the Audi MedCup Circuit 40 Series from 10 points after Cascais, to be 18 points ahead of Patagonia.
Across the eight races off Marseille, six different TP52s won individual races including two for British owner Tony Langley and his Gladiator crew making their Audi MedCup Circuit debut, matching Quantum Racing’s tally of two wins. And both Audi Sailing Team powered by All4ONE (FRA/GER) and Container won their first races of the season.
Container's Markus Weiser commented: “When we started sailing in Cascais we said a top three, podium result would be great for us and we got second and we come here to Marseille we also thought top three would be great, and so winning is a great surprise for us. We are new into the class, I sailed the boat for the first time in Cascais, but it all comes down to the great team and the owner. He gave me the chance to sail with the guys I wanted to sail with. We have a great tactician, we have Hartwell Jordan who is running the boat, the sail programme so we are set up very well. And so it really comes down to the team. We all won together, and it is great victory for us and for Germany. We have a nice combination. I have known Hamish for many, many years we sailed together on the match-race circuit and with Hartwell the mainsail trimmer we sailed together for many years, so it is a nice combination. I picked the guys to fit nicely together and we have fun sailing together. If you have fun you can sail very well together.
"On the long distance race yesterday we had a fight coming from behind. And we won the race because we were just fighting all the time and it is just nice sailing with these guys.
"After the second day we were in sixth position but the gap between us was just six points and so we always knew that if we can have a good day we would be back in the game. Consistency is so very important, even with eight boats you have to fight for every place and never give up. So our fighting mentality helps us come back.
"Our team is working very well in the light stuff and the strong breeze so Cagliari can be good. I think that Quantum, us and Audi Azzurra Sailing Team have a slight advantage.
"There was not much between us and Quantum. We did beat Quantum five races in a row and so we played the shifts a little better. But if you are on the up you feel strong, and if you are not doing so well it is hard to fight back, if one team is on a high it is really hard to beat them. We have been on a high on the last three days and so it was difficult for Quantum to catch us. Out boat speed became better and better. We are learning every day and we are still catching up, I think it is very level between us, Quantum and Azzurra.”
Ed Baird skipper of Quantum Racing added: “We are disappointed because we would´ve liked to have a chance to go out there today and get some points back, but the weather is the weather. Container sailed really well this week, especially in the last three or four races, the deserved to win. Basically, we stretched our lead from a lot of the teams and only lost to them. We are happy so far. Now we have to wait for the next opportunity to race everybody in Italy."
Tony Langley owner-driver of Gladiator said: “We exceeded all expectations this time out. It was fantastic. I made a few changes after Palma Vela and signed Chris Main a week ago and his experience has been invaluable, that was a late thing. And that was the missing ingredient and he said what do you want from me? And I said I want you to roll the dice. He did say to be prepared to be last in every race. And I said that if was going to be a last in every race then just make sure it was not a procession to the last. I said roll the dice and if we come out in the top half then don’t roll it again, and if we come out in the bottom half then roll it again if you can.
"It is all a challenge. For me it is all about steering the boat myself. We had a very long coastal race. The first hour and a half we were second boat and third boat then fourth and after an hour and half I was pretty pleased with that. And I don’t think it is any coincidence that the two last boats were owner-drivers, in uprange conditions. I can drive at a reasonable level at 12-14kts, but uprange is where the pros are still driving at 98% after four hours and I am down at 80%.
"I had the Farr 45 five years ago. I had a very lucky debut Round the Island and won Class Zero with two pros on board. And we still have the 45 and I really enjoyed the progression through that. I don’t think I could have stepped into this fleet without that, the hand on hand on combat and we still do a bit of that on the Solent."
José María Torcida skipper of Iberdrola Team said: "We are quite pleased with the way we´ve sailed here in Marseille, with tough conditions. We are very happy with the boat and the crew, becasue we are people who enjoys been in the water, something that can be an importante factor in long championships such as the Audi MedCup Circuit. About Cagliari, not a lot will change, we´ll have a small change at the mast. There´s no doubt that we will try to keep working the way that we´ve been in order to reach our final goal".
Marseille Trophy - TP52 - final results after eight races
1. Container (GER), 7+3+4+6+2+3+2+1,5= 28,5 points
2. Quantum Racing (USA), 4+1+1+8+3+4+3+6= 30
3. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 1+7+3+7+5+5+6+3= 37
4. Bribón (ESP), 3+2+6+5+8+1+4+9= 38
5. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 2+4+7+2+6+6+5+7,5= 39,5
6. Ràn (SUE), 5+5+2+4+4+2+9 (DSQ)+10,5= 41,5 points
7. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (EUR), 6+6+8+3+7+8+1+4,5= 43,5
8. Gladiator (GBR), 8+8+5+1+1+7+9 (DNF)+12=47
Soto 40 results after 7 races
1. Iberdrola Team (ESP) 3+1+1+2+3+1+3=14
2. Patagonia by Negra (ARG) 4+2+2+4+1+3+1=17
3. Noticia IV (ESP) 5+4+3+1+5+2+2= 22
4. XXII-Marseille (ESP) 1+3+5+3+4+5+5=26
5. Ngoni (GBR) 2+5+4+5+2+4+4=26
TP52 Series - results after 2 events
1. Quantum Racing (USA), 19 + 30= 49 points
2. Container (GER), 31,5 + 28,5= 60 points
3. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 32,5 + 37= 69,5 points
4. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 37 + 39,5= 76,5 points
5. Ràn (SUE), 5+5+2+4+4+2+9 (DSQ) 40,5 + 41,5= 82 points
6. Bribón (ESP), 47,5 + 38= 85,5 points
7. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (GER/FR) 58 + 43,5=101,5 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), 85,5 + 47= 132,5 points
Soto 40 Series - results after 2 events
1. Iberdrola Team (ESP) 13 + 14= 27
2. Patagonia (ARG) 28 + 17= 45
3. Noticia IV (ESP) 25 + 22= 47
4. XXII (ESP) 23 + 26= 49
5. Ngoni (GBR) 33 + 26= 59