All4One claim coastal race
With a good victory in today’s 25 miles high scoring windy coastal race Jochen Schuemann and Seb Col and the crew of Audi Sailing Team Powered by ALL4ONE took a big step towards their first regatta victory of the season. The Franco-German team now leads the Region of Sardinia Trophy by 8.5 points over second placed Quantum Racing which finished second. And with the strong Mistral NW’ly breeze which strafed the Gulf of Angels race track today set to continue into Sunday, the final day of the regatta, Schuemann says they now have no fears about what tomorrow might bring. The four times Olympic medallist confirmed again that not only is he happy with the speed they have now found on their new boat, but today he felt they have an edge – especially upwind and on tight reaches – which helped them capitalise on an excellent opening leg.
While Audi ALL4ONE’s early season ‘slows’ appear to be behind them, it was the best day yet this season for their Italian sister-ship Audi Azzurra Sailing Team. The slow and problematic blues for the Azzurra team were displaced today by a much more up tempo performance in the strong 23-28 knots winds.
Seb Col, Audi Sailing Team tactician commented: “In general we like coastal races, and sailing here in Cagliari is a real pleasure The race's been very interesting because Ed Baird and the guys of Quantum have been pushing us so hard throughout the whole course. Luckily we were fast, especially upwind but also reaching. We haven't been able to open a gap on Quantum, they were always very close so we couldn't afford the smallest mistake. I think we've only been able to make the difference five to 10 minutes before the finish when they've started to look behind in order to control Azzurra which was coming back on the right hand side, it's been then when we've been able to get away. The key point was to be at the front as early as possible, and to keep solid in spite of Quantum's attacks. Also it was a great last upwind..."
Skipper-helm Jochen Schuemann added: “It was a tough race, and, I think, a well deserved win. We found some boat speed in the heavier airs and we are definitely not slower than the competition when it is windy, if anything a little faster upwind, which is a good sign as that was part of our struggle after the first three events. Ideally with the Mistral tomorrow we are not scared of anything tomorrow. We wanted to go left. Synergy crossed the fleet quite early, they got very nice right hand shift and we were second at the windward mark. We were a little stronger downwind took the lead and from there on we lead all the way. I think that tight reaching and upwind we were a little stronger than Quantum Racing who were second all the way. I think there was never a chance for them to get past us. I think it was a great coastal race for all of us. The fleet was very close and I think that os the beauty of this circuit. We have been coming to regattas and getting last and second last and now here we have a chance to win the regatta. That is how close these regattas are. We love it here, we finished second here last year.”
Vasco Vascotto and Francesco Bruni along with their team which sail for Sardinia’s Yacht Club Costa Smerelda composed the fleet’s best scoreline today after taking second in today's opening windward-leeward, race 6 of the regatta and a good third place in the strong coastal challenge, taking the boats down to a turning mark off Poetto.
The tight, demanding schedule today – regaining yesterday's windward-leeward race lost to light breeze – saw some tired bodies coming ashore in Cagliari in the beautiful late afternoon sunshine, while the spectacular race finishes in the harbour, only 200 metres off the Audi MedCup race dock in the heart of the historic city waterfront, were widely applauded.
The breeze for the first windward-leeward was around 12-16 knots as Markus Wieser and the crew of Container stretched to a comfortable win in the strengthening breeze. The German crew have not been able to impose that same level of consistency which was their trademark in Cascais and Marseille. They may have won twice here now, but so too they also have been seventh twice and sixth once.
Audi Azzurra Sailing Team hooked into a strong right hand shift, close to the Cagliari shore on the second beat of the race and were able to round the final windward turn in second which they held to the finish.
The breeze built for the coastal race. Russia’s Synergy Sailing Team made the best start and were able to cross the fleet to get left, but lost out to the hard gunning Audi ALL4ONE who were slicker and faster at the kite hoist, accelerating better away into the very fast first downwind. That first jump was enough of a margin for the Franco-Germans to capitalise on, holding station ahead of Quantum Racing around the long course. It proved to be fast and furious race, especially close and interesting to the end and a fantastic advertisement for how closely matched this group of TP52s now are, markedly better in these conditions under the evolution to their new 2011 rule.
In the regatta standings while Audi ALL4ONE have their useful lead, it remains tight for second, third and fourth. Bribon, after their 4,3 today lie third overall behind the ever dogmatic Quantum Racing.
The Soto 40s had fantastic racing, perhaps even more physically taxing than that of their bigger cousins. Iberdrola Sailing Team posted another pair of victories, winning ahead of Inaki Castaner and crew on Noticia IV on the first race.
In the big breeze the second heat of the day, which also finished inside the Cagliari port, proved to be a high octane mix of attrition and very fast downwind sailing. Tony Buckingham’s Ngoni led all the way from the first turn to within the final 450 metres of the leeward gate when a hole the size of a tennis ball which they had suffered at the windward mark hoist, finally spread and their kite exploded allowing Iberdrola through.
Successive big broaches, first by the local crew on XXII-Sardgena and then by Noticia IV, saw theme left to third and fourth respectively.
So Iberdrola, skippered and steered by Jose Maria ‘Pichu’ Torcida, stand on the threshold of their third successive regatta win in a row, leading into Sunday by six points.
José María Torcida, skipper-helm of Iberdrola Team said: “We had a fantastic day, the first regatta was just perfect, with very good start and tacks, and that gave us and advantage regarding the rest of the boats. Over the second race we had spectacular wind conditions. The first beat was a bit harder for us, so we started the first leg downwind in the fourth position, but our boat has performed really well downwind during the whole championship, so we recovered well. Also, the rest of the boats suffered breakages and we almost sailed by ourselves at the end, having a comfortable lead”.
Region of Sardinia Trophy - TP52 results after seven races:
1. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (GER/FR), 4+1+3+3+1+5+1,5=18,5 points
2. Quantum Racing (USA), 6+6+2+1+3+6+3=27 points
3. Bribón (ESP), 7+4+5+2+2+4+6=30 points
4. Container (GER), 1+2+7+4+7+1+9=31 points
5. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+3+6+7+5+2+4,5=32,5 points
6. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 3+7+1+5+4+7+7,5=34,5 points
7. RÁN (SUE), 2+5+4+6+6+3+10,5=36,5 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), 9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+13,5= 67,5puntos
Soto 40 results after five races:
1. Iberdrola Team (ESP), 1+1+2+1+1=6 points
2. Noticia IV (ESP), 2+2+3+2+3=12 points
3. XXII Sardegna (IT), 4+4+1+3+4= 16 points
4. Ngoni (GBR), 3+3+4+4+2=16 points
5. Patagonia (ARG), 6(DNC)+6(DNC)+6(DNC)+6(DNC)+6(DNC)=30 points
More images from Guido Trombetta and Stefano Gattini: