Photo: Pedro Martinez/ Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre

All to play for going into final day

Bribon poses for victory in her final year at the Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre

Friday August 5th 2011, Author: Evo Dallo, Location: Spain

Except for the Melges 32 and the RI 1 fleets, the rest of the classes competing at the Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre will have to wait until tomorrow for their winners to be decided.

A fourth place would be enough for the TP52 Bribón to take the honours in IRC A, which would give owner José Cusí his sixth title in the final year of the lengthy Bribon lineage of yachts. The rest of the leaders carry small advantages into the final day of the contest, set to guarantee very close racing on the final day.

The sea breeze on the Bay of Palma, once again delivered up to 10 knots, dropping over the course of the afternoon. Container made the best of the conditions in IRC A in the first race of the day, reducing Bribón's lead to just two points, but the Spanish TP52 came back with a win in the second race, leaving them with a six point cushion over their German-flagged rival. Playing it safe or not - that will be tomorrow's key. A fourth place in any of the two scheduled races for tomorrow would be enough for the Spanish boat to become the winner of the Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre.

The situation is different for the podium's final step, as today's win for the American mini maxi Shockwave in the second race has elevated her to third, leaving Sir Peter Ogden's JV60 Jethou nine points adrift. Tony Langley's Gladiator TP52 has dropped to last after receiving a sail measurement penalty, which pulls Hispano up to fifth.

In IRC B, Speedy has reduced Earlybird's lead to just one point, with Emma completing the very tight podium, just two points behind.

The Melges 32 fleet will also have to wait until tomorrow for their winners to be decided. With the discards introduced today, so Argo still leads, but her advantage has shrunk to four points. The American boat, steered by Jason Carroll, focused on marking John Kilroy's Samba Pa Ti where Vasco Vascotto is on tactics, after their two bullets from yesterday. Argo's tactics worked in the first race, for they finished third, ahead of Samba Pa Ti. But Italian ace Vascotto's brilliant strategy in the second race helped them win, whereas Argo could only manage eighth. Astern of the leading American boats, Luca Lalli and Lorenzo Bressani's lost third to Geoffrey Pierini's Shakedown. The Melges World Champions are now 13 points adrift of the leader and are all but out of contention.

In the X-35 class, Andrea Ferrari's Hotelplan did well today on the water after a win in today's first race and a fifth in the second after a nice recovery from rounding the first top mark last. This was the consequence of an incident with Tixelio on the approach on the first beat that cost her a penalty turn. As a result Hotelplan now has a seven point cushion over Ingo Dietrich's second-placed X on the beach. Third is Javier Bandera's Iberostar, which won the second race of the day. Tixelio and Ave María follow, just two points behind, and still threaten the Andalusian X-35's third place.

The J/80 fleet delivered tight racing again and Nextel Engineering of Ignacio Camino goes into the last day tied in points with Olympic medallist Jose María van der Ploeg, but the World Champion racked up a better scoreline with more wins. Nextel was first in the first race and came up with a nice recovery from being OCS in the second and went from last to seventh. Crocs got the prize for consistency with a third and a first place, whereas Mapfre took the other win of the day. The committee had to give both today's starts under a black flag.

Rats on Fire are on fire at the moment with five wins and two second places in ten races, placing them 18 points ahead of second placed, Cuadernos Rubio of Platú 25 World Champion, Manu Weiller. Third is Swanderfull of Giacomo Miscioscia, but there's still room for change on the second and third steps of the podium.

Things look better for Pedro Campos' Movistar, which could take her sixth Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre trophy home. Pablo Iglesias, who is standing in for Campos while he recovers from an eye injury, steered the Grand Soleil 37 to a win in the first race, and a third place in the second, whereas Power Plate of Olympic sailor Gustavo Martínez Doreste finished with a 3-1. Movistar's three point lead leaves the podium undecided until tomorrow.

Tomorrow no start shall be given after 15:00, in order not to delay the prizegiving ceremony due at 21:00 hours in Ses Voltes gardens, next to the cathedral in Palma.

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