Ian Roman Photography / Audi MedCup

Ngoni leads Soto 40s

Britain team ahead at the Audi MedCup Cartegena

Thursday August 25th 2011, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: Spain

On a second day of light winds racing off Cartagena, the Spanish TP52 Bribon emerged with a slender overall lead at the Region of Murcia-Cartagena Trophy regatta after they held their nerve to win the second race of the day. In the Soto 40 Class Kevin Sproul (GBR) and the crew of Tony Buckingham’s Ngoni (GBR) lead after two races after scoring a second then a first place.

Patience has been a key virtue so far: not just for dealing with the long postponements waiting for the fickle minded sea-breeze to fill out enough to allow racing, but in the judgement calls required to decipher what the shifting, unsettled breeze is doing.

After a fifth then a race win, adding to their second place on the opening day, 2008’s winners here, Bribon, top the regatta standings by one single point ahead of Synergy’s Russian Sailing Team. But the Spanish crew might have been further ahead on the results table were it not for a costly penalty during the second beat of the first race. Infringing Quantum Racing (USA) dropped them from second place to finish fifth.

The gentle sea breeze was slightly stronger than for the TP52's first racing day, but it still never made more than 10 knots.

There was little in the way of a solid wind pattern from one leg to another. In the first race Italy’s Audi Azzurra Sailing Team won from the left, pin end of the start line to work the offshore side of the course, finishing ahead of circuit leaders Quantum Racing. In the second race Bribon’s double Olympic medal winning tactician Ross MacDonald (CAN) did an astute job of keeping them in the best pressure and they were just able to hold off Niklas and Catherine Zennström’s Rán (SWE) to win. Consistency over both races proved especially elusive, the Italian crew on Audi Azzurra Sailing Team scoring best for the day with their 1,4.

Ignaci Triay trimmer on Bribón commented: "The boat performs very well in these conditions. In the first race we fought against Azzurra and Quantum but in a port-starboard situation they were on port and made us hesitate and we ended up being penalized. No objection, it was a mistake from our side, but we left that behind and we managed to save the day. In the second race we were among the top boats from the beginning. On the last run we had Rán ahead but we caught them and that makes us leaders in Cartagena".

The Soto 40 fleet’s first experience of racing on this testing arena was no easier, but the closely matched fleet did have what must rank as their closest and most tactical day of racing yet in the lighter breezes. In place of the physical demands of controlling these light powerful one designs the key gains were made off the start line and making best use of the wind shifts.

After the young Australian Team on Patagonia by the Australian Soto 40 Team had lead since the first run Inaki Castaner (ESP) and the crew of NH Resorts (ESP) (aka Noticias IV) were able to take the lead in the dying minutes of the last run. As Patagonia tried to hold up circuit leaders Iberdrola (ESP), they opened the door for Ngoni to steal second at the other end of the finish line.

NH Resorts and Patagonia by the Australian Soto 40 Team both jumped the start gun in the second race, which was won comfortably by Sproul and the Ngoni team who lead the regatta by one point from NH Resorts.

Sproul described it: “We had a couple of good starts and that always helps. We were first at the windward mark in both races, but it was a bit ironic in the first race because if we had only been one boatlength ahead we could probably have won it, but because we were ten boatlengths ahead we didn’t. The breeze shut down for us at the mark and the others rounded with pressure, in a puff and caught us right up. If we had been closer to them we could have been in the same puff, but that is the way it is sometimes. But generally it all came together quite nicely, we seemed to be quick enough and in the lighter breezes can maybe get a bit of the consistency we have lacked in the stronger breeze.”

Region of Murcia Trophy, Cartagena TP52 results after three races:

1. Bribón (ESP), 2+5+1=8 points
2. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 1+3+5= 9 point
3. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+1+4=10 points
4. Quantum Racing (USA), 3+2+6=11 points
5. RÁN (SUE), 6+6+2=14 points
6. Container (GER), 7+4+3=14 points
7. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (GER/FR), 4+7+7=18 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), 9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)=27 points

Soto 40 results after two races:
1. Ngoni (GBR) 2+1=3 points
2. NH Resorts (ESP) 1+3= 4 points
3. Iberdrola Team (ESP) 4+2= 6 points
4. Patagonia by the Australian Team (AUS) 3+4= 7 points
5. cruiser-racer.com (ESP) 5+5= 10 points.

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