Team spirit, hard focus and smart sailing were just some of the keys Bribon’s telling consistency over three demanding races off Cartagena where the iconic Spanish sailing team now lead the Region of Murcia-Cartagena Trophy regatta by two points ahead of Italy’s Audi Azzurra Sailing Team.
For sure, when it comes to tight racing where places were won or lost on the finish line, decided by an extra boost by one wave, crew morale and the feeling of ‘home’ support at the first regatta of the season to be hosted in Spain, might be the unseen components to Bribon’s regatta leadership. Two second places backed up by a third in breezes from 11-15 knots and a building choppy sea ensured that Bribon was the best scoring team of the day along with Audi Azzurra. The team which sails under the flag of the Yacht Club Costa Smerelda twice executed from strong strategic game-plans to win Races 5 and 6 in the TP52s.
Kevin Sproul and the mainly British crew of Ngoni extended their lead in the Soto 40 fleet with a pair of back to back race wins and a second in their third race of the day, now standing five points ahead of the Audi MedCup Circuit leaders Iberdrola Team. In the close, tactical racing Tony Buckingham’s team were able to extend twice to solid wins, suffering slightly in the third race when a spinnaker twisted. But behind them the Spanish rivals Iberdrola and NH Resorts finish the second day of racing locked on 12 points apiece.
Kevin Sproul commented: “This is the first regatta where there had been a bit less wind and it has been a chance to work the boat hard, the same for the some of the other boats. We have learned a lot from Iberdrola, we have watched them they are very good and slick, and they are always very good on the start line and so we have focussed on getting at least as good a start as them.”
Cartagena’s race track was once again tough to master for the afterguards, with some many different factors to account for, not least the awkward choppy swell which progressively builds and bounces back off the high, bluff cliffs. Downwind the swell could be a blessing, but almost always a curse upwind.
The Franco-German crew of Audi Sailing Team Powered by ALL4ONE, led by Jochen Schuemann (GER), won the day’s first race after their start from pin, left end of the start line and were able to lead for most of the race, finishing just three seconds ahead of Bribon.
In the second race of the three, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team were quick to recognise a potential benefit on the right and delivered a good start at the committee boat end of the line and led Bribon across the finish line. The Spanish team’s industry down the final run, working right and arriving with pace and extra wind pressure allowed them to gain two places on the last leg of the course.
And Guillermo Parada’s team which finished second in Cagliari last month, cemented their promotion to second overall at the this regatta with another win, their third of the regatta, in the final race of the day. The Italian duo of Vasco Vascotto on strategy and Francesco Bruni were at the top of their game as they read the right shifting breeze to stay ahead of Germany’s Container to the finish line.
It proved an especially testing day for the current World Champions and circuit leaders Quantum Racing (USA) who seemed to struggle at times for pace in the awkward swell and made some small tactical errors which cost them, finishing 6,4,7 for the day, to spend a lot of their Audi MedCup Circuit lead, their weighty average for the day contrasting with that of their main title rivals Container who finished five boats ahead of them in the final race today.
Ignaci Triay trimmer on Bribon commented: "The pressure is always there and it’s the same if you first, third or fifth. It is such a competitive fleet. Maybe we feel more support here in Cartagena from the local citizens, they always turn out to greet us when we come in, they are pushing and that always helps. But we come here with a very strong feeling after winning the King’s Cup, we feel we can do it and we believe in ourselves. We have a good tactician and a good team, I think the team was working so hard because some times we were not so good, but we just kept pushing.”
Quantum Racing Project Manager Ed Reynolds added: "For sure nobody is making it easy, it is great for the MedCup because I really think this is going to be tight to the end. Us? I don’t think we were very fast today, tactically we were weak, our starts were average. And with this fleet any minor mistake is just exploited so hard. It is such a completely different dynamic from last year. Kevin Hall has always driven the performance of the boat, the modes, this is where we want to go, he is always been such a key part of the success that we have had. Ed and Ado are pretty low key, low profile personalities compared to Terry, who just rapped it. We have to work a little bit on personalities, how do we come to good decisions, making sure that everybody understood the strengths and weaknesses of each other, so we are using every tool in the toolbox. We need to sit down and talk about what is going on, who what where and why. But there is nothing we can’t do a little better.”
There was no mistaking the dominant team in the Soto 40s over the first two races as Ngoni twice started better than Iberdrola, the bench mark crew of the season so far, but the Spanish crew were well ahead in their race win.
The TP52 fleet is expecting to race their high points value coastal race tomorrow, while the Soto 40s are scheduled to sail two windward-leewards.
Región of Murcia Trophy - Cartagena - TP52s - results after six races:
1. Bribón (ESP), 2+5+1+2+2+3= 15 points
2. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+1+4+5+1+1= 17 points
3. Container (GER), 7+4+3+4+3+2= 23 points
4. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 1+3+5++3+7+6= 25 points
5. Quantum Racing (USA), 3+2+6+6+4+7= 28 points
6. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (GER/FR), 4+7+7+1+5+5= 29 points
5. RÁN (SUE), 6+6+2+7+6+4= 31 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), 9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)= 54 points
Soto 40s - results after five races:
1. Ngoni (GBR) 2+1+1+1++2= 7 points
2. Iberdrola Team (ESP) 4+2+2+3+1= 12 points
3. NH Resorts (ESP) 1+3+3+2+3= 12 points
4. Patagonia by the Australian Team (AUS) 3+4+5+4+4= 20 points
5. cruiser-racer.com (ESP) 5+5+4+5+5= 24 points
From Ian Roman/Audi MedCup
From Ingrid Abery/www.ingridabery.com