Fabulous win for Bribon
After a popular win at the Copa del Rey, their home club’s European showcase regatta two weeks ago in Palma, Mallorca, Jose Cusi’s Bribon crew built from that momentum to win the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit’s fourth regatta of the season, the Region of Murcia-Cartagena.
Unmatched consistency on a very difficult race area ensured that the Spanish crew secured the TP52 regatta title of the first Spanish regatta of the season just so long as they finished.
Such regularity was only slightly exceeded in the Soto 40 Class where for the first time the British crew of Ngoni overhauled the Spanish favourites on Iberdrola Team, who came to Cartagena unbeaten on the Audi MedCup this season, to win the Soto 40 Region of Murcia Trophy even before they sailed their one race today.
Bribon clinched their first Trophy Regatta win since triumphing here in 2008 when they staged a remarkable recovery from last at the first mark of the first of two races today. After choosing the wrong side of the first leg, double Olympic medallist Canadian Ross MacDonald guided them down the right side of the first downwind and by the first leeward gate they had a slender lead. Finishing second to Synergy meant the Spanish team only needed to start the final race to lift the trophy.
They finished the nine race series with a winning margin of three points over Italy’s Audi Azzurra Sailing Team. The team skippered by Argentinian Guillermo Parada collect their second runners up position after last month finishing behind Audi ALL4ONE in Cagliari.
The remarkable team spirit which underpins this Spanish programme, owned by Jose Cusi but which has had HRH Juan Carlos as its skipper and patron for more than 40 years, was certainly a key factor in winning on a rugged, unfashionable stretch of water which is especially testing due to the way the winds are influenced by the high cliffs, valleys and headlands which mark out the race course area.
Helmed by Gonazalo Aurajo (ESP), who joined the team last year, some core members of the Bribon crew have sailed together for around 10 years. Several times during racing they were able to squeeze keynote results from difficult positions, sometimes even on the final wave or final puff of wind.
“For so many years we’ve been fighting, fighting alongside each other with this crew, and sothey deserve this for all the hard work they've done for such a long time. I personally want to dedicate the victory to them, because it´s tough to keep the chemistry and a good atmosphere when you are not getting the best results. That´s why this goes to them. As a team, we´d like to dedicate the Trophy to our owner, José Cusí, because unfortunately he couldn´t be here with us today and share with us such beautiful moments,” said Ignacio Triay, Project Manager and Trimmer aboard the Spanish boat.
Gonzalo Araújo, Skipper on board added: “I'm very happy, both for me and for our teammates. This year we´ve worked really hard and we´ve been rewarded because we´ve been able to see that with a good boat we are able to be there with the best, something that we didn´t have last year, and that made us feel impotent. I was not in the team when the last trophy was won here in Cartagena, but it´s very special, because the level here, it´s as high as it can get. The fact that we won in Spain makes it really special because there is so many people that you know around. José Cusí, the owner, deserves this trophy because he's made a great effort to have us here, sailing with a new boat. He also has an unbelievable career behind him, so he deserves this and a lot more."
Navigator Marcel Van Triest said: “It feels great, we´ve been progressing during the season. I remember that we had some issues in Cascais, we started doing better and recently we won the Copa del Rey, and it was really good for morale. We did some good things here, we are really happy about that. There´s really not a specific reason why we sailed so clean and consistent all week, we like it when it´s not a one-sided race course because it suits us fine. I don´t know about us sailing that clean, we took a penalty in this event. You need some good luck, of course, it´s important that things go your way. As I said, we are happy with our boat´s speed, it´s going really well. As a team we´ve always been a good team, with a great atmosphere and I think that it eventually pays off”.
The win of Bribon, a 2009 Rolf Vrolijk design - the oldest boat in the fleet - now means that different crews have won each of the four regattas this season after Quantum Racing in Cascais, Portugal, Container in Marseille, France and Audi ALL4ONE in Cagliari, Italy.
Making up the podium in third, Quantum Racing (USA) suffered a breakdown with their primary winch in both races today, which compromised them, but having arrived in Cartagena with a lead of seven points over Container (GER), the circuit leaders’ leave with a fight on their hands.
Markus Wieser skipper-helm on Container said: "We are disappointed, no doubt. Very frustrating trophy for us. We sailed not good, because we were not fast enough and that makes you loosing your confidence in your strategy and your tactics as well. Our change to a light wind set-up didn't really worked out. We definetely lost ground to most of the other boats. Than you get mentally under pressure to do better, but negative pressure is the last thing you need to be successful. It's a shame in the overall circuit ranking, but we should keep in mind that we are newcomers in this class. Myself I had never steered a TP 52 before Cascais. So there's plenty to learn for us and we have to analyze our mistakes and fight back strongly in Barcelona always keeping in mind, it's not over until its over."
With three sixth places finishes this week counterbalancing their Coastal Race win and just one second place, their margin has been halved to 3.5 points as the 2011 Audi MedCup heads towards its finale in Barcelona next month.
Now the only team to have finished on the podium at each regatta this season, back to back second places for Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, promotes the team which is skippered by Guillermo Parada (ARG) to now lie second ahead of Udo Schutz’ Container, which finished fifth.
For the British crew of Ngoni, their win was missed by owner Tony Buckingham who will be back on the helm in Barcelona, but their triumph is a result of a well run programme which saw Ngoni as the second Soto 40 in Europe, training early season alongside the benchmark Iberdrola. Despite four changes of crew line up since Cagliari last month, the British team gelled quickly, were fast in the lighter conditions and showed every sign they can be equally competitive in Barcelona.
Kevin Sproul skipper-helm said: “We are really happy. We´ve had a fantastic regatta here, we think that our progression from earlier events is due to the fact that we started with a new boat and did not have a lot of training. It was very, very difficult at the beginning for us, because Iberdrola and NH Resorts have been sailing really well and they had a lot of previous practice. We felt that every regatta we were a little bit better and that showed in the results. We finished third and fourth in the first events and we felt that if continued with that improvement coming here, we could be in for a second place and it would give us a lift for the end of the season in Barcelona. There were three boats with chances of winning the event but at the end it has actually been better that what we expected for us and we´ve won. We´ve had a few crew changes which have been good in a lot of ways, but mainly is the way that we´ve sailed the boat. In key positions we've got a fantastic Mainsheet Trimmer, Jib Trimmer and Spinnaker Trimmer, and we've sailed together a lot. We've also had the rigs set up properly and we've sailed better in different winds conditions. The key here has been our consistency, in the past we were inconsistent, we had some good races and some bad ones. I think that us winning the Trophy here is the result of a lot of practice.”
Iberdrola Sailing Team finished second in Cartagena but have built their Circuit lead by two points here to 28 points.
Region of Murcia-Cartagena Trophy - TP52 - results after nine races
1. Bribón (ESP), 2+5+1+2+2+3+3+2+5= 25 points
2. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+1+4+5+1+1+6+3+2= 28 points
3. Quantum Racing (USA), 3+2+6+6+4+7+1,5+6+3= 38,5 points
4. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (GER/FR), 4+7+7+1+5+5+4,5+5+1= 39,5 points
5. Container (GER), 7+4+3+4+3+2+9+7+4= 43 points
6. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 1+3+5+3+7+6+10,5+1+7= 43,5 points
7. RÁN (SUE), 6+6+2+7+6+4+7,5+4+6= 48,5 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), 9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+13,5(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)= 85,5 points
Soto 40 results after eight races
1. Ngoni (GBR) 2+1+1+1+2+2+2+2= 13 points
2. Iberdrola Team (ESP) 4+2+2+3+1+1+3+1= 17 points
3. NH Resorts (ESP) 1+3+3+2+3+3+1+3= 19 points
4. Patagonia by the Australian Team (AUS) 3+4+5+4+4+4++4+4= 32 points
5. cruiser-racer.com (ESP) 5+5+4+5+5+5+5+5= 39 points
2011 Audi MedCup Circuit, standings after four regattas of five - TP52s
1. Quantum Racing (USA), 19 + 30 + 42+38.5= 129.5
2. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 32.5 + 37+35.5+28= 133
3. Container (GER), 31.5+28.5+38+43= 141
4. Bribón (ESP), 47.5 + 38+37+25= 147.5
5. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 37+39.5+44.5+43.5= 164.5
6. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (GER/FR) 58 + 43.5+26.5+39.5 =167.5
7. Ràn (SWE), 40.5+41.5+43.5= 125.5
8. Gladiator (GBR), 85.5+47+85.5+85.5= 303.5
1. Iberdrola Team (ESP) 13+14+9+17= 53
2. Noticia IV (ESP) 25 + 22+15+19= 81
3. Ngoni (GBR) 33+26+22+13= 94
4. XXII (ESP) 23+26+24+39= 112
5. Patagonia (ARG) 28 + 17+42+32= 119
From Guido Trombetta/Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup
From Ingrid Abery/www.ingridabery.com