Ran's best day
Perhaps buoyed by their recent victories in the Rolex Fastnet Race and the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Niklas Zennström’s team on Rán had their best day yet on the windward-leeward courses in the Audi MedCup when they scored a second and first place to lead after the first day of racing at the Conde de Godo City of Barcelona Trophy Regatta.
While it was something of a red letter day for the black hulled Rán with its signature gold bulb, so too there was a strong start to the season’s finale for the circuit leaders Quantum Racing.
Quantum worked hard for a well earned third in the first race of the day, which was contested in the light 7-9 knots of southerly sea breeze, and then bolstered that score with a good second to lie third. But the key for the Quantum Racing, which lead the season standings by just 3.5 points when they went afloat, is as much that they stepped five points more ahead of their main title rivals Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, which posted two fifth places, and six points more on Container.
The crew of Bribon continued their winning momentum after last month’s triumphs in Cartagena and at the Copa del Rey, when they made the best possible start with victory in the first windward-leeward, holding off Rán to the finish with Quantum Racing taking third.
Tactician Ross MacDonald, Olympic bronze medalist here in 1992, and navigator Marcel van Triest conspired to place Bribon on the favoured right, inshore side of the first upwind after starting on the right hand end of the start line. They were able to lead at each mark.
In the second heat with the breeze having built slightly to 7-11 knots and clocking slightly more to the right, it was the on the first run when Rán stayed further offshore, to the right downwind, where Zennström’s team were able to prosper, taking the lead at the leeward gate. Jochen Schuemann’s Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE looked to have built themselves a useful position when they rounded the top mark in second, but they had to peel to a replacement kite downwind after suffering a small tear, but it was at the second windward turn that they slid down the fleet after their mainsheet just skidded over the buoy, requiring them to take a penalty turn.
Rán never ceded her lead, holding off Quantum Racing, to the line. Zennström’s team showed good speed upwind and downwind, the owner-helm relishing the fact there is no pressure on them and a lot of confidence among their team unit after their recent successes on their J-V 72.
“These conditions are very good for us because the boat was going really well, we also sailed very well," said Zennström. "We had two very good starts, had a lot of confidence in the boat and that way we managed to do things the way we wanted. I also think that we came ihere with a different mindset that we did before, in the Mini Maxi championships we were really happy with how we performed and that boosted our confidence. This is the last event and our crew is going to fight to improve and try to have a good time racing. I also think that we were not so stressed coming into this event and that´s important”.
Tim Powell added: "The conditions obviously suited us. I think we sailed very well. We had good starts and the boat was going well both upwind and downwind and tactically we were good. We just had a very solid day. You don’t know one way or another if Morgan makes a key difference, but ultimately for us what is important for Rán is to finish off the season on a high note."
Rán's new tactician Morgan Larson said: "It was a boat speed day and there were some subtle shifts, but we had good speed upwind and downwind. It is like a class reunion to be here again. I have missed it for sure being away sailing other boats. I would say today for me was about not screwing up the good performance of the trimmers, so that would have been easy to do because there were some potholes out there for sure. I like the conditions here, but you could easily go out and have two fifths or two sevenths. I have not been here since the 1992 Olympics when I was training partner with JJ Isler.”
The regatta standings are tight at the top with Rán leading by a single point over Bribon and Quantum Racing just one point further back.
Ed Baird, skipper on Quantum Racing said: “Clearly we are very happy with our result here today. The first race I had a bad start and had to tack away really hard and we were tacked on by Azzurra. We worked really hard to get back in the race and the guys did a great job with that. In the second race we has a better start and had the chance to return the favor to them, we led around the first mark and had a tough call in the second windward leg with teams on both sides of the race course. The one on the left got us, it was Rán, they were sailing well, going really fast. We are keeping an eye on the four boats that are in the fight, doing what we can and getting the best results that we can.”
The three top boats today already have small cushion on Audi Azzurra Sailing Team which landed a pair of fifth places today.
Iberdrola Sailing Team served notice that they intend to return to winning ways when they took first in the Soto 40 practice race ahead of Tony Buckingham (GBR) and his Region of Murcia-Cartagena Trophy winning team on Ngoni. The six boat Soto 40 fleet resumes points racing Wednesday. A large contingent of potential Soto 40 owners are in Barcelona in force with dozens lined up for test sails during racing this week.
Conde de Godó - City of Barcelona Trophy
TP52 results after two races
1. RAN (SUE), 2+1=3 points
2. Bribón ( ESP), 1+3=4 points
3. Quantum Racing (USA), 3+2=5 points
4. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+5=10 points
5. Container (GER), 4+7=11 points
6. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 8+4=12 points
7. Gladiator (GBR), 7+6=13 points
8. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (GER/FR), 6+8=14 points
From Nico Martinez...
From Ian Roman