Azzurra and Quantum Racing tied
But the double Audi MedCup champions go into Sunday’s one deciding race tied on aggregate points with the Italian Audi Azzurra Sailing Team and with Rán, the boat which won the TP52’s last regatta here in September, breathing down their necks two points behind.
The Quantum Racing crew was on good form today, starting well and making few mistakes. In the complicated second race, when there were patches of disturbed air from the passing Wally maxi fleet they were able to tack away to minimise any loss.
In contrast Audi Azzurra Sailing Team had noticeably won the start, but the turbulent disturbed air slowed them. Within the first few minutes they had lost a boat length against Quantum Racing and were left on the back foot.
A perfectly timed start in the first race was the foundation for the world champions to lead on the first round and, though their lead was modest, they were never passed. The Audi Azzurra Sailing Team took second place, while the Rán crew was punished for an off-key start and slumped to their worst race of the regatta, 5th.
Though the breeze peaked at 12-13kts in the first race, it faded through the second contest and there were big differences in wind pressure at times. The pressure changes cmeant bigger gains and losses and Rán duelled with Quantum Racing for the race lead – and seemed to have overhauled the champions. But Quantum Racing got back at them with just a small margin at the final turn.
So the first regatta of the new 52 Super Series will go to the wire, with only one race scheduled Sunday. Only two points separate the top three boats, all of which have lead the regatta over the last three days.
Andy Horton tactician on Quantum Racing commented: “We had a decent day. It felt comfortable all the way around the track. We had two good starts and the guys did a great job. It is a great team to be with. They don’t leave a lot on the table improve on which is great for me because I get to do my job. I raced in the fleet a few years ago with Caixa Galicia and that was a great team too. Everyone here is very professional. I never thought about pressure joining a team this successful, but there is always pressure if you do this for a living. Second race was a bit weird with the Wallys because we wanted to be just to the right a little bit. Azzurra got a little bit less pressure where they were, some dirty air from the Wallys and we were able to tack out of there. We had a good battle with Rán up that beat. But the beauty is that once you can get ahead then you get to pick.”
Steve Hayles navigator on Rán (sporting bruises today following his Torvill and Dean pirouette with the main sheet yesterday) added: “Any time you count in the top three you have to be happy, even in a small fleet. It is always very competitive. The first race was just a bad start to be honest and we almost managed to get back into it. It was interesting. The guys on Gladiator are sailing it really well and it is a quick boat. The second race we nearly managed to lead Quantum around the second mark. We were maybe 10 feet short of them not being able to leebow us, and it would have been a different story.”
Guillermo Parada skipper-helm on Audi Azzurra Sailing Team said: “We had a good start in the second race but our line was quite close to where the Wallys were turning their leeward gate, so we had a good start but got under the bad air of the Wallys, and all of a sudden we were very slow. We tacked and had another one in front of us. So less than a minute after the start we were already three or four boat lengths behind. That made our life a lot more difficult.”
|1||52011||QUANTUM RACING||DOUG DEVOS||ED BAIRD||3||3||3||1||2||1||1||14|
|2||ITA280||AUDI AZZURRA||ALBERTO ROEMMERS||GUILLERMO PARADA||1||1||2||2||3||2||3||14|
|3||SWE5211||RAN||NIKLAS ZENNSTROM||NIKLAS ZENNSTROM||2||2||1||3||1||5||2||16|
|4||GBR11152||GLADIATOR||TONY LANGLEY||TOM WILSON||4||4||4||4||5||4||4||29|
|5||GERA40||ALL4ONE||ALL4ONE RACING TEAM SL||STEPHANE KANDLER||6||6||6||5||4||3||5||35|
Tony Buckingham's Ngoni had yet another good today posting a 1-2. This was enough for her to win her class at the Trofeo Conde de Godo with a day to spare.
Helmsman Kevin Sproul talked through their victory: "We beat the boat behind us in both races which we needed to do and that gave us enough points, but obviously every race in the circuit counts for the series at the end of the year, so we will have to sail tomorrow, but I suspect we might be having a few drinks tonight..."
Last year Ngoni won at the Audi MedCup event in Cartagena, along on that occasion with a day to spare.
"We have been really fast and consistent," continued Sproul. "We have had a great regatta, but we have always managed to dig ourselves out of a hole when we’ve need to and the guys have done a great job. Everything worked most of the time and we have got the boat around the course pretty smoothly.
In the first race Ngoni managed to get off to a good start, they protected their position over second placed Noticia IV and got around the top mark ahead and led from then on while the opposition came home third. Race two was harder.
"In the second race we were looking at them [Noticia] as well, and it was an interesting race because the wind dropped and our navigator Alicia was very keen to go right. but we came off the line in the middle in the fleet, while Noticia IV and Iberdrola managed to tack and duck while we got held out to the left. So we were worried about getting across, but when we tacked – we have got really good speed and we managed to squeeze it up."
A bit of Solent/Scotland knowledge also came to bear as Sproul said that they had managed to make use of a small amount of current that was running. "I could feel it on port tack and I thought we were close to being bow into the current, so we went into a really really high mode just to try it for a few minutes and we made probably a 10 boat length gain to windward on the boats to leeward of us without losing any position. The wind had gone left as little, by about 2°, but our heading changed by about 10 degrees, so we thought there was about 0.2-0.3 knots of current running against us upwind and we got the correct side of that and then we were off.
"We were in front of Iberdrola and at the leeward mark there was a big shout from them that we didn’t have an overlap and while we were very confident that we did, we didn’t want to risk it because we knew all we needed to do was beat the white boat [Noticia], so we let them go around ahead of us and they won the race and we were second."
Sproul concluded: "It has been a good regatta. We couldn’t have started any better and we’ve hung on and got the results when we needed to."
|1||GBR20||NGONI||TONY BUCKINGHAM||KEVIN SPRONL||1||1||1||2||2||1||2||10|
|2||ESP21||NOTICIA IV||LUIS MARTIN CABIEDES||IÑAKI CASTAÑER||2||2||2||3||3||3||3||18|
|3||ESP19||IBERDROLA TEAM||AGUSTIN ZULUETA||JOSE MARIA TORCIDA||3||5||8||1||1||2||1||21|
|4||IVB033||ALEGRE||GOLDEN HEW, LTD||ANDRES SORIANO||5||4||4||4||4||4||4||29|
|5||ARG002||GRAMONA GESEME||ROMAN TURRO||ROMAN TURRO||4||3||3||5||5||5||6||31|
|6||GER27||BLACK PEARL||STEFAN JENTZSCH||STEFAN JENTZSCH||7||6||5||6||8||7||5||44|
|7||ESP22||GUNTER XXII||JAVIER SCHERK / INYACHTS SL||JAVIER SCHERK||6||7||6||7||6||6||7||45|