Alegre takes Italy into the lead
With two races held, Team Italy leads the overall at the Audi Sardinia Cup thanks to Andres Soriano's Soto 40 Alegre scoring two bullets and solid third and second places from the TP52 Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, owned by Alberto Roemmers. However in the 52 fleet Quantum Racing reprised a measure of their World Championship winning performance on these same Costa Smeralda waters last year. With the Soto 40 Iberdrola, their team USA ends the day second overall. Sweden, represented by Niklas Zennström's TP52 Ràn and the Soto 40 Black Pearl, round out the provisional podium in third place.
After the opening day of the Audi Sardinia Cup was blown by the Mistral, so today gave way to light breeze, making for a difficult day for the tacticians seeking to avoid the worst of the potholes on the race course.
Both of today's windward-leewards were held in 6 to 8 knots which rotated from 10° at the start of race one to 085° by the early afternoon and the start of race two. While Quantum Racing built their back to back wins on a couple of really sharp starts, there were opportunities to be seized in both races when they presented themselves, ensuring it was never easy in the tactician’s hot seat.
Race one for the TP52s saw Quantum trailed by Gladiator and Azzurra. Meanwhile in the Soto 40s Alegre made an impressive recovery after being called OCS to win ahead of Pedro Mendoca's newly launched Bigamist and Iberdrola.
Race two saw the French team on the Paprec Recyclage – a crew which is mainly amateur and includes a primary teacher, doctor and a couple of construction engineers - gave the hotshots a start when they seized the lead at the leeward gate, but the French lost out significantly on the final run. In the Soto 40 fleet Black Pearl and Alegre battled for first place with Alegre taking the lead on the second run, leaving the USA team's Soto 40 to take their second third place of the day.
Andy Horton, Tactician on Quantum Racing commented: "It was pretty light and shifty, but I think we were going pretty well in these conditions, but we also had two good starts and that really made it a bit easier. We were not really crossed by any of the first beats and the good starts allowed us to get into the best of the pressure. The finish of the second race was close, we had the pin end favoured by a big bit and then the wind just started shifting and then it was the boat end by a big bit, and Azzurra just came down in it."
Kevin George, Navigator on Alegre said: "We were a little bit eager at the first start, but luckily we managed to recover. We rounded behind everyone else, let them gybe away and sailed our own run where we managed to pick up a nice shift and then consolidated our lead from there to finish ahead. In the second race we had a good first beat, Black Pearl crossed ahead of us on the first beat and we rounded behind them but we crossed them on the second beat and held the lead again to win."
Racing is scheduled to continue tomorrow, at midday. Sirocco winds of approximately 8 knots are forecast.
Participants will attend a gala dinner at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda this evening while a barbecue overlooking the marina is scheduled for Friday evening.
Sebastien Destremau, tactician on Paprec Recyclage described their day: “In the first race we were pleased to get past PowerPlay, that was a nice feeling. And we were a little surprised to sail so well in the second race. We were quite confident in everything we were trying to do, and had a big mistake on the final run which was my call. The battle with Quantum is really when you see that if we fight with another boat, going low or high, changing gears against them then we are trashed, but in a straight line and when we do our own thing then we are fine. We are disappointed but not surprised that they did that to us, that’s why they are where they are, and most of our guys are here on their holidays. We take a lot of positives though, to be second at the top mark, to overtake Quantum on the run, to stay ahead, that’s our bonus.”
Francesco Bruni tactician on Audi Azzurra Sailing Team added: “We are happy with our day, Guillermo did a good job on the starts, except that in the first one Quantum were just a little faster off the line. We were second at the top mark and had a big opportunity to go straight like Gladiator did and could have led. That was our mistake of the day, and I criticise myself for that, because Gladiator was nearly bow to bow at the bottom of that run. We had an opportunity and did not use it. Second race we had a good start, won the side we wanted but against Quantum we were struggling a little for speed upwind compared with them. We have to analyze the photos and videos and see what is different, that is part of our job before tomorrow. The numbers were okay and the boat was doing what we expected so maybe we have to sail the boat a bit different.”
Tony Langley, skipper-helm on Gladiator said: “We are happy with the day, it was very light and tricky. We kind of gambled on the right on the first race and that seemed to work for us, but we do like it here, it is good for us. We are very happy with a 2.3 at this level is pretty good.”
1. Italy: Soto 40 Alegre (1-1=2) - TP52 Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (3-2=5) Total: 7
2. USA: Soto 40 Iberdrola Team (3-3=6) - TP52 Quantum Racing (1-1=2) Total: 8
3. Sweden: Soto 40 Black Pearl (4-2=6) - TP52 Ràn (4-4=8) Total : 14
4. Great Britain: Soto 40 Ngoni (5-5=10) - TP52 Gladiator (2-3=5) Total: 15
5. Cayman Islands: Soto 40 Bigamist (2-4=6) - TP52 Powerplay (6-6=12) Total: 18
TP52 top three results
1. Quantum Racing 1-1=2
2. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team 3-2=5
3. Gladiator 2-3=5
Soto 40 top three results
1. Alegre 1-1=2
2. Black Pearl 4-2=6
3. Bigamist 2-4=6
From Nico Martinez: