At the end Audi Azzurra Sailing Team glided serenely across the finish line of the one final race of the season in a gentle sea breeze and perfect September sunshine off Valencia to secure the overall 52 Super Series title.
When they started Race 8 of the Audi Valencia Cup, all that the team which races under the flag of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda had to do was simply cross that last finish line in any place to ensure the season-long title was theirs.
In so doing they also won the Audi Valencia Cup, counting five first places, a second, third and fifth. Their only regatta win of the four this season, Barcelona, Sardinia, Palma and Valencia, was achieved by a margin of seven points ahead of Jochen Schuemann’s Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One.
Niklas Zennström, the newly elected president of the TP52 class, steered Rán to a win this final contest of the season. With Quantum Racing finishing third, that was enough to give Zennström’s crew third step on the Audi Valencia Cup podium, and also third overall for the season.
The celebrations may have started early for the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, having virtually wrapped up the title yesterday, but after seven years of trying the emotions and jubilation overflowed on the dock in front of the emblematic Veles e Vents building.
“We are very proud.” Grinned tactician Vasco Vascotto, “ It was a huge challenge, the standard is so high and so we are happy for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, for the Roemmers family (boat owners), for everybody involved it is such an important result.”
“But we need to start working tomorrow again, because I am sure that next year it will be harder and the teams will be ready to beat us. This is still a sport and so we have to always think not only how we won this year, but also how we lost in the past.”
Simon Fry, the British trimmer on board the winning Audi Azzurra Sailing team summarised:
“I think the team has really endorsed the ‘leave nothing to chance’ philosophy. I think we have just been a little more diligent. I think the boat preparation has been excellent. And I think that on top of that we had the human element of a really, really steely focus. It was ‘the time has come, we have to deliver’. We have had the hardware in the past and failed to deliver. So there was a bit of personal pressure on, and a bit of peer pressure, this was the year we had to deliver.”
For Quantum Racing, the American flagged team which won the class title in 2008 and 20011, letting the 52 Super Series slip from their grasp at the last regatta is a bitter pill to swallow, but skipper Ed Baird stated they will learn from the experience:
“ Every race is a practice race for the next one. You have to learn from every mistake you have made and add it to your bank of knowledge for the next. And we certainly have learned a lot this week.”
The 52 Super Series concluded its inaugural season with three different boats winning regattas, Quantum Racing, Rán and Audi Azzurra Sailing Team. The programme for next season’s 52 Super Series is already in place, starting in January in Key West.
Audi Valencia Cup
1 Audi Azzurra Sailing Team 15pts
2 Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One 22pts
3 Rán 25pts
4 Quantum Racing 26pts
5 Gladiator 32pts
52 Super Series final results
1 Audi Azzurra Sailing Team ITA 74.5pts
2 Quantum Racing USA 79.5pts
3 Rán Racing SWE 94.5pts
4 Gladiator GBR 125pts
5 Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One GER 132.5 pts
US 52 Super Series
Quantum Key West Race Week: January 20-25th
52 World Championships, Miami, March 5-9th
52 Super Series
Trofeo Conde de Godo, Barcelona, May 23-26th
Royal Cup, Ibiza, July 2-6th
Copa del Rey, Palma Mallorca, July 29th – Aug 3rd
Audi Week of the Straits, Porto Cervo, Sardinia September 10-14th
Vasco Vascotto, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team
“We are very proud. It was a huge challenge, the standard is so high and so we are happy for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, for the Roemmers family, for everybody it is an important result. And we need to start working tomorrow again, because I am sure that next year it will be harder and the teams will be ready to beat us. This is still a sport and so we have to always think not only how we won this year, but also how we lost in the past. It means a lot to me. This is part of my heart. We are still a young team in the sailing circles and we want to win more together. I have won other things but this is important to win because the team have been trying so hard for so long.”
Ed Baird, Quantum Racing:
“Obviously we are disappointed. We never want to drop boats, we never want to do that. We are still learning and trying our hardest and I have full faith in the group here. One of the things that has gone on all week, is that despite how frustrating it has been to make decisions that seemed like they were the ones, and then have them go wrong, the group was always very positive and always fighting. I appreciate that from a team.
Adrian Stead, Rán Racing:
“We sailed the boat really well, we changed gears really well in the conditions. I think it was shifty enough and puffy enough that as long as you could be under the right breeze at the right time for longest, that gave you the speed and the advantage. We have come a long way. We have improved. We were weak in the light stuff an have improved there.”
Stephane Kandler, Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One:
“We are very happy with our season, we started late and with only little means. So we are quite happy to get two podiums over the season and won the Copa del Rey. So we are pleased to have done the season. Congratulations for the season to Azzurra who did a great job.”
Tony Langley, owner-driver Gladiator:
“It has been a good season for us. I am quite happy with the way things have gone and with the progress we have made. We had better results in Porto Cervo but we have been sailing the boat quite well. The other guys are coming after us now. We were tacked on three times today. We are doing things fairly right now.”
“Today we had good start, a bad shift, and then we were back in it again. And in the end we finish by taking a scalp off a team with a few gold medals between them and that’s great, that’s quite something.” “We are packing everything up now and heading to the US for the first events of next season. We are already really looking forwards to Key West and Miami.”
The overall lead of the Copa del Rey IRC 1 division hangs in the hands of the International Jury on Thursday, after a collision between longstanding regatta leaders Audi Azzurra and provisional leaders Audi All4One resulted in counter protests. The pair protested each other after their boats collided during an incident that relates to buoy room during a crucial race on day four of the six-day regatta at Palma, Mallorca.
The pair was neck-and-neck on the approach to the mark when All4One narrowly passed on the inside of Azzurra and their yachts collided. The Italian/Argentinean team paid a penance, a 720 turn, and dropped from first to fifth.
At the race’s end each team notified race management of their intention to protest the other. The protest will be heard by the International Jury at the Real Club de Náutico later tonight.
The outcome could cause a major shakeup of the overall leaderboard on what was otherwise a victorious day for Audi All4One.
The team scored back-to-back wins thanks to the powerhouse partnership of America’s Cup and Olympic gold medallists Jochen Schüemann and Jordi Calafat, who proved invincible.
It is the third line honours win in two days for the on-form team, having won Wednesday’s coastal race.
The trifecta of victories provisionally moves the team to the top of the overall leaderboard on 19 points, edging them to a three point lead over longstanding leaders Audi Azzurra Racing Team with just two-days racing remaining.
But, with a protest pending and more racing to come All4One strategist Pascal Rambeau said it was too early to take too much confidence from the victories.
“There is still a long way, four races to go,’’ he said. “We have to take it one race at a time and stay focused and keep the momentum we have. It is competitive racing, today proves that.”
It should have been a day of celebration for Azzurra, as July 19 marks the 30th anniversary of the launch of the first Azzurra yacht. Instead the team were commiserating their worst results yet, sixth and fifth on corrected time.
The bad form could see Azzurra lose the lead they have held for two-days and slip from a 5.5 point lead, to three point deficit in second place.
Provisionally Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One are the Copa del Rey IRC 1 leaders on 19 points, followed by Audi Azzurra Sailing Team on 22, Gladiator, 24.5, PowerPlay, 27.5 and Paprec Recyclage, 29.
More than 1,100 sailors are competing on board about 119 yachts, across seven divisions in the 31st Copa del Rey. A maximum of 12 races will be contested across the six-day regatta that concludes on Saturday July 21. Copa del Rey does not count towards the overall 52 Super Series.
The penultimate day of racing will begin on Friday at 1300 local, 1100 UTC.
Rán Racing claimed the Royal Cup and their first overall victory in the inaugural 52 Super Series in a testing day’s racing at Palma, Mallorca on Saturday that victorious skipper Niklas Zennström described as being “as good as it gets”.
Zennstroms’s team surged to victory in a 30-plus northeaster at speeds in excess of 24 knots, finishing second across the line in the final race of the day to clinch the overall win.
World champions Quantum Racing finished second in the cup after they were forced to retire from the first of two races on Saturday, when they broke their headstay ram, headfoil and jib in the near gale force conditions.
The team’s shore crew sent an urgent dispatch of supplies to effect on water repairs between the two races. The crew successfully raced the clock and returned Quantum to the second race, but it just wasn’t their day.
Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One rounded out the Royal Cup’s podium, a result that pleased four-time Olympic medallist and twice America’s Cup winner skipper Jochen Schümann despite having entered the final race with a one-point lead.
Having won the first race today, All4One entered the final race at the top of the leaderboard with a total of 20 points, while both Quantum and Rán were just one point behind on 21.
Each team had crunched the numbers and knew exactly where they needed to place to clinch the coveted Royal Cup Challenge Trophy, but only Rán were able to execute their plan with success.
Zennström said the conditions in Palma Bay were challenging but very rewarding.
“These conditions are fantastic, you’re going downwind doing 24 knots, you’re doing nine knots upwind and still you’re doing boat on boat racing,” he said.
“Crossing the finish line and seeing Quantum ahead of All4One was just awesome, it’s as good as it gets. Quantum are really the class act, beating them today was really, really awesome. They’re hard to beat and that makes winning even sweeter.”
It was more a bittersweet day for Quantum’s crew, having entered the final day’s racing with a six point buffer and a lead they had held since the four day regatta started on Wednesday.
Tactician Andy Horton said the crew knew that their chances of clinging to their lead was compromised the minute they heard a massive “bang” when their headstay ram broke and they saw their jib tear in the opening nine minutes of the day’s first race.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,’’ Horton said. “But this is a great group of guys, there wasn’t anything said, it was just a freak accident. This is tight racing. You have to be good enough to win despite something like this happening.”
There was a surprise of a different kind for the crew on board Audi All4One, who exceeded even their own expectations to score third in the Royal Cup.
Schümann said being the “underdogs” helped his crew race under the radar, uninfluenced by the other teams’ intentions.
“We’re quite happy, finishing third is more than we expected coming here, but that’s what we dreamed of,’’ he said. “This is our first regatta together as a team. We really enjoy racing together and I think when you see the results getting better and better that reflects it.”
Audi Azzurra Sailing Team finished fourth in the Royal Cup, followed by PowerPlay, Gladiator, Provezza and Aquila.
In the overall 52 Super Series Quantum Racing leads with 53.5 points, followed by Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, 59.5, Rán Racing, 69.5, Gladiator, 93, Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One, 111.5, PowerPlay, 121.2, Provezza, 131.5, Aquila, 140.5 and Paprec, 150.5.
The teams are now turning their sights on 31st Copa del Rey where eight 52 teams will have a chance to race their grand prix yachts in a highly competitive event that won’t count towards the 52 Super Series points.
The next 52 Super Series point scoring event is the Valencia Cup, from September 19-22.
- Rán Racing 23pts
- Quantum Racing 24pts
- Audi All4One 24pts
- Audi Azzurra Sailing Team 27pts
- PowerPlay 41.4pts
- Gladiator 44pts
- Provezza 47pts
- Aquila 56pts
Defending champions Quantum Racing proved why they are the team to beat in the 52 Super Series after winning a dramatic opening day’s racing in the Royal Cup at Palma, Mallorca where costly crew errors proved just how close the competition is.
Quantum Racing claimed a commanding victory in the opening race and second place in race two to finish on three points on the first day of the four-day regatta to extend their overall lead in the 52 Super Series from three points to five.
Rán Racing are second in the Royal Cup with four points, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team are third with five points, followed by Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One, Gladiator, Aquila, PowerPlay and Provezza.
Quantum skipper and double America’s Cup champion Ed Baird said it was a tough day’s racing that was packed with plenty of wind shifts that came out of no where and put his crew’s recent lessons to the test.
“It was one of those races where the rich get richer, as soon as you were a little bit ahead everything became a little more obvious,’’ Baird said.
“We worked awfully hard all of last year, and this year, at trying to improve every little thing.
“It sounds so basic but the tacks, the gybes, they are better than they were three or four months ago. So are the starts, the straight line speed, the sails, the understanding of the mast and the communications, they’re all improving.”
It was a much tougher day’s racing for crews on board newcomer Provezza and British boat Gladiator, who suffered at the hands of errors that placed them second last and last respectively in race two.
Provezza struggled to come back after being recalled for jumping the start and Gladiator dropped from second to last when they lost their spinnaker overboard halfway through the race.
Gladiator skipper Tony Langley said his team’s severe penance for one error was a testament to the caliber of the class.
“It was all in the drop, we lost the string-line system and that was it,” he said. “At this level you cannot afford to make any mistakes.
“You make a small mistake and you’ll get spat out one place or two places, you make a medium mistake and you get spat out the back, but you make a mistake like this and you’re just completing the course for one point.”
Day two of the Royal Cup, hosted by Real Club Náutico de Palma, starts at 1300 local, 1100 UTC. Early predictions have teams expecting between 12 and 18 knots from the south-southwest.
Final day of the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit season at the Conde de Godo City of Barcelona Trophy, and the 52 Series title can be wrapped up by a pair of modest finishes by Quantum Racing (USA).
They may be champions elect, within reach of their second circuit title, but the American flagged team are determined, after winning in Cascais, to bookend their season with a regatta win.
They have to make up a four points deficit on regatta leaders RÁN and Bribon. RÁN are equally determined to win their first regatta of the season. And Bribon, having all but ceded the title race, also want a regatta win as the perfect signature to end Jose Cusi’s 38 years of Bribon campaigns. Win, lose or draw emotions will well up on Bribon come the final finish line for them.
Two races are scheduled for both the 40 Series and the 52 Series. Garbi sea breeze conditions of 8-11kts are forecast.
While these are the principal title battles there are very many side battles to be won and lost.
In the 52 Series Circuit standings there are still only 6.5 points separating second and fourth places. Over two races Bribon in second on 167.5 points, Audi Azzurra on 173 and Container on 175 all still have options on second place. It is far from a foregone conclusion that Bribon will take second for the Circuit.
And in Circuit terms there is also only 7.5 points separating fifth and seventh place, RAN on 194, Synergy on 198.5 and Audi ALL4ONE on 200.5.
So to a great extent the battles for the season standings will be a key driver in some of today’s afterguard strategies. Even that fight for the basement placings is important. No team wants to finish on the bottom rung of the ladder.
Yesterday may have been the day for dastardly deeds, Quantum Racing summarily halting Bribon’s title run, but today might be about Machiavellian sub-plots. Or will the 52 Series fleet just go and try to sail their own individual races?
The Soto 40 City of Barcelona Trophy Regatta is close with 10 points difference between first and fifth.
Iberdrola Team lead the regatta by two points from Javier Banderas’ Iberostar, while Ngoni, Tony Buckingham’s crew, are still in touch with the lead – only five points behind the Spanish team.
Adrian Stead (GBR), Tactician, Quantum Racing (USA):
“Today looks like the breeze is going to blow a bit lighter than yesterday, it should be a couple of knots softer. We are in a pretty strong position to win the Audi MedCup, but we are also thinking about this trophy here in Barcelona and about finishing the season on a high note. We are really close to Bribón and RÁN, we sailed really well yesterday and we´ll try to a little more of that today. There is going to be a lot of fun and games around us today, there are three boats with the potential of being second in the circuit and they´ll be battling for that. We are in a fortunate position because we can go out and sail our own races, which is what you always want. The pressure is on the other boats”.
Steve Hayles (GBR) navigator RÁN (SWE):
“I think it is pretty tight. I think Quantum Racing will still want to win the event, they are only four points out of it, but there is plenty going on. The forecast is up in the air, there is a big variance in what might happen, but hopefully we can get out there and have two good races. We sat and looked at it last night. We have got ourselves out of bottom spot for the season which was sort of one of our goals of the last event, but we have now kind of come to the opinion that is not relevant, we would take a regatta win ahead of anything.
We have no allegiances, our intention is to go out there and sail a perfectly normal day and go out and try and win two races and if that includes camping on people, it doesn’t matter who they are, then so be it. I suspect it will be the same for just about everyone. It is the same game for everyone. There are a couple of battles in there of course, but we are not paying any attention to any of it. It is enjoyable being up where we are. It is good for the team, it is really nice to see Niklas enjoying himself, getting something back for all the huge amount of time and effort he puts in.
It will be a tricky day. There is a big range of possibilities – from almost possibly no sailing which I think is unlikely, but I am plumping for a little delay and it will come in with S-SW’ly sea breeze coming in at 10-12kts, similar conditions to yesterday. That is what we are hoping for, and we are quick.
Iñaki Castañer (ESP), Skipper, Iberostar (ESP):
“We are going out there today to win the trophy. We are almost virtually second in the general standings and for us winning in Barcelona is very important. We are really focused in winning here, not thinking so much about it overall. I think that we have the necessary speed to do this and also the talent. The forecast is similar to yesterday´s, about 11 knots tops. After many regattas, we finally have managed to reach Iberdrola in terms of speed, especially going upwind, so that gives us real chances to win. All the teams have improved in the last weeks, we have to keep an eye on all of them, not just on Iberdrola”.
Last year Cagliari, capital of the beautiful island of Sardinia, played host to the glittering finale of the 2010 Audi MedCup Circuit. The gulf of Cagliari was where the final battles were settled and the titles won.
When the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit reaches Cagliari in one week’s time the shimmering waters and engaging mix of breezes will set the scene for the theoretical mid-point of the season, half way through the itinerary of five trophy regattas.
For many of the competitor’s in both the 52 Series and the 40 Series, the goal will be to simply keep on doing what they have been doing, making small improvements. Others still have considerable room for improvement.
Last season Quantum Racing (USA) arrived in Cagliari harbouring hopes of a late catch up on the champions elect Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL). This time the crew which is lead by America’s Cup winner Ed Baird are looking to preserve their 11 points lead at the top of the leaderboard.
“For sure our goal is to leave Cagliari having managed to increase our lead, but we would be pleased to finish with the same lead. Cagliari has consistently proven a tough place to race, we are hoping it will be a little easier than Marseille.” Explains Quantum Racing’s project manager Ed Reynolds (USA).
After finishing second to Germany’s Container, winners of the Marseille Trophy, Reynolds is clear that he was in no way disappointed in their team’s performance in France. “It is quite the opposite in fact. It is always hard at a venue like that to go in a leader, being leader is definitely more difficult. In fact we were happy for example with the three race day when we came in having put just 10 points on the board. We were really happy with that. As leader you just cannot afford to take the risks that others did on a race area like that. We were pleased to be quick but for me it is akin to watching the Tour de France at the moment and seeing how difficult it is to protect the yellow jersey, you cannot take the risks that others do to get up to you. In the end in Marseille we gave up one and a half points to one boat there and extended on the others. And you consider that if Audi All4ONE’s risky call on the final race had not paid off as it did we would have tied on points and won the regatta. It was that close.”
“Let us just say that are cautiously optimistic about Cagliari. We do a lot of work between regattas. One of the things about a box rule is that ‘pick your poison’. You will always be giving up some speed somewhere and you have to choose that area. Consistently we can see where we are strong but have been working hard on the little areas we have seen as exposures.”
A summer mix, changing targets.
High summer in Cagliari sees a really good mix of wind conditions and predominantly flat water. The sea breezes tend to wrap round the points into the big, deep U shaped bay and it is not unusual for the breezes to split and conflict on either side of the course. And the strong Mistral blows offshore from the head of the gulf, accelerating hard down the long miles of flat land to the north.
With a second and first in consecutive regattas Udo Schütz’s Rolf Vroijk designed Container has proven the class act which has so far pushed the American flagged world champions the hardest. But it will be the first time Markus Wieser (GER) has skippered his team at the tricky Sardinian venue but so successful have been their first outings in the class, perhaps the German flagged crew are setting their sights even higher: “We are more than happy so far with the outcomes of the first 52 Series regattas. We had set goals quite high at the start of the season, hoping to finish in the Top 3, but it worked out well for us twice already, so why should be we not change the target?” says Wieser.
“Our strength is the good team, working hard together and having a lot of fun. We have no internal pressure at all. It is so important to enjoy racing together if you want to be successful. You even need to have a laugh on board at times. We planned to do the whole Audi MedCup Circuit with the same crew, so no changes. Never change a winning team!”
Despite a difficult start to their campaign pre-season goals have not been modified much on board Audi Sailing Team powered by All4ONE, skippered by Germany’s multiple Olympic medallist Jochen Schümann. They hope to be much more competitive in Cagliari, a venue he now knows well: “Although you could not see it in the final ranking we really made a big step in Marseille compared to Cascais where we had speed problems with the new boat. To win a race and be so close to another bullet gives us so much more self confidence. We hope to build on that and climb the leaderboard from here.”
“Keeping up with our goal of top three for the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit will be hard because we already lost many points in these first two events and it is not so likely the leaders will struggle in the future, but we still look to shoot for podium finishes in each regatta.”
In the 40 Series, two wins from two regattas highlights the consistency of the Iberdrola Sailing Team, but they have been pushed hard at each event by different teams: “Our boat is already in Cagliari and ready to go and the team have been racing in J80’s and Laser. Meantime we have been working how to optimise the sails, building a few new ones, something we are allowed to do after ten races. Part of our crew have raced in Cagliari and know they have sailed in tough 20-25 knots conditions.”
“It is evident that the other teams are all improving and it is getting closer. I think that if there was a point at which we had an advantage because of our preparation it is now gone.”
“Our goal for Cagliari is to win the Trophy and stay on top of the standings.” Recounts Iberdrola Sailing Team’s project manager Augustin Zulueta (ESP).”
Racing starts with the 52 Series Practice Race Tuesday, points racing from Wednesday, while the 40 Series Practice Race is on Wednesday and their points racing starts Thursday.
Follow all the racing live on Audi MedCup TV on www.medcup.org.
The Franco-German team, managed by Jochen Schümann, becomes “Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE”, following a new three-year agreement reached with title partner Audi. The team have confirmed the build of a new TP52 in Sydney, with which they aim to finish among the podium positions on both the Audi MedCup Circuit and at TP52 World Championship.
ALL4ONE introduce both a new name and a new boat in 2011 as a result of reaching a sponsorship agreement with main sponsor, Audi. The campaign, led by France’s Stephane Kandler, will be known as “Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE”. The team have confirmed they are building a new TP52 designed by Judel/Vrolijk at McConaghy in Sydney, Australia. Their objective is to finish the 2011 season on the Audi MedCup Circuit in a top three overall position, and then will compete on the TP52 World Championship in October.
The new boat launch is expected to take place in Valencia in May in time for the boat to be ready for training prior to the first Audi MedCup Circuit competition event.
Expectations for Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE crew and skipper, Jochen Schüman, triple Olympic gold medalist and two-time winner of the America’s Cup, are high:
“First, we are pleased that the new Audi contract allows us to take part next season in the Audi MedCup Circuit. With the new TP52 our goal is to finish among the top three in the overall standings and win one of the season’s five events,” said the German skipper.
There will be no major crew changes from 2010 line up:
“Jochen Schumann (GER) will be our skipper and Sebastien Col (FRA) will continue as tactician. There is no reason to make big changes. The three-year collaboration with Audi and their confidence in our capabilities is great news for “ALL4ONE” and all this allows us to work in ideal conditions: continuity, a permanent base in Valencia, a media agreement and a competitive boat. This is the recognition of a great new team in 2010,” said Kandler, whose team will continue to enjoy the support of the French television group, Canal +, partners since 2004, by following of Kiel Woche, the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit and TP52 World Championships.
The Franco-German campaign will particularly encourage the integration of young talent to the team, which, in the words of Jochen Schumann “it allows for German sailors in the Audi Sailing Team Germany, the German national sailing team, to train with us and participate in the boat deliveries. This is a great scouting opportunity which could see between 25 and 30 young sailors sailing in TPs over the next years and maybe even a skipper to replace me.”
“ALL4ONE” is a pan-European team founded and directed by Stephan Kandler, ex-crew member of the French America’s Cup syndicate K-Challenge, and Jochen Schumann, triple Olympic gold medalist and double America’s Cup winner, with crews members from France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Holland and Italy.
The Circuit is made up of five events that take place over five months in four countries over southern Europe.
Trophy 1 : Tuesday 17th – Sunday 22nd May
Trophy 2 : Tuesday 14th – Sunday 19th June
Trophy 3 : Tuesday 19th – Sunday 24th July
Trophy 4 : Tuesday 23nd – Sunday 28th August
Trophy 5 : Monday 12th – Saturday 17th September
Quantum Racing lead the TP52 Series after the first day of racing, while Madrid – Caser Seguros’ s perfect hat trick of wins sees them top the GP42 leaderboard.
Quantum Racing (USA) emerged as overall leaders of the Camper Regatta – Conde de Godó Trophy – Barcelona after opening with two fifth places and a second on what proved an especially testing first day of racing as the Audi MedCup Circuit competes for the first time ever off the Catalan capital.
As an introduction to a new venue nothing was gained easily in the moderate 9-13 knots NE’ly breezes. With the start line set directly in front of where the Olympic village was for the 1992 Olympic Games, relatively close to the shore, there was an awkward choppy sea kicked back off the beach to contend with. The variable cloud cover moved the wind around from time to time, the breeze varied in strength across the course and the racing for the most part was extremely close with small errors punished heavily in the intense competition.
The Quantum Racing team came back to the dock at the city’s Moll de la Fusta, greeted by huge crowds. After a long day on the water the 2008 Audi MedCup champions looked mildly frazzled but content to have stuck within their budgeted 12 points for the day which leaves them leading by only one point from a trio comprising Emirates Team New Zealand in second, Artemis (SWE) in third and Bribón (ESP) in fourth, whilst Cristabella (GBR) lies fifth.
Hat trick in GP42 Series
In the GP42 Series Madrid Caser Seguros (ESP) kept up a perfect score through all three races in spite of the loss of skipper Jose Maria van der Ploeg. The 1992 Finn Olympic gold medallist had to miss out the opening race of the series off his home city after sustaining an ankle injury before the start.
As if to highlight how hard it was to stay regular in these conditions, in the TP52 fleet, Britain’s Cristabella took second in the first race, won the second race and then rode the rollercoaster down to an 11th in the third. Three different boats won races.
After weak openings in Cascais and Marseille, Emirates Team New Zealand seemed to despatch any talk of a first day hoodoo when they won the first race, profiting when early leaders Bribón let them squeeze inside them at the leeward gate.
In the third race the all-Italian Luna Rossa team read the top of the first beat to perfection and lead Quantum Racing across the finish line to post their first win of their Audi MedCup Circuit TP52 campaign.
In the light of losing out the first planned day of racing there will now be no Coastal Race at this regatta.
GP42′s: three wins for Madrid – Caser Seguros
Despite losing tactician Jose Maria van der Ploeg (ESP) to an ankle injury just prior to Race 1 today, Madrid Caser-Seguros (ESP) led by helmsman Paolo Cian (ITA) took the early regatta lead. With a perfect 1-1-1, the team built a solid five point cushion over Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP).
Van der Ploeg had to be taken by RIB off the boat pre-start and the team substituted sailing coach Carlos Llamas.
The unusual big wave, light breeze conditions put a premium on teamwork as well as raw speed, and today Madrid Caser-Seguros showed supremacy in both.
“We worked hard to optimize our weight, rig, and sail settings,” said Cian, “and today it paid off. We had the speed when we needed it, and there were a few situations when it was critical.”
Today’s three wins vaults them up into being tied in points but taking the lead in the tie-break with Islas Canarias Puerto Calero for the overall series standings.
Quotes of the day:
Terry Hutchinson (USA), skipper helm Quantum Racing (USA):
“Consistency is the key here for sure. The middle race was a little frustrating for us because we lost two boats within a hundred metres of the finish line, and so that was hard race because we had sailed really, really well. But then in the last race, Ado, Kevin, Tom and all the guys did really nice work and we battled. One of the things we talked about as a team is that if you go 1,1,2 and then 9,10, then the 1,1.2’s don’t really do a lot for you. So our goal for the day was to come out with 12 points or less and we did that.”
“Oh man, it was really hard. The last race was 12-13, the middle race was about 11-13 and it was really, really lumpy. The NE’ly breeze was bouncing off the beach and the sea wall and we had a lot of chop and standing waves, and that on top of everything else when you are competing against really, really good sailors, you have to contend with that. But it is hard for everyone. But that is only one day and we enjoy that for a couple of minutes and move on to thinking about the next ones.”
Ray Davies (NZL), tactician Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL):
“ We had a good day today, we are happy with the day, one point off the lead at the end of the day. We’ll take that any time. At the start of the day we obviously started really strong but in the last race we slipped back on the first run, losing a couple of boats there and that was sort of a turning point in that race for us.”
“In these particular conditions everyone is going to have difficult tricky races, the big thing downwind is you can get a surge on a wave and the situation can change quite dramatically. We got on the wrong side of a couple down the first run of the last race and lost a couple of boats there.”
“It’s good to have a good first day, we haven’t had a good first day all year yet.”
Simon Fisher (GBR), navigator Cristabella (GBR):
“ It was a pretty difficult day today, complicated with all the wind not a very typical Barcelona day really so there was a lot to think about, to try and manage in terms of the weather. We had gradient breeze and sea breeze a lot of clouds coming over the course. It was a tough day for the tacticians. Nevertheless we had a very good day. We had a second and a first, and unfortunately we couldn’t sort of carry it through to the last one and didn’t do as well in the final race but it was a good day performance.”
“But we are out there in the hunt so that’s our objective.”
Jose Maria van der Ploeg (ESP), taken off Madrid Caser-Seguros (ESP):
“It’s nothing really serious, but I think that leaving the boat [before racing] was the right call. We have to see how it evolves, but I’m pretty confident that I’ll be able to sail tomorrow.” Regarding the team’s winning today without him: “It’s been great. I think that’s the best gift they could give me. I’m really happy!”
Paolo Cian (ITA) helmsman Madrid Caser-Seguros (ESP):
“We worked hard to optimize our weight, rig, and sail settings, and today it paid off. We had the speed when we needed it, and there were a few situations when it was critical.”
Camper Regatta – Conde de Godó Trophy – Barcelona
1. Quantum Racing (USA), 5+5+2= 12 points
2. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 1+4+8= 13
3. Artemis (SWE), 7+2+4= 13
4. Bribón (ESP), 3+3+7= 13
5. Cristabella (GBR), 2+1+11= 14
6. TeamOrigin (GBR), 10+6+3= 19
7. Luna Rossa (ITA), 9+11+1= 21
8. Matador (ARG), 4+9+9= 22
9. Synergy (RUS), 6+10+6= 22
10. Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER), 12(DNC)+8+5= 25
11. Bigamist 7 (POR), 8+7+10= 25
1. Madrid – Caser Seguros (ESP), 1+1+1= 3 points
2. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), 2+4+2= 8
3. Iberdrola (ESP), 3+2+3= 8
4. AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA), 4+3+5= 12
5. Península Petroleum (GBR), 5+5+4= 14