It is two months before the start of the first regatta of the 2010 Audi MedCup Circuit season, the Portugal Trophy which will take place on the testing Atlantic waters and winds off Cascais, raising the curtain on what promises to be a fascinating and exciting year for the world’s leading regatta circuit.
The Audi MedCup Circuit is the world’s leading regatta circuit.
The Circuit is made up of five events that take place over five months in four countries over southern Europe.
Event 1: Cascais (Portugal) 11 – 16 May
Event 2: Marseille (France) 15 – 20 June
Event 3: Barcelona (Spain) 20 – 25 July
Event 4: Cartagena (Spain) 24 – 29 August
Event 5: Cagliari (Italy) 20 – 25 September
Activity throughout the TP52 fleet has been building up progressively over recent months. Small changes to the TP52 Class Box Rule mean that all of the teams which plan to compete at this season’s five Audi MedCup Circuit regattas or the TP52 World Championships in October are required to have made the prescribed modifications to their existing boats: adding 150kgs of weight to the keel to compensate for the reduction in crew weight, moving to a ‘square-top’ mainsail with twin backstays and increasing spinnaker area and adopting bowsprits.
The Circuit organisers World Sailing Management, a division of Grupo Santa Monica Sports, are expecting to welcome the same number as 2009, or perhaps one more TP52 to the arena this season. Two new America’s Cup teams are well into their preparations.
“ We expect 10 to 13 boats in the TP52 class and five or six in the GP42 class, all in all a good line up considering the economic climate.” Comments World Sailing Management’s Nacho Postigo (ESP), Audi MedCup Circuit’s Technical Director.
“ The TP52 class has gone through the winter modifications without major problems.”
Great Britain’s TeamOrigin have their new Juan Kouyoumdjian (ARG) designed boat nearing completion at Salthouse Boats in Auckland. Theirs is the only new build TP52 this winter and they are due to ship the boat directly to Portugal.
Mike Sanderson (NZL), CEO of TeamOrigin said: “The schedule was always going to be tight but we are on time. The boat is due to leave New Zealand in the middle of March.
We have it booked on a fruit ship which means it is pretty reliable because if it gets late then the fruit goes rotten. We will ship it directly to somewhere close to the venue and do its final measurement there and will sail it there for the first time. It is not optimum for how we would have loved to have done it, but we always knew that, we knew that that’s what the schedule was going to be before started building it, so we are just going to have to hope that we can get it on the pace as quickly as possible. We are really looking forward to it. It is going to be an amazing year. We really can wait.”
Current Audi MedCup champions Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) completed their modifications in-house and have been trial sailing the new configuration on the waters off Auckland in excellent conditions. Otherwise, explains CEO Grant Dalton, the only change to their winning set up is the new paint job. They will sail with exactly the same core sailing team, with the exception of the reduced crew number.
2008 Audi MedCup champions Quantum Racing (USA) who finished overall runners-up are believed to have taken the opportunity to update their deck profile and have made a bigger winter refit. Torbjorn Tornqvist’s (SWE) 2007 champions Artemis (SWE), third overall in 2009 have a busy sailing season planned and will be back to challenge hard. Alberto Roemmers’ (ARG) team of Matador (ARG) start training on March 19th as a build up to the Palma Vela regatta, where up to five teams will race including Artemis, Cristabella (GBR) Matador and Synergy (RUS) are expected to take part.
Spain’s Palma based Bribón (ESP) has undergone some minor modifications along with the class rule modifications. They have changed to tiller steering, removing the twin wheels, changed the mainsheet system and extended the deckline to the vertical at the back of the boat, in line with all the other newer TP52’s. They will sail with an almost all Spanish crew with helm Gonzalo Araujo (ESP) taking on the role he completed so well at the TP52 World Championships in Palma last year. Great Britain’s double Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker (GBR) will serve as tactician.
Ignasi Triay (ESP), project manager and trimmer Bribón (ESP) concludes: “It will be difficult for us I am sure with our boat in its fourth season. It will be really tough for us to get a top five finish with teams like Quantum Racing, TeamOrigin and Emirates Team New Zealand fighting it out for the top spots, and then the two Russian boats and Bigamist (POR) going so well now, but we will be really trying our hardest. The World Championships really proved to us that in flat water and lighter winds the boat can be competitive. Dean Barker said last year that if we sail a perfect race we can finish top three. They have a boat that they can get back into contention in a race even if they don’t make a great start, and that – for us – is the big difference.”
Also based out of Palma is John Cook’s British flagged Cristabella which has a new rig and will have some crew changes with round the world Racing winning bowman Justin Slattery (IRL) joining at the sharp end, and round the world and America’s Cup navigator Simon ‘SiFi’ Fisher (GBR) joining the team again.
Brendan Darrer (IRL/GBR) project manager Cristabella (GBR) said: “It is going to be difficult for us this season for sure. Each year we say it will be harder and it does get harder. But it will be a cracking year and we are really looking forward to it. Most of all we want to see a realistic improvement in our own performance, and if we can see that we will be happy.”
Home hopes for the opening regatta will be with Pedro Mendonça’s Bigamist who have been winter training hard off their native Cascais. Their prolonged training together was the foundations for a very successful 2009, and so on their own local waters, the Portuguese team have a good chance of starting the 2010 Audi MedCup season on a high note.
The GP42 fleet is taking shape presently with at least one boat which is new to the Circuit, stepping up after enjoying their participation at the 2009 GP42 World Championships.
The Race: Created by the French sailor Bruno Peyron, The Race started on 31st December 2000, as a way to celebrate our arrival in the third millennium with a global ocean race. The Race was the first race around the world without limits, in other words it was open to boats without any size restrictions. The total freedom that was given to designers led to the birth of a new generation of sailboats, maxi-multihulls, now known as the G-Class.
For the first edition of The Race, the first giant multihulls ever built set out from the start in Barcelona to sail around the world via the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and the Horn) before crossing the finish line in Marseilles.
The reference time for the race was set by the New Zealander Grant Dalton aboard the maxi-catamaran Club Med, which completed the voyage in 62 days, 56 minutes and 33 seconds.
Three times holder of the Jules Verne Trophy and creator of The Race, the non-stop crewed race around the world without outside assistance and without limits, Bruno Peyron has officially announced that he has decided to relaunch The Race. After several months of studies and some careful thinking and after consulting the main potential competitors, a second edition of the race around the world for the giant G-class boats is therefore planned for 2013-2014, starting from a port in Southern Europe.
Around ten giants
After talks with leading maxi-multihull G-class skippers, it transpires that out of the dozen giants that have so far been built, between eight and ten of them may be lining up for the start of The Race, and that is without counting any new boats, which may be built by then, in particular using moulds from the latest multihulls from the most recent generation.
The ultimate goal remains the same as when the first edition was launched: Bringing together “the ten fastest teams around the world.”
All lights are green
Bruno Peyron, who took some time to think about this before coming to a decision explains: “As I’ve been able to stand back and gain some perspective since I last took part in the Jules VerneTrophy, there are several things I noticed that led me to take this decision to relaunch The Race. First, since the recent America’s Cup that we have just seen, we can conclude that we French are no longer alone in the world of multihulls and that is excellent news. We are entering a new era.
We can see too that since The Race, 12 giant multihulls have been built, including four in the past three years. So today there are certainly enough boats of sufficient quality for us to propose this event relaunch to their skippers and partners, without counting any new multihulls, which may be built following on from this by 2013 or 2014.
I have noticed that some major brands have been looking at the possibilities offered by the Volvo Ocean Race, which I can fully understand, but this does indicate that there is simply no alternative international race for multihulls. And just to conclude, others around me have become aware of this and share this feeling and my discussions with the leading G-class skippers have led me to move things forward in this direction.
The new 100-foot class (of which three are already up and running and a fourth is about to be made ready) has shown what these innovative boats can do sailing around the world via the three legendary capes while budgets remain limited. So, in this respect, it is now much easier to be able to take part in The Race.
Why 2013 or 2014? To place the event in between two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race and to offer the main international challengers the possibility of taking part in the event. This time frame will enable teams to draw up their project and get things moving by attracting a group of ambitious and enthusiastic partners.”
The organising team is being formed
After talks with various agencies specialising in sports marketing, Bruno Peyron has decided to award the overall management of The Race event to Thierry Reboul. Former Head of Advertising for Air France and Head of Communications at Alcatel, Thierry Reboul was the founder of the Ubi bene agency, which specialises in promoting events.
He will in particular be in charge of organising and negotiating with the main partners and the official event sites.
A call for tender will be launched to complete the arrangements with an international team, which will be appointed as executive producers.
Grant Dalton, Winner of The Race: “When Bruno Peyron announced he was launching The Race, with my experience of round the world sailing, it immediately interested me. Although the Jules Verne Trophy was fascinating, what really attracted me here was the idea of a real race with other boats. Thanks to Bruno’s vision, I was able to experience the finest moment of my professional career. The maxi-catamaran Club Med was the first of her kind, measuring 108 feet and able to cover more than 600 miles day after day. She was a marvel and I was privileged to be on board. The Race opened the way to more extreme sailing. It pushed back the limits and allowed us to do what had previously been thought impossible. This race remains by far the highlight of my 25 years of professional sailing. The idea of relaunching The Race will move the world of sailing another step forward.”
Pascal Bidégorry, Skipper of the maxi-trimaran Banque Populaire V, holder of the North Atlantic record: “Since Banque Populaire V was built, taking part in The Race has seemed obvious to me. I experienced the first edition as a spectator and I can still remember the enthusiasm that surrounded this race. After a few years of sailing multihulls and when you are lucky enough to sail on a maxi-multihull like Banque Populaire, I can’t imagine taking part in all these record attempts without entering an event like The Race. These are fabulous boats and battling it out around the world in real time is incredible. I admire what they do in the Volvo Ocean Race, but from a race and sailing perspective, there’s nothing like The Race.”
Francis Joyon, the single-handed round the world record holder: “I think that any project, which gets our giant multihulls racing is something that needs to be looked at, particularly when the idea comes from Bruno, who has so much experience in this field.”
Lionel Lemonchois, winner of the last Route du Rhum and who was on board Team Adventure in the first edition of The Race: “It’s great to hear that Bruno is relaunching The Race. He is finally giving us an opportunity to race around the world aboard these incredible maxi-multihulls. Personally, this race led me to discover these fantastic machines and I have some great memories of it. With another challenge ahead, I hope to be there….”