Emirates Team New Zealand took firm control of the Portugal Trophy Cascais regatta today when they convincingly won the 40 miles coastal race. While the team won four of the five 2009 regattas this is the first time they have won a coastal race. Puerto Calero lead the GP42 Series.
After they took the lead around the most westerly turning mark, off Cabo Raso, they were never challenged, heading the fleet all the way down to the eastern extremity which was at the historic Belem Tower in Lisbon’s River Tajo.
Winning by one and a half minutes, the current champions extended their overall lead to a solid 14 points at the head of the regatta leaderboard as TeamOrigin, slipped from second place overall to fourth after they could only make a frustrating ninth place today.
The Kiwi team’s only minor hiccup was blowing out a gennaker at the Cabo Raso turn, but they very quickly regrouped and were able to dominate on the long and very spectacular full speed run downwind in the strong northerly wind which gusted over 25 knots.
It was a demanding coastal race in every respect, finishing only 100 metres off the Marina of Cascais breakwater, where the wind carried the imprint of the buildings behind and so there was some place changing and interest until the end.
Matador (ARG) steered by Guilermo Parada (ARG) with Francesco Bruni (ITA) calling tactics made their biggest gains on this long run from the Cape and held on to second place all way round to the finish line, helping their climb back up the table to lie sixth overall.
But the frustration for TeamOrigin (GBR) will be to investigate why they slipped progressively down the fleet. They sailed a good race from a tactical point of view and lead early in the race, chasing Emirates Team New Zealand around the westernmost turn. But by the time they passed Cascais again they has already slipped three places, passed on both sides.
A ninth place finish does not do justice to their sailing as a crew today. TeamOrigin’s team director Mike Sanderson (NZL) admitted later ‘we just fell off the planet’ but that they felt they were slow before that turn, on the top of the upwind leg as well as on the long downwind, but they are looking at all options.
Third place across the finish line today elevates the Franco-German Audi A1 powered by All4ONE, skippered by Germany’s Jochen Schuemann, up to second overall but they are only half a point ahead of Sweden’s Aretmis, with TeamOrigin another half point behind them. Emirates Team New Zealand just need a solid day, a contrast to their opening here last Wednesday, to secure their fifth Audi MedCup Circuit Regatta in a row.
GP42 Series Puerto Calero pulls further out front
The breeze-on 20-25 knot conditions today were favorable to the Canarias-based Puerto Calero (ESP) team, who have pulled out to a 6-point lead over the nearest rival, Madrid-Caser Seguros (ESP) after seven races sailed. Their choice of a smaller heavy-weather jib looked wrong for the first race’s 15-20 knot conditions, but certainly came into its own in the second race’s gusty 25 knot blasts coming off the Cascais shoreline.
The first race saw the Iberdrola (ESP) team showing off their America’s Cup heritage, with flawless tactics and boathandling vaulting them into the lead ahead of AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA).
In the second race, Peninsula Petroleum (GBR) shook off the dust of a poor first race to win the start at the pin end and take an early lead, but the huge puffs rolling down the course put Puerto Calero into their own with that small jib, allowing them to take a lead they never relinquished. AIRISESSENTIAL also got back into the fray with much-improved crew work downwind and good pace upwind, but a broach suffered just after the last gybe into the finish pushed them back to fourth, behind Madrid-Caser Seguros and Peninsula Petroleum.
Portugal Trophy, Cascais
Overall – Day 4
1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 6+11+1+1+4+2+1+1,5= 27,5 points
2. Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER), 9+7+4+6+1+5+5+4,5= 41,5
3. Artemis (SWE), 3+6+7+8+3+7+2+6= 42
4. TeamOrigin (GBR), 4+9+2+4+2+1+7+13,5= 42,5
5. Synergy (RUS), 8+1+6+3+5+8+3+15= 49
6. Matador (ARG), 7+2+5+9+8+12(DSQ)+6+3= 52
7. Quantum Racing (USA), 1+5+8+2+10+9+8+10,5= 53,5
8. Cristabella (GBR), 2+8+3+5+9+6+10+12= 55 points
9. Luna Rossa (ITA), 5+3+9+10+6+3+9+16,5= 61,5
10. Bribón (ESP), 10+10+10+12(DNC)+7+4+4+7,5= 64,5
11. Bigamist 7 (POR), 11+4+11+7+11+10+12(DNF)+9= 75
Overall – Day 3
1. Puerto Calero (ESP), 1+1+2+1+2+3+1= 11 points
2. Madrid-Caser Seguros (ESP), 3+2+3+2+1+4+1= 17
3. Iberdrola (ESP), 2+5+1+3+3+1+5= 20
4. Peninsula Petroleum (GBR), 4+3+4+5+4+5+3= 28
5. AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA), 5+4+5+4+6(DNF)+2+4= 30
Grant Dalton (NZ), foredeck or mast Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL):
“ We sailed all right. We got outside Origin at the top, then we blew a chute out, which wasn’t that flash. It had a little nick in it. But I think we are going reasonably quick. Matador was reaching pretty well, but probably it has surprised us. And I’d say the bigger surprise was for Origin how slow they were reaching. It’s the first off-shore race, if we can call it offshore, that we won, in the five regattas last year we had never been better than second so that’s good, we sailed quite well.”
Mike Sanderson (NZL) team director TeamOrigin (GBR):
“ The first lap we were going really quick and go great and in the first two thirds of the way out to Cape Raso. It was going great and then we just sort of fell off the planet, to be honest, before we got to the mark, and ETNZ went from where they were right behind us to getting way up inside us and we just assumed that we had some current on, or had just been particularly unlucky with the shift or whatever, but athen from that point on it was a very tough race we just seemed to be off the pace.
“We were just off the pace. We were slow jib reaching and we just shouldn’t be. We don’t know if we caught something because the problem is that after you finish you go back as you drop the main, so even if we did have something there you would not know it. If we did not have something there then we are certainly not be going to be looking forwards to the coastal races in the future. We just have to work through it. That’s why we are here, to build on our team work, on our relationship with our shore crew and designers and we have to work through the issues. Long term you probably need the bad days more than the good . After a good days it is easy. After the bad days we need to be sure that we are being totally honest with ourselves, and getting the best out of each other. The guys did an awesome job once again Ben started well and Percy and Bart (Andrew Simpson) and Juan Vila the guys are sailing really well. I mean, losing places when jib reaching is unheard of, and so we have to get to the bottom of it.”
Jean Marie Dauris (FRA), bowman Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER):
“ We’ve sailed well, just in the first downwind we’ve made some little mistakes and didn’t round the mark very well and that has cost us some places where we could have been second. But we’ve sailed a very good second downwind where we passed a good number of boats, and rounded second. We got beaten by Matador on the reach but we are very happy. We confirmed to ourselves that we can sail this boat.”
Francesco Bruni (ITA), tactician Matador (ARG):
“ We’ve managed to move up very quickly on the downwind, it was very quick. The fleet was very tight and we gybed last on the downwind and then we were third down, and and from then on we’ve made a good race, a good beat, nice manouvers, up at Cabo Raso, a good gybe, and we’ve passed TeamOrigin, it seems they had some speed problems downwind, so we held our second position but it went very well.”
Jose Mª Ponce (ESP), skipper Puerto Calero (ESP):
“We are happy with how we performed today though in the second race our start wasn’t that good, we set our small jib today because the conditions were good for it but the start was just bad and with such shifty conditions it’s difficult to move up.”
Laureano Wizner (ESP), skipper Iberdrola (ESP):
“ The first race was great and the second a disaster. In the last downwid we’ve broached twice when blowing the kite. We got apart from the group, the first broach happened when we where blowing the spi and then in the second one we were jybing and the spi sheet got caught. We are all very level, so any mistake is costly, and this wind amplifies them.”
The weather, or more specifically the imminent threat of lightning, finally took its toll today off Cartagena where the first races for the TP52 Series at the Caja Mediterraneo Region of Murcia Trophy had to be postponed.
After a postponement ashore the TP52 Series fleet were sent out to the race area at a little after two o’clock in the afternoon. The GP42 Series fleet waited around as well, due to get their official practice session away as soon as the TP52 first race went.
Whilst there was a period during which it looked promising with 13-17 knots of breeze blowing from the East, the only initial excitement was watching the IMOCA Open 60 fleet on the Istanbul Europa Race passing along the horizon, some five miles further offshore.
The wait looked like it would be rewarded when the race committee brought the ten boat TP52 fleet under starter’s orders, but within seconds of the start gun the AP flag went back up. They set off upwind anyway, taking the chance to learn the beat in the easterly breeze and nasty, choppy swell, but it was clear that the breeze was shifting all over the place further up the course.
Terry Hutchinson (USA), skipper of the current Audi MedCup champions Quantum Racing (USA) recalled:
“ We were at 10-15 seconds before the start when they postponed the race. We sailed the first mile, mile and a half of the beat and clearly it was getting shiftier as we went further upwind. So we got our mains down and waited. Then another thunder storm rolled through. Here we sit at the dock. So she took a very good decision.”
Meantime the schedule stands with the Coastal Race still planned for Thursday, but the forecast is not much more promising for tomorrow, but the GP42’s now go straight into racing tomorrow.
GP42’s: straight into it
With the weather today keeping teams off the water for their practice racing, the tensions cannot be diffused before the GP42’s take to the water in anger tomorrow. The stakes are high: Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) and its young organic team from the Canary Islands are up against the veteran Roma 2 (ITA) team, led by match racing veteran Paolo Cian (ITA). Both are tied on points for the overall series title. Roma enjoyed an early lead in the series standings, but the young Canarias team have improved with each event, and are coming off a win in the class’s Owner Driver Championship in Cascais two weeks ago.
But there is also a new player on the GP42 field too: last year’s season champion Iberdola (ESP) is back, with the green machine led by skipper Laureano Wizner (ESP). For not having sailed for nearly a year, they had a credible showing two weeks ago in Cascais, and may find form to get into the fray quickly in this tight and tactically intense class.
The teams will also be using this event as a springboard towards their Global Championship event next month in Puerto Calero, Lanzarote, where trade wind breezes and Atlantic swells make for very exciting sailing in these pocket rocketships.
Ashore, around the Audi MedCup race village, the inclement weather did little to dampen the enthusiasm. In the morning visitors were treated to a spectacular fly past by the Patrulla Aguila, a famous Spanish aerobatic display team.
Quotes of the day:
Thierry Peponnet (FRA) helm of Bribón (ESP):
“ Marcel (navigator Marcel van Triest) had told me there might be a possibility of racing between three and four, but after that, it’s finished. He’s the champion in weather forecasting. I think that they took the right decision by sending the boats out, and also stopping the race, even if it was just 30 seconds before the start. That us right. Not after the race starts, but before because
Steve Hayles (GBR) navigator Matador (ARG):
“ As raced officer you have got to try. I really think a lot of us thought it would never happen today, it was a really tough forecast so I think you have to try. And you have to put yourself in her (race officer Maria Torcida’s) shoes. She had 13-14 knots of wind when we went out and we had one hour to get one race. After that it looked really unlikely so for sure they had to try.”
Audi MedCup Circuit 2009
Overall (4 events)
1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 38+27,5+28+25= 118,5 points
2. Matador (ARG), 36+47,5+42,5+44,5= 170,5 points
3. Quantum Racing (USA), 40+41,5+65+29= 175,5 points
4. Artemis (SWE), 37+62,5+49,5+26,5= 175,5 points
5. Bigamist (POR), 46+55,5+57+30,5= 189 points
1. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), 20+23+23+16= 82 points
2. Roma (ITA), 22+17+30+13= 82 points
3. Caser-Endesa (ESP), 33+27+26+13= 99 points
4. Airis (ITA), 21+38+28+25= 112 points
5. Turismo Madrid (ESP), 35+35+43+23=