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.
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
Only the GP42 Series’ official practice heat was completed today, the first scheduled racing day of the Camper Regatta – Conde de Godó Trophy – Barcelona.
The 11 strong TP52 Series fleet representing 10 different nations, were left waiting, poised and ready for their first ever points racing off Barcelona, but the light breezes proved insufficient to get competition under way.
Around five hours in the hot summer Mediterranean sunshine, tracking the fickle breeze proved to be in vain for the TP52 teams who watched closely to see what they could learn from their smaller GP42 cousins as they took part in a slow, shifty practice race.
But the breeze all but evaporated before the second windward leg was completed and their race was shortened before the final downwind.
For the GP42’s the light airs practice was considered a good chance to get attuned to the kind of conditions which are expected to prevail for some of this regatta. Their practice race today started in a promising 8 knots, but soon degraded to less than 6 knots with many light air zones and shifts in direction down.
Even though AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA) had an enormous lead around the first top mark, they fell prey to the fickle conditions and Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) was able to take and hold the lead into the finish.
This must be promising for the Canarias team, as light air has not been their strong suit in previous stages.
Madrid Caser-Seguros (ESP), runner-up in the practice race today and a sistership to Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, has been aggressively changing their boat set-up to optimize for light air. They did this by removing some heavy items on board and adding corrector weights to get to the absolute bare minimum all-up weight (4200 kg) which was verified by class measurer Jorge Flethes (ESP) on a crane scale yesterday. This and “a few rig and sail changes,” says helmsman Paolo Cian (ITA), “will make us a little faster in the light air. But overall we feel really good for this regatta.”
While they retired today, another team to watch in the light air will be Iberdrola (ESP), who won handily in the first day’s light air at the last stage in Marseille. They have an older generation Botin Carkeek design that has proven to be a good overall performer, and in the light they seem to have an edge on the newer Botin Carkeek designs.
And if only through sheer will, Peninsula Petroleum (GBR) will be strong in their quest to dig out from the points deficit.
Last night the Audi MedCup Regatta village for the Camper Regatta – Conde de Godó Trophy – Barcelona on the Moll de la Fusta came alive for a huge opening party which drew more than 700 invited guests, including many local Barcelona celebrities and VIP’s.
Three races are scheduled for the both the TP52 Series fleet and the GP42 Series fleet tomorrow (Thursday) with this evening’s forecast seeming to offer the prospect of a racing breeze.
The Audi MedCup Circuit, the world’s leading regatta circuit offers an unparalleled visitor experience on land. From 17 to 25 July, Barcelona’s Moll de la Fusta is the location of the Public Village of the Camper Regatta – Conde de Godó Trophy – Barcelona, an enjoyable self contained fun and entertainement area for all ages with free daily access from 11:00 to 20:30 h.
From 20 to 25 July, Barcelona will host the third regatta of the Audi MedCup Circuit 2010, the Camper Regatta – Conde de Godó Trophy – Barcelona. Together with a tough, evenly matched race series on the water, complemented on land by the the spectacular Public Village, a real theme park for all ages with free access which is available at each regatta location around Europe. In Barcelona, the leisure facilities will be set up at the Moll de la Fusta, where it will remain open to the public daily from 11:00 to 20:30 h (CET) from Saturday, July 17 to Sunday, July 25.
The entertainment includes introductory courses in sailing, a circuit of water skates for children, driving and sailing simulators, radio controlled boats, a five meters high climbing wall, an inflatable climbing wall boat for the children, test of strength competitions using sailing hardware, different competitions with valuable prizes, exhibitions, touch screens to interactively explore the world of sailing … Activities will finish up each day with live music from different DJs and bands from Barcelona, like Faces in Disguise (Saturday, 17), 84 (Sunday, 18), Debilorithmicos (Fridays, 23), The Walks (Saturday, 24), La Musicalité (Saturday, 24) or La Familia Rustika (Sunday, 25). Furthermore, while enjoying the Public Village, visitors can watch live how crews set up and prepare for racing which will begin on Tuesday, 20th.
From that day, the visitor activity is supported by a dock-out shows daily between 11:00 and 12:00 as the racing boats head out on to the race course. From the Public Village, the races can be followed live on giant screens between 13:00 and 17:00 h.
Once finished racing up for the day, between 16:00 and 18:00 h, crews will return to the dock and again the public can discover how they race on their boats. Each day, two teams will also race each other on the Audi Playstation driving simulators, and two other teams will face off in a grinder competition to highlight to the public who are the most skilled teams on the Audi MedCup Circuit.
On Saturday, free access to the pontoon
On Saturday 17th, the day of othe Public Village official opening on the Moll de la Fusta, visitors will have free access to the docks to see at very close hand the 11 TP52’s and five GP42’s participating in the Camper Regatta – Conde de Godó Trophy – Barcelona.
That same day, the boats will stay ashore for the public to facilitate this unique opportunity. From 20:00 h, the pop-rock band Faces in Disguise open stage at the Village with the first concert of the week.
Two races down and on match point, Emirates Team New Zealand won the Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena today in an action-packed afternoon of match race sailing.
The New Zealand boat that won the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland in February prevailed 3-2 against the SYNERGY Russian Sailing Team that had put the Kiwis on the ropes 2-0 after the first race today.
“In the end it comes down to confidence in our team,” said Dean Barker, skipper and helmsman of ETNZ. “It’s hard to believe. It was a long way back from 2-0 down. But the guys stuck with it and they gave us an opportunity that we jumped on. After that we sailed more like we expect to and it feels fantastic to win another event.”
It was the first time in America’s Cup history that a Russian-flagged boat has reached the final of a Louis Vuitton-sponsored event and her mixed Russian and international crew led by Polish skipper Karol Jablonski came very close to clinching the series.
After the finish, boats crowded around the Kiwi winners and a fireboat sprayed water high in the air as Barker and his crew hosed each other down with champagne from two jeroboams and a methuselah of Moët & Chandon presented on board by Louis Vuitton chairman and CEO Yves Carcelle.
The start for the last race of the day set a new record for race turnarounds. The cutoff for competition was 4:00 pm and Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio and his team hustled to setup and signal the start of the last race, less than five minutes after the finish of race three.
A shifty easterly breeze that built slowly in speed provided excellent conditions on a warm, sunny final day of racing. Because there was no wind early, the petit final for third and fourth places was abandoned and the French/German team All4One was confirmed in third place, with Sweden’s Artemis fourth.
Final, Race Two: SYNERGY Russian Sailing Team def. Emirates Team New Zealand, 01:22 – ETNZ had the starboard entry advantage but after a long dialup Jablonski claimed the committee end with the Kiwis to leeward in the middle of the line. ETNZ and Barker were bow out as Jablonski carried them all the way out to the port layline. A right-hand shift carried both boats below the mark and an unsuccessful last-minute effort by Barker to punch through to leeward in a flurry of tacks saw the Kiwi boat make a down-speed rounding 20 seconds astern. Synergy sailed away. Rod Dawson, tactician, Synergy: “It was really satisfying. We wanted the right and Karol did a fantastic job. We felt it was going to shift that way and we controlled the race from that side. The shifts were up to 20 degrees, very tricky conditions…”
Final, Race Three: Emirates Team New Zealand def. SYNERGY Russian Sailing Team , 01:05 – ETNZ trailed by 26 seconds at the first mark but crisper, faster gennaker sets and gybes, and a tactical call half way down the first run, pulled the Kiwis within six seconds at the gate. Under pressure, SYNERGY’s crew fumbled the gennaker takedown bringing the boat almost to a standstill. Minutes later ETNZ led by 156 metres. At the start, Jablonski had conducted a master class in starting tactics, leveraging a starboard entry and controlling a long dialup that led above the line before taking off at the pin on port, with the Kiwis tucked away 22 metres to leeward. Davies said: “It was won down the first run for us. The right side was very, very strong. We managed to pull back close and the pass was down the run. He had a bad rounding but I think we were going to be ahead and on the favored side of the course.” Jablonski said: “That’s the game of mistakes. We gybed on the first run a little bit too early and TNZ had an edge, that’s why we decided to go to the other mark.”
Final, Race Four: Emirates Team New Zealand def. SYNERGY Russian Sailing Team, 00:04 – The Kiwi boat prevailed in a muscular tactical battle punctuated by a flurry of protest flags in 14 knots of breeze. After a spirited pre-start the boats split with the Kiwis on starboard before quickly tacking onto port to control. Barker led by seven seconds at the top mark but the Russians overtook on the run, only to be penalized after contact when ETNZ closed up again. The action was furious and the flags frequent on the last run as Synergy fought to land a penalty on their opponent but Barker kept clear and broke through to win by four seconds with the Synergy penalty still outstanding.
Final, Race Five: Emirates Team New Zealand def. SYNERGY Russian Sailing Team, 01:23 – Synergy claimed the committee end on starboard with ETNZ to leeward and immediately tacked away. The Kiwi boat tacked to cover and it was a replay as they went out to the starboard layline with the Russian boat forced to follow. Barker led by 12 seconds after the run and held off Jablonski in a spirited tacking duel up the second weather leg. Synergy’s hopes were shattered on the run when their gennaker shredded as they trailed by three boat lengths. Davies said: “It was a tough one. But we got there in the end. It was a tricky venue and tough competitors. It was tough to win and we’re pretty darn proud of it. The turning point was on that final run when their spinnaker blew out! In the end, the team keeps backing itself. It was stressful, but like all of these regattas, you just have to win the last race, and we peaked at the right time. Synergy sailed really well as did all of the top boats. It’s been a really close regatta, the closest of these we’ve had…It’s hard to keep people behind us, that’s for sure.”
1. Emirates Team New Zealand
2. SYNERGY Russian Sailing Team
5. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team
8. Luna Rossa
9. BMW Oracle Racing Team
10. ALEPH Sailing Team
A hard-fought battle between Emirates Team New Zealand’s Dean Barker and BMW Oracle Racing’s James Spithill at the Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena today went the Kiwis’ way when the American team lost a penalty call in an aggressive luffing match approaching the second weather mark.
“It was close, just half a metre between the boats, as close as you’d ever want to be,” said Barker, describing the incident . “You could lean across and shake hands if you wanted to.”
Sailed in the blustery 18 to 20 knot winds of a building mistral, the match was the only one sailed today as the wind continued to increase in intensity. Racing was canceled for the day as crews prepared for a second race between the Kiwi boat and Sweden’s Artemis.
Race officials later cancelled all racing on Monday when the heavy winds of the mistral are forecast to make conditions impossible for competition. They plan to resume on Tuesday and complete the remaining races of the round robin on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Today, the umpires penalized Oracle when Team New Zealand luffed their opponent, forcing them up head-to-wind, as the boats raced side-by-side towards the weather mark on port tack.
“They made a gain to the left approaching the top mark,” Barker said. “They were in a position where they probably would have led us around if we didn’t make something happen, so we did a couple of luffs. The first one, we were required to give them room to get clear but they didn’t take the room straight away and make an attempt to keep clear so we luffed a second time and could easily have made contact with them if we hadn’t avoided. The umpires saw it the same way and penalized them.”
The confrontation momentarily cost the New Zealanders the lead and gave the advantage to Oracle, so the umpires added a red flag calling for an immediate penalty turn. The American boat circled before rounding the mark but was judged not to have completed a full turn. The umpires called for a second circle before clearing Oracle.
“It was a good hard race for us. We back our crew work against any team and we came out on the right side of that one,” Barker said. “It’s hard because the emphasis has got to be on keeping the boats apart. We can’t afford any more damage here with one pair of boats already out of action.”
Provisional win-loss leaderboard after Sunday racing
=1. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 5-4, 5 points
=1. Artemis, 5-2, 5 points
=1. Emirates Team New Zealand, 5-2, 5 points?
=4. TEAMORIGIN, 4-3, 4 points
=4. All4One, 4-3, 4 points?
=6. Azzurra, 3-4, 3 points?
=6. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, 4-1, 3 points *?
=8. Luna Rossa, 2-6, 2 points
=9. BMW Oracle Racing Team, 1-6, 1 point
=10. ALEPH Sailing Team, 2-4, -2 points *
Just one point separates the top five boats at the Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena after an eventful program of five races sailed today in fresh breezes.
Russia’s SYNERGY Racing Team and the Swedish team Artemis share the top of the point’s table, each with five points. Emirates Team New Zealand, Britain’s TEAMORIGIN and the French/German team All4One are all equal third on four points.
With two days’ competition remaining in the round robin, the pressure began to tell in strong winds this afternoon as Sweden’s Artemis broke a gennaker pole and shredded a gennaker, and a jib began to self-destruct on Emirates Team New Zealand. Both top teams lost their respective races.
The Artemis breakdown was self-inflicted. The Swedish boat skippered by Paul Cayard was pushing to overtake the Russian boat when the pole went overboard, triggering a sequence that saw it trip and explode into pieces before dragging the sail under the boat. Artemis retired. On the Team New Zealand boat, racing All4One, the hapless Kiwis could only watch as the head of their jib began to split in 20 knot winds.
The Kiwis had more success off the water, at least temporarily when the Race Committee gave them a reprieve by ordering a resail of their race yesterday against BMW Oracle Racing. In another twist, the Jury tonight will hear an appeal by Oracle against the resail decision.
The dispute hinges on a safety order issued yesterday telling teams to maintain tension on forestays during spinnaker runs. After an umpires’ protest and a jury decision denied Team New Zealand any chance of a win in their match against Oracle, the organizers relented today, withdrew the safety order and ordered the resail.
Flight Seventeen, Race Two: TEAMORIGIN def. Luna Rossa, 00:37 – They started at speed on starboard with Britain’s TEAMORIGIN bow-out in the leeward berth. Ed Baird steering Luna Rossa was forced away early on port as Ben Ainslie on ORIGIN sailed into more pressure and continued to pull ahead.
Flight Six, Race Two: Azzurra def. SYNERGY Russian Sailing Team, 00:15 – Italy’s Francesco Bruni pulled off a breathtakingly close port cross on the first leg to defeat SYNERGY Russian Sailing Team. On the second beat there were 17 punishing tacks up the 1.2-mile leg but Synergy skipper Karol Jablonski, on the right, could never gain enough ground to get past Bruni.
Flight Twentythree, Race One: Artemis def. Azzurra, 00:15 – Saddled with a penalty in the pre-start Francesco Bruni and his Italian Azzurra team stayed on the attack and took the fight to the Swedish team Artemis around all four legs as the lead changed multiple times. However the Italians were trailing Terry Hutchinson and Artemis by 100 metres at the finish and they were still carrying the penalty.
Flight Eighteen, Race One: SYNERGY Russian Sailing Team def. Artemis, retired – A spinnaker pole overboard at the end of the second run dragged Artemis to oblivion, breaking the pole and shredding the Swedish boat’s spinnaker.
Flight Twenty, Race Two: All4One def. Emirates Team New Zealand, 00:21 – The French/German boat started ahead in the middle of the line on starboard, just ahead of the Kiwis on their weather hip. All4One helmsman Sébastien Col gradually inched ahead and his lead increased as the jib on ETNZ began to self-destruct.
Provisional win-loss leaderboard after Saturday racing:
=1. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 5-4, 5 points
=1. Artemis, 5-2, 5 points
=3. Emirates Team New Zealand, 4-2, 4 points
=3. TEAMORIGIN, 4-3, 4 points
=3. All4One, 4-3, 4 points
=6. Azzurra, 3-4, 3 points
=6. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, 4-1, 3 points *
=8. Luna Rossa, 2-6, 2 points
=9. BMW Oracle Racing Team, 1-5, 1 point
=10. ALEPH Sailing Team, 2-4, -2 points *