John Cook, owner of the English Cristabella boat saga, and one of the most loyal fans and participants of the MedCup Circuit, passed away in late April after a long struggle with a disease that eventually took him away, despite him being a born fighter, as he demonstrated both on land and at sea.
The memory of the Cristabella saga and its owner John Cook will remain forever linked to the sea, the Mediterranean, the TP52 class, and the MedCup Circuit. The TP52 Cristabella was part of the fleet which started off the competition in 2005, and remained faithful to it, taking part in almost all its events, until she had to leave due to her owner’s health problems, the same that would finally cause him to pass away in late April.
English by birth, Cook ran under the flag of the Real Club Náutico de Palma, and was a “classic” sailor. In fact, the TP52 Cristabella was easily recognizable not only by her white hull and blue letters, but by her rudder wheel, which had not been replaced by the tiller, as it had already happened onboard the whole MedCup Circuit fleet in recent years.
John Cook’s is indeed an irreparable loss to the world of sailing, but his name will live on in the history of racing in the Mediterranean.
On the eve of the third running of Les Voiles de St. Barth, April 2-7, the palm-fringed port of Gustavia, St.Barthlemy quickly filled with an impressive array of race boats: ocean-racing maxis including the 90-foot Rambler and the Swan 112, Highland Breeze; classic beauties such the Olin Stephen-designed Dorade and the Fife-built yawl Mariella; a trio of IRC 52s, multi-hulls including the 66 Gunboat Phaedo, and two large racing classes with a mix of Melges, J/boats, and a mix of 40-footers, including the hot-off-the-press Carkeek 40, Decision.
Over 60 boats are registered for this years edition, up fromwith a large number of returning entries, proof that the regatta has filled the need for spirited competition towards the end of the winter season a time when tourism typically begins to wind down in the Caribbean. Though that was hard to tell yesterday, at the islands tiny airport, as the steady stream of small commuter planes landing were filled with a duffle bag-wielding collection of sailors from the ranks of the Americas Cup, round-the-world-ocean races, and Olympic competition, that included Gavin Brady (Vesper), Scott Vogel (Rambler), Bouwe Bekking (Nilaya), Cam Lewis (Paradox), Charlie McKee and Ross MacDonald (Mayhem), Tony Rey, Jeff Madrigali, and Nacho Postigo (Powerplay), and Dee Smith (Decision).
But its not just the professionals that flock to Les Voiles de St. Barth, the regattas program and mix of courses also appeals to a competitive group of amateur and family racers that hone their skills on the growing circuit of Caribbean regattas that take advantage of this sailing paradise.
While not the easiest of destinations to reach some U.S. west coast sailors logged 16+ hours in transit, while others from Europe only slightly less the island of St Barths itself is a welcome reward at the end of the road: a turquoise blue, crystal-clear sea, pristine white sand beaches, and an array of fabulous restaurants just payoff for a long days journey.
Francesco Mongelli, navigator onboard Jim Swartz IRC52 Vesper, is here racing in St Barths for the first time. The Italian sailor, who sails primarily in Europe, has been racing with the Vesper crew since last October, and was clearly keen to have touched down in this French paradise, Its a mix of all the best sailing places, together with perfect weather and good food. Having spent the afternoon in a tender carefully checking out the coastline and charted (and uncharted) rock outcroppings, Mongelli added, Its pretty similar to Porto Cervo, the difference is that there you more or less know where everything is, and the charts are accurate. You cannot take the same risk here that wed take in Porto Cervo.
Racing will run from Tuesday, April 3 Saturday, April 7 and will feature a mix of Olympic triangles, short coastal courses, and a 20-30 nautical mile round-the island race. The fleet will be split into seven classes: Maxi (> 21 meters), IRC52 (former TP52s that have been optimized for the IRC rule), Spinnaker I + II, Non-Spinnaker (racer/cruiser), Classic (vintage/traditional), and Multihull. Thursday is a layday at Nikki Beach, with lunch and a full afternoon of activities, including a paddleboard competition.
New this year, Les Voiles will offer real-time race tracking with 2D visualization via the internet. Waypoint-Tracking (www.waypoint-tracking.com) developed the system in close collaboration with ISAF. The site will allow enthusiasts to follow the daily racing action live or to replay at a later time.
Many of the competing boats are moored stern-to at the Quai General de Gaulle, site of the Race Village, where all of the daily breakfast and post-race activities and music take place. This evening, skippers and tacticians were on hand for the Skippers Briefing led by Loic Ponceau, Race Committee Chairman, and organizers Francois Tolede, Luc Poupon, and Annelisa Gee. Following that was Les Voiles St. Barth Opening Ceremony, where Bruno Magras, President of the Collectivit of St. Barth, welcomed more than 500 sailors to the weeklong event.
A regular and enthusiastic competitor in the Caribbean, Sir Peter Harrison was named the godfather or patron of this years Les Voiles. Harrison, owner of the 115-foot Farr-designed Sojana, told the crowd, As a visitor from England to this beautiful French island, one of the most beautiful in the West Indies, Im thrilled to be asked to the patron of Les Voiles. Bon vent Les Voiles de St. Barth, and good luck, everyone!
Also sailing on Sojana is Lionel Pan, who is also back for his third Les Voiles. He said, Obviously there are plenty of good reasons to be here, and to come back every year with the same enthusiasm: this place is made for sailing. In a very short time, Les Voiles de St. Barth has become the place to be, very much like Saint Tropez in the Mediterranean. And the word is spreading around. Shortly there will be a waiting list to be a part of the event!
The weather forecast for the next few days calls for light winds, though the breeze is expected to increase throughout the week. Racing is scheduled to start tomorrow, Tuesday, April 3, two miles northwest of Sugarloaf Rock off Gustavia; one race is scheduled with a start time of 12noon.
It has been a busy 24 hours at the Antigua Yacht Club. At dawn on the fifth day of the RORC Caribbean 600, only three yachts were still at sea vying to complete the course before tonight’s Prizegiving celebrations and all of the class winners are now provisionally decided. The bar at the Antigua Yacht Club has been in full swing, buzzing with stories between the crews and songs in a myriad of different languages.
Team Selene skippered by Benjamin Davitt finished yesterday morning. The Swan 80 sailed an excellent race to claim third place overall and will lift the prestigious Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy later this evening.
Without doubt, the closest racing for this year’s event was in IRC One. Colin Buffin’s Swan 62, Uxorious IV, was first to finish, but the team did not celebrate a class win. Buffin and his young team knew that Amanda Hartley’s Swan 56, Clem, was extremely close to eclipsing their corrected time. Just over three and half hours passed before Clem crossed the finish line to win the class by just 21 seconds on corrected time. There were ecstatic scenes dockside as the Spanish crew of Clem celebrated their class win. The entire crew of Uxorious IV including Colin Buffin sportingly applauded their rivals. Amanda Hartley spoke of their win.
“‘We had no idea until we crossed the line and turned on our phones which went crazy with people calling in from Spain. By our calculation we thought we had lost out by five minutes. We got stuck at Guadeloupe for four hours and we could only sit and watch Uxorious get away. We are obviously extremely delighted and really appreciate Colin and his team coming over to give us such a lovely welcome back to Antigua.”
Jaime Torres’ Puerto Rican First 40, Smile And Wave, finished shortly after midnight last night to claim third in IRC One.
Scarlet Logic, co-skippered by Ross Applebey and Tim Thubron, finished the RORC Caribbean 600 shortly after 2300 last night. The Oyster 48 has been vying for the overall win for the last two days. In the end Scarlet Logic missed out, but the team had put in an incredible effort and have been rewarded with a convincing win in IRC Two. Scarlet Logic has the best corrected time in IRC One, Two and Three and as a result will be awarded the fantastic prize of a week’s accommodation at the luxurious Inn at English Harbour.
“Fantastic, elated but bloody tired,” admitted Tim Thubron, co-skipper of Scarlet Logic. The weather lined up nicely for us and we were aware that we were in with a chance of beating the big, well funded professional teams and that really spurred us on and made us push even harder. A lot of credit must go to the whole team, especially Ross Applebey. Scarlet was immaculately prepared and we hardly had a single breakage, however we did need to drop the main to replace a sail slide. The job was done and the main back up in eight minutes, that to me says it all.”
There was joy and pain for both IRC Canting Keel and the Class40s. Ernesto Cortina’s Volvo 70 Gran Jotiti finished the race in just over two days. The Spanish team is racing the yacht formerly known as Telefonica Black in the last Volvo Ocean Race. Ernesto spoke about his team shortly after finishing. “This has been a great experience, even though our result was badly affected by a lot of sail damage. Many of the sails are tired from thousands of miles of racing. However, the crew have been a joy to sail with and this race is helping us build for the future. Gran Jotiti’s aim is to create a world class amateur Spanish offshore sailing team and we have learnt a lot through this race.
Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50, Privateer, showed exceptional pace and boat handling throughout. Unfortunately the American team failed to start correctly and accepted a 10% penalty from the race organisers resulting in Gran Jotiti being declared winner of IRC Canting Keel.
The Class40s turned into a battle royale between Christophe Coatnoan’s Partouche and Christof Petter’s Vaquita. The two Class40s were locked in a heroic tacking duel for the final push to the finish line, a 40-mile beat from Redonda to the finish in Antigua.
Vaquita crossed the line just after sunset beating Partouche by a slender margin, just 15 minutes in a race lasting over 3 days. However, Vaquita failed to start the race correctly and to the Austrian crew’s disappointment, the class win was awarded to Partouche: “It was a tough race and we had a couple of moments that really slowed us down,” commented Christophe Coatnoan who raced two-handed with Eric Calmard. “We picked up a fishing float after Nevis without realising and we probably lost 8 miles before we knew it was there. Later at Guadeloupe, I had to dive into the water to free Partouche from yet another fishing buoy. The race was an excellent test for our new design especially for our sails as I think we used every one of them during the race.”
Vaquita’s Andreas Hanakamp commented: “Obviously we are disappointed to have been penalised but we were delighted with our performance. Partouche is a brand new Finot design, whilst Vaquita is a 2006 Akilaria. The RORC Caribbean 600 is a testing race course and a very tough race, exactly what we needed to prepare for our main competition of the season, The Atlantic Cup later this year.”
The latest competitor to finish the RORC Caribbean 600 is Bernie Evan-Wong’s Mumm 36, High Tension. Falmouth Harbour exploded with noise as the smallest yacht in the race tied up right outside the Antigua Yacht Club. Thunderous blasts from megayachts, superyachts and foghorns literally shook the dock as the whole of the sailing community in Falmouth heralded the arrival of local hero Bernie and his crew.
“I said we would be here tonight but I always like to be early for appointments,” joked the Antiguan dentist. “It was a hard but satisfying race and the beat from Redonda to the finish seemed to take forever. We could see Antigua but it just didn’t seem to be getting any bigger, however a few miles out a massive rain squall hit and veered the wind favourably for us to speed our way to Antigua. After last year’s dismasting, I think maybe someone was looking out for us!”
Tonight the RORC Caribbean 600 Prizegiving Ceremony will take place at the Antigua Yacht Club. The two yachts still racing are Igor Zaretskiy’s, First 40.7 Coyote II and the RACYC Offshore Racing Team – White Knight’s Spirit of Venus. Both are expected to make tonight’s party, which should be a momentous occasion.
The 4th RORC Caribbean 600, starts at 1100 on Monday 20th February. There isn’t a single hotel room left near Antigua Yacht Club, as competitors fly in to the magical island of Antigua from all four corners of the world – Falmouth Harbour is filled to the brim with astounding yachts.
Niklas Zennström’s JV72, Rán, and George David’s RP90, Rambler, are the hot favourites for the RORC Caribbean Trophy, but the two highly impressive yachts are almost hidden in Falmouth Harbour. Rán were out practicing today and Navigator Steve Hayles reports that conditions were a bit lighter than usual, but he expects 15-20 knots of trade winds for the race with their weather routing predicting that they could finish the race in 48 hours, may be less.
RORC member, Stan Pearson has lived and sailed the sublime waters around Antigua for over 20 years. He was one of the creators of the RORC Caribbean 600 and will be racing this year on Adela, the 181′ twin masted schooner:
“I can’t remember ever seeing Nelson’s Dockyard and Falmouth Harbour with so many impressive yachts but I know why they are here; there is nowhere in the world quite like Antigua and the ’600 is a real celebration of all that the Caribbean has to offer. The sailing is just fantastic; constant trade winds, warm water and air temperature in the high 20′s provides brilliant sailing, but this is a tough race. The course has a lot of corners and there is a lot of activity for the crews. Looking at the fleet, there are going to be some great duels going on, it is going to be a very competitive race.”
For the first time, a Volvo Open 70 will be competing in the RORC Caribbean 600. Some might suggest that the canting keel carbon fibre flyer could have been designed for this course. Ernesto Cortina’s Gran Jotiti has a highly talented Spanish crew and could well be a contender for line honours and an overall win.
IRC Zero has 16 entries and may well be the class to watch for the overall winner. George David’s Rambler 100 is the trophy holder and George David’s all-star crew will not be giving it up without a fight.
With a combined water line length that would soar 500ft above the Eiffel Tower, there are some truly amazing yachts in IRC Zero. The 214′ ketch Hetairos is an impressive sight. The crew of 36 have been out practicing all this week and on board there are enough sails to cover a full size football pitch. Sojana is expected to have a Superyacht duel with 124′ Pernini Navi, P2, owned by businessman and philanthropist, Gerhard Andlinger. Sojana was on mark laying duty today. The only laid mark of the course is the North Sails mark, off Barbuda. No doubt the crew, will be using the exercise to practice the first 45 miles of racing.
In the Spirit of Tradition class Adela will line up against Windrose. This will be the first time these magnificent yachts have raced against each other offshore, however Adela did get the better of Windrose in The Superyacht Challenge inshore regatta. A close battle with these two powerful yachts fully off the leash is a mouth-watering prospect. Past RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine and a team of 11 RORC members including current Commodore, Mike Greville, have chartered the 145ft Windrose.
The multihull record for the RORC Caribbean 600 has not been beaten since the inaugural race in 2009. The 63′ Trimaran, Paradox, skippered by Olivier Vigoureux says the six crew on board are out to ‘beat the current record’. The American, French and British crew members have raced in the Figaro Race, Transat Jacques Vabres, America’s Cup and Mini Transat.
Anders Nordquist’s Swan 90, Nefertiti, has an international crew including Rolex Middle Sea Race winner, Christian Ripard from Malta. They should have a close battle with Wendy Schmidt’s Swan 80, Selene, and Irish entry, RP78, Whisper.
There are a huge variety of yachts racing in IRC One, including Hound, skippered by Hound from Maine USA. The 60′ classic will be competing in the Caribbean 600 for the first time with a family crew of avid racers. Hound has competed in the last 8 Newport-Bermuda races, winning her class twice.
Ondeck’s 40.7 Spirit of Venus is chartered to the Royal Armoured Corp Offshore Racing Team. The majority of the 11 strong crew are part of the Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank Regiment which returned from Afghanistan last spring.
Lt Col Paul Macro RTR: “Soldiers have to work together as a team, under time pressure, when cold, wet and tired, in difficult and even dangerous conditions. The adventurous team spirit required by a successful offshore racing crew is the same as that required by the crew of a tank or any other armoured vehicle.”
There are four Class40s competing. Close duels are expected right through the fleet, but a hard fought and close encounter is expected in this class. Trade wind sailing provides perfect conditions for Class40s, with long reaches and downwind legs, these pocket rockets are capable of surfing at speeds of up to 25 knots. Class40s from America, Austria, France and Great Britain are taking on the 600 mile Caribbean odyssey; Tim Fetch’s Icarus Racing, Christophe Coatnoan’s Partouche, Andreas Hanakamp’s Vaquita and Peter Harding’s 40 Degrees, co-skippered by Hannah Jenner. The Class40s will be level-racing under their own rules. First to finish will claim the Concise Trophy; a full barrel of English Harbour rum.
IRC Two includes the smallest yacht in the fleet, Bernie Evan-Wong’s Mumm 36, High Tension. Antiguan dentist, Bernie has competed in all four RORC Caribbean 600 races, however last year, High Tension did not finish the race.
“It is definitely a case of unfinished business,” said Bernie. “We have actually used our downfall to modify the rig, so we have made something good out of the incident. Like many Antiguans, I am amazed how this race has developed since 2009, I have been sailing in the Caribbean for over 50 years and what has been really missing is a well-run, exciting offshore race. The RORC Caribbean 600 has provided that and made my dreams come true.”
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.
When racing starts at the Camper Regatta – Conde de Godó Trophy – Barcelona in one week’s time off the historic city of Barcelona, the Audi MedCup champions the competition in the TP52 Series and the GP42 Series fleets will be hotter than ever.
Summer heat in the Catalan capital will only add to the intensity, but when Marseille last month proved that the Kiwi Audi MedCup champions Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) have a definite fight on their hands when 2008 title winners Quantum Racing (USA) won the Marseille Trophy.
The New Zealand team go to Barcelona with a lead of 18.5 points knowing not only that Quantum Racing have regained their winning ways, triumphing overall for the first time since 2008, but also that four times Olympic medallist Jochen Schuemann (GER) and Sébastien Col (FRA) have been very consistent across the first two regattas with their crew. Their Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER) are the only TP52 team to have finished on the podium in both Cascais and in Marseille. Schuemann is confident that they can maintain that regular momentum.
With Pedro Mendonça’s (POR) Bigamist (POR) rejoining the Circuit in Barcelona, the TP52 Series fleet is back up to an 11 boats complement. Eight teams have won at least one race this season so far and five different teams have finished on the podium. One team which finished on the podium in Cascais finished 10th in Marseille. It is that close.
On Quantum Racing, Adrian Stead (GBR) returns as tactician, Paul Cayard (USA) is billed as helm for Artemis (SWE), gold medallist Andrew Simpson (GBR) is back as strategist on TeamOrigin (GBR), and Luna Rossa (ITA) will be sailed by an entirely Italian crew with Gabriele Benussi (ITA) registered as tactician for Barcelona.
The official practice race takes place on Tuesday for the TP52’s, series racing begins on the Wednesday with the coastal race on Friday. For the GP42 Series, the practice race is scheduled for Wednesday, and the first race for Thursday. Both Series race until Sunday.
The Series tightens in the GP42’s
Since the Stage 2 victory of Iberdrola (ESP) in Marseille and the fewer races held there due to the strong winds, the points totals have tightened up considerably in the GP42 Series. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) maintains a 4-point lead over the pack, but Iberdrola and Madrid-Caser Seguros (ESP) lurk only a few points back, ready to take the lead if the 2009 GP42 Series champions led by skipper Jose María Ponce (ESP) slips up in Barcelona.
The two owner-driven boats, AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA) and Peninsula Petroleum (GBR), are fairly distant in points behind the Spanish teams, but there are many races left in this Series. AIRISESSENTIAL will have their regular tactician Gabriele Bruni (ITA) back on their team.
All of the action supported by interviews, opinion and commentary is broadcast every day from 1250hrs on www.medcup.org starting on Wednesday, July 21.
Jochen Schuemann (GER), skipper Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER):
“I am sure that Barcelona will be challenging. With this high pressure and heat over Europe then it might be that winds are light, but what we have seen at the events so far is that the standard is higher than ever, that all ten or 11 boats are competitive, and it is easy to have a third in one race and a 10th in the next.”
Ray Davies (NZL), tactician Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL):
“I think that though not many of us have experience of Barcelona in many respects the conditions can be not dissimilar to what we get off Valencia at this time of year, but for sure it will be lighter than we have seen this season. We know that after Marseille we have to be sailing the boat better and have been working hard to get more performance from the boat, especially how we sail in lighter winds and looking at the sail programme, and we feel we have been successful in that.”
Gonzalo Araujo (ESP), helmsman Bribón (ESP):
“At this time of year the race area in Barcelona tends to be light in terms of wind, although it will depend on the intensity of the Garbi. Our boat is good in the light breeze, but whatever the situation we will face this event as we do all regattas: doing the best possible start and giving it our best throughout the race.”
Iñaki Castañer (ESP), tactician Península Petroleum (GBR):
“After breaking the boat when we were racing at a great level in Marseille, we are looking forward to having a good fight in Barcelona