23 Jul 2011
On the Cusp in Caglari: Audi ALL4ONE win Cagliari Coastal and step clear into the final day.
With a good victory in today’s 25 miles high scoring windy coastal race Jochen Schuemann and Seb Col took a big step towards their first regatta victory of the season.
Their Audi Sailing Team Powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER) leads the Region of Sardinia Trophy by 8.5 points over second placed Quantum Racing which finished second.
And with the strong Mistral NW’ly breeze which strafed the Gulf of Angels race track today set to continue into Sunday, the final day of the regatta, Schuemann says they now have no fears about what tomorrow might bring.
The four times Olympic medallist confirmed again that not only is he happy with the speed they have now found on their new boat, but today he felt they have an edge – especially upwind and on tight reaches – which helped them capitalise on an excellent opening leg.
While Audi ALL4ONE’s early season ‘slows’ appear to be behind them, it was the best day yet this season for their Italian sister-ship Audi Azzurra Sailing Team. The slow and problematic blues for the Azzurra team were displaced today by a much more up tempo performance in the strong 23-28kts winds.
Vasco Vascotto and Francesco Bruni along with their team which sail for Sardinia’s Yacht Club Costa Smerelda composed the fleet’s best scoreline today after taking second in an opening windward-leeward contest, Race 6 of the regatta and a good third place in the muscular coastal challenge which went down a turning mark off Poetto.
The tight, demanding schedule today – regaining yesterday's windward-leeward race which was lost to light breeze – saw some tired bodies coming ashore in Cagliari in the beautiful late afternoon sunshine, whilst the spectacular race finishes in the harbour, only 200 metres off the Audi MedCup Circuit’s race dock in the heart of the historic city waterfront, were widely applauded
The breeze for the first windward-leeward was around 12-16kts as Markus Wieser and the crew of Container stretched to a comfortable win in the strengthening breeze.
The German flagged crew have not been able to impose that same level of consistency which was their trademark in Cascais and Marseille. They may have won twice here now, but so too they also have been seventh twice and sixth once.
Audi Azzurra Sailing Team hooked into a strong right hand shift, close to the Cagliari shore on the second beat of the race and were able to round the final windward turn in second which they held to the finish.
The breeze built for the coastal race. Russia’s Synergy Sailing Team made the best start and were able to cross the fleet to get left but lost out to the hard gunning Audi ALL4ONE who were slicker and faster at the kite hoist, accelerating better away into the very fast first downwind. That first jump was enough of a margin for the Franco-German to capitalise on, holding station ahead of Quantum Racing around the long course. It proved to be fast and furious race, especially close and interesting to the end and a fantastic advertisement for how closely matched this group of 52 Series boats now are, markedly better in these conditions under the evolution to the 2011 TP52 rule.
In the regatta standings while Audi ALL4ONE have their useful lead, it remains tight for second, third and fourth. Bribon, after their 4,3 today lie third overall.
The Soto 40’s had fantastic racing, perhaps even more physically taxing than that of their bigger cousins. Iberdrola Sailing Team posted another pair of victories, winning ahead of Inaki Castaner and crew on Noticia IV on the first race.
In the big breeze the second heat of the day, which also finished inside the Cagliari port, proved to be a high octane mix of attrition and very fast downwind sailing. Tony Buckingham’s Ngoni lead all the way from the first turn to within the final 450 metres of the leeward gate when a hole the size of a tennis ball which they had suffered at the windward mark hoist, finally spread and their kite exploded allowing Iberdrola through.
Successive big broaches, first by the local crew on XXII-Sardgena and then by Noticia IV, saw theme left to third and fourth respectively.
So Iberdrola, skippered and steered by Jose Maria ‘Pichu’ Torcida, stand on the threshold of their third successive regatta win in a row, leading into Sunday by six points.
Region of Sardinia Trophy
Results after seven races:
1. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (GER/FR), 4+1+3+3+1+5+1,5=18,5 points
2. Quantum Racing (USA), 6+6+2+1+3+6+3=27 points
3. Bribón (ESP), 7+4+5+2+2+4+6=30 points
4. Container (GER), 1+2+7+4+7+1+9=31 points
5. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+3+6+7+5+2+4,5=32,5 points
6. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 3+7+1+5+4+7+7,5=34,5 points
7. RÁN (SUE), 2+5+4+6+6+3+10,5=36,5 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), 9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+13,5= 67,5puntos
Results after five races:
1. Iberdrola Team (ESP), 1+1+2+1+1=6 points
2. Noticia IV (ESP), 2+2+3+2+3=12 points
3. XXII Sardegna (IT), 4+4+1+3+4= 16 points
4. Ngoni (GBR), 3+3+4+4+2=16 points
5. Patagonia (ARG), 6(DNC)+6(DNC)+6(DNC)+6(DNC)+6(DNC)=30 points
24 Jul 2011
Red Hot and Blue. Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE lead Audi 1-2 and win Region of Sardinia Trophy
Finishing second at two Trophy Regattas last year, in Cascais and on these same waters off the Sardinian capital, Jochen Schuemann and Sebastien Col and the international crew of Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE won their first ever Audi MedCup Circuit regatta today Sunday with a comfortable nine points margin over the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team who also completed their best overall finish of this 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit season so far.
If Red and Blue were the dominant primary colours in the 52 Series, there was simply no stopping the green Iberdrola Sailing Team in the 40 Series.
Jose Maria Torcida (ESP) and his Spanish crew reigned supreme with five race wins from seven starts at the Soto 40’s first regatta in Italy. In truth Iberdrola Sailing Team were ahead at the finish more times than not, but they were made to fight by all three other teams at different times. Iberdrola Sailing Team win their third successive regatta title.
The Franco-German alliance win the 52 Series’ Region of Sardinia Trophy and put behind them a catalogue of weak early season finishes by composing a scoreline which included a telling victory in Saturday’s high points value 25 miles coastal race and two race wins from this maximum nine race complement which was sailed on the Gulf of Cagliari.
Just as they got the best yet from their very powerful Vrolijk design which the crew have struggled to find the best gears for across the wind ranges, so also did Vasco Vascotto (ITA), Francesco Bruni (ITA) and the team which sail for Sardinia’s Yacht Club Costa Smerelda.
The Audi backed 1-2 here, by the twins which were built on different sides of the world, Audi ALL4ONE in Australia and Audi Azzura in Valencia, highlighted not just a turnround of fortunes for the two teams which have struggled for consistency, but how open the Audi MedCup Circuit is this season.
Three different crews have now won successive 52 Series Trophy Regattas but Cascais Trophy winners Quantum Racing (USA) finished fifth overall here, one place behind the Marseille Trophy winners Container (GER), while José Cusí’s Bribón (ESP) team secured their first podium finish of the season by taking third.
Heading for next month’s Region of Murcia Trophy, Quantum Racing do leave Cagliari, Sardinia with their overall 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit lead intact at seven points ahead of Udo Schuetz’s Container who were 11 points behind after Marseille, but the final day of this regatta was a perplexing one for the current world champions.
They were only coming off the start line of the first race in the breezy Mistral condition when their starboard running backstay failed and they were forced to forfeit the race, their first retiral from a race due to gear failure in the four seasons that team has been together.
Repaired for the second contest, Ed Baird and crew lead in the 21-25kts breeze but were wrong footed on the final beat, on the wrong side of a wind shift, but then compounded their woes by having to take a pair of penalty turns for a mark rounding infringement to finish seventh across the line.
If their finish to the regatta was not what was required of the Circuit leaders, on the contrary the strength of the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team’s second half of the event was to behold, returning a 2,3,2 and winning in the final race today. They went from last to second in just two days.
The Mistral winds were towards the top of the range for racing again at times today. Container unfolded a stunning repeat of the strategy which won them the first race of the regatta, ripping apart Audi Azzurra’s 80 metres lead when they scythed down the left of the final run in much more wind pressure to eclipse the home team on the finish line.
But in the second race Audi Azzurra Sailing Team made no errors and combined solid strategies, good boat handling and ample speed to win conclusively ahead of their twin rivals on Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE.
The Region of Murcia Trophy will see the battles in both Series resume August 23rd.
Eurosport will broadcast the following Audi MedCup Circuit highlight programs:
3/8/2011, Sailing MedCup Cagliari.
14/9/2011, Sailing MedCup Cartagena.
28/9/2011, Sailing MedCup Barcelona.
Region of Sardinia Trophy
Final results after nine races:
1. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (GER/FR), 4+1+3+3+1+5+1,5+6+2=26,5 points
2. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+3+6+7+5+2+4,5+2+1=35,5 points
3. Bribón (ESP), 7+4+5+2+2+4+6+3+4=37 points
4. Container (GER), 1+2+7+4+7+1+9+1+6=38 points
5. Quantum Racing (USA), 6+6+2+1+3+6+3+8 (DNF)+7=42 points
6. RÁN (SUE), 2+5+4+6+6+3+10,5+4+3=43,5 points
7. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 3+7+1+5+4+7+7,5+5+5=44,5 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), 9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+13,5+9(D NC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC) = 85,5points
Final results after 7 races:
1. Iberdrola Team (ESP), 1+1+2+1+1+1+2=9 points
2. Noticia IV (ESP), 2+2+3+2+3+2+1=15 points
3. Ngoni (GBR), 3+3+4+4+2+3+3=22 points
4. XXII Sardegna (IT), 4+4+1+3+4+4+4= 24 points
5. Patagonia (ARG), 6(DNC)+6(DNC)+6(DNC)+6(DNC)+6(DNC)+6(DNC)+6(DNC)=4 2 points
2011 Audi MedCup Circuit
Standings after 3 events
1. Quantum Racing (USA), 19 + 30 + 42= 91 points
2. Container (GER), 31,5 + 28,5+38= 98 points
3. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 32,5 + 37+35,5= 105 points
4. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 37 + 39,5+44,5= 121 points
5. Bribón (ESP), 47,5 + 38+37= 122,5 points
5. Ràn (SUE), 40,5+41,5+43,5= 125,5 points
7. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (GER/FR) 58 + 43,5+26,5 =128 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), 85,5 + 47+85,5= 218 points
Owner Driver Trophy
Niklas Zenström (SWE), RÁN (SWE)
Classification after 3 events
1. Iberdrola Team (ESP) 13 + 14+9= 36 points
2. Noticia IV (ESP) 25 + 22+15= 62 points
3. XXII (ESP) 23 + 26+24= 73 points
4. Ngoni (GBR) 33 + 26+22= 81 points
2. Patagonia by Negra (ARG) 28 + 17+42= 87 points
06 Sep 2011
To The Wire in Barcelona
Barcelona, the Olympic city of 1992, looks set to witness the closest finish to the Audi MedCup Circuit for four years when the TP52’s of the 52 Series shoot out for the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit title.
Quantum Racing, skippered by America’s Cup winner Ed Baird (USA), need a solid final regatta if they are to hold off the advances of Italy’s Audi Azzurra Sailing Team and lift the title.
“We are really looking forwards to Barcelona. We have a job to do there and are confident we can do it. When we look back to Cartagena our feeling is very much not to panic, if there is nothing particularly broken then we don’t have to worry about trying to fix things, but just to focus on trying to the do the things that we know we do well better.
We have an exceptional team who are used to closing out major titles, like the America’s Cup and World Championships and so I don’t think pressure or confidence will come into it.” Opens Ed Reynolds (USA), Quantum Racing’s project manager, “I think that we have to make sure we are fully optimised for the conditions expected, which might be something like 12-16kts sea breezes with the choppy seas we saw last year. Those conditions I certainly feel are not a weakness for us.”
Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, skippered by Gullermo Parada (ARG) with Vasco Vascotto (ITA) as strategist and Francesco Bruni (ITA) as tactician have proven the most consistent 52 Series team over the second half of this season. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team have just finished second overall at the Region of Murcia-Cartagena Trophy in August after July’s Region of Sardinia Trophy off Cagliari where they also finished runners up. They are the only team to have been on the podium at each and every regatta this year.
The Audi Azzurra Sailing Team crew which last year as Matador finished third overall, only five points shy of Quantum Racing who were second in 2010, show every sign of finishing their season on a high. They could press Quantum Racing right to the wire heading into 2011’s Barcelona finale only 3.5 points behind long time Circuit leaders Quantum Racing.
“We will arrive in Barcelona very highly motivated, with a high morale with great support. We know that the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Audi and Roemmers Family members will all be there to support us, and that's why we want to finish the season in the best possible way. We expect to have a good week.” Offers Guillermo Parada (ARG), Audi Azzurra Sailing Team’s skipper.
Since winning the Cascais Trophy in Portugal the American team Quantum Racing have topped the overall standings after each of the four regattas so far this season but their lead was effectively halved in Murcia last month.
The final regatta of the season, the Conde de Godó - Barcelona Trophy starts in just one week’s time when the battle for the title might even become a three cornered one as the German flagged team on Udo Schuetze’s Container are still only 11.5 points behind the 52 Series Circuit leaders.
“ The title victory in the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit is far from over. A good series could easily get back 10 or 15 points of Quantum Racing’s lead.” Says Markus Wieser (GER) skipper-helm of Container, “ It's all in their hands for sure, but they also didn't sail so well in the past. We think the hardest competitor to beat will be Bribon again, because they are the fastest boat in light air. Even they might be able to grab the overall trophy. The beat us by 18 points in Cartagena and Quantum Racing by 13.5. So, why not do so again?"
Indeed Bribon, racing in the home water of owner Jose Cusi, is far from out of the title race, 18 points off the Circuit lead in fourth place. Recent winners of the Region of Murcia-Cartagena Trophy, they are considered the form team in light to moderate airs.
The schedule for the title shoot out regatta differs slightly from the four preceding events, with the official Practice Race on Monday September 12th and points racing for the 52 Series starting on Tuesday 11th.
As it stands it is certainly not easy to predict which team will be crowned 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit champions.
Historically Barcelona’s Garbi sea breeze is slightly less reliable in September but will usually make an appearance, blowing anywhere between 11 and 16-17kts from around 200 to 210 degrees. The gradient breeze is sometime the brisk Easterly Levante which has marked the weather in the last few days in the Catalonian capital.
Different TP52s have won in each regatta this season and it would not be a surprise to find a fifth boat winning the Conde de Godó - Barcelona Trophy. The fleet is due to be at full strength with the return of Tony Langley’s Gladiator.
In the 40 Series it is not as open. Spain’s Iberdrola Sailing Team start in Barcelona with a lead of 28 points, but they will be racing in a class of six Soto 40’s following the arrival of Toni Guiu and Àlex Laplaza's new boat www.cruiser-racer.com, which will make its debut on the team’s home waters.
Britain’s Ngoni became the only team other than the Iberdrola Sailing Team to win a regatta this season when they won in Murcia. Tony Buckingham’s crew have designs on the second place which is presently held by Noticia IV.
“I really think that after our performance in Murcia that it is do-able. Our main thing will be to try and put boats between us and Noticias in as many races as we can, and from that point of view a six boat fleet can only be better for us. Certainly in Cagaliari I felt like Noticias was a little quicker in the big breeze at times, but we were certainly fast in Cartagena and go to Barcelona with a lot of confidence. We feel like we have improved at each regatta so look forward to continuing with that.”
Said Kevin Sproul (GBR), Ngoni’s skipper who will hand the helm back to owner Buckingham for Barcelona.
Portugal's Bigamist crew return to race in Barcelona and will be sailing onboard XXII, with Star Olympic sailor Afonso Domingos as skipper-helm along with programme owner Pedro Mendonça.
Conde de Godó - Barcelona Trophy: Monday 12th - Saturday 17th September
12 Sep 2011
Back to Zero
It is practice race day for the 52 Series, the prelude to Tuesday’s first race day at the Conde de Godo Barcelona Trophy Regatta, the finale to this year’s Audi MedCup Circuit.
The Garbi sea breeze is expected to prevail at least over the first few days of this key regatta, dropping in intensity as the event progresses.
With a N’ly Mistral blowing in the Gulf of Lyons to the east a large circulation is set up in this part of the western Med which enhances this southerly sea breeze.
It has been a slightly overcast morning though the prospects for breeze are good, expecting up to 18 or 19kts with choppy, steep seas.
The 52 Series fleet will do their two practice starts before rolling into the official practice race.
For Bribon this will be an emotional week on their home city, but project manager Ignasi Triay says the crew are not speaking about this being their swansong:
“This 2011´s last event and the truth is that we´ve improved every day until now. We are in Barcelona, our hometown, and a lot of noise has been made about the fact that this is Bribón´s last event. It seems that it´s something that´s affecting a lot of people who are around the event, but it doesn´t affect our crew. We hear a lot about it but we don´t look at it the way this that people does. We are focused in this event because we are in a good place in the general standings, with good possibilities to do something big, even reaching the podium. We are thinking about doing a good job here these days, we´ll have enough time to think about this being our last event on Saturday evening. We have to stick to our plan, to be consistent and not make too many mistakes.”
Kevin Hall (USA), Navigator, Quantum Racing (USA):
We are looking forward to competing here in Barcelona this week, there are great teams here and the competition has come down to the last event and that´s pretty exciting for all of us, our strategy is to sail well, and you could argue that if we sail this regatta to win it with good solid finishes that should do it for the season as well, but there are a couple other teams who are probably thinking the same thing, so it will be exciting. We don´t talk about points, it´s such a small advantage that we don´t even count on them to help us right now”.