13 Sep 2011
RÁN set the pace in Barcelona
Niklas Zennström’s team on RÁN had their best day yet on the windward-leeward courses of the Audi MedCup Circuit when they scored a second and first place to lead after the first day of racing at the Conde de Godo City of Barcelona Trophy Regatta.
While it was something of a red letter day for the black hulled RÁN with its signature gold keel bulb, so too there was a strong start to the season’s finale for the Circuit leaders Quantum Racing (USA).
The American flagged team worked hard for a well earned third in the first race of the day, which was contested in the light 7-9kts of S’ly sea breeze, and then bolstered that score with a good second to lie third.
But the key for the Quantum Racing which lead the season standings by just 3.5pts when they went afloat is as much that they stepped five points more ahead of their main title rivals Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA) who posted two fifth places, and six points more on Container (GER).
The crew of Bribon (ESP) continued their winning momentum after last month’s triumphs in Cartagena and at the Copa del Rey, when they made the best possible start with victory in the first windward-leeward, holding off RÁN to the finish with Quantum Racing taking third.
Tactician Ross MacDonald (CAN), Olympic bronze medalist here in 1992, and navigator Marcel Van Triest (NED) conspired to place Bribon on the favoured right, inshore side of the first upwind after starting on the right hand end of the start line. They were able to lead at each mark.
In the second heat with the breeze having built slightly at 7-11kts and clocking slightly more to the right, it was the on the first run when RÁN stayed further offshore, to the right downwind, where Zennström’s team were able to prosper, taking the lead at the leeward gate. Jochen Schuemann’s Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE looked to have built themselves a useful position when they rounded the top mark in second, but they had to peel to a replacement kite downwind after suffering a small tear, but it was at the second windward turn that they slid down the fleet after their mainsheet just skidded over the buoy, requiring them to take a penalty turn.
RÁN never ceded their lead, holding off Quantum Racing, to the line. Zennström’s team showed good speed upwind and downwind, the owner-helm relishing the fact there is no pressure on them and a lot of confidence among their team unit after their recent successes offshore.
“ I think that we came here with a different mindset that we did before, after the Mini Maxi championships we were really happy with how we performed and that boosted our confidence. This is the last event and our crew is going to fight to improve and try to have a good time racing. I also think that we were not so stressed coming into this event and that´s important” Zennström confirmed as he came ashore
The regatta standings are tight at the top with RAN leading by a single point over Bribon and QuantumRacing just one point further back. The three top boats today already have small cushion on Audi Azzurra Sailing Team which landed a pair of fifth places today.
Iberdrola Sailing Team served notice that they intend to return to winning ways when they took first in the S40 practice race ahead of Tony Buckingham (GBR) and his Region of Murcia-Cartagena Trophy winning team on Ngoni. The six boat 40 Series resumes points racing Wednesday. A large contingent of potential Soto 40 owners are in Barcelona in force with dozens lined up for test sails during racing this week.
Conde de Godó - City of Barcelona Trohpy
Results after two races
1. RAN (SUE), 2+1=3 points
2. Bribón ( ESP), 1+3=4 points
3. Quantum Racing (USA), 3+2=5 points
4. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+5=10 points
5. Container (GER), 4+7=11 points
6. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 8+4=12 points
7. Gladiator (GBR), 7+6=13 points
8. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (GER/FR), 6+8=14 points
14 Sep 2011
RAN increase their regatta lead. Bribon's late title charge continues.
Showing an impressive level of consistency in light seabreeze conditions, Niklas Zennstrom’s RAN crew and the Spanish flagged team on Bribon today both proved able to exactly repeat Tuesday's excellent opening day results and so step further clear of the pack at the Conde de Godo City of Barcelona Trophy Regatta, the Audi MedCup Circuit's title deciding finale.
For the event leaders RAN that was a win in the first race, followed by a good second place to increase their lead over Bribon by one point today, while for Bribon a third was followed up by their second race win on owner Jose Cusi’s native waters at this iconic team’s swansong regatta.
A seventh in the second race of the day hurt circuit leaders Quantum Racing’s chances at this regatta, but the American flagged team still remain on track for the season’s title with a 12 points margin.
However the remarkable rise of the Spanish flagged Bribon crew means that since the start of the Region of Sardinia in Cagliari in July they have gained 24.5 points on the Circuit leaders.
Bribon have elevated themselves to third overall for the season and this evening stand only half a point behind Italy’s second placed Audi Azzurra Sailing Team.
And as the challenge for the 2011 52 Series title unfolds Bribon’s late season charge means they are now only 12 points off the circuit lead with three days left of the season, and up to five scheduled races including Friday’s high scoring coastal race before the titles are due to be presented at Saturday evening’s gala prize-giving.
In the Soto 40 class Iberdrola Sailing Team were on imperious form over their first two races of the regatta, winning twice by relatively comfortable margins.
RÁN built their first race victory from a beautifully executed start at the committee boat end of the start line, crossing on port to lead out to the right side of the course and earn the best of the advantage on the right. RÁN, Quantum and Synergy then led the charge to the right, and at the windward mark, Zennstrom's crew had the lead.
In the second race it was Bribon which emerged from a tightly compacted pin end start earning the left side of the course. But it was this group from the left side of the start which did best.
While Bribon and RÁN were well set for the race with decent margins at the head of the fleet at the first turn, as the breeze faltered and swung left on the next round Synergy Sailing Team stole themselves a good third place, while Quantum Racing dropped from the fourth place they held at the first mark, losing two boats close to the finish to finish seventh.
In the first race for the 40 Series Iberdrola started well at the starboard end, and also were first to profit on the favoured, right inshore side establishing an early lead which was never challenged. Javier Banderas' Iberostar, newcomers to the fleet sailing Noticias IV took second.
In the 40 Series fleet which raced for the first time at this regatta it was Jose Maria Torcida and crew on Iberdrola which re-confirmed their supremacy in the class when they sailed to comfortable back-to-back wins, showing good speed in the 7-12 knots of sea breeze to build on their substantial Circuit lead.
Iberdrola maintained her pacemaker's position again in the second race whilst the rest of the fleet had a good race. Ngoni had better race third behind www.cruiser-racer.com. Iberostar tool four. All the boats headed left on each leg, but the wind certainly decreased as the race went on. The second Soto 40 race started in 10 knots and finished in 6-7 knots.
Overall Conde de Godó - City of Barcelona Trohpy
TP-52 (after two races)
1. RAN (SWE), 2+1+1+2=6 points
2. Bribón (ESP), 1+3+3+1=8 points
3. Quantum Racing (USA), 3+2+2+7=18 points
4. Container (GER), 4+7+5+4=20 points
5. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+5+4+8=22 points
6. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 8+4+8+3=23 points
7. Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One (GER/FRA), 6+8+6+5=25 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), 7+6+7+6=26 points
Soto-40 (after two races)
1.Iberdrola Team (ESP), 1+1=2 points
2.Cruiser-racer.com (ESP), 4+2=6 points
3.Iberostar (ESP), 2+4=6 points
4.Ngoni (GBR), 5+3=8 points
5.Bigamist (POR), 3+5=8 points
6.Visitmalta (ESP), 6+6=12 points
7.XXII (EUR), DNC+DNC=16 points
15 Sep 2011
An unstoppable momentum? Anything can happen.
The race for the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit 52 Series title stepped ever higher in intensity in light breezes off Barcelona after a stunning recovery from the Spanish crew on Bribon saw them finish in second place in the only race of the day.
Long time Circuit leaders Quantum Racing (USA) slid to a second successive seventh place in the eight boat fleet which is competing for the Conde de Godo City of Barcelona Trophy.
After finishing third in Cagliari, winning in Cartagena and now seizing the regatta today lead in Barcelona with their come-from-behind second place, their incredible momentum might almost even suggest a date with destiny come Saturday’s gala prizegiving as the perfect full stop to the 40 year history of the famous team.
But in fact the title race is still a four cornered fight.
Germany’s Container scored their first race win since July to keep the Markus Wieser skippered crew in the title challenge.
Less than 13 points separate Quantum Racing from fourth placed Audi Azzurra (ITA) with up to four races of the season left. The American flagged team, which won the overall title in 2008, lead Spain's Bribon by just seven points.
While Container started best today and were able to use the added wind pressure to the left side of the course, it was Tony Langley’s Gladiator (GBR)which lead around the windward mark. Container took the lead on the first run as they read the fluky wind pressure better and Gladiator chose to gybe set to the left of the run
Bribon had come off the start line second best after the challenge for the pin end of the line and found themselves with a struggle on their hands.
But their excellent boat speed in the light, 6-8kts breeze, was the key to their climb through the fleet from sixth at the first turn, going on to chase Container across the finish.
Of concern to the Quantum Racing crew will, again, be the way in which they slipped from an early third after a strong opening beat, to cross seventh.
The rise of the 52 Series fleet’s oldest design, Bribon, over the second half of this season has been pronounced.
They stood sixth on the Circuit standings after each of the first two events, fifth after Cagliari, fourth after their win in Cartagena and now they lie second on the season standings after having made up 31.5 points on Quantum Racing over the last 18 races.
Bribon’s trimmer and project manager Ignacio Triay (ESP) came ashore saying that with two days to go the season title race starts again here:
“ It feels like the season starts here, it starts today. Everything could happen in the next two days, everything!” said Triay,
“ I tell you I would never have expected this. We were pretty convinced that the podium of the Audi MedCup would be a fight between Quantum, Audi Azzurra and Container and we were pretty convinced that the fight for fourth place would be between us, RAN and Synergy.”
“ In Cartagena we had the feeling that, hey, maybe we should go for more. Suddenly we found ourselves closing to the podium, so we said maybe we should try. Here has happened three things: today or tomorrow the conditions could change but so far the conditions for Bribon have been not bad. We did a more constant three days and our most direct opponents are doing worse than any other event before, so all together I was looking at the numbers and probably after two days in Cascais it was closer than it is now. It is not going to be for anyone with a weak heart. Anything can happen?
Quantum is still far ahead, we have Azzurra and Container very close to us.”
The 52 Series are scheduled to sail four more windward leeward races, effectively losing their coastal race since only one race could be completed today.
In the 40 Series race it was Iberostar which scored their first win as a team in this fleet, holding off Tony Buckingham’s Cartagena winners Ngoni. The British crew held their nerve and concentration in the final stages of the last run to secure second only just ahead of Iberdrola Team.
Standings, Conde de Godó - City of Barcelona Trophy
TP-52 after five races
1. Bribón (ESP), 1+3+3+1+2=10 points
2. RAN (SUE), 2+1+1+2+5=11 points
3. Container (GER), 4+7+5+4+1=21 points
4. Quantum Racing (USA), 3+2+2+7+7=21 points
5. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 8+4+8+3+4=27 points
6. Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One (GER/FR), 6+8+6+5+3=28 points
7. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+5+4+8+8=30 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), 7+6+7+6+6=32 points
Soto-40 after three races
1. Iberdrola Team (ESP), 1+1+3=5 points
2. Iberostar (ESP), 2+4+1=7 points
3. Ngoni (GBR), 5+3+2=10 points
4. Cruiser-racer.com (ESP), 4+2+4=10 points
5. Bigamist (POR), 3+5+6=12 points
6. Visitmalta (ESP), 6+6+5=17 points
7. XXII (EUR), DNC+DNC+DNC=24 points
16 Sep 2011
Quantum Racing deliver on D-Day. Champagne awaits the Iberdrola Team
With the pressure on them to extinguish the late season charge towards the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit 52 Series title of Spanish favourites Bribon, the Quantum Racing crew stepped up to the plate and delivered what was probably their most accomplished performance of the five months long season.
Having whittled their circuit title deficit on the long time leaders all the way back to to seven points, Bribon (ESP) were victims of a neatly executed game plan from the get-go. Quantum Racing (USA) not only regained the upper hand in the championship title duel but also went on to deliver a morale boosting race win to boot.
And while Quantum Racing’s day was one of their best, Bribon lost places in a tight finish to cross sixth in the first race, then sailed to a fourth. That made it their worst pair of scores since July’s first day of the Region of Sardinia Trophy in Cagliari.
In contrast Quantum Racing, which is skippered by America's Cup winner Ed Baird, RAN (SWE) backed up their bullet with a good second place behind in the subsequent race. That ensures Quantum Racing's target for the final day of the season is a very modest one.
With a worst case score of 16 points on the table – assuming they start both races – Quantum Racing have a cushion of 14 points.
So the title champagne may be iced for the American flagged and supported programme which won the Audi MedCup Circuit in 2008, but so too the real celebratons are on hold in the Soto 40 fleet.
Iberdrola Team know they cannot be beaten for the inaugural 40 Series title after the first of three races today, but the Spanish crew - who have had their boat longest, are dead set on making sure they win the final regatta too. They lead the Barcelona regatta by two points and want to be sure they would have won regattas in all four countries that the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit has visited this season.
Quantum Racing not only secured themselves a grip of their second Audi MedCup title, but their 1-2 today also takes them to third place on the regatta standings for this Conde de Godo City of Barcelona Trophy within four points of leaders RAN and scond placed Bribon.
Niklas Zennstrom’s RAN team bounced back from an eighth in the first race to win the second contest today, so returning to the regatta lead on countback ahead of Bribon.
But the highlight of the day was the text book assault by the American flagged team in delivering their Race 6 win….‘the best we have sailed as a team this season’ Kevin Hall (USA) navigator on Quantum Racing said immediately after finishing.
In 9-11 kts of sea breeze Quantum Racing took the challenge to Bribon on the start line and came away from the gun leading the Spanish crew out to the right of the course. Quantum Racing were then able to carry Bribon out past the starboard tack layline in a crucial move
Audi ALL4ONE lead around the windward mark ahead of Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, but the Italian crew were judged to have fouled Synergy on the approach to the windward mark and had to take a penalty turn, costing them. But the end of the final run was painful for Bribon, losing both Synergy and Audi ALL4ONE on the finish line.
In the second race RAN started close to the pin end of the start line and were able to lift away from their rivals earning the extra pressure on that side of that left side of the course.
With the Garbi sea breeze today just over 10 knots, just above the crossover between Bribon’s favoured light airs and into Quantum Racing’s comfort zone, Quantum Racing were able to sail more of their own race, chasing RAN across the finish.
The Soto 40’s had three races. Iberdrola took second in the first race behind Iberostar as the green team clinched the season championship. In the second race the champions elect returned to the front of the fleet with a win. But in the third race – which was won conclusively by Ngoni – Iberdrola were on the wrong side of the first beat but recovered to fifth which means they go into the final day of this regatta with a two points lead over Javier Banderas’ Iberostar crew which includes Spain’s double Olympic gold medallist Luis Doreste as tactician.
Trofeo Conde de Godó City of Barcelona Trophy.
Results after seven races
1. RAN (SUE), 2+1+1+2+5+8+1=20 points
2. Bribón (ESP), 1+3+3+1+2+4+6=20 points
3. Quantum Racing (USA), 3+2+2+7+7+1+2=24 points
4. Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One (GER/FR), 6+8+6+5+3+2+3=33 points
5. Container (GER), 4+7+5+4+1+6+7=34 points
6. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 8+4+8+3+4+3+4=34 points
7. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+5+4+8+8+5+5=40 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), 7+6+7+6+6+7+8=47 points
Results after six races
1. Iberdrola Team (ESP), 1+1+3+2+1+5=13 puntos
2. Iberostar (ESP), 2+4+1+1+3+4=15 puntos
3. Ngoni (GBR), 5+3+2+3+4+1=18 puntos
4. www.cruiser-racer.com (ESP), 4+2+4+5+6+2=23 puntos
5. Bigamist (POR), 3+5+6+4+2+3=23 puntos
6. www.visitmalta.com (ESP), 6+6+5+6+5+6=34 puntos
7. XXII (EUR), 8 (DNC) +8 (DNC)+8 (DNC)+8 (DNC)+8 (DNC)+8 (DNC)=48puntos
17 Sep 2011
The final finish line for Bribón
With their participation in the Conde de Godó Barcelona Trophy, the long and celebrated history of Bribon comes to an end. José Cusí´s boat, a pioneer and driving force of the MedCup Circuit has not missed a regatta since 2005 when the MedFleet convened in Punta Ala, Italy for the inaugural regatta.
The final finish line for BribónWith their participation in the Conde de Godó Barcelona Trophy, the long and celebrated history of Bribon comes to an end. José Cusí´s boat, a pioneer and driving force of the MedCup Circuit has not missed a regatta since 2005 when the MedFleet convened in Punta Ala, Italy for the inaugural regatta.
But Bribón is more than a boat.
It has become a huge piece of global sailing history, a boat where some of the best sailors in Spain have built successful careers going on to make their names known all over the five continents.
The 38 year long wake left behind has been mainly propogated by two key names: Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, and José Cusí.
“It was the spring of 2004 when Ignacio Triay and Nacho Postigo explained their project to us, and we clearly saw that it was the way to follow”, explains Cusí, Bribón´s owner. “We were a bit disappointed after so much racing on handicap, we were not satisfied with it, so we decided to take a step forward and talk to European owners in order to create the class and established the Circuit´s basis”.
Looking back in time, Cusí feels that it was the right decision. “We have to adjust to modern times, understand the problems faced by owners and sponsors problems, but it was only a matter of time before things got better. Back in 2006, when the fleet had over 20 boats, we had an exceptional year. Those are a lot of boats when you stop and realize that we are talking about 52 footers. I think that it´s the perfect boat and the best scenario to compete in Europe”.
Since that first regatta in Punta Ala (Italy), in May 2005, the MedCup has evolved. TP52’s have not stopped developing in terms of speeds and materials used, the result of a better optimization under the rule and incremental advances by designers. Curiously enough, Spain´s most notable team has often not been the newest or most optimized boat. “In 2005 we started with a Farr design which was a design sister of the Caixa Galicia and Aifos boats. Two years later we started with a brand new Vrolijk built in Valencia. Maybe we extended its lifespan a bit, we were a bit short with its performance, and this season we are competing with the old Matador, a 2009 Vrolijk”.
Both the owner and Triay, his right hand man, agree about the toughest moments the team have been through the last seven years: “Without a doubt, the two collisions that we suffered because they caused some serious damages. We felt impotent and disappointed, because the boat is part of you. It happened in Ibiza in 2006 and in Cagliari in 2010, both times at the last event of the season which also led to the boats to be replaced with a newer model", explains Triay, Bribon's project manager and trimmer .
38 years is a long time and it has written a long and distinguished roster of crew members. Four of the actual members have been present in every single Audi MedCup Circuit with Bribón: “Alberto Viejo, Marcel Van Triest and myself, have been here since 2005, but we also have to point out names like Ross MacDonald, who only missed last year´s event due to work related issues”, remembers Triay. The list of skippers is not short. "Buchan, from the United States, was our first helmsman, he was with us in order to fulfil the Corinthian class requirements, and then Augie Díaz in 2005´s last event", he adds. After that came Bouwe Bekking, José María Torcida, Dean Barker, Thierry Peponnet, and Galician Gonzalo Araujo for the last two seasons, which might symbolized the progressive advance towards a more Spanish oriented crew. “I´m really glad about the fact that 13 or 15 of our crew members are Spanish”, explains Cusí.
When questioned about the team´s retirement, the most renowned Spanish owner does not look for any excuses, admitting that age takes its toll, and that both he and King Juan Carlos aggregate too many years between them now to remain in these demanding boats. The fact that Cusí is retiring in Barcelona is not a coincidence. “Everything started 38 years ago and we wanted to finish here”, he confesses. “I´m confident about having a great end, but finishing first is a really hard thing to do. I feel bad, because our Skipper can´t be here for Bribón´s last regatta, but he follows us every day , so he is present in a way”, he adds.
Whatever the final result is, Bribón´s farewell will be emotional and full of gratitude for everything that the project has meant for the world of sailing, both in Spain and in Europe.
“Oh, and by the way, let´s be clear on this: I´m not retiring, I will keep sailing, although not in regattas”, concludes Cusí.