17 Jun 2011
Three of the best for the 52 Series, Iberdrola's consistency prevails in the 40 Series.
Across three races of increasing intensity on a race course which proved to be littered with traps – little ones and big ones – world champions Quantum Racing remained steadily consistent, second best scoring team of the day, to extend their overall lead in the Marseille Trophy regatta to three points.
In the 52 Series racing, contested in a puffy SE’ly breeze of 9-19kts, three different teams won.
Tony Langley’s British team on Gladiator followed up their victory the previous day with their second winning gun in a row, Bribón added their first win of the regatta and then, when the breeze had puffed up to 15-19kts for the day’s finale, Jochen Schuemann and Seb Col conspired to force the monkey off their backs when Audi Sailing Team powered by All4ONE’s unleashed first win of the season.
Their text book gun-to-gun triumph provided the Franco-German team with a huge measure of relief after a lacklustre start to their programme.
The 40 Series fleet raced two windward-leeward races which saw Iberdrola win the first and then post a second to extend their overall Marseille Trophy regatta margin to five points.
With the wind blowing down off Mont Rosa, sometimes sweeping around either side of its rugged limestone flanks, the race course area was again peppered with pressure differences – sometimes small periods of lighter airs, other times big differences between the left and right extremes of the course.
It was a day when the processing power of each afterguard’s brains was constantly loaded and when a keen eye on the big picture, scanning the horizon for developing gusts which might be several minutes away, was essential.
The key to the course?
“Pressure. You have to stay in the pressure.” says Chris Main (NZL), tactician of Gladiator, which was having a decent day after winning the first race of the day.
But in the third heat Tony Langley’s British team tangled with RÁN in a port-starboard mix up in which the Swedish flagged boat ended up effectively tacked from starboard in front of Gladiator. In the contact Gladiator’s bowsprit bobstay struck RAN’s transom cutting the deck and transom material. RAN was disqualified by the jury for their infringement while Gladiator were later granted redress, average points for Race 7.
In the day’s first heat Gladiator repeated their Race 6 triumph repeating a facsimile strategy: gaining extra pressure offshore and to the right up the first upwind leg, to build a big margin, while Container worked conservatively and diligently, gaining on the first downwind on that same offshore flank as worked for Gladiator upwind, to take a steady second in 9-12kts of breeze
In the second race it was the other side, the left, which worked for Bribon when they stayed composed to the finish and hold off RAN when the wind pressure was much more up and down.
The cloud gathered late afternoon and under darker skies the breeze peaked for the day during a more rapid contest. With the wind further east, to the left looking upwind, the inshore side of the course closer to the city, had significantly more pressure. Jochen Schuemann, Seb Col and navigator Philippe Mourniac unleashed a perfect pin end start which allowed them to accelerate smartly out to that preferred left. When they could they crossed the fleet again to protect this favoured side and were able to round the top turn comfortably ahead. Once again the dividend of an early lead was soon magnified as the Franco-German crew could sail their own race, leading Container across the finish.
For Quantum Racing the three races aggregated 10 points which means the holders of the Marseille Trophy go into Saturday’s coastal race – which carries a 1.5 points bounty – with a lead of three points, competing down a classic course on which they have won the last two years.
In the first race for the 40 Series the finish was a close three way battle between Iberdrola, Patagonia by Negra and XXII-Marseille. The South American team came from the offshore side of the course to cross just ahead of longtime race leaders Iberdrola, but the Spanish crew came back with a faster line in the sprint to the finish, just pipping Patagonia by Negra, while the French team on XXII-Marseille took third.
Their second race was a more even affair which saw Noticia lead at the top turn and hold on to record their first win of the regatta.
Ed Reynolds (USA) project manager Quantum Racing (USA): “Today was a minefield out there, you have to give big props to Ado Stead, he avoided all the booby traps. Today with 10 points is really huge for us, because it could so easily have been a big points day . I think the guys have confidence now that we are pretty quick and don’t have to take a big risk. And hanging in with the pack I know there are times when he was disappointed. He thought there was a big gain and let go but it made sense to do what he did. I thought he sailed brilliant. It is amazing sailing, really competitive sailing.”
Jochen Schumann (GER), Skipper, Audi Sailing Team Powered by ALL4ONE (FRA-GER):
“It feels good to win our first race after some last places because we broke a bad record that we´ve held so far. Yesterday we had a taste of it leading most of the race and messed it up and finished third only. It´s great for the boat and for the team to bring home this first win, now we need to get one more. Sailing is pretty much the same every day, sometimes you do small things better and you win, some other times you make mistakes and you end up third after leading for three quarters of the race, like it happened yesterday. Today we had a great start and managed to keep the lead the whole time”.
Marc Lagesse (SOU), Navigator, Container (GER):
“So far this has been a tricky and somewhat tricky venue for us, but today we seemed to minimize the mistakes and we ended up having a very good day. It´s been hard because sometimes we look like winners and some other times we look like losers, we are not that happy with all our results. We might be one of the most consistent teams, but when do we want a race? It´ll come, it´s been a tough day where anyone can win at any moment, with big winners and big losers”.
Tim Powell (GBR), Mainsail Trimmer, project manager RÀN (SWE-GBR):
“We were doing quite well first, had a good two first races, but then in the third one we had an unfortunate accident with Gladiator at the final beat, a port and starboard instant, we tacked and they hit us from behind and got our boat damaged, so we´ll see if we can fix it overnight”
Chris Main (NZL), Tactician, Gladiator (GBR):
“There wasn´t really much to decide, RÀN were coming in at starboard, we were in for a dip and got behind them. Then they tacked, I think that they misjudged the position a little and we were left in a position where we couldn´t go below them. I tried to come above them but I couldn´t avoid them, so we had a collision. We are pleased to be in the race, if there are other boats around us we are happy. After these last days, the owner is very happy. I said to the owner, ‘look, expect to get last in every race and anything we do better than that would be a bonus. Anything we do better than that would be a bonus. We don´t have any new sails, he got a couple of his mates onboard and the crew´s coming good. Obviously, they haven´t had the practice of another MedCup regatta. The key is to stay in the pressure. If tomorrow´s coastal race is a speed race it won´t be good news for us“.
José María Torcida (ESP), skipper, Iberdrola Team (ESP):
“It´s been another complicated day, really shifty. The truth is that we are satisfied with the job done by the crew and the final result. It could´ve gone a lot worse, so we are actually very happy. Conditions have been difficult, windier than yesterday. We saved the day and we are still the leaders and that means that we can´t stop working hard, because we could score a fourth or a fifth. We need to stay focused and sail well. The forecast for tomorrow says that it will be windy, let´s see if we can have some fun. We know that the boat sails well with a lot of wind, but we still don´t have enough feedback in light conditions.”
Iñaki Castañer (ESP), skipper, Noticia IV (ESP):
“We had a bad start yesterday and it went better today. Nailing a third and a first, aside from the fact that we were always in the fight for the first position, has to make us happy. The crew has done great in these tough conditions, especially the tactician. We´ve had unstable weather, with shifty winds. The regatta field is very open and complicated, so you have to be really careful with tactics. We are happy with the boat´s speed and we hope to climb up in the general standings starting today”.
Results after 7 races
1. Quantum Racing (USA), 4+1+1+8+3+4+3= 24 points
2. Container (GER), 7+3+4+6+2+3+2= 27 points
3. Bribón (ESP), 3+2+6+5+8+1+4= 29 points
4. Ràn (SUE), 5+5+2+4+4+2+9 (DSQ)= 31 points
5. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 2+4+7+2+6+6+5= 32 points
6. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 1+7+3+7+5+5+6= 34 points
7. Gladiator (GBR), 8+8+5+1+1+7+5 (RDG)=35 points
8. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (EUR), 6+6+8+3+7+8+1= 39 points
Results after 4 races
1. Iberdrola Team 3+1+1+2=7
2. XXII-Marseille 1+3+5+3=12
3. Patagonia by Negra 4+2+2+4=12
4. Noticia IV 5+4+3+1= 13
5. Ngoni 2+5+4+5=16
19 Jun 2011
Maestros of Marseille, Container and Iberdrola triumph
The Mistral won the day but Germany’s Container won the regatta. The infamous strong NW’ly wind, kicking up big, awkward seas on the course area and at the entrance to Marseille harbour, meant the one final showdown race scheduled could not be run today leaving Udo Schuetz’s Container team victorious in the 52 Series Marseille Trophy, and Spain’s Ibedrola Team winning the 40 Series Marseille Trophy.
Container (GER), debutants on the Audi MedCup Circuit, follow up there second place in Cascais last month, which was gained only days after launching their boat for the first time on the Portuguese capital’s racing waters.
The Markus Wieser (GER) skippered crew become the first German flagged team ever to win a regatta on the Audi MedCup Circuit, a victory for renowned owner Schuetz, formerly successful sportscar racer who won the 1993 Admiral’s Cup with a three boat German team. The veteran owner arrived to be on board for the finale today, but was thwarted by the brisk Mistral.
Ironically, so late was the inception of the Container TP52 programme that this was originally supposed to be their first regatta in the class. But, with a very experienced crew – a hard core evolving their two year Container STP65 programme – and assured tactics they proved furiously consistent in Portugal.
In France over eight races they beat the world champions and Cascais Trophy winners Quantum Racing (USA) five times on the hop. Yesterday their first ever win in the class was a vital victory over the 35 miles, high points value coastal race, to emerge this afternoon just 1.5pts clear of the America’s Cup winning skipper-helm Ed Baird and crew of Quantum Racing who took second.
If the Container team were visibly pleased with their regatta win, so too Quantum Racing were not overly disappointed to emerge from a very testing, tactical regatta during which the breezes proved extremely difficult to read. If the Cascais menu was strictly upscale ‘formule’, Marseille’s wind strengths delivered the full à la carte menu from 6kts to 26kts often with shifts of 15-30 degrees, big variations in pressure, and different breezes on either flank of the windward-leeward tracks.
All five of the Soto 40 crews would have loved a Mistral powered decider today, not least the sharp shooting South American guns on Patagonia by Negra, skippered by Uruguayan Nicolas Gonzalez, whose two wins from yesterday’s three races had got them to within three points of Jose Maria ‘Pichu’ Torcida’s Iberdrola.
But the strong winds stymied that too and Iberdrola Team, who won the Marseille Trophy here last year, also extend their lead in the Audi MedCup Circuit 40 Series from 10 points after Cascais to be 18 points ahead of Patagonia.
Across the eight races off Marseille, six different TP52’s won individual races including two for British owner Tony Langley and his Gladiator crew on their Audi MedCup Circuit debut, matching Quantum Racing’s tally of two wins. And both Audi Sailing Team powered by All4ONE (FRA/GER) and Container won their first races of the season.
Markus Wieser (GER) skipper-helm Container (GER):
“When we started sailing in Cascais we said a top three, podium result would be great for us and we got second and we come here to Marseille we also thought top three would be great, and so winning is a great surprise for us. We are new into the class, I sailed the boat for the first time in Cascais, but it all comes down to the great team and the owner. He gave me the chance to sail with the guys I wanted to sail with. We have a great tactician, we have Hartwell Jordan who is running the boat, the sail programme so we are set up very well. And so it really comes down to the team. We all won together, and it is great victory for us and for Germany. We have a nice combination. I have known Hamish for many, many years we sailed together on the match-race circuit and with Hartwell the mainsail trimmer we sailed together for many years, so it is a nice combination. I picked the guys to fit nicely together and we have fun sailing together. If you have fun you can sail very well together.
On the long distance race yesterday we had a fight coming from behind. And we won the race because we were just fighting all the time and it is just nice sailing with these guys.
After the second day we were in sixth position but the gap between us was just six points and so we always knew that if we can have a good day we would be back in the game. Consistency is so very important, even with eight boats you have to fight for every place and never give up. So our fighting mentality helps us come back.
Our team is working very well in the light stuff and the strong breeze so Cagliari can be good. I think that Quantum, us and Audi Azzurra Sailing Team have a slight advantage.
There was not much between us an Quantum. We did beat Quantum five races in a row and so we played the shifts a little better. But if you are on the up you feel strong, and if you are not doing so well it is hard to fight back, if one team is on a high it is really hard to beat them. We have been on a high on the last three days and so it was difficult for Quantum to catch us. Out boat speed became better and better. We are learning every day and we are still catching up, I think it is very level between us, Quantum and Azzurra.”
José María Torcida (ESP), skipper, Iberdrola Team (ESP):
"We are quite pleased with the way we´ve sailed here in Marseille, with tough conditions. We are very happy with the boat and the crew, becasue we are people who enjoys been in the water, something that can be an importante factor in long championships such as the Audi MedCup Circuit. About Cagliari, not a lot will change, we´ll have a small change at the mast. There´s no doubt that we will try to keep working the way that we´ve been in order to reach our final goal".
Ed Baird (USA), Skipper, Quantum Racing (USA):
“We are disappointed because we would´ve liked to have a chance to go out there today and get some points back, but the weather is the weather. Container sailed really well this week, especially in the last three or four races, the deserved to win. Basically, we stretched our lead from a lot of the teams and only lost to them. We are happy so far. Now we have to wait for the next opportunity to race everybody in Italy”.
Ed Reynolds (USA) project manager Quantum Racing (USA):
“The important thing is that we only lost 1.5 points in the overall since Cascais, that is all. This was like last year where the Kiwis dominated in Cascais and came here and got fourth. This was a really tough, tough regatta and Container did a really good job to end up where they did, and I am really proud of our guys too, it was amazingly tough. We felt we survived and it could easily, easily have been ten points worse off. Debrief? We think that marginal surfing conditions are maybe not really a strong point of the boat, or whether we need more technique. We had never sailed in these conditions so there was a lot of learning going on. We are going to make some more some changes.
I think our boat is very strong upwind. There are some areas downwind, could be the sail choice, could be the technique, that is one of the things we will work on for next time. Container – I don’t want to take away from the skill of the crew – they have it figured out but the boat looks really quick downwind.
We are hoping for steadier breeze in Cagliari and just to get some time to just let the big horse get out and run for a while. Cagaliari we won three years ago, had a really bad regatta two years and we were in the hunt last time.
It is very different dynamic than with Terry (Hutchinson). This is good working through an adversity together. It has been fun because it has been pointed and the discussions are good and so I do think we will come away from here a stronger team. For everybody here it is a change. This event everyone was so close together.
For us we never come to a regatta to win it, it is always about the series. And so from that standpoint each event is a race in a regatta, in the big scheme of things. We were not naïve enough to think we were going to come here and run the table. This is the closest the series has been since I have been doing the MedCup. We just got on a roll in Cascais and the expectations were high and pretty big, but I don’t think anyone on our team was believing that.”
Tony Langley (GBR) owner-driver Gladiator (GBR);
“We exceeded all expectations this time out. It was fantastic. I made a few changes after Palma Vela and signed Chris Main a week ago and his experience has been invaluable, that was a late thing. And that was the missing ingredient and he said what do you want from me? And I said I want you to roll the dice. He did say to be prepared to be last in every race. And I said that if was going to be a last in every race then just make sure it was not a procession to the last. I said roll the dice and if we come out in the top half then don’t roll it again, and if we come out in the bottom half then roll it again if you can.
It is all a challenge. For me it is all about steering the boat myself. We had a very long coastal race. The first hour and a half we were second boat and third boat then fourth and after an hour and half I was pretty pleased with that. And I don’t think it is any coincidence that the two last boats were owner-drivers, in uprange conditions. I can drive at a reasonable level at 12-14kts, but uprange is where the pros are still driving at 98% after four hours and I am down at 80%.
I had the Farr 45 five years ago. I had a very lucky debut Round the Island and won Class Zero with two pros on board. And we still have the 45 and I really enjoyed the progression through that. I don’t think I could have stepped into this fleet without that, the hand on hand on combat and we still do a bit of that on the Solent."
Hamish Pepper (NZL) tactician Container (GER):
“It is a bit of a shame we did not get to sail today. We would have had an exciting race with Quantum Racing I am sure and the other boats would have been fighting it out for third I am sure. We are thrilled. We are new to the Circuit and so it is great to get a win. We are getting to know the boat better. We are learning the modes and the targets and speeds. The boat seems to be very good downwind, we gained a lot downwind when the breeze got up downwind. Markus and the guys did a great job trimming. And we managed to get the pressure at the right time. It is good.
It is always important to win regattas. It is a nice feeling when the shore team put so much time into the boat, they work very long hours and so for us to go on the water and be able to pull it off is great. And for Udo to be here it is great.
The level is always good. Quantum Racing is a good boat, Azzurra is good and Synergy, RAN have good crew, even Gladiator won a couple of races and showed they are a good boat and a good team. It is always tricky, it is tough, always tough.
This is a totally different venue to Cascais. It is a tactical venue. There are lots of things going on with pressure, lots of opportunities, shifts, geographical effects. It is a tough regatta to do well at.
We are here, having fun, we enjoy going sailing and there are a lot of friends on board and that is fun sailing. When you are having fun sailing it seems to go well. It is fun sailing with Markus.
I was a bit tired after the Olympic regatta so it is nice to get the body back in order here!
Final Results after 8 races
1. Container (GER), 7+3+4+6+2+3+2+1,5= 28,5 points
2. Quantum Racing (USA), 4+1+1+8+3+4+3+6= 30
3. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 1+7+3+7+5+5+6+3= 37
4. Bribón (ESP), 3+2+6+5+8+1+4+9= 38
5. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 2+4+7+2+6+6+5+7,5= 39,5
6. Ràn (SUE), 5+5+2+4+4+2+9 (DSQ)+10,5= 41,5 points
7. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (EUR), 6+6+8+3+7+8+1+4,5= 43,5
8. Gladiator (GBR), 8+8+5+1+1+7+9 (DNF)+12=47
Final Results after 7 races
1. Iberdrola Team (ESP) 3+1+1+2+3+1+3=14
2. Patagonia by Negra (ARG) 4+2+2+4+1+3+1=17
3. Noticia IV (ESP) 5+4+3+1+5+2+2= 22
4. XXII-Marseille (ESP) 1+3+5+3+4+5+5=26
5. Ngoni (GBR) 2+5+4+5+2+4+4=26
Results after 2 events
1. Quantum Racing (USA), 19 + 30= 49 points
2. Container (GER), 31,5 + 28,5= 60 points
3. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 32,5 + 37= 69,5 points
4. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 37 + 39,5= 76,5 points
5. Ràn (SUE), 5+5+2+4+4+2+9 (DSQ) 40,5 + 41,5= 82 points
6. Bribón (ESP), 47,5 + 38= 85,5 points
7. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (GER/FR) 58 + 43,5=101,5 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), 85,5 + 47= 132,5 points
Results after 2 events
1. Iberdrola Team (ESP) 13 + 14= 27
2. Patagonia (ARG) 28 + 17= 45
3. Noticia IV (ESP) 25 + 22= 47
4. XXII (ESP) 23 + 26= 49
5. Ngoni (GBR) 33 + 26= 59
12 Jul 2011
Half way there?
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.
18 Jul 2011
Mercury Rising. Closest yet in Cagliari?
High summer in Cagliari, Sardinia and the daytime temperatures have been stiflingly hot but as the mercury rises over the next few days for the skippers and crews of the Audi MedCup Circuit’s 52 Series and 40 Series, the Sardinia Trophy Regatta will be about ignoring the heat and reading the small, subtle changes on a race arena which is now well known to many of the crews.
Adrian Stead (GBR) tactician on the Audi MedCup Circuit 52 Series leader Quantum Racing (USA) is not alone in his belief that, across the mix of sea breezes and the high likelihood of the strong NW’ly Mistral, that is expected between now and the event’s climax next Sunday, this should be the tightest regatta of the season yet this season.
At this third regatta of the five event 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit season, gains and losses on Cagliari’s Gulf of Angels are likely to smaller than the extreme ups-and- downs of Marseille last month.
And, not only are teams now much more acquainted with how to sail their new boats at their fastest across a wider range of conditions, but most now have had time to bring improvements on stream to sails, hulls, rigs and appendages in the quest for better speed:
“ I think this will be the closest regatta because everyone who has been able to make changes to their boat has now been able to implement that, and we will be seeing all the boats at their best now. In the first two regattas we might have seen some of the boats slightly compromised.” Explains Stead.
“I think on Quantum Racing we are setting ourselves up here for a very different race course to what we have seen this year, much more subtle. A lot of people have raced here and on different race courses here too, and so we stay a little open minded about what the mechanics of the bay are, what is driving here.. I think this regatta is one of subtleties. It is much more of a subtle sea breeze area where you are looking for every half a boat length here and there, while Marseille was really about managing the extremes and Cascais was windy and on predictable track.”
The official practice race is scheduled for tomorrow Tuesday. To date here in informal practice José Cusi’s Bribon (ESP) has been one of the consistently quickest boats on the water, despite it being, as a 2009 build, one of the ‘older’ designs, not one of the pack of six new TP52’s launched for this season.
“I think that in general our boat is probably the best all rounder in the fleet across the full range of condition and it has the potential for sure to be on the podium. Now it is just up to us as a crew to sail it better!” says Ignasi Triay (ESP), project manager and trimmer on Bribon, a team which this season is celebrating 40 years of Bribon yachts.
The 52 Series programme runs with windward-leeward points races Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday with the coastal race Saturday.
In the 40 Series, the host island and indeed the hopes Sardinia’s capital city will be carried on board XXII-Sardegna this week. The local team of Melges 32 owner Roberto Pardini steps up to the challenge of racing in the white hot Soto 40 fleet. The crew, all from Cagliari, will race on the Audi MedCup Circuit on the boat which goes to local teams at each Audi MedCup regatta. Tactician Lorenzo Gemini even admits that he has been to each Sardinia Trophy regatta here as a spectator but it is a dream come true for them to be racing on the world’s leading regatta circuit on their home waters:
“It's a dream to be here.” Smiles tactician Gemini, “We do participate in top regattas like the Melges circuit, but it is nothing like this Audi MedCup. We never had the chance to take part in a regatta with an onshore set up as big as this. In past years I came here as a spectator to see the race, I always been amazed at the excitement just watching in the Open Village and all the buzz around about it. But now, being able to experience the event as a competitor is amazing. It's a dream come true.”
Roberto Pardini is the owner-skipper who will steer XXII-Sardegna with Gemini as tactician. His brother Alessandro Gemini trims along with Jacopo Trudu, Luca Segneri is pitman, Francesco Chessa Orrù is on the bow and Ignazio Diaz and Mario Alberto Floris on mainsail.
The official institutional presentation for the Sardinia Trophy took place today at the inauguration of the Race Village. Among those in attendance were Nacho Postigo (ESP) Technical Director Audi MedCup Circuit, Andrea Cocco (ITA) Tourism Secretary of the Region of Sardinia, Barbara Argiolas (ITA) Cagliari Tourism Town Councillor, Paolo Fadda (ITA) President of the Ports Authority and Alberto Floris (ITA) President of the YCC (Yacht Club Cagliari).
Floris said: "This is one of the major events in our Region, and that's why we should make all the efforts for it to come back in future years. The most famous sailors, and the most famous boat owners come here, and that helps appear is appear in media and newspapers all around the world. Also, the revenues achieved last year show that this is a good investment".
19 Jul 2011
After two days of informal practice of Cagliari’s Gulf of Angels it is time for the 52 Series fleet to make their final tune up prior to Wednesday’s start to the Region of Sardinia Trophy. The official practice race for the Region of Sardinia Trophy starts at just after 1300hrs local time when it should become clearer if the changes that different crews have made will bear fruit.
Double Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson (GBR) is here in her role as anchor for CNN’s Mainsail programme and the Region of Sardinia Trophy feature on the global sailing series is scheduled to reflect the daily life of three key figures this week. Today Quantum Racing’s America’s Cup winning skipper-helm Ed Baird has Shirley and the CNN crew as his constant shadow throughout the day, from the moment he got out of bed to the time he slips back beneath the sheets tonight. Also scheduled will be a life in the day with one of the Audi MedCup Circuit directors Nacho Postigo or Ignaci Triay, and a day in the hot seat on the race control boat with Principal Race Officer Maria Torrijo (ESP).
Today’s practice race is likely to see between five and 10 knots of sea breeze picking up to 11-12kts maybe. And through the week there does seem to be a very good mix of weather, from brisk Mistral tomorrow to sea breeze days, as Olympic Star class medallist Ross McDonald (CAN), the tactician, Bribón (ESP) concurs: “It looks like the daily conditions for the event are going to be different every day. Today, we are expecting a weather system to come through later in the day. For us, today brings a good opportunity to test some of the changes that we made with the sails and the rig. We seem to be going on nice trajectory, getting better slowly, and hopefully that´s going to continue. Winning the race is not our goal today, the goal is to race the best we can.
When the Mistral blows here it can blow pretty strong and so far, for what we´ve been able to see, our boat likes strong winds. It´s a strong boat in terms of structure and it also has good speed, so that could be good for us”.