October 5, 2011
Paramount Park Murcia in pole position for the Mistral's white knuckle ride?
The long wait for wind on the Costa Smeralda at the Audi TP52 World Championship was rewarded with enough for just one late afternoon windward-leeward race. A first win in the colours of new sponsor Paramount Park Murcia (ESP) for the Spanish team headed up by Ignacio Triay promoted the crew to step clear at the top of a tight leaderboard with a margin of just one point ahead of Tony Langley’s Gladiator.
There can be few more pleasant surroundings than the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda to spend time waiting for a sea breeze to establish itself, but the race team made a good call to have the fleet out and ready for the Race 3 start which got away at 1530hrs.
The late building thermal breeze proved to be difficult to read for the tacticians, keeping in the veins of pressure which pulsed down from the top of the course was key, whilst falling off the edge – out of the best breeze – either upwind or downwind meant losses.
Leaders after the first day, Gladiator kept their title challenge on track when Chris Larson (USA) and crew salvaged a solid fourth place, passing Quantum Racing down the final run.
Their fourth keeps the British Gladiator crew in contention in second, whilst Quantum Racing’s fifth today leaves them third overall, two points off the lead with a bigger day in prospect Thursday when one windward-leeward and the 1.5 points premium coastal race are scheduled.
After today’s light breezes a change is in prospect Thursday with some pre-frontal weather likely through the scheduled coastal race, ahead of Friday’s expected beefy Mistral winds.
“What is interesting now I think for the fleet is that you now have to look back to, I think Cagliari, in July for the last time we really sailed in strong breeze and so that will be a challenge for everyone to get back into that mode smoothly. For us it will be a case of spending some time looking at the different modes and settings which worked for us earlier in the season. It will be interesting, for sure.” Cautioned Triay who runs the championship leading Paramount Park Murcia which races for the Menorca based Club Náutico Ciutadella.
Once again the light winds placed a big premium on fast starting but the local team on Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA) compromised their race when they were over very early at the busy committee boat end of the start line, forced to re-start. But at the top of the first beat it was Paramount Park which read the shifts at the top of the beat best and were able to lead round from RÁN, Quantum Racing and Container (GER).
Able to sail the shifts and pressure from the front of the fleet, Paramount Park Murcia were 21 seconds clear of Niklas Zennstrom’s Barcelona Trophy winning RAN. Second place pulled the Swedish flagged team up to fifth overall.
But with only two points separating the top three boats, Paramount Park Murcia, Gladiator and Quantum Racing, Thursday’s high stakes racing could be key.
06 Oct 2011
Quantum Racing on target
Patience may have been a key virtue around the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda as the early lack of breeze again imposed a delay to the start of the third racing day at the Audi TP52 World Championships, but defending world champions Quantum Racing lost no time in establishing themselves at the front of Race 4 which they lead from start to finish.
Their win, with Tony Langley’s Gladiator (GBR) taking second and Ignacio Triay’s Paramount Park Murcia team stealing a third, leaves all three locked on the same 10points aggregate. By virtue of their second race win in these very gentle conditions, consistently lighter than anything else experienced through the Audi MedCup season, Quantum Racing lead on tie-break, on track to defend the world title they won last year in Valencia, Spain.
“ Our goal was to get through these light airs days leading the regatta, three of us are tied and we win the tie breaker right now, so we are pretty much where we want to be right now.” Confirmed Quantum Racing’s project manager Ed Reynolds (USA), “Hopefully the averages kind of work out for us. That is our focus.”
Again there was only one race sailed today. The race committee made a perfect call to take the race area to the north in the Secca dei Tre Monti, Bomb Alley’s confines of the Arzachena Gulf, for the first time this regatta and were rewarded with the only race-able breeze to be found.
Even is, it was something of a repetition of Wednesday’s exacting race – reading and using the puffs and lanes of pressure better.
Quantum Racing lead by the first windward mark ahead of Container (GER), Gladiator and RAN (SWE).
After a lacklustre start Langley’s Gladiator showed good speed in the light, rising from sixth early on the first beat to round the top mark third.
After the fleet all gybed set at the WW1 mark, Container - the German flagged team - chose to gybe back earlier on the run and lost wind pressure compared to Gladiator.
And Paramount Park Murcia, with Ross MacDonald (CAN) calling tactics, improved to a third with a good final run, pipping Container on the final approach to the finish, so keeping them in the three way tie.
After three days of benign, fluky breezes the muscular Mistral is expected for Friday with winds over 30 knots anticipated, perhaps dropping to a difficult 10-15kts with an awkward residual choppy sea for Saturday’s final day of racing.
Audi TP52 World Championship
Yacht Club Costa Smeralda
Results after 4 races
1. Quantum Racing (USA) 1+3+5+1= 10 points
2. Gladiator (GBR) 3+1+4+2= 10 points
3. Paramount Park Murcia (ESP) 4+2+1+3= 10 points
4. Container (GER) 2+7+3+4= 16 points
5. RÁN (SWE) 6+5+2+5= 18 points
6. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (IT) 5+4+7+6= 22 points
7. Audi ALL4ONE (GER/FR) 7+6+6+7= 26 points
Adrian Stead (GBR) tactician Quantum Racing (USA):
“It was very tricky out there today. There weas only two and a half hours of breeze in the whole Porto Cervo region today and we were racing up in Bomb Alley where it is quite narrow with the mountain on one side and the island on the other. We had quite a good start and it felt like the right would work. As soon as Gladiator tacked to the right we took the opportunity to get round her. The boat was going pretty well but there were certainly plenty of potholes out there to watch, as light as four knots at times and as much as seven knots. The finishing times at the end the front four boats were all within 30 seconds of each other, but the back markers were some minutes behind and so that shows just how extreme it was racing out there today.”
“We have four races in light winds so far with big winds tomorrow- we might race, we might not, but Saturday is looking very sailable, but with a very lumpy, leftover sea. There is a lot more of this regatta left and if we got out there tomorrow, we would be really pleased.”
“I think we will have a good two to three more races at this regatta, maybe even three races on Saturday so we might only be half way through this regatta. Gladiator and Paramount Park are both grandfathered boats with slightly smaller rudders and they are going well downwind, and upwind in fact, so we have been happy with how we have gone. Great work today, very pleased with the win.”
Chris Larson (USA) tactician Gladiator (GBR):
“I gave the start up a little bit, trying to be a little too fancy with too many downspeed manoeuvres, and that cost us so we had to bale out get right by taking a few sterns, it was how to get there. We found a little lane to get us there and the boat is quick in this stuff and that helped us out. Our speed helps, we were too leeward of a couple of boats and by the time we got to the windward mark it started evening out. We hit a perfect layline, we tacked 15 degrees short of layline and got a shift, 15 degrees with a puff and that got us around, it was fantastic. Nacho (Postigo, navigator) and Tony (Langley, owner-helm) both did a great job and that helped us out from my bad start.”
“It will be a different day tomorrow, we don’t have to win the race we just need to make sure we have a decent finish.”
Ross MacDonald (CAN) tactician Paramount Park Murcia (ESP):
“It was a tricky day out there with the geographical influences in the bay, and so you try not to get caught out too much there. We got off to not a great start, kind of playing second row a bit. It was quite interesting but really as everyone can see the boat goes quite well in these light conditions, you just have to hang in there. It is very close, the next few days will be interesting for sure.”
Ed Reynolds (USA) project manager Quantum Racing (USA):
“We think we are more of a moderate airs boat and so I think that over the piece we don’t suffer as much in the breeze as the light airs boats do and in the light airs as the breeze boats do, so it is a little bit nerve racking, but we will not change anything specific. We have changed our mode a little bit for the wavy conditions which showed a great dividend in Barcelona, we are interested in that. But I think if the big breeze comes in then the Audi boats – Audi Azzurra Sailing Team and Audi ALL4ONE – are going to be pretty quick. If you had to bet I don’t think we will sail tomorrow. Everything we have heard suggests that it will come in early and be mid to upper 30kts, all day. Our weather reports change every hour, but Saturday looks 10-16kts, lumpy. We are full on, coming out tomorrow expecting to sail.”
“For us one of things we have really focused on here is how do we go relative to the rest of the fleet, who do we need to focus on and cover. In the light stuff there are two boats definitely faster and in the heavier air there are two boats definitely fast. At either ends of the winds spectrum it does not change our strategy a lot. But in the medium airs we feel really strong. Our goal was to get through these light air days leading the regatta, three of us are tied and we win the tie breaker right now, so we are pretty much where we want to be right now. Hopefully the averages kind of work out for us. That is our focus.”
07 Oct 2011
Azzurra ride the Mistral to win Race 5. Quantum Racing lead into final day.
When the Mistral whistled in to break the deadlock at the top of the Audi TP52 World Championhsip off Costa Smeralda early this morning it was the local team on Azzurra which won, but fourth place for Quantum Racing allows the current world champions to move one point clear in the title race which will be decided Saturday.
Audi Azzurra Sailing Team lead at the windward mark on the first round, with already more than 25kts of wind blowing and more threatening. The team which sails under the colours of the host club, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, were first to break to the right on the upwind and were able to lead Container with Audi ALL4ONE and Quantum Racing overlapped for third and fourth.
A small problem on the kite drop on Azzurra at the end of the testing downwind allowed Container through to lead up the second beat. Paramount Park Murcia gybed early on the rollercoaster ride of a run and picked up a huge gust which they rode down the left side of the run and were challenging for second before they lost control. After suffering mainsail problems pre-start RAN started late and retired after the first run.
Azzurra's tactician Vasco Vascotto managed to fight back to get control of the right in the very muscular conditions, with good speed and power in the strong conditions, and were just able to cross Container at the top of the second beat. With the wind gusting over 35kts the race team shortened the course at the top mark.
With Container second Audi ALL4ONE took third and Quantum Racing fourth, all four top boats finished within 20 seconds. Key for the Audi backed boats was their choice of smaller code 4 jibs.
In the overall standings going into the final day of racing Quantum Racing lead by one point ahead ofParamount Park Murcia on 15pts after they finished fifth today, with Gladiator now dropped to third on 16pts.
After starting at 0900hrs the fleet reached the dock by 1010hrs with no further racing for the day with the Mistral hitting nearly 40kts at times.
Results after 5 races:
1. Quantum Racing (USA) 1+3+5+1+4= 14 points
2. Paramount Park Murcia (ESP) 4+2+1+3+5= 15 points
3. Gladiator (GBR) 3+1+4+2+6= 16 points
4. Container (GER) 2+7+3+4+2= 18 points
5. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (IT) 5+4+7+6+1= 23 points
6. RÁN (SWE) 6+5+2+5+ 8 (DNF)= 26 points
7. Audi ALL4ONE (GER/FR) 7+6+6+7+3= 29 points
Ed Reynolds (USA) project manager Quantum Racing (USA):
“It really was a day for getting the boat around the course. The light airs boats really struggled and there were a couple of sail handling things out there. It is always worrisome in these conditions, can you outlast everybody. It sounds boring but to be average today and get the boat around the course was good. We would really have liked that one more run because we might have been able to get another point or two, but you can never, ever question Maria the race officer. In all the years I have done this if she says you can’t sail in this then you can’t sail in it.
Vasco Vascotto, (ITA) tactician Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA):
“It was important to win, for all the crew and the people here at the club, It was pretty windy really.
The retrieval system did not work first time and in these winds at these speeds if it does not work you are in trouble quickly. We had a good recovery – it was not an ideal manoeuvre but it worked and we got around the mark, staying close to Container and Jochen Schuemann on Audi ALL4ONE and that allowed us to get back on the second beat and go on to win.
We are very happy, the first three days were very, very light breeze and even if we sailed well and did not make many mistakes, the boat is not so fast to help us in the light winds.”
Hamish Pepper (NZL) tactician Container (GER):
“Azzurra sailed pretty well, they made only that one mistake at the bottom mark, we managed to get around them, but they were going quicker up that beat. It has been an interesting regatta, all very close with the top three and we are nipping at their heels and so the last day will be fun.”
Adrian Stead (GBR) tactician Quantum Racing (USA):
“It was a great decision to get out and race early and get a race in which puts less pressure on the last day. It is still very open and even Container with their second today are only four points behind us. For the light winds boats Gladiator and Paramount Park today’s conditions were more detrimental for them.
We nearly changed to the number 4 jib and might have been better for us, but the key thing for us was at the top mark first time up when we were not rolling the red boat (Audi ALL4ONE) at the windward mark and that meant they really controlled us down the run. But we were right in there to finish. As we approached the line we were bow to bow with Container, but there was just no room to do anything, it would have been pretty punchy in these conditions.”
08 Oct 2011
Finale Bellisima! Audi MedCup Champions Quantum Racing add 2011 World Title
With a second and first on the final day of racing at the Audi TP52 World Championship off the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda Ed Baird and the crew of Quantum Racing lifted their third world TP52 world title from four challenges.
They added to worlds wins in 2008 in Lanzarote and defended the title they won last year Valencia.
Emerging with a four points margin over Germany’s Container, the American flagged Quantum team complete the same 'double' as they did in 2008, winning both the Audi MedCup Circuit title as well as the World Championship.
With tactician Adrian Stead (GBR) combining with new navigator Francesco Mongelli (ITA) Quantum Racing were consistent across the very different wind conditions, from the very light sub 10kts conditions of the first three days of racing to a useful fourth in the strong early morning Mistral of Friday, to their final flourish in today’s moderate 7-11kts.
In paying tribute to team owner Doug De Vos, who was on hand to enjoy their success, Quantum Racing’s inspirational project manager Ed Reynolds, architect behind each of their wins, commented:
“Each of these world titles has been about a quintessential team performance, with two different teams of different characteristics and styles with no major, standout star names in either but unified in the level of results, and that is really down to Doug De Vos for putting the resources to give us good solid teams.”
Tactician Stead who called the shots successfully last season in Valencia, smiled:
“ It is splendid."
" It is a great way to finish the season. We had a tense Audi MedCup, we have been really pleased with the way that we have sailed here against boats which have been in their conditions in the form of Gladiator and Paramount Park. Everyone has been pushing pretty hard.”
Udo Schuetz’ Container with skipper-helm Markus Wieser (GER) and his crew, augmented at this regatta by Kiwi mainsheet trimmer Don Cowie, came out on the final day with their strongest finishes of the late season.
Their 2,1,2 over the last three races of the season a secured them second place overall and shook off some of the disappointment of their lacklustre finishes in Cartagena and Barcelona.
Wieser attributed a large measure of their success to completely changing their rig set up under the advice of Cowie who won the Audi MedCup Circuit title twice as mainsheet trimmer with Emirates Team New Zealand. Wieser said:
“We are happy that it finished up like this, it was a long season and the last two regattas we hard with no boatspeed. But here we changed everything, a complete new set up with Don Cowie, and we had boat speed again and could be more aggressive in the way we sailed. We were so slow in Cartagena. But second here is good.”
Tony Langley’s British crew on Gladiator, surprise early leaders of these world championship, held on to third place overall with their third place in what proved to be the final race, completing the podium by virtue of a better tie-break than the Spanish Paramount Park Murcia.
Langley commended the approach of their tactician, Melges 32 world title winning Chris Larson:
“What was great was the attitude he came with. He came to me and said ‘I really think we can win this’ and that mental attitude was really refreshing and we really set out to try and do that. So that was a big change really. Nacho (Postigo) stepped in and did a really nice job with us too.”
Three different boats lead the world championship over different days, but Quantum Racing were on solid form in the light-moderate conditions and today’s leftover sloppy seas. The breeze was shifting up to 30 degrees and there were big changes in wind pressure, between 5 and 11kts. Although there was breeze mid to later afternoon it proved too unsettled to run a third race, leaving Quantum Racing to enjoy their celebrations.
Container won the first race after starting close to the right hand committee boat end of the start line, showing good speed in the testing conditions Quantum Racing were unable to catch them with Audi Azzurra Sailing Team taking third.
In the second race Container led at the top windward mark with a beautiful layline call from the top left of the course by navigator Marc Lagesse (RSA) and tactician Hamish Pepper (NZL) until the leeward gate when Quantum Racing took the right hand gate mark and split to the right and gained 1 minute and 17 secs on Container on the second beat.
For Gladiator, third in the final race proved critical as it gave them the superior tie break over Ignacio Triay (ESP) and the Paramount Park Murcia (ESP) crew. Langley wins the Owner-Driver trophy.
Audi TP52 World Championship,
Yacht Club Costa Smerelda, Sardinia
1. Quantum Racing (USA) 1+3+5+1+4+2+1= 17 points
2. Container (GER) 2+7+3+4+2+1+2= 21 points
3. Gladiator (GBR) 3+1+4+2+6+5+3= 24 points
4. Paramount Park Murcia (ESP) 4+2+1+3+5+4+5= 24 points
5. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (IT) 5+4+7+6+1+3+7= 33 points
6. RÁN (SWE) 6+5+2+5+ 8 (DNF)+6+6= 38 points
7. Audi ALL4ONE (GER/FRA) 7+6+6+7+3+7+4= 40 points