Three new, recently launched TP52's are firmly on schedule with their work-up to the first regatta of the 2009 Audi MedCup Circuit. Emirates Team New Zealand, Artemis and Matador will race for first time in the City of Alicante Trophy (12-17 May) with their brand new TP52's.
Emirates Team New Zealand's new TP52 training out of Auckland. Audi MedCup supplied image.
by Audi MedCup media
The start of the season has always proven tough for crews getting to grips with new, relatively un-tried and tested boats. Often the advantage has lain with teams with proven TP52's that they know well from the previous season. But all three new boats have launched early and seem to be well up to speed with their build-up to the new Audi MedCup season.
In New Zealand, the Cookson Boats built duo Artemis (SWE), the Judel-Vrolijk design for 2007 MedCup Champion owner Torbjorn Tornqvist and Emirates Team New Zealand's Botin Carkeek design have been tuning and testing together on Waitemata Harbour last month before they go on a ship for Europe.
The third new boat is that of well known Argentine owner Alberto Roemmers. The new Matador was built by Argentine company King Marine near Valencia and was launched in mid March. Roemmers' previous Matador, also a Judel Vrolijk design, finished in third place on the 2008 Audi MedCup Circuit.
Ignacio Triay, Audi MedCup Circuit Director, emphasises the importance of the three new designs: “There is a lot of expectation on those three new boats, especially the one from Emirates Team New Zealand, a team joining the Circuit for the first time with a very revolutionary design. In theory, we are talking about the three favourite teams this year, but I’m pretty sure those racing with 2007 and 2008 designs won’t make their life easy.”
New team, new boat
Emirates Team New Zealand sailors have played leading roles on the MedCup Circuit since the first season. In 2006, the core team on Peter de Ridder's winning Mean Machine were from Emirates Team Zealand and indeed the second placed Warpath was steered by ETNZ's Louis Vuitton Cup winning skipper Dean Barker. This was not coincidental. It was part of the preparation strategy for Emirates Team New Zealand, strengthening the bonds and skills within the team sailing with, and against each other in a white hot fleet. Barker also steered José Cusi's Bribon, which is skippered by SM JuanCarlos, the King of Spain, to second place last season.
This is the first season that Emirates Team Zealand will race a TP52 in their own colours. They have taken all their learning from previous seasons and brought to bear a high level of their technological skills from their America's Cup programmes.
"The project involves the entire team: designers and engineers have been involved - Marcelino Botin, the team's principal designer, Giovanni Belgrano, principal composites engineer, Burns Fallow sails design, Martin McElwee, rig design." Highlights Emirates Team New Zealand's Grant Dalton. "The sailing team has been heavily involved in deck layout and the detail that can make all the difference when racing."
"It is always exciting to launch a new boat. A huge amount of man hours are required to tick all the boxes. I feel Marcelino desiged a great boat in Quantum last year and this boat is a clear evolution of that family. We have had a lot of input from ETNZ sailors and designers and now we look forward to seeing how she performs." Explains Emirates Team New Zealand's Ray Davies.
Over the back end of March the ETNZ TP52 and the new Artemis - the tenth TP52 built by Cookson, who built the 2007 champion Artemis - were working up together on the waters off Auckland. In previous years, initial sea trials have been limited to a few isolated days for New Zealand built boats but the new pair have enjoyed a period of sparring and tuning and should both be in the best possible shape when they go into the water in Europe.
Chris Hosking, boat captain on Artemis said: "We are very happy with the new boat. Cooksons have done a great job again and it is good to be back with what was a winning combination for us before, with Rolf Vrolijk and sails by North Sails NZ and a rig by Southern Spars." On the first contact of the boat with the water, Hosking added: "We had some good sailing out with the Team New Zealand guys. Their boat is a bit more radical and certainly it will be interesting to see how we both go."
The New Zealand built pair were shipped on 31st March and are due in Valencia very early May.
Meantime, Palma Vela, the multi class regatta which takes place over this Easter weekend off the Balearic capital, Palma, should see the new Matador ready to race in earnest. Skipper Guillermo Parada learned a great deal over the two years that the preceding Judel Vrolijk designed Matador was competing on the MedCup Circuit. Matador proved one of the most consistent performers over the second half of last season, going on to finish third. The new Matador has, again, been built in Spain by the Argentinian builders King Marine, who also built Bribon, and was launched in Mid March also. Sails are from North Sails Argentina on a rig by Southern Spars.
Alberto Roemmers says: "We hope this new boat will give us the opportunity to improve our results of last season. We know it's going to be another challenging, difficult year, with new teams joining the Circuit with great talents on board. But we really have good perspectives in terms of performance, and we look forward to be in there fighting for the top places. We know from experience it is a long season and that only by being consistent and by avoiding mistakes can you reach the top place on the podium."
Three new boats to race against a strong fleet for the first trophy of the TP52 Series at the Audi MedCup Circuit 2009. Only five weeks until their performance potential is put to the test.
Audi MedCup Circuit 2009
City of Alicante Trophy, 12 – 17 May
City of Marseille Trophy, 9 – 14 June
Autonomous Region of Sardinia Trophy, 20 – 25 July
Portugal Trophy, 18 – 23 August
Region of Murcia Trophy, 14 - 19 September