Friday, 15 May 2009

Audi MedCup: No Racing in Alicante; GP42 Debut on Hold

Capricious early season breezes off Alicante refused to co-operate to allow any racing today on the Audi MedCup Circuit where the GP42 class were due to make their debut on the world's leading regatta circuit.

The fleet in Alicante. Image copyright Nico Martinez/Audi MedCup.

by Sabina Mollart-Rogerson

While the 12 boat TP52 fleet did come under starter’s orders the fitful breeze collapsed and both classes spent 90 minutes floating around waiting for any improvement in the wind conditions but it never arrived and the fleet returned to the port of Alicante at the request of the race officers.

Such conditions are frustrating but not new to the TP52 teams as the MedCup series is hosted for the third time in as many years, but the lost races do now mean that tomorrow’s schedule has been changed. The coastal race has been put on ice meantime and instead the plan is to try and run three windward-leeward contests for both fleets. The start sequence will be advanced to facilitate racing starting just after midday instead of 1300hrs (local time).

Ironically one of the few teams who might have welcomed the lost races at the British team from Cristabella which is still held in Valencia awaiting administrative clearances.

They had hoped to race at the weekend but now that target seems unlikely:

“At the moment it does not seem like it will happen which is frustrating, but we should be able to get things sorted out soon” reported Cristabella’s boat captain Brendan Darrer (IRL).

No wind today only heightened the anxiety among the GP 42’s, eager to make their Audi MedCup racing debut. They are tense because the changes made to the boats, sails and teams are still untested, and everyone is eager to see if their theories seen in simulations will reflect in the reality of speed on the race course. Some teams have changes to their hardware, some to their software, and some to both their quest for speed in this highly-competitive box-rule class.

“We were very much looking forward to racing today,” said Daniel Calero (ESP), owner and team manager of Islas Canarias Puerto Calero. “We’ve always felt strong in light air, and we think the changes we’ve made to the hull, deck layout, and keel will not compromise that but make us fast in stronger breeze as well. But, unfortunately today we have neither.”

Ashore the Audi MedCup Circuit village was visited by 54 youngsters from the local Alicante Maristas School who enjoyed the interactive displays in the Audi MedCup Expo area and seeing the TP52 and GP42 fleets at the dock.

2009 Audi MedCup Circuit City of Alicante Trophy

TP52 Class, overall standings after 1 race
1. Matador (ARG) 2pts
2. Bigamist 7 (POR) 3pts
3. Marazzi Sailing (SUI) 4pts
4. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 4 pts
5. Quantum Racing (USA) 5pts

Maria Torrijo (ESP), Principal Race Officer: “The problem was that we had two conflicting winds, a gradient breeze and a thermal breeze and neither was strong enough to cancel the other out. It is a situation which happens often when there are both sun and cloud cover. We would rather have either sun or clouds.”

Ed Reynolds (USA), project manager Quantum Racing (USA), Audi MedCup champions:
“I think the race officer on this Circuit is one of the best there is. It may be almost a déjà vu from last year. It can be difficult here at this time of year to get the races off, but she (the race officer) is beyond reproach. If she says we are not going racing, then I am in.

“The mood in the Quantum Racing camp is good. Our strength has always been really good boat speed and no risk style of sailing. This type of racing like it was yesterday, it does not always score well in these conditions and so you have to stay on task for the whole season.

“So we are just looking to stay on task for the whole season for 50 races, for 60 races. It is the formula you have to stick to.”

“Yesterday? Well it has been a long time since October, maybe they were a little bit frustrated but I think they were ultimately satisfied what they ended up scoring. They came off the line with an unbelievable start, heading where they wanted to go, you watched three boats get kicked right and round the first mark ahead. It happens enough in the Med and you just have to grin and bear it. They rounded ninth and fought back to a fifth. Everybody on the boat was pretty satisfied with how that went. But sure they would like to get out there in a real true solid breeze and get the races in. They get a little antsy, but it is great group and they are really held in check.”

Audi MedCup

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