Friday, 12 June 2009

Audi MedCup: Emirates Team New Zealand masters in the big breeze; Roma lead GP42 Series

The Rade Sud delivered the conditions which both the TP52 Series and GP42 Series fleets came to Marseille with hopes of, as westerly winds to 20 knots produced fast, physiscally challenging racing for both fleets.

Marseille Trophy, 11/06/2009. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/Audi MedCup.

by Sabina Mollart-Rogerson

Emirates Team New Zealand proved the most consistent, top scorers of the day across the three windward-leeward races when they posted a 2,1,2 from the three races which were contested with a windward mark set off the Ile Maire on the eastern entrance to Marseille, while there was an occasional benefit too from the Cape Caveaux to the right of the course, the south west corner of the Ile Pomegues.

“There was no particular rhyme or reason to the day, boats did well on both sides. I think the secret of success today as much as anything was sailing good runs. Also if you were in touch at the top mark then you could pick a few boats off.” concluded Emirates Team Zealand’s skipper-helm Dean Barker (NZL) of the conditions.

In the brisk conditions Emirates Team New Zealand’s polished boat handling, smart starting and excellent, assured tactics combined to prove they are this regatta’s class act so far. From seven points clear of Matador (ARG) this morning, the Kiwi team eased out to ten points ahead of the Alicante Trophy winners who won the first race today and then added a third and a fifth.

While there was often a dividend to the left of the track upwind, it was not as regular as opening day’s three TP52 contests. After Bigamist (POR) and Valars (RUS) lead at the windward mark first time up Matador and Emirates Team New Zealand made gains on each successive leg to take first and second places.

Ray Davies (NZL) and Adam Beashel (NZL) called the shifts on the first downwind leg of the second race well to make their key move which gave the Kiwi boat the lead by the first leeward turn and they reversed the first race order when they kept Matador in second.

Audi MedCup Circuit 2008 champions Quantum Racing (USA) made their best start so far this regatta on the third race of the day and went on to lead Emirates Team New Zealand home. With a tally from the day of 6,3,1 Quantum Racing are now third overall.

Tomorrow’s coastal race to the east along towards Cassis, against the spectacular backdrop of the sharp limestone karst Calanques, is easily the most incredible scenery of any of the Audi MedCup Circuit venues. It will be the first coastal race for the TP52 this season. Unlike previous seasons the points multiplier for the coastal race is now 1.5 and the midrace scores only stand if the race finish is not achieved.

TP52 Pisco Sour III racing off Marseille. Image copyright Reuben Ballester.

Roma day at the GP42 Series
Each of the three races for the GP42’s went to the wire, down to one final surf in the high speed downwind sailing. In the first race it was Roma (ITA) which lurched ahead on a wave to pip the Spanish boat Islas Canarias Puerto Calero by just four seconds.

The Spanish boat turned the tables and got their revenge in the second race when they stole the winning gun by only two seconds from Roma. Only four seconds separated winner Roma from Turismo Madrid (ESP) in the third race, with Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) third.

It was a frustrating day for the Italian team on Airis who suffered a broken backstay which failed twice, forcing them to retire from the second two races.

Roma Mk2 lead the Marseille Trophy for the GP42 Series by two points from Alicante winners, Islas Canarias Puerto Calero.

Quotes of the day:
Dean Barker (NZL), skipper-helm Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL):
“The breeze was shifting quite a bit, nothing big but enough to be a nuisance if you were on the wrong side of it.

“It will be a bit of a change for us tomorrow, we have not done a coastal race for a while. It’ll be interesting and a time to learn with the team. I think the format is good, not holding quite the same penalty if you don’t do well. I am really happy with the boat and we can still do a better job sailing, so if we are on the pace now we can keep better and better.”

Terry Hutchinson (USA), skipper-helm Quantum Racing (USA):
“The entire day was good for us. We did it to ourselves in the first race a little bit. We have little spinnaker keepers and one got sucked into the block and we could not trim the spinnaker in the gybe and so we lost Valars, Artemis and potentially a shot at third in the first race, That was frustrating.

“ We went 3-1 after that and after our starting yesterday it was better. Yesterday it was execution which was down to me. I did a bad job. Poor execution. Mark, Morgan and Robert in all three races had us in good positions with a good plans and I did not execute. But sometimes you are balancing being aggressive and being smart.”
“ That last race was a good indication of how the boat is going. We were over once last year and it was here.”

Audi MedCup Circuit 2009
Marseille Trophy

TP52 Series
Overall - Day 2
1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 1+3+1+2+1+2= 10 points
2. Matador (ARG), 2+6+4+1+2+5= 20 points
3. Quantum Racing (USA), 8+5+2+6+3+1= 25 points
4. Artemis (SWE), 7+28+5+5+3= 30 points
5. Bigamist (POR), 5+4+6+3+10+4= 32 points

GP42 Series
Overall - Day 1
1. Roma (ITA), 1+2+1= 4 points
2. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), 2+1+3= 6 points
3. Turismo Madrid (ESP), 4+4+2= 10 points
4. Caser-Endesa (ESP), 3+3+4= 10 points
5. Swing (JPN), 6+5+5= 16 points

Audi MedCup

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