Sunday, 22 May 2011

Audi MedCup : Different Targets for Day 1?

Image copyright Stefano Gattini_Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup.

by Sabina Mollart-Rogerson

It is Race Day 1 of the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit in Cascais and the one unwanted visitor has been the overnight rain which has persisted into the morning, with showere still doing their best to dampen spirits.

But the mood is very upbeat. Some of the teams are confident that today’s two TP52 races will be a chance to simply deliver what they have been doing in training, others know that it will be another trip into relative unknowns, trying to galvanise the dynamics of crew work and finding boat speeds across the wind conditions.

Seven TP52’s will take to the start line of Race 1 which is scheduled a little after 1300hrs. The race area is due to be race area 2, that out to the west of Cabo Raso, the small headland to the west of the Bay of Cascais. With winds forecast between NNW and NNE through the day then that should give a little more open water, but for sure it will be shifty and puffy, a real opportunist’s first day.

The five Soto 40’s will race their Practice Race after the start of the 52 Series’ Race 1, following the established format: two practice starts then practice race.
If Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA) have shown to be the form team for the moment, the performance so far of the new Quantum Racing has been pretty modest by the high standards set by the 2008 Audi MedCup champions and current TP52 World Champions.

Ed Reynolds, coach, project manager and President of Quantum Sails, explains his perspective on the problems of being behind their desired schedule with a new boat and a crew of which half are new this season:

"First day, we are really just hoping to get out of today and that is about it. There are so many unknowns with the team, and just the dynamics of the team, so we would be really comfortable to come in 'above the fold' if you will, out of today. I know that we will consistently get better and better. One of the issues has been our boat construction. We did two boats at the same builder and for a variety of reasons we are probably about three weeks behind schedule. And that starts can't finalise your sail shapes, you can't the practices, and you can't get all the things you want to get done before the first event. So we are not the only ones in that position, so there is really no crying about it.

"In 2008 we were similar. You know that building these boats, there is nothing in them, but they are so complex and so complicated, all the systems. Last year when we had the new deck it put us behind a little bit, but we had an absolutely consistent crew, we had the same crew for three years. But here, we have a brand new boat and half he crew new, there are a lot of things to work out. I know that we are going to get there.

"It is not difficult, no, here we are in Cascais racing sailboats, that is not difficult. There is nothing difficult, it is just challenging. We have some challenges to work through, but I am really confident in the group we have and the equipment we have, but I feel we have some exposures early in the season.

"This changes my role for the moment, a little bit. Terry was dialled in to everything, it was automatic. I think that dynamic still exists, but everyone is kind of finding their way, feeling their way through. So it will take a little bit more, as with everything I do I like to be hands on early, and get the hands off as quick as possible."

Weather for the day seems to suggest an 80% chance of racing with between 8 and 16 knots of wind from between 340 deg and 010 deg.

Audi MedCup