Thursday, 16 June 2011

Audi MedCup : Playing Catch Up

Marseille Trophy, 14 06 2011 © Francesco Ferri_Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup

by Sabina Mollart-Rogerson

It is the first day of points racing for the 52 Series at the Marseille Trophy, the second regatta of the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit and the chase to catch close the points gap to Quantum Racing, the Circuit leaders, will start with the first of two windward-leeward races due to start with a sequence at 1300hrs.

And the 40 Series fleet are due to run through their practice starts and official Practice Race after the 52 Series first race gets under way.

Prospects for breeze don’t look ideal. The early westerly gradient is just light and the forecasts suggest that the best of the breeze, 8-10kts from around 220-260 degrees, will be enough to get a race away. But the winds are expected to drop for the time of the second race, so it could be a day with some waiting around in the hot sunshine involved.

Container lie second in the series, after a great debut for a well established team. Ironically their late decision to join the circuit really means that this should have been their first regatta, not Cascais, so they are full of confidence as they head out today.

Marc Lagesse, the South African navigator of Container comments this morning:

“We are happy with the boat so we´ve made some minor changes, small tweaks. Light wind usually makes big winners and big losers, we´ll see how it goes out there today. Traditionally, Marseille is a pretty big venue in terms of breeze and we know that some boats sail better like that, but it seems that we won´t have strong conditions this week. It will be interesting to see how everyone reacts in this situation, we could have some surprises out there. I don´t expect big changes in the other boats, I haven´t heard any dockside rumors about it”.

Local knowledge? Well Alain Fedensieu (FRA) who skippers XXII-Marseille, the Soto 40 which takes up the baton from XXII-Portugal Sailing Team, knows every square metre of the Rade

“ It is full of traps, lots of them. It is an idyllic vista with the Calanques on one coast, the Frioul islands, the Corniche. Everyone who comes here wants to come back. But there is one little thing that not many people know about, the presence of the current. It is the current which starts from the Gulf of Genoa and travels offshore along the Côte d’Azur and flows all the way to Sète. It is called the Ligure current. As long as there is no Mistral, NW’ly, this flow is constant at around 0.5 to 0.8kts flowing east. It flows in the Rade Sud in a clockwise direction. There is also a big difference in depth between the two Rade areas and a passage between them which is secret.

I know that no one is a prophet in his own country, but objectively, I feel there must be some benefit from knowing every square metre of the these waters. Maybe there might be a small advantage in the beginning. But you also have to be realistic, the level is high.”

Today among the special guests who will be two actors from the popular French soap opera Plus Belle La Vie, Narwen Berreni and Laurent Kerusore and high ranking executives from Audi including Benoit Thiers, director of Audi France who will sail on Audi Sailing Team powered by All4ONE.

Among the activities in the popular Open Village in the Vieux Port are the big grind which features the team off Noticia. The remote control racing is for Bribon vs XXII Marseille and on the PlayStation, Ran Vs Patagonia.

All the action is broadcast live from the water as Audi MedCup TV goes live at 1250hrs local time (1150hrs BST, 1050hrs UTC).

Audi MedCup