Saturday, 18 June 2011
Audi MedCup : Three of the best for the 52 Series, Iberdrola's consistency prevails in the 40 Series
Marseille Trophy, 17 06 2011 © Ian Roman/Audi MedCup
by Sabina Mollart-Rogerson
Across three races of increasing intensity on a race course which proved to be littered with traps – little ones and big ones – world champions Quantum Racing remained steadily consistent, second best scoring team of the day, to extend their overall lead in the Marseille Trophy regatta to three points.
In the 52 Series racing, contested in a puffy SE’ly breeze of 9-19kts, three different teams won.
Tony Langley’s British team on Gladiator followed up their victory the previous day with their second winning gun in a row, Bribón added their first win of the regatta and then, when the breeze had puffed up to 15-19kts for the day’s finale, Jochen Schuemann and Seb Col conspired to force the monkey off their backs when Audi Sailing Team powered by All4ONE’s unleashed first win of the season.
Their text book gun-to-gun triumph provided the Franco-German team with a huge measure of relief after a lacklustre start to their programme.
The 40 Series fleet raced two windward-leeward races which saw Iberdrola win the first and then post a second to extend their overall Marseille Trophy regatta margin to five points.
Marseille Trophy, 17 06 2011 © Nico Martinez/Audi MedCup
With the wind blowing down off Mont Rosa, sometimes sweeping around either side of its rugged limestone flanks, the race course area was again peppered with pressure differences – sometimes small periods of lighter airs, other times big differences between the left and right extremes of the course.
It was a day when the processing power of each afterguard’s brains was constantly loaded and when a keen eye on the big picture, scanning the horizon for developing gusts which might be several minutes away, was essential.
The key to the course?
“Pressure. You have to stay in the pressure.” says Chris Main (NZL), tactician of Gladiator, which was having a decent day after winning the first race of the day.
But in the third heat Tony Langley’s British team tangled with RÁN in a port-starboard mix up in which the Swedish flagged boat ended up effectively tacked from starboard in front of Gladiator. In the contact Gladiator’s bowsprit bobstay struck RAN’s transom cutting the deck and transom material. RAN was disqualified by the jury for their infringement while Gladiator were later granted redress, average points for Race 7.
In the day’s first heat Gladiator repeated their Race 6 triumph repeating a facsimile strategy: gaining extra pressure offshore and to the right up the first upwind leg, to build a big margin, while Container worked conservatively and diligently, gaining on the first downwind on that same offshore flank as worked for Gladiator upwind, to take a steady second in 9-12kts of breeze
In the second race it was the other side, the left, which worked for Bribon when they stayed composed to the finish and hold off RAN when the wind pressure was much more up and down.
The cloud gathered late afternoon and under darker skies the breeze peaked for the day during a more rapid contest. With the wind further east, to the left looking upwind, the inshore side of the course closer to the city, had significantly more pressure. Jochen Schuemann, Seb Col and navigator Philippe Mourniac unleashed a perfect pin end start which allowed them to accelerate smartly out to that preferred left. When they could they crossed the fleet again to protect this favoured side and were able to round the top turn comfortably ahead. Once again the dividend of an early lead was soon magnified as the Franco-German crew could sail their own race, leading Container across the finish.
For Quantum Racing the three races aggregated 10 points which means the holders of the Marseille Trophy go into Saturday’s coastal race – which carries a 1.5 points bounty – with a lead of three points, competing down a classic course on which they have won the last two years.
In the first race for the 40 Series the finish was a close three way battle between Iberdrola, Patagonia by Negra and XXII-Marseille. The South American team came from the offshore side of the course to cross just ahead of longtime race leaders Iberdrola, but the Spanish crew came back with a faster line in the sprint to the finish, just pipping Patagonia by Negra, while the French team on XXII-Marseille took third.
Their second race was a more even affair which saw Noticia lead at the top turn and hold on to record their first win of the regatta.
Ed Reynolds (USA) project manager Quantum Racing (USA): “Today was a minefield out there, you have to give big props to Ado Stead, he avoided all the booby traps. Today with 10 points is really huge for us, because it could so easily have been a big points day . I think the guys have confidence now that we are pretty quick and don’t have to take a big risk. And hanging in with the pack I know there are times when he was disappointed. He thought there was a big gain and let go but it made sense to do what he did. I thought he sailed brilliant. It is amazing sailing, really competitive sailing.”
Jochen Schümann (GER), Skipper, Audi Sailing Team Powered by ALL4ONE (FRA-GER):
“It feels good to win our first race after some last places because we broke a bad record that we´ve held so far. Yesterday we had a taste of it leading most of the race and messed it up and finished third only. It´s great for the boat and for the team to bring home this first win, now we need to get one more. Sailing is pretty much the same every day, sometimes you do small things better and you win, some other times you make mistakes and you end up third after leading for three quarters of the race, like it happened yesterday. Today we had a great start and managed to keep the lead the whole time”.
Marc Lagesse (SOU), Navigator, Container (GER):
“So far this has been a tricky and somewhat tricky venue for us, but today we seemed to minimize the mistakes and we ended up having a very good day. It´s been hard because sometimes we look like winners and some other times we look like losers, we are not that happy with all our results. We might be one of the most consistent teams, but when do we want a race? It´ll come, it´s been a tough day where anyone can win at any moment, with big winners and big losers”.
Tim Powell (GBR), Mainsail Trimmer, project manager RÀN (SWE-GBR):
“We were doing quite well first, had a good two first races, but then in the third one we had an unfortunate accident with Gladiator at the final beat, a port and starboard instant, we tacked and they hit us from behind and got our boat damaged, so we´ll see if we can fix it overnight”
Marseille Trophy, 17 06 2011 © Nico Martinez/Audi MedCup
Chris Main (NZL), Tactician, Gladiator (GBR):
“There wasn´t really much to decide, RÀN were coming in at starboard, we were in for a dip and got behind them. Then they tacked, I think that they misjudged the position a little and we were left in a position where we couldn´t go below them. I tried to come above them but I couldn´t avoid them, so we had a collision. We are pleased to be in the race, if there are other boats around us we are happy. After these last days, the owner is very happy. I said to the owner, ‘look, expect to get last in every race and anything we do better than that would be a bonus. Anything we do better than that would be a bonus. We don´t have any new sails, he got a couple of his mates onboard and the crew´s coming good. Obviously, they haven´t had the practice of another MedCup regatta. The key is to stay in the pressure. If tomorrow´s coastal race is a speed race it won´t be good news for us“.
José María Torcida (ESP), skipper, Iberdrola Team (ESP):
“It´s been another complicated day, really shifty. The truth is that we are satisfied with the job done by the crew and the final result. It could´ve gone a lot worse, so we are actually very happy. Conditions have been difficult, windier than yesterday. We saved the day and we are still the leaders and that means that we can´t stop working hard, because we could score a fourth or a fifth. We need to stay focused and sail well. The forecast for tomorrow says that it will be windy, let´s see if we can have some fun. We know that the boat sails well with a lot of wind, but we still don´t have enough feedback in light conditions.”
Iñaki Castañer (ESP), skipper, Noticia IV (ESP):
“We had a bad start yesterday and it went better today. Nailing a third and a first, aside from the fact that we were always in the fight for the first position, has to make us happy. The crew has done great in these tough conditions, especially the tactician. We´ve had unstable weather, with shifty winds. The regatta field is very open and complicated, so you have to be really careful with tactics. We are happy with the boat´s speed and we hope to climb up in the general standings starting today”.
Results after 7 races
1. Quantum Racing (USA), 4+1+1+8+3+4+3= 24 points
2. Container (GER), 7+3+4+6+2+3+2= 27 points
3. Bribón (ESP), 3+2+6+5+8+1+4= 29 points
4. Ràn (SUE), 5+5+2+4+4+2+9 (DSQ)= 31 points
5. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 2+4+7+2+6+6+5= 32 points
6. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 1+7+3+7+5+5+6= 34 points
7. Gladiator (GBR), 8+8+5+1+1+7+5 (RDG)=35 points
8. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (EUR), 6+6+8+3+7+8+1= 39 points
Results after 4 races
1. Iberdrola Team 3+1+1+2=7
2. XXII-Marseille 1+3+5+3=12
3. Patagonia by Negra 4+2+2+4=12
4. Noticia IV 5+4+3+1= 13
5. Ngoni 2+5+4+5=16