Friday, 17 June 2011
Marseille Trophy, 15 06 2011 © Stefano Gattini_Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup
by Sabina Mollart-Rogerson
Winds may still have been predominantly light but there was no shortage of variety and choice on the second racing day of the Audi MedCup Circuit’s Marseille Trophy.
The 52 Series fleet even had one race apiece on both of Marseille’s main race arenas, first the Rade Nord in a light and fitful sub 10 knots SE’ly breeze and the second on the Rade Sud in a 9-13kts S’ly.
Across such a range of conditions, with some big changes in wind direction and drops in pressure, consistency proved a fragile concept as exhibited by regatta leaders Quantum Racing (USA)
Marseille Trophy, 16 06 2011 © Ian Roman/Audi MedCup
The world champions Quantum Racing had the ultimate rollercoaster day, an assured win in the first race but a disappointing eighth in the second when they started late and ended up on the unfavoured side of the first beat. Even Russia’s Synergy, who are now just one point behind the American crew, had a 7,2 for the day, while the best scoring boat for the day, Niklas Zennstrom’s RAN (SWE) scored a second and a fourth.
The up and down scoring in the 52 Series now sees only six points separating the top six boats after four races, with third placed Bribon on the same 16 points aggregate as RAN in fourth.
Waiting was one of the prime requisites required of the Soto 40 fleet. They mustered on the north race area but it was only after the second 52 Series race started on the southerly track that they got their first start away. Alain Fedensieu and the local crew on XXII-Marseille (FRA) proved the values of their combined local knowledge to win the first race while the Cascais Trophy winners Iberdrola won the second race. That triumph added to their third place in the first race gives them the overall lead on countback ahead of the French team.
A strong start was the key to Quantum Racing’s win in the first race, allowing them to dominate from the first beat going when the breeze went left, going on to win from RAN which started off the pin end of the line and sailed a very economical, steady race – always in the best of the pressure – which allowed them to stay well clear of Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA). While the leading two built their success early, Audi All4ONE blew their kite at the final hoist whilst while Synergy were penalised two turns for fouling Gladiator (GBR) at the windward mark. The British boat was able to make a fifth.
Marseille Trophy, 16 06 2011 © Stefano Gattini_Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup
After the left shift in the first race some of the smart money seemed to be staked on the same effect on the Rade Sud course as well, but the breeze built offshore, to the right and it was Audi Sailing Team powered by All4ONE which was best placed to profit. For the next two legs the Franco-German crew lead by Jochen Schuemann (GER) looked to be firmly on course for their first win here, but the late afternoon breeze had other ideas and dropped on the right of the run. Chris Main (NZL), Gladiator’s tactician made the early call to work offshore and the British crew were rewarded with steady gains, able to finally gybe inside Synergy to win their first race on the Audi MedCup Circuit, on only their second day racing!
Their ability to seek out the best of the breeze and keep pushing to the finish enabled the Marseille team to open their regatta on their own home waters with a victory. With the different breezes shifting back and forth down the final run XXII Marseille sailed deep and worked the best low angle to just pip Tony Buckingham’s Ngoni (GBR) to the finish.
The breeze was more uniform in strength but still with 20-30 degree variances on either side of the course which ensured that Jose Maria Torcida and the Iberdrola had to constantly monitor the gains of their nearest opposition on each successive leg, but the Spanish crew were able to hold off Patagonia by Negra (ARG/URU) to win.
Markus Wieser (GER), skipper-helm Container (GER):
"Missjudging the first beats in both races today the way to the top of the fleet was just gone. And we really git it wrong tactically wise especially in the second race of the day when we tacked two time right into a wrong wind shift. But what worries us most is that both sisterships Quantum and Synergy seem to be just a little bit quicker than us. We can't really keep up with them after the gun and this closes the door all the times."
Marseille Trophy, 16 06 2011 © Nico Martinez/Audi MedCup
Ross MacDonald (CAN), tactician, Bribón (ESP):
“It was not a bad day for us, but it could´ve obviously gone better. It was very shifty and there were out there people making big gains and big losses. We know that we could´ve done a lot better but also a lot worse. As far as the chemistry on the boat goes, we are getting better everyday, everyone´s in a good mood and that´s important. Our forecast said that it was going to be tricky today and it exceeded those expectations. It was really difficult, kudos to the guys that figured it out. Some people did a really good job out there thinking it out”.
José María Torcida (ESP), skipper-helm Iberdrola Team (ESP):
"It's been a very complicated day, in the first race there were lots of shifts and pressure up and downs, and a big swing of positions. The English boat took advantage of it all but in the end they were too rash and the XXII-Marseille won choosing the left hand side. In both races we've done good starts but in the second it's been specially good, to leeward of the fleet, we've forced them to the right where there was less pressure and then we were first in the first mark. In the second one the pack was more compact, Patagonia tried to pass us but we managed to keep them behind".
Tony Langley (GBR), Skipper, Gladiator (GBR):
“Yesterday we didn´t get good shifts and had two “eight out of eight” and that made us feel pretty low last night. We came with no expectations, so it´s quite nice to perform like we did today. We were pretty strong all the way though in the second one, it was three of us sailing pretty closely the last time going windward and it was tight at the last leg, we went a bit punchy at the last round and it paid off. Light conditions like today´s are the trickiest for me but I´m happy with it went today, we sailed a lot better than the first race. Some of the guys were at Palma Vela and we weren´t very happy, so we made a few changes”.
Marseille Trophy, 16 06 2011 © Ian Roman/Audi MedCup
Results after 4 races
1. Quantum Racing (USA), 4+1+1+8= 14 points
2. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 2+4+7+2= 15 points
3. Bribón (ESP), 3+2+6+5= 16 points
4. Ràn (SUE), 5+5+2+4= 16 points
5. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 1+7+3+7= 18 points
6. Container (GER), 7+3+4+6= 20 points
7. Gladiator (GBR), 8+8+5+1=22 points
8. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (EUR), 6+6+8+3= 23 points
Results after 2 races
1. Iberdrola Team 3+1=4
2. XXII-Marseille 1+3=4
3. Patagonia by Negra 4+2=6
4. Ngoni 2+5=7
5. Noticia IV 5+4= 9