Wednesday, 5 September 2007

10 is the Magic Number…

by Helena de la Gándara

“Our aim is to reach the MedCup podium and that’s what we’ll be fighting to do”, says Mean Machine Valle Romano tactician Ray Davies.

Mean Machine Valle Romano is back on fire after 10 firsts this season, the most any team has notched up in this year’s circuit so far. Now the team are preparing for the final event in the 2007 Breitling MedCup Circuit, which gets going on 10th September, in the south of France town, Hyères.

It’s been a choppy season for the team sponsored by the Spanish Golf Resort Valle Romano, but it seems the Mean Machine is back on top of the waves after a powerful performance in Portimao. They had a strong start in Alicante back in June, but were disappointed with the outcome of the two regattas in Mallorca.

Founded and skippered by Peter de Ridder, the Mean Machine team has risen up from the ashes of a 50 point penalty at the Breitling Regatta, where they were disqualified from the double scoring coastal race. Each team racing on the MedCup Circuit has a discard allowance when it comes to the Windward/Leeward format (each 10 races sailed), but Coastal races do not apply. The Mean Machine Valle Romano crew felt the full force of this in Mallorca.

They were down, but not out, and the team proved “meaner” than ever, and despite a mediocre performance in the King’s Cup, also in Mallorca, tactician Ray Davies and co. pulled some great tactical sailing out of the bag for the Portugal Trophy in Portimao. The team took 5 out of a possible 7 wins, proving their outstanding sailing calibre.

This year’s Circuit presented itself as an even tougher challenge to Peter de Ridder’s crew. Expectations were high after an imposing victory in last season’s Breitling MedCup Circuit. The team became the first to win both the title of overall winners of the Circuit and the Corinthian title. The 2006 champions faced this Circuit with a 2nd generation boat and new rivals joining the ranks of the mighty TP 52 fleet on the start line. There were also new venues and an interesting set of weather conditions to grapple with.

One advantage they did have was a team of 2006 champions… Tactician Ray Davies, strategist Tom Dodson, navigator Jules Salter, trimmers Dirk de Ridder, Jon Swain and Jon Gundersen and the rest of the talented crew – Liam Newman, Jeff Reynolds, Jono Macbeth, Tony Rae, Chris Reid, Ed Van Lierde, Sander van der Borch and Stu Bettany - know what winning tastes like, and are hungry for more. Peter de Ridder’s crew are just 11 points away from that third podium step in this year’s competition.

The final event in the 2007 Breitling MedCup will be a test of Mean Machine Valle Romano’s power to fight her way on to the podium. In such a competitive and unpredictable Circuit, anything’s possible.

However, one thing’s definitely certain, the “Old Lady” might be a second generation boat, but she’s still got some fight left in her...

Mean Machine Valle Romano

Breitling MedCup 2007

No comments: