Sunday, 2 September 2007

Kiwi Success with Transpac 52s in the 2007 Breitling MedCup

An Impressive Mean Machine Valle Romano Sweeps to Victory in the Portugal Trophy

by Helena de la Gándara

Displaying the colours of the Spanish golf resort Valle Romano, Peter de Ridder’s crew led the fleet right from day one of the competition. There was no sailing to be had on the final day, as the crews were faced with a lack of sufficient breeze.

Ray Davies, tactician on Mean Machine Valle Romano: “The best thing about this class is that you’re constantly learning from our rivals; without exception. You are forced to learn and improve, and that’s what makes this class so competitive and exciting”.

The Machine was unstoppable! Peter de Ridder and Mean Machine Valle Romano gave a powerful performance, dominating the Portugal Trophy, the fourth and penultimate event in the 2007 Breitling MedCup Circuit.

If “a change is as good as a rest” it was certainly true in Portimao this week. The first two days of competition saw winds gusting at up to 25 knots, pushing the TP 52s to the limit, but by the end of the week the programmed races had to be cancelled due to lack of breeze with crews left wandering the quayside.

Mean Machine Valle Romano had pink flames back on its black hull for this event, and the boat was most definitely on fire. The team hit the Algarve hoping to improve on their performances in Mallorca, Spain, and they certainly managed that. With the Spanish Valle Romano golf resort behind them, Mean Machine also notched up a team record; five firsts in one competition, beating their record of four from last year’s successful run, which earned them a 2006 Breitling MedCup title.

Behind Mean Machine Valle Romano with 17 points on the scoreboard, is Sweden’s Artemis with Russell Coutts on 32 points, and Ireland’s Patches with Ian Walker. Caixa Galicia finished in fourth place on 44 points.

Mean Machine was at ease in the waters of Portimao, and she has the scorecard to prove it: 7,1,1,5,1,1,1. This successful regatta was down to a series of factors: accurate and intelligent judgment of the racecourse by Ray Davies, Tom Dodson and De Ridder, with research and knowledge of local conditions by Jules Salter and team member Pedro das Neves; excellent choice of sails by Dirk de Ridder, Jono Swain and Jon Gundersen, and also the comprehensive groundwork the team put in for this Circuit, in which Jonathan Macbeth played a key role.

Tactician on the Mean Machine Valle Romano TP 52, Ray Davies, was impressed with the boat’s performance: “We’ve been able to plan our race from the position of a good start. There’s no magic formula to explain the team’s performance, and everyone’s worked really hard. We’ve really studied the pros and cons of the new generation boats, and as they’re faster, we’ve tried to make changes to Mean Machine to optimise her performance. The shore crew have done a great job, and Pedro das Neves, ‘our man from Portugal’ has been a great help.”

Peter de Ridder, owner and skipper on Mean Machine Valle Romano was ecstatic with the final victory: “We’ve had a great regatta, and we’ve shown we can push the boat to the limit. The new additions to the TP 52 family are really fast, especially close reaching, like Artemis, Caixa Galicia and Mutua, but I think we gave an impressive sail in Portimao.”

Peter also wanted to emphasise the great organisation of the Portugal Trophy: “I was pleasantly surprised with the organisation of this competition, by both Lagossport and Breitling MedCup. The shore facilities were fantastic, with a village that stands as a mark in the sand in this Circuit, as well as the technical side of things such as the container and sail area and an outstanding Race Committee.

"I really enjoyed the Portimao racecourse. It was the first time sailing here for me, and the first three days were great, with some strong breeze hitting the sails. I’d like to offer most sincere congratulations to Breitling MedCup, as well as the Portuguese organisation for this fantastic new event…and of course to Portimao as well!”


1. Mean Machine Valle Romano. Peter de Ridder. 7, 1, 1, 5, 1, 1, 1 = 17

2. Artemis. Torbjörn Torqnvist. 2, 3, 5, 2, 13, 4, 3 = 32

3. Patches. Ian Walker. 6, 5, 9, 11, 7, 2, 2 = 42

4. CXG Corporación Caixa Galicia. Roberto Bermúdez. 3, 4, 10, 1, 11, 8, 7 = 44

5. Windquest. Doug de Vos.10, 7, 8, 6, 8, 5, 5 = 49

6. Bribón. José Cusí.5, 2, 14, 8, 2, 13, 10 = 54

7. Stay Calm. Stuart Robinson. 1, 21, 4, 14, 6, 6, 6 = 58

8. Siemens. Guillermo Parada. 9, 13, 2, 4, 5, 14, 14 = 61

Mean Machine Valle Romano

Breitling MedCup 2007 Circuit

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