Monday, 11 May 2009

Audi MedCup: Fleet Testing and Practice off Alicante

Moderate breezes off Alicante proved ideal Sunday for the TP52 Series and GP42 Series fleets which are assembling for the first 2009 Audi MedCup regatta of the new season, the City of Alicante Trophy.

Image copyright Nico Martinez/Audi MedCup.

by Sabina Mollart-Rogerson

Of the 13 TP52s which are due to line up on Tuesday when the regatta’s official practice race starts, at least eight took part in impromptu ad-hoc short race practice today. Lining up against each other at different times in winds of between 11 and 16 knots were all three of the 2009 new build boats – Matador (Alberto Roemmers, ARG), Emirates Team New Zealand (Dean Barker, NZL) and Artemis (Torbjorn Tornqvist, SWE) as well as the benchmark current Audi MedCup Champion Quantum Racing (Terry Hutchinson, USA). Half of the fleet of six GP42 Series competitors were also taking full advantage of the conditions.

“We did some big long line ups against Artemis and the former Artemis (now MarazziSailing, SUI) and then we got into some racing. The boat performed really well around the pre-start. We have bigger foils on the boat similar to what Quantum Racing had last year and that just gives you a little bit more bite. Speed-wise as well it is pretty positive. But this is going to be a very tough year and it going to be, again, all about avoiding the ‘shockers’", explained Ray Davies (NZL), tactician on Emirates Team New Zealand.

“We still have got a lot of work to do before the start. We have to check out a couple more sails and to work on being smooth on the boat with crew weight. It is the beginning of the season so you are concentrating on the basics, on doing them well.” says Davies.

“There is a lot expected from this team, and we expect a lot of ourselves. I think the whole fleet has gone up another level again, and I think this will be tougher again than last season’s regatta. Slightly fewer boats makes it more difficult.”
“We are about right in terms of our overall preparation. We had a little extra work than we were hoping on measurement. But the weather has been perfect and now it is down to the finer details, learning the characteristics of the boat. That can take a long time, to understand the different modes. This is a very, very powerful boat with bigger appendages and so trying to learn where we are vulnerable is important.”

“There is a lot of rivalry out there, but Quantum Racing is the standard to beat. They were pretty incredible last season the way they just kept improving. They are going to be the boat to beat, I have them as favourite, I think followed closely by Matador and Artemis, but them also the likes of the Italian Audi boat (Audi Sailing Team powered by Q8) have sorted their boat out and are going to be a lot quicker. Bigamist (Bigamist 7, ex Platoon powered by Team Germany) have a decent boat for the first time in a while, and the Russians have now had a lot of time with their boats, so I think it is going to be tough and very close.” Davies concludes.

“It was good out there. No big surprises. The people we expected to be going well were going well. I think everybody was just getting a hold of it right now. We think we are we should be. Things are going just fine.” Commented Ed Reynolds (USA), project manager of defending champions Quantum Racing (USA), “For us it is now about getting up to full-on race mode, spending some time just gelling as a team. We have done a lot of tuning and testing as a team, now it is about lining up against other people and getting to race mode.”

The Audi MedCup race village for the City of Alicante Trophy opens on Tuesday and contains a number of exciting new innovations and attractions for visitors, including live real time tracking of the races and audio commentary.

Audi MedCup

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