Sunday, 11 October 2009

TP52 Worlds: A fitting world championship showdown awaits The Men in White

Bribón hold the lead into the final day of the TP52 World Championship but it is all open

by Sabina Mollart-Rogerson

A frustrating attempt at a coastal race in very unsettled wind conditions was abandoned after seven miles and one hour and ten minutes of often heart-stopping racing to leave Bribón’s four points lead at the top of the ten boat TP52 World Championship fleet going into the final day of racing.

While Bribón’s leading margin remains unchanged after today’s ‘non-race’, the day’s big move is that Matador (ARG) are now in second place overall after their fourth place from Race 2 was re-instated today by the International Jury. The protest which concerned the first windward mark of Race 2 of the series, has now been dismissed.

This puts the Copa del Rey champions, Matador, on equal on points with Quantum Racing (USA) who dropped to third only on tie break.

For the record it was Quantum Racing, the current world champions, who stayed just one step ahead of both the small changes and the very big wind shifts to earn a lead of more than one minute during today’s abandoned effort.

The 10 knots NE’ly breeze which the fleet started in was summarily replaced half way down the first run by a breeze from the exact opposite direction. By the time Quantum Racing reached a windward mark off Enterrocat, on the east side of Palma Bay, the race committee decided that the race needed to be abandoned because the breeze on the next leg had dropped to 2-3 knots.

A new schedule has been drawn for the final day, bringing forward the scheduled start of the first race to 1100hrs (local), to try and maximise the number of races completed before the 1530hrs time limit after which no sequence can start.

Now, the local favourites Bribón have two contenders, Matador and Quantum Racing chasing them just four points behind, and Artemis (SWE) – the 2007 world title winners only seven points, and Synergy (RUS) only eight points behind going into a finale which could see three races.

And while the Bribón team, which is the championship’s only one sailing under Spanish colours, have been within their three year old boat’s preferred sub 10 knots conditions and flat water thus far, more breeze, from the northerly quadrant – blowing offshore – is predicted.

So, as Bribón’s trimmer Ignasi Triay (ESP) noted, sagely, after racing today: “Let’s face it, anything could happen.”

Triay continues:
“The offshore breeze is unstable and shifty.

“Everything is open. The difference between the boats is nothing. So we will just try to carry on doing what we have been, and sail properly, don’t do anything silly and make silly mistakes and keep it constant. That is all we can try to do.

“In fact with two boats behind us now on the same points in one way it makes it more difficult, but maybe too they will mess each other up, but as I say, anything can happen.

“What I keep getting back to as an example here is Artemis, a very good boat. Sixth after the first day, then leading after the first day, then third, and now fourth."

“You can’t take anything for granted and it can be all up and down.”

Bribón's crew. Image copyright Nico Martinez/TP52 World Championship.

TP52 World Championship 2009
Palma de Mallorca (Spain)
Overall standings after Day 4

1. Bribón (ESP, Gonzalo Araujo), 7+2+2+3+1= 15 points
2. Matador (ARG, Alberto Roemmers), 3+4+8+1+3= 19 points
3. Quantum Racing (USA, Terry Hutchinson), 5+1+3+6+4= 19 points
4. Artemis (SWE, Torbjorn Tornqvist), 8+3+1+2+8 = 22 points
5. Synergy (RUS, Sergey Pichugin), 2+4+7+7+2= 22 points

Manuel dos Santos Silva (POR) Chairman of the International Jury:
“Since the first decision which we made at the moment, on everything that we found out, we were not very comfortable with the decision. And as we were not very happy with the decision we still maintained a discussion about it and the Jury in this discussions came to a point that we had made a mistake on the conclusion, on the decision.

“ We are allowed under Rule 66 to, without changing the facts, to change the decision.

“ We used the rules but at the same time we had the feeling that something was not right. And with the discussion of the situation with other boats, looking at the rules and other cases, we did not change the fact, it was on the rules and on the interpretation of the rules that we found that our decision was not correct.

“ We are going to put at least one or two Q & A’s to ISAF because we found that the Rule (Rule 20) is not very clear, and so we want to clarify that with ISAF.”

Alberto Roemmers (ARG), owner-helm Matador (ARG):
“I've just been told that we've won the protest and I really thank the jury for their disposition. This was a very difficult case, where each one interpreted the rule and thought they had done the right thing, and nobody understood, in case they had to be penalized, why. The jury wasn't even able to tell us which rule we had infringed. We are really happy since this is a very important championship. This puts us in the second place with possibilities, and on the water we'll keep on fighting. I think, after what happened, they will have to change the rules.”

Maria Torrijo (ESP), race officer:
“We've abandoned the race because the wind dropped. Eveen if the boats still had 5 to 6 knots where they were, ahead of them there were just 2 or 3. So we've decided to abandon because we believed the race would not be fair. The boats would stop at some point...Besides there weren't many hours of daylight left, because we've started late cause there was no wind, and it hasn't settled. Tomorrow's forecast is pretty good, we've decided to start one hour earlier, at 11, and will try to hold three legs”

Gonzalo Araujo (ESP) helmsman Bribón (ESP):
“ During this whole week we've sailed five races and tomorrow they want to do three, so that the championship is not decided yet. Besides, there are four boats within eight points of us, so tomorrow everything can change. Our goal, as always, is trying to do things well, because nothing is decided yet."

TP52 World Championships

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