Saturday, 19 June 2010

Audi MedCup: Big Blow Could be the decider for ETNZ

Emirates Team New Zealand in the coastal race off Marseille. Image copyright Chris Cameron/Emirates Team New Zealand.

by Warren Douglas

Strong winds predicted for the weekend could decide the outcome of the Audi MedCup Marseille regatta at Marseille.

On Friday, Emirates Team New Zealand took second place in the 40-mile coastal race, climbing to fourth on the overall leader board.

Now on 31 points, Emirates Team New Zealand is 8.5 points behind Quantum, which won the coastal race, on 22.5. Matador is on 27 points and Audi A1 on 29.5.

It’s tight on the leader board and the weather forecast has skipper Dean Barker and the boys hoping that the three races scheduled are run on Saturday. “If the winds on Sunday are as strong as predicted there’s unlikely to be any racing.”

Team weatherman Roger Badham expects winds on Saturday to be 20-25 knots gusting to 30. On Sunday, early signs are for the winds to increase to 30-35 knots gusting to 40.

Dean Barker says Saturday should be OK for racing. “Three races in strong winds – anything can happen.”

On Friday’s coastal race, several boats suffered sail and gear damage. On the long run, the wind gauge at the top of NZL380’s mast recorded 28 knots.

Barker said: “We didn’t have any problems with gear or sails. The shore crew has prepared the yacht exceptionally well. In heavy conditions reliability is paramount and we have the confidence in the boat to push it hard.

“We are only four points away from second overall; 8.5 from the lead. We’re not in the box seat, but we’re close enough to strike if we sail well and take the opportunities.”

Emirates Team New Zealand in the coastal race off Marseille. Image copyright Chris Cameron/Emirates Team New Zealand.

Of Friday’s coastal race, tactician Ray Davies said: "We finished second, so we are very happy with that on a very tricky and tough race. We had a very good first leg. Down the long run Audi was flying and they surfed right over the top of us and they just kept going.

“On the beat upwind they had some troubles with the genoa. They did a very good job of recovering - first they had to drop it and then re-hoist it and then the sail started pulling out of the foil.

“Conditions were great, it was perfect sailing and it got up to 26-28 knots down the run. But it was a long way upwind, a lot of hiking. A lot of people will be wanting a massage tonight, that's for sure."

NZL 380 led at the first mark with Quantum 19s behind. Quantum slipped past at the second mark, with NZL 380 right on its transom, the margin only 4s.

Audi A1 showed great speed down wind, overtaking NZL 380 and rounding second at the third and fourth marks. A broken jib halyard on the French-German boat gave Dean Barker an opportunity which he grabbed. They overtook and maintained the advantage to the finish.

Marseille Trophy

TP52 Series
Overall – Day 3

1. Quantum Racing (USA), 8+1+1+5+6+1.5= 22.5 points
2. Matador (ARG), 3+3+4+1+10+6= 27
3. Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER), 2+9+2+10+2+4.5= 29.5
4. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 10+6+5+4+3+3= 31
5. TeamOrigin (GBR), 4+7+7+3+1+9= 31
6. Synergy (RUS), 9+2+6+7+4+7.5= 35.5
7. Bribón (ESP), 1+8+8+2+7+15= 41
8. Cristabella (GBR), 6+4+3+8+9+13.5= 43.5
9. Luna Rossa (ITA), 5+5+10+9+5+10.5= 44.5
10. Artemis (SWE), 7+11(RAF)+9+6+8+12= 53

Emirates Team New Zealand
Audi MedCup