Saturday, 19 June 2010

Audi MedCup Marseille: Quantum Racing kings under the Calanques

After winning on this track for the second year in a row Quantum Racing could be justified in claiming ownership of one of the most spectacular race tracks there is on the Audi MedCup Circuit, the 36 miles circuit down along spectacular calanques limestone cliffs to Cassis and back

TP52s off Marseille. Image copyright Nico Martinez/Audi MedCup.

by Sabina Mollart-Rogerson

Carrying a 1.5 points bounty the win their third of the Marseille Trophy so far, gives the 2008 Audi MedCup champions a lead of 4.5 points over Matador who stole third in the closing stages of a spectacular, exciting coastal race.

TP52 fleet. Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Audi MedCup.

It was pure, distilled, classic Marseille. Winds peaked at nearly 25 knots with big seas to ride on the 10 miles downwind leg to the turning mark off Cassis, the scenic little town which lies in a quiet bay cut from the towering cliffs. On the downwind leg the sustained surfing action was quite simply as good as it gets, and on the return leg along the base of the cliffs, it is fantastic, powerful upwind sailing in flatter water.

Artemis. Image copyright Ian Roman/Audi MedCup.

Emirates Team New Zealand. Image copyright Ainhoa Sanchez/Audi MedCup.

The Quantum Racing team sailed an impeccable race.

Quantum Racing. Image copyright Ian Roman/Audi MedCup.

The pressure was added at the start with the TP52 fleet knowing that there might be few big tactical opportunities after leaving the bay of Marseille. It was another pin sharp start from the Quantum Racing afterguard which allowed them to track left early with Emirates Team New Zealand. The Kiwis lead around the windward mark with Quantum Racing on their tails but on the first run Emirates Team New Zealand gybed early and the American team were able to get around the leeward gate first.

From there Quantum Racing were never really challenged.

Artemis. Image copyright Ian Roman/Audi MedCup.

Jochen Schuemann, Sebastien Col and the Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE were probably the quickest on the water today and had overhauled the Kiwi team, but just after half way back up the long beat home, the Franco-German team lost their jib.

Audi A1 Team powered by ALL4ONE. Image copyright Ian Roman/Audi MedCup.

They had to send a man up the mast quickly to retrieve the halyard and that lost them ground to the current champions. Audi A1 took third place across the finish, whilst Matador’s never say die spirit was rewarded when they managed to grab fourth on the finish line.

TP52s. Image copyright Ian Roman/Audi MedCup.

Equipment Failures
It was a muscular day which exposed any small imperfections in crew work, or equipment. Britain’s TeamOrigin 1851 had some of their good work on Thursday undone when their jib slipped down on the first beat when they were dicing for second place, they fought back but could only make sixth.

Audi A1 Team powered by ALL4ONE. Image copyright Ainhoa Sanchez/Audi MedCup.

But the most unfortunate team were Bribon who lost their forestay strop and had to nurse their boat to the finish under mainsail only.

Artemis. Image copyright Ainhoa Sanchez/Audi MedCup.

Madrid-Caser Seguros tightens the race
In a stunning reversal of yesterday’s mediocre results, Madrid-Caser Seguros (ESP) found their form in today’s wavy, breezy conditions to post an impressive 2-1-1 in the GP42’s three races. This result has vaulted them from last to runner-up in the standings, and tightened the race in the GP42 Series. Helmsman Paolo Cian (ITA) and his team led by tactician Jose Maria van der Ploeg (ESP) were fast, smart and error-free from start to finish today, bested only by AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA) in the first race. The win in Race 3 by owner/helmsman Roberto Monti (ITA) and his team was their first of the 2010 season.

GP42s. Image copyright Guido Trombetta_Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup.

These big-breeze conditions in the past have usually favored both Madrid-Caser Seguros and Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), being the latest-generation Botin & Carkeek designs, but the Felci-designed AIRISESSENTIAL and the slightly older generation B&C-designed Iberdrola (ESP) managed to hang on turn in their share of good results, with Iberdrola maintaining a slim 2-point lead in the class.

GP42s. Image copyright Nico Martinez/Audi MedCup.

Another older B&C design, Peninsula Petroleum (GBR), also showed great promise in the breeze by being among the leaders in the first mark rounding, but a loud crack heard shortly after rounding indicated the masthead crane breaking. The accident is particularly heartbreaking for the team, led by owner/helmsman John Bassadone (GBR) and tactician Inaki Castaner (ESP), since the very same break occurred for them on the final day of racing in the last Audi MedCup stage in Portugal. The team will be unable to affect repairs in time to re-join the series at this stage, especially with the strong Mistral forecast for tomorrow.

Quantum Racing. Image copyright Ainhoa Sanchez/Audi MedCup.

Ashore the Audi MedCup Public Village has proved a popular visitor attraction on the bustling Vieux Port promenade. As well as sailor interviews at the dock out and dock in, the day's winners Quantum Racing took to the stage for the public weigh in.

TP52 fleet. Image copyright Carlo Borlenghi/Audi MedCup.

strong>Quotes of the day:

Morgan Larson (USA) tacitician Quantum Racing (USA):
“We like that race course. It was slightly different to last year, but not that much. I think it was a pretty straightforward race, we put the right sails up at the right time, boat handling was good. I reckon that is probably the best race I have sailed with this team in two years. I don’t think there is anything especially different. For us it is nice to have Doug de Vos with us. He knows his way around the boat which is nice. It is the first regatta he has done with us. He is not just sitting on the rail, he is sort of the mast man and doing a lot of grinding.
“I think the addition of Phil Jameson, ‘Blood’, who joined as at the back end of last season, is a great addition. He has so much experience and is a great trouble shooter. We had a few mechanical issues before the start and one or two issues during the race and he sorted them out.

TP52s. Image copyright Nico Martinez/Audi MedCup.

“Visually that is beautiful course and tactically it is great. There are a lot of rocks and turns. You think it is the same every year but there are still bits where you are thinking where the mark is. Historically it has always been good for us and it is great because you sail outside in big winds and waves and then come upwind in flat water and along the cliffs.”

GP42. Image copyright Nico Martinez/Audi MedCup.

Gabriele Benussi (ITA), tactician AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA):
“We are surprised because the other boats are very fast with strong wind, but today we were very similar with the speed, we started very well, we did a good tactic, so we finish in first place. In the other two races we have done wrong some manoeuvres and we have broken one gennaker, so we were second and third and we have finished third and forth, but for me it’s a very good day as we sail with owner driver and with this conditions is very hard to steer the boat.”

Matador. Image copyright Nico Martinez/Audi MedCup.

José María van der Ploeg (ESP), skipper Madrid-Caser Seguros (ESP):
“It’s been a second and two firsts, in this order, as we are not very happy with the first race, we have had some problems with the speed but we have been able to fix them and slowly we have been able to trim the sails and the mast and that has allowed us to sail the next two races more comfortable and relaxed and that has shown in the results. Here the level is very even and if you make one mistake you can be sure that they will remind you.”

Emirates Team New Zealand and Matador. Image copyright Nico Martinez/Audi MedCup.

Ray Davies (NZL), tactician ETNZ (NZL):
"We've finished second, so we are very happy with that but it's been a very tricky tough race. We've had a very good first leg, and then down the long run down to the bottom end Audi were flying they sailed past us they caught up towards Quantum as well they were going the best downwiind and they surfed straight over the top of us and they just kept going.
"Then 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 started pulling out of the foil. Conditions were great, it was perfect sailing, it got up to 26-27 knots sometimes down the run. But it was a long way upwind, a lot of hiking, there will be a lot of people wanting a massage tonight that's for sure."

Matador and Emirates Team New Zealand. Image copyright Nico Martinez/Audi MedCup.

Jochen Schuemann (GER), Audi A1 All4One (GER):
" The most important part of the race was the long downwind where we were quite fast and could overtake ETNZ and we were in second position there down in Cassis, but unfortunately when we got a solid second place there we broke our jib halyard and we had to drop the jib, put it up again on the spinnaker halyard and also Jean Marie had to climb up twice in the rig to fix it so that we could continue sailing, and for all that drama we can be very happy of being so close to ETNZ in the finish, they passed us but it was a very nice race."

Quantum Racing and Emirates Team New Zealand. Image copyright Nico Martinez/Audi MedCup.

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
11. Bigamist 7 (POR), 12(DNC)+12(DNC)+12(DNC)+12(DNC)+12(DNC)+18(DNC)= 78

AIRISESSENTIAL and Iberdrola in the GP42 fleet. Image copyright Nico Martinez/Audi MedCup.

GP42 Series
Overall – Day 2

1. Iberdrola (ESP), 1+1+3+2+3= 10 points
2. Madrid-Caser Seguros (ESP), 4+4+2+1+1= 12
3. AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA), 5+2+1+3+4= 15
4. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), 2+5+4+4+2= 17
5. Peninsula Petroleum (GBR), 3+3+6(DNF)+6(DNC)+6(DNC)= 24

Bribon. Image copyright Nico Martinez/Audi MedCup.

Audi MedCup