A first and a second from two difficult races today on the Bay of Palma sees the 2007 world champions Artemis (SWE) emerge with only the slimmest possible lead after four races have now been sailed at the 2009 TP52 World Championship.
The Swedish flagged team are tied on points with local favourites Bribón (ESP). José Cusí's crew from the host club, with round the world racer Gonzalo Araujo (ESP) on the helm, also erred on the conservative, safe side where possible and posted a second and a third..
In the flat water, short beats and modest wind-speeds it was day for clear thinking and concise decision making, especially at the busy, often frenetic first windward mark roundings.
When they made strong start off the pin end of the line in Race 4, overnight leaders Quantum Racing (USA) looked to be well set to at least consolidate on the two points lead that they held.
But at the first windward mark approach, while Artemis squeezed only away a few metres ahead, they were suddenly trapped on their port tack approach, as the starboard tack line up lifted and they had to bail out to the back of the queue. .
Choosing prudence and dipping hard, Quantum Racing the current champions managed to come back from tenth round that first buoy to rescue a sixth place finish, but they slid to third overall, still only two points off the leading pair's aggregate.
“It was all created by a bit of miscommunication about what we were going to do, but that was set up from four minutes out. We made the wrong decision. But instead of sticking it in there and fouling everybody we made the proper decision, and we got on with it and got back into the race.” Grimaced Quantum Racing's skipper-helm Terry Hutchinson, “But the fact that we did not take ourselves completely out of it today is good.”
While the champions snared themselves only once, Artemis' ability to sail clean and fast was outstanding among their virtues today, while Bribón – sailing on their home patch – are clearly quick enough in these 10 knots average breezes and flat water
With Paul Cayard (USA) calling tactics for Torbjorn Tornqvist (SWE), backed up by Hamish Pepper (NZL) and Chris Nicholson (AUS), Artemis sailed smart in the difficult, unsettled breezes. With small changes in wind pressure and direction through both races – the SSW'ly breeze at between 9 and 12 knots – there were ample opportunities to make gains, and losses
“It was a matter of metres if you could cross people or not, because they were short beats and very smooth water. And so I guess we just got clean, we were able to cross most of the people and approach the mark from the starboard side, which is great because you avoid all the ducking, yelling and screaming behind you. So we kind of played it to the conservative side.” Noted Artemis' tactician Cayard.
Matador, who were disqualified from Race 2 after a protest, to some extent bounced back today. Though they lead at the windward mark in the first race they could only make an eighth but then went on to win the second race today. They are seeking to have the protest re-opened.
The regatta schedule has been altered to allow more windward-leeward racing Friday with the 1.5 points coastal race scheduled for Saturday.
TP52 World Championship 2009
Palma de Mallorca (Spain)
Overall Standings after Day 2
1. Artemis (SWE, Torbjorn Tornqvist), 8+3+1+2 = 14 points
2. Bribón (ESP, Gonzalo Araujo), 7+2+2+3= 14 points
3. Quantum Racing (USA, Terry Hutchinson), 5+1+3+6= 15 points
4. Audi TP52 Powered by Q8 (ITA, Riccardo Simoneschi), 4+6+5+4= 19 points
5. Cristabella (GBR, John Cook), 1+8+6+6+5= 20 points
Paul Cayard (USA), tactician Artemis (SWE):
“I think in the first race we got a little lucky really. We gybe set and Valars looked like they were quite a bit ahead of us, but the wind was all on the shore side and we went right around them. Generally the breeze was right at the top, and left at the bottom. It was not quite as simple as that…because there were oscillations and so you really had to pick and choose your moments. I think what was most important was to have a clear start at full speed and then just get in a lane, any lane where you could sail your boat at full speed, then near the top of the beat, maybe try a couple of shifts depending where you were. Early in the beat it was just about sailing at full speed.”
Ross McDonald (Can), tactician Bribón (ESP)
” We had a really good day,alltough there aren't many oportunities. This is the first time Gonzalo races with us, we've only sailed with him on Saturday and the day before the event. It's good for us to have him. But also we've worked hard all season on learning what makes the boat go well, so it makes it easy for him too. We've saved the new sails for this event. We've tried not to use them before because this is Bribon's home. We want to do it as well as we can. Gonzalo has just raced around the world so he knows how to keep the boat going fast.”
Johan Barne (SWE), navigator Matador (ARG):
” We were leading at the top mark in both races but it was very tricky in the downwind in the first race with big wind holes, We didn't play it out so well in the end of the downwind and there we came round in the middle of the fleet.”