Slightly modified expectations, a more relaxed attitude and sheer hard work may have combined to form a catalyst for Audi MedCup champions Quantum Racing to bounce back after their disappointing seventh place finish last month in Cagliari, Sardinia.
The 2009 Circuit winning team are back on the Atlantic waters where last season they clinched the overall title and on the evidence of today's practise race, which they won handily, nearly one minute ahead of Circuit leaders Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), they should not be written off.
Racing in an unsettled and challenging light breeze of 7-10 knots, Quantum Racing (USA) started smartly off the committee boat end of the start line which allowed them to break early to the right side of the track and gain the benefit as the wind clocked slightly to the right. The black and green hulled Botin Carkeek design lead away at the first windward turn, nine seconds up on Italy's Audi Q8. A good first run from Emirates Team New Zealand elevated them to second which they held to the finish.
Aboard Spain's Bribon, Britain's double Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson, guested for today on the helm, combining with fellow double medallists Thierry Pepponnet (FRA) and Ross McDonald (CAN), to take fourth place.
Robertson, who is no stranger to TP52's after steering Eamon Conneely's Copa del Rey winning Patches in the formative seasons of that programme, is visiting the Audi MedCup Circuit in her role as presenter of CNN's Mainsail programme, coolly completed interviews and commentary as she steered Bribon around the course.
Emirates Team New Zealand's second place today once more underlined their potency in the light to moderate conditions after working the left side of the course upwind on the first leg, they proved quick enough in the modest breezes. Tactician Ray Davies (NZL) repeated today that their strategy this week will be simply to ‘survive this regatta in good shape' and to ‘keep our high averages up.' The Kiwi team lead overall Audi MedCup Circuit TP52 Series by 32.5 points.
Portugal Trophy, TP52 Series, Practise Race.
1 Quantum Racing (USA)
2 Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)
3 Matador (ARG)
4 Bribon (ESP)
5 Synergy (RUS)
Audi MedCup Circuit 2009
Overall (3 events)
1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 38+27,5+28= 93,5 points
2. Matador (ARG), 36+47,5+42,5= 126 points
3. Quantum Racing (USA), 40+41,5+65= 146,5 points
4. Artemis (SWE), 37+62,5+49,5= 149 points
5. Bigamist (POR), 46+55,5+57= 158,5 points
1. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), 20+23+23= 66 points
2. Roma (ITA), 22+17+30= 69 points
3. Caser-Endesa (ESP), 33+27+26= 86 points
4. Airis (ITA), 21+38+28= 87 points
5. Turismo Madrid (ESP), 35+35+43= 113 points
Complete results: http://2009.medcup.org/results2/overall.php
Quotes of the day:
Quantum Racing's tactician Morgan Larson (USA):
” It was nice that we had enough wind to sail. We executed our start…finally, but it was good to get things ‘clicking' again. There is definitely a more relaxed atmosphere on board. I think our expectations have changed a little, so the attitude has changed. On the flip side we had a tough regatta last time. You want to work on the things which were not clicking in Sardinia, but things are the same as last year and so you really don't want to change too much. So, we kind of took the view that we would work a little bit harder and push a little bit harder, but keep the same system that we have had in place.”
” I think we were plagued there by a little bit of misfortune and the key guys on the boat were a little off their game last time, myself included. But it is a long summer with so many different events, that is tough – week in week out – to stay motivated and keep that hunger. I feel good now because the energy on the boat is good, so we are happier.”
Ray Davies (NZL) tactician Emirates Team New Zealand:
” It was difficult light airs conditions again. We were back in fourth or fifth at the top mark but sneaked into a third at the windward mark. The breeze was just going right for the first half of the race. The second beat was different, more steady.”
” I remember that here the onshore breezes are very unstable and it wont necessarily be a one way track. There is interesting tide out there which changes a lot and so it is difficult to get your head around it. And the sea breeze is not as consistent as a Valencia-type sea breeze. It was always dying and often felt quite soft. Under 8 knots it is just naturally unstable.”
” We are OK in the lighter stuff when we have a nice clear lane and can do what we want. You notice the differences when you are really trying to hold a tough lane. We are very comfortable in a tough lane above 12 knots. The thing with light air is that the breeze is a much bigger factor than any performance, I don't think we are the fastest boat out there, but we can certainly still win races in light airs.”