As 2007 champions Artemis (SWE) made a lacklustre start and could only salvage an eighth in the light, sticky conditions today Bribón moved four points at the top, clear of the current champions Quantum Racing (USA) who scored a useful fourth.
After making a strong start double Olympic Star class medallist, tactician Ross MacDonald along with navigator Marcel van Triest (NED) read the shifting breeze at the top end of the first beat precisely, calling a good layline which allowed them to ease away around the windward mark ahead of Matador (ARG) which over-stood slightly.
In 6-7 knots of breeze Bribón were able to extend on the downwind leg to build themselves a comfortable margin, winning by 1 minute and 24 seconds, well clear of a dramatic finish behind them as Synergy (RUS) gained more than half a minute on the last run. Their hitch out to the left brought them extra wind pressure which allowed them to steal across the bows of Quantum Racing and Matador to wrest second palce.
Second at the final windward mark, the Argentinian boat just made third, getting the better of Quantum in a heart-stopping finish.
Only one second was judged to be the difference between the two.
Highlighting once again how tight this TP52 fleet is, and how much one error can cost, the overnight leaders Artemis (SWE) were forced right early after a modest start and could do no better than eighth around the course to the finish, dropping to third overall.
On their home waters, with possibly the best known race boat to fly the Real Club Náutico de Palma colours, there is no doubt that the crew of Bribón have redoubled their efforts since the end of the Audi MedCup season to ensure they give their best here.
They have kept several key sails fresh for these world championships and recruited Gonzalo Araujo (ESP), who has just raced round the world on Spanish entry Telefonica Black, and was previously skipper-helm of Balearia on the MedCup Circuit before, to take the steering wheels here. Seeking to streamline their languages and communications, there is also a downside in that Araujo had only sailed a couple of days on the boat prior to Tuesday's start of the regatta.
Talk of a home waters advantage is cheap and easy. The reality is that the breezes have been very different to the ‘usual' Bay of Palma fayre.
” Some of the guys have specific knowledge here, but we really are not putting too much into that, it just becomes a little too risky doing that.” Cautions MacDonald,
“Being in the best pressure was the most important thing today. Under 10 knots of breeze the pressure makes such a big difference in these boats, especially in the tacking angles.”
” We never had high expectations here, we just wanted to operate at a better level here than we have this season and that has been our main goal.
” Before we were maybe speaking four or five different languages on the boat, now its down to two or three….and I'm the outsider, for sure!” grins the Canadian.
Bribón's project manager and trimmer Ignasi Triaiy (ESP) adds:
“Like I have been saying all season, these are the conditions for this boat, flat water, light winds, and finally I think we are sailing it much closer to 100% than we have been than before.
“This proves to us that we are sailing the boat well, to have a three years old boat and be where we are, but to be at the top is difficult. I am happy but we are not reading too much into it, there are two days to go.”
Tomorrow's re-scheduled coastal race carries a 1.5 points multiplier.
TP52 World Championship 2009
Palma de Mallorca (Spain)
Overall Standings after Day 3, 5 races.
1. Bribón (ESP, Gonzalo Araujo), 7+2+2+3+1= 15 points
2. Quantum Racing (USA, Terry Hutchinson), 5+1+3+6+4= 19 points
3. Artemis (SWE, Torbjorn Tornqvist), 8+3+1+2+8 = 22 points
4. Synergy (RUS, Sergey Pichugin), 2+4+7+7+2= 22 points
5. Audi TP52 Powered by Q8 (ITA, Riccardo Simoneschi), 4+6+5+4+5= 24 points
Cameron Dunn (NZL), tactician Synergy (RUS):
” It was a surprisingly steady wind race for these conditions. We were almost expecting no race today. The first beat was important. We didn't get in close contact with any boat so we could just sail free and fast and could manage fourth at the first mark.
We stayed close with the boats in front of us and had a nice gap behind us that made it easy, and in the last downwind just got a little more pressure than Matador and Quantum, and we had a few nice gybes at the bottom. The guys did really some nice crew work and we managed to sneak across and get them by a two boats length or something, so it was a very nice day specially after yesterday. We have not had a good coastal races this season so we hope we can turn that around”.
Alberto Roemmers (ARG), owner-helm Matador (ARG):
“We made a mistake that cost us a lot. We went to the right, there was little wind there, and we wanted to go straight to the mark and the tactician has asked for a boat length to the layline but we got seven boat lengths away. So we were coming back and we caught Bribón, and they tacked two and a half boat lengths behind us and we were sailing along Quantum, otherwise we could have been first. Tomorrow we have the coastal race, we did a good one in Copa del Rey, and we hope we can do it again tomorrow”.