Cayard wins practice round of TP52s in Sardinia

With Paul Cayard (USA) on board calling tactics for the first time for the 2007 Audi MedCup winning owner-skipper Torbjorn Tornqvist (SWE), Artemis seized the opportunity presented to them to win today's practice race for the TP52 Series' Region of Sardinia Trophy.

Racing in a light, even, but well established 7-8 knots of sea breeze off the Sardinian capital Cagliari, Cayard and Tornnqvist shrugged off the competitive sailor's long standing superstition that bad luck will visit the practice race winner which prevented first Matador (ARG) and then Bigamist (POR) from taking the win.

Matador, overall winners in Alicante, were quick in the light breeze and sailed a smart race, leading as they closed on the finish line. But democracy prevailed and the strong Latin contingent aboard the Argentine-flagged boat presented a 2:1 majority over their five Anglo Saxon comrades and the Matador wheeled past the end of the line.

Seconds later Bigamist too bowed to the superstition and trundled past the other end of the line.

“We took a vote and it was ten to five in favour of the Latinos plus the owner is Latin and he had a double vote.” Smiled Matador's Italian tactician Francesco Bruni.

“It was a group decision for us. This does not mean I believe one way or another, but usually I just don't do it. Now is not the time to find out if it's true or not.” Bigamist's skipper-helm Afonso Domingos (POR) confirmed.

But, like a hawk to its prey, steely eyed Cayard and his ice-cool Swedish owner Tornqvist took whatever winning gun was available to them and, for the record, won the practice race.

After two lacklustre attempts in the preliminary starts Cayard and Tornqvist gelled to produce a strong opening off the pin end of the start line which allowed them to mine the dividend on the left of the course on the first beat.

Artemis lead around the windward mark first time up, by just over 15 seconds, ahead of the Portuguese team who reaped a similar gain on that side of the course. Bigamist did hit the front of the fleet after a good first run, but then had to exonerate themselves as they scuffed the windward buoy with their stern quarter as they bore away.

While Emirates Team New Zealand, current overall TP52 Series leaders by 16 points, sailed consistently, leading a close matched group of boats to effectively take second gun, the teams who will most welcome any fillip after Marseille – Matador, Artemis and Bigamist – confirmed clearly that they have what it takes to win races here in these sea breeze conditions which are expected to prevail through the first days of this regatta.

The five strong GP42 Series fleet are scheduled to run their practice race tomorrow (Tuesday).

Region of Sardinia Trophy, Cagliari.
TP52 Series, Practice Race:

1 Artemis (SWE)
2 Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)
3 Bribon (ESP)
4 Cristabella (GBR)
5 Quantum Racing (USA)

Full results and standings at

Quotes of the day:

Ray Davies (NZL), tactician Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL):
“It was a very nice day on the water, very close, very even in boat speed and so very important to get a good start and go the right way. The left side was quite favoured. Artemis was the most left hand boat and made the biggest gains there. Downwind the breeze kept going left. Synergy and Bigamist gybed early and made very nice gains downwind. Speed wise, very even between the top five boats. I think it will get down to starting at this venue and making sure you eliminate silly mistakes, making sure you have nice, clear lanes.”

Francesco Bruni (ITA), tactician Matador (ARG):
“We are more Latins than Anglo-Saxon. We had a vote and it was ten to five. Big majority!”
“The race was nice, the boat was going well. We are trying this new black jib and it is a step in the right direction, an improvement. We had a different one in Marseille.
Today is very important in terms of confidence, especially since we made three good starts which is often our problem.

Afonso Domingos (POR), skipper-helm, Bigamist (POR):
“We are very comfortable with our boat speed downwind especially. Realistically it's hard to know where we can get up to. We have gone 5 then 4 but third would be really, really good. We need to do things really well to get there.”

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