Emirates Team New Zealand sews up MedCup in Mistral breezes

Emirates Team New Zealand 's boss and mast-man Grant Dalton (NZL) had his wish today as the Mistral breeze returned to present a final crescendo as the Kiwi team sailed cleanly through three final races to secure the Region of Sardinia Trophy, their second successive regatta title after also winning last month in Marseille, France .

Dalton spoke this morning of hoping for a decent wind-strength for the final day of racing, declaring his team were just trying to ‘hang on' after Friday's changeable sea-breeze conditions.

Not only did the New Zealand crew ‘hang on', they sailed with exceptional patience and composure while their two principal rivals – Matador (ARG) and Artemis (SWE) – suffered their own, largely self inflicted problems.

In the GP42 Series Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) won four of the final five races to take the Region of Sardinia Trophy , needing only to finish in the final race to be sure of their first regatta win this season.

Artemis (SWE) made infringements in both the first and second races, while Matador blotted an otherwise strong day when they tacked too close to Emirates Team New Zealand and had also to take a penalty, then spectacularly hooked the windward mark and could not release it until 100 metres down the final run.

In contrast Emirates Team New Zealand sailed with precision across their races to score a third, a first and, as a final flourish in the 22 knot Mistral, a second place which ensured they topped the final standings by 14.5 points ahead of Matador. Artemis who started the day in second slipped to third place ifor the regatta.

After arriving in Cagliari with a lead of 16 points last week, the Emirates Team New Zealand's second regatta triumph ensures they head for Portimao for next month's Portugal Trophy having more than doubled their lead, whilst Matador have climbed to second overall at the expense of Quantum Racing (USA). The current Audi MedCup champions best race finish came today with a second in the second contest, but they ended the regatta in seventh place.

Racing for the first time at this regatta in the NW'ly breeze, the Mistral direction, with the windward turn less than one mile from the weather shore, at the top of the U-shaped Bay of Cagliari , the course offered a rich choice of gusts and shifts for the tacticians to work their magic.

TP52 Series Race 9
Matador won the first race when they recognised the small gain to the right of the first beat which they hooked into after an excellent start, to chase Valars 3 around the first windward turn. Emirates Team New Zealand took third, while Artemis' frustrations were enhanced after taking a penalty for fouling Audi Q8 (ITA), when they partially dropped their gennaker on the final run.

TP52 Series Race 10
In response to his afterguard's call for the right side on the first beat of the second race helm Dean Barker responded with a swift, neatly timed port tack departure which ensured they could dictate terms to the fleet. Whilst Matador kept the pressure on their Kiwi rivals with a fourth, Artemis fouled Audi Q8 (ITA) and had to take a penalty turn.

TP52 Series Race 11
Bigamist (POR) won the final race when Bribón could not set their jib at the leeward gate, rounding bare-headed in 23 knots of breeze, whilst Emirates Team New Zealand, fighting to the end stole third place from Synergy (RUS). Artemis took a second successive penalty, this time on the final run, close to the finish.

GP42 Race 9
After a general recall Islas Canarias Puerto Calero fought back to win after being one of two boats which were individually recalled. At the leeward gate as Caser Endesa (ESP) and Airis (ITA) tussled, they chose the opposite mark and were able to extend in to clear air and clinch the regatta title.

GP42 Race 10
Caser Endesa won the final race after being first to earn the dividend presented by extra wind pressure on the right of the first beat, enough to take second by two points from third placed Airis.

Audi MedCup Circuit 2009
Region of Sardinia Trophy

TP52 Series
Final standings after 11 races
1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 1+1+1+5+4+3+5+2+3+1+2= 28 points
2. Matador (ARG), 3+3+4+1+2+7,5+2+5+1+4+10= 42,5 points
3. Artemis (SWE), 2+2+7+3+3+1,5+1+7+9+8+6= 49.5 points
4. Bigamist (POR), 6+5+9+6+1+9+4+1+6+9+1= 57 points
5. Synergy (RUS), 4+8+2+2+5+15+7+6+2+3+3= 57 points

GP42 Series
Final standings after 10 races
1. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), 3+2+3+4+4+1+1+1+1+3= 23 points
2. Caser Endesa (ESP), 4+4+2+2+1+3+2+3+4+1= 26 points
3. Airis (ITA), 1+1+4+3+5+2+4+4+2+2= 28 points
4. Roma (ITA), 2+5+1+1+3+4+3+2+5+4= 30 points
5. Turismo Madrid (ESP), 5+3+5+5+2+5+5+5+3+5= 43 points

Audi MedCup Circuit 2009
Overall after Alicante (ESP), Marseille (FRA) and Cagliari (ITA)

TP52 Series
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+52,5= 149 points
5. Bigamist (POR), 46+55,5+56= 158,5 points

GP42 Series
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/venue.php?trophy=3&class=tp52

Quotes of the day:

Grant Dalton (NZL), CEO and mast-man Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL):
” We did not sail that well, we started badly once and just with the breeze and so on…. but we sailed with composure too, we managed to not crack under pressure while people were cracking around us, but that is just the way we sail. Credit to the guys, though just having been sailing together for a while. The points flatter us a bit, as they did in Marseille in the end, Artemis were right there, but it certainly did not feel like that after the first race this morning. The second race did not hurt. But I thought our best race was our last race. We knew what had to be done. Matador helped by getting their penalty, but we were sailing ourselves out of the course but we got right back into when the breeze came on.”

Guillermo Parada (ARG) skipper-helm Matador (ARG):
“When we look back now, second is OK, it's good. We obviously took some risks in the last races and they did not come off. But we are happy with our boat speed and we sailed pretty well, so we are looking forward to the next two events.”

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