In one week's time Cartagena will host the climax to the 2009 Audi MedCup Circuit, and the conflict in the two different Series, the ten boats who will compete in the TP52 Series, and six for the GP42 Series, is likely to be very different.
Due to its strategic importance on the south east of the Iberian Peninsula as one of the best natural harbours in the western Mediterranean, and blessed with rich mineral deposits nearby, the historic city of Cartagena, Murcia – a home of the Spanish Navy – has seen more than its fair share of conflict. Between late in the 5th Century and the 13th Century Cartagena was seized by more than ten different powers.
For the dominant Emirates Team New Zealand crew in the TP52 Series , their final regatta of the season, the Caja Mediterráneo Region of Murcia Trophy regatta should be about sailing safe and smart to convert their overall lead of 52 points to overall series victory. Conventional logic suggests that, with three boats tussling over second, Matador (ARG), Quantum Racing (USA) and Artemis (SWE) and all within 5 points of each other, then perhaps Emirates Team New Zealand will have a clearer tilt at the title? Might they go on to extend their unprecedented three regatta wins in a row record, to four?
And in the GP42 Series , matters are incredibly balanced on a knife edge after 40 races. Both Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) and Roma Mk 2 (ITA) are locked on 82 points. It is simply: winner takes all.
For the 2007 Audi Med Cup Champions, owner-helm Torbjorn Tornqvist (SWE) will be absent from the final event due to other commitments. His place on the helm will be taken by 2005 MedCup champion helm Vasco Vascotto (ITA) who will work with tactician Paul Cayard (USA) who has so far delivered a high degree of consistency for the Swedish flagged 2008-9 Judel-Vrolijk design. While they will be pushing hard for second overall, they are one of the five or six contenders who have proven well capable of winning an Audi MedCup TP52 Series regatta.
“Without doubt there are at least five teams who have shown they have what it takes to win a regatta in the TP52 Series,” cautions Audi MedCup Circuit director Ignasi Triay , “But anything could happen. It's the perfect venue for the climax to the Circuit. On shore there is this fantastic festival which the Caja Mediterráneo Region of Murcia Trophy regatta is a central part of, and on the water it is a fascinating, challenging race are. There is a split breeze if the wind is in one direction with the puffy, shifty breeze blowing out of the Cartagena Harbour area, and a westerly offshore. That of course means a transition area and when we there last year we saw that anything can happen. And if the breeze is in the other direction, westerly, we get big, short steep seas which can really test the boats, equipment and crews.”
Iberdrola joins the Circuit
Bringing the fleet complement back to six boats in Murcia, Iberdrola (ESP) joins the GP42 Series of the Audi MedCup after a relatively dormant season this year in contrast to being last year's GP42 Class Champion. The boat is a Botin/Carkeek-designed sistership to Turismo Madrid (ESP) and will be led by Skipper Laureno Wizner (ESP).
Racing starts with the practice race for the TP52 Series on Monday and the GP42 Series on Tuesday. The TP52s will face the last coastal race of the 2009 Circuit on Thursday. The final, end of season prizegiving takes place Saturday when the overall Audi MedCup champions will be crowned.