Immaculate team work, consistently strong tactics and perfect reliability underpinned a comprehensive overall victory for Emirates Team New Zealand who lifted the 2009 Audi MedCup Circuit Trophy today in Cartagena, Murcia, Spain.
The young crew from the Canary Islands , Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) won the title for the GP42 Series by winning the last race of the season
Kept on ice for two days since the Kiwi team clinched the Circuit title after building an arithmetically untenable margin by Thursday evening, the champagne flowed after they docked in front of the welcoming crowd lining Cartagena's Aphonso XII promenade.
Lead by skipper Dean Barker (NZL) , the New Zealand team won four of this season's five regattas culminating in their dominant performance at this Caja Mediterraneo Region of Murcia regatta. With a second place today they won by 13 points over Portugal's Bigamist 7 , while Quantum Racing (USA) , the outgoing champions, finished third in the regatta and secured the runners-up on the season standings 78 points behind the Kiwi team.
After missing out on victory in Alicante because of one error on the final run of the last race, Emirates Team New Zealand set about ensuring they improved at every successive regatta. In Murcia this week they were invincible in the big breeze, a class apart, and convincing in all other conditions. Of the six races which could be raced here they won six, completing a tally of 14 wins from 43 starts. The Kiwi team had no gear or sail failures through all five regattas, never had to re-start and only once took penalty turns, in Marseille.
The freshly crowned 2009 champions have at their core a number of sailors with essential MedCup and TP52 experience. Tactician Ray Davies won overall in 2006 with Mean Machine (MON), Dean Barker, who has steered TP52's every year since the Circuit started in 2005 and navigator Kevin Hall (USA) were on second placed Warpath (USA) that year. But their team skills and spirit has also been hard wired at America's Cup level, winning – and losing – together.
After a long wait for the breeze to settle to a sailable, solid direction today it was the Russian team on Synergy who went on to win, just as they did in the final race in Portimao.
So the Kiwi team lead the celebrations tonight, looking to make a small impact on the red labelled ‘Great Wall', a season's worth of untouched beers from their sponsor.
The Audi MedCup Circuit returns in 2010 with the first event beginning on May 11 th. The TP52 Class convene in Palma, Mallorca for the TP52 World Championships (6-11 Oct).
GP42 Series, Down to the wire, Islas Canarias win
The assembled crowd was awaiting a display of match race mastery from GP42 Series leader Paolo Cian (ITA) and his Roma 2 (ITA) team, the same skill that has found him success on the World Match Racing Tour. Going into today's final race, Roma led runner-up Islas Canaria s Puerto Calero (ESP) by two points, but with 13 firsts in the 39-race series to 11 for Roma, the Italians had to either beat or finish directly behind the young Canarias team to win the overall prize. So everyone was expecting a fight.
Yet the Roma team did not engage in pre-start combat, electing instead to do what they've done best throughout this season: get a fabulous start on the line and take an early lead. They used this lead to force Canarias to the right, but unfortunately this was appearing to be the favored side, and once Iberdrola (ESP) got into the mix as well, Roma found themselves behind and unable to catch up.
Even on the first downwind leg, Roma gybed close on the Canarias team, protecting the path to the bottom gate, but it was Iberdrola acting as the spoiler, forcing Roma outside the mark at the rounding and forcing the Italians back into the pack. The battle then shifted to that for the lead between Canarias and Iberdrola, and the bright green team led by last year's class season champion Laureano Wizner and his Desafio alumnists were ahead for a while, putting Roma back in contention for the series.
But the Canarias team were smooth and fast, the breeze was increasing from 10 to 14 knots, and so they took the lead around the top mark and even split back to the right side on the run when Roma so jealously guarded the left. It was a shift, favorable current, and a course change that all conspired to make the right pay off, vaulting not only Canarias and Iberdrola ahead, but Caser-Endesa (ESP ) as well.
So congratulations go to Daniel Calero (ESP ) and his home-grown team from Islas Canarias for a hard-fought and well-earned victory in the GP42 Series.
Next stop for the GP42's will be in Lanzarote, Islas Canarias for their GP42 Global Cup over 13-17 October, where 10 teams are expected to compete.
Caja Mediterráneo Region of Murcia Trophy
Overall – Final
1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 1+1+3+2+1+2= 10 points
2. Bigamist 7 (POR), 6+4+2+1+4+6= 23 points
3. Quantum Racing (USA), 8+6+1+3+5+4= 27 points
4. Synergy (ESP), 9+7+8+4+3+1= 32 points
5. Artemis (SWE), 7+2+7+6+6+5= 33 points
1. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), 1+2+3+3+6+1= 16 points
2. Iberdrola (ESP), 3+1+1+6+4+2= 17 points
3. Roma (ITA), 4+4+2+1+2+4= 17 points
4. Turismo Madrid (ESP), 7(DNF)+3+5+2+1+5= 23 points
5. Caser-Endesa (ESP), 2+5+6+5+3+3= 24 points
Audi MedCup Circuit 2009
Overall – Final
1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 38+27,5+28+25+10= 128,5 points
2. Quantum Racing (USA), 40+41,5+65+29+27= 202,5 points
3. Artemis (SWE), 37+62,5+49,5+26,5+33= 208,5 points
4. Matador (ARG), 36+47,5+42,5+44,5+39= 209,5 points
5. Bigamist (POR), 46+55,5+57+30,5+23= 212 points
1. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), 20+23+23+16+16= 98 points
2. Roma (ITA), 22+17+30+13+17= 99 points
3. Caser-Endesa (ESP), 33+27+26+24= 123 points
4. Airis (ITA), 21+38+28+25+30= 142 points
5. Turismo Madrid (ESP), 35+35+43+23+23= 159 points
Complete results: http://2009.medcup.org/results
Dean Barker (NZL) , skipper Emirates Team New Zealand:
“We came here looking to win so that we finished the season feeling like we were sailing the best we have all season, and so I think this has been our best event all season. We have really enjoyed this year's Audi MedCup season and now we are going to do everything we can to come back next season. It has been lot of fun. It couldn't have gone better this week. We had a great start in the big breeze. It has been incredible and as the week has gone on it has been awesome sailing.”
Grant Dalton (NZL), mast-man and CEO Emirates Team New Zealand:
“We wanted to improve incrementally as the season. That was in the objective. I think if we had had a breakdown today would not feel so good. We sail well today even after having got a bad start. This regatta was probably our strongest. We weren't super happy after Alicante. In Alicante we should have done better, we kind of coughed up. We should have won. You could argue it was a blessing, but I don't think so, you go there to win, not to get better by losing. So we talked about making incremental gains rather than trying to cover it all. And so after that we just tried to get consistent and just cut out those really deep, deep ones, 9ths or 10ths. That was the key lesson from Alicante. We sailed well, then had a shocker, sailed well and then had a shocker. So we tried to lose the shockers.”
“The whole reliability thing was a big for us the other day after 2003. After that reliability has always been a key issue for this team. Reliability is not hard to build into these boats, much easier than into a Cup boat, but that is what we have been trying to achieve.”
Pepe Ponce (Esp), skipper Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP)
” Today we had to win the race and get a boat between us and Roma, and we knew they could come, look for us and stick to us. But I think we faced up to that in the right way and got away and everything then worked out perfectly. We even got two boats in between, cause they went to look for a shift that didn't arrive. That's why we are here now. The crew has done a great job throughout the season and I want to thank the Calero family for trusting us.”