It could not have been much closer when the Argentine crew on Matador lifted the TP52 World Championship on the waters they call home in Europe, the Bay of Palma, this afternoon.
They lift the title on countback ahead of the 2008 world champions Quantum Racing (USA) who also finished on 23 points after seven races.
Matador won the final race to match Quantum Racing's pair of race victories this week, but their three third places trump the American crew's final hand which inluded two thirds and a fifth.
The Roemmers' team maintain their perfect record in major regattas on these waters. Their triumph at Palma Vela in April with their new boat was the springboard for their season. With owner Alberto Roemmers Jr steering – as he did this week – they won the TP52 class at Copa del Rey in August, as the perfect build up to clinching the class world title today.
The Matador crew had to dig deep into their gaucho spirit and sustain a fight back from a protest from a windward mark incident on the first round of Race 2 which saw them disqualified. But on Saturday they were re-instated and today they let their sailing speak for itself as they posted a third and a first to win overall.
“We are happy.” Skipper Guillermo Parada (ARG) confirmed, ” It is a good lesson learned, not in sailing but in life. No matter what happens you need to keep pushing as hard as you can, right to the very last time. That is what we have done with the protest, pushing. The team have stuck together, and we have the reward.”
“At the very beginning we were sure we should not have been disqualified and that at the time we had no options.”
“We have tried to push as hard as we can on the land. And we have had to push hard on the water, which is not easy to do.”
Quantum Racing (USA) may rue missed opportunities, and in effect the 2008 title holders came within a few metres of defending. In Race 5 it was down to just one second on the finish line, when the eye-blink judgement for third went in favour of Matador, and in today's final race the black and green hulled 2008 Audi MedCup champions were just 12 seconds shy of passing Valars 3 as they ran out of runway at the line with extra pace.
But, as Quantum Racing's skipper Terry Hutchinson (USA) noted
“That is sailboat racing. 'A day late and a dollar short.' In the end we were a length and a half from winning the regatta.
“This one is disappointing because we let it get away from us.”
If the Quantum Racing crew leave Palma with some regrets, it was a tough final day for the local favourites on Bribón (ESP). Jose Cusi's crew started the day with a four points lead on their home waters, but they started modestly twice – both times in the shadow of other boats.
In the second race the Spanish crew were forced on to the wrong side of the first beat and made ninth, while their anguish was heightened after racing when they were subsequently disqualified on a protest from today's first race after gybing too close to Artemis (SWE) on the finish line.
Artemis, Torbjorn Tornqvist's crew with Paul Cayard (USA) calling tactics finished third overall after a pair of fourth places today, ending up on equal points with the Russian crew on Synergy who take fourth.
The next event for the TP52 fleet will be the first Audi MedCup 2010 regatta on the 10th of May.
TP52 World Championship 2009
Palma de Mallorca
1. Matador (ARG, Alberto Roemmers), 3+4+8+1+3+3+1= 23 points ?
2. Quantum Racing (USA, Terry Hutchinson), 5+1+3+6+4+1+3= 23 points?
3. Artemis (SWE, Torbjorn Tornqvist), 8+3+1+2+8+4+4 = 30 points
4. Synergy (RUS, Sergey Pichugin), 2+5+7+7+2+2+5= 30 points?
5. Bribón (ESP, Gonzalo Araujo), 7+2+2+3+1+11(DSQ)+9= 35 points
Quotes of the day:
Guillermo Parada (ARG), skipper Matador (ARG):
“Palma is a special place for us. Our style of sailing and the strength of our team matches with Palma. This has been a long season with many ups and downs. Unfortunately we did not finish the Audi MedCup season as we wanted to, but we took the opportunity to take the Worlds as a chance to finish on a high note and start building for there for next
Terry Hutchinson (USA), skipper-helm (USA):
” We are all feeling a little bit disappointed. That is our fault for leaving it in the Jury's hands, but if you let things out of your control then you pay the price for it. And we did.
I am incredibly proud of the effort that the team put forward today. The team went out sailed strong in the first race. Bribón presented an opportunity to force them into trouble and we took it and won the race, and so the set up was perfect.”
” The second race was a little tricky and we were not 100% sure. You could see the funnel clouds and the stuff that was going on over there. But it was risk/reward, we did not want to go hard right off the start line. The breeze went hard right, but then on the run we got a right shift and came back but we did not quite get there. That's sailboat racing
‘A day late and a dollar short.' In the end we were a length and a half from winning the regatta “
“This one is disappointing because we let it get away from us.”
Paul Cayard (USA), skipper Artemis (SWE):
” It's a little bit unfortunate so much happened in the jury room, I'm sure nobody likes that, but that's part of our game too, it happens. But I have to say Bribón was very…Ross Macdonald (tactician Bribón), represented Bribón in the room, we are both long time friends, both Star world champions, as bad as it was it was a good protest, because there was no disputing the facts, everybody agreed on the facts and the jury decided and it was not an ugly situation. I have always respected Ross and I probably I have even more now because of the way he handled this. So I told it to the whole crew because I think it's a good lesson in life, your reputation as a person is very valuable. It was a difficult week in Palma, tricky for everybody, jury, competitors…but in the end the TP52 is one of the most enjoyable classes, so we enjoyed it”
Alberto Roemmers (ARG), boat owner Matador (ARG):
“It's been quite a stressful week on the one hand, but the key was not to give up. After today's first race things didn't look that good, but we managed to make a good start and we won by a very small advantage.”
“We are very happy. The strategy was just not giving up. They've taught me how to sail, and I'm proud and very thankful for that. And I think the town hall should sponsor us, we've won the Palma Vela, Copa del Rey, and now the worlds, all in Palma!”