Defending Region of Murcia Trophy holders Bribon (ESP) won the practice race for the TP52 Series today as the 10 boat fleet completed their final warm up for the showdown last regatta of the 2009 Audi MedCup Circuit season.
Perhaps recalling positive memories of their success on this Cartagena race track last season José Cusi's Bribón (ESP) crew started smartly off the left, pin end of the start line in the modest 7-9 knot SWW'ly breeze, and so were able to lead around the windward turn by more than 30 seconds over Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL). They won by over one and a half minutes from Emirates Team New Zealand.
The Kiwi team, overall leaders on the Audi MedCup Circuit 2009, were also able to reap the benefit on the left side of the first beat, gaining an extra helping of wind pressure before being able to earn additional rewards when the breeze shifted slightly to the left on the top third of this opening leg.
As expected this Caja Mediterranéo Region of Murcia Trophy race area proved a challenging one in this weight and direction of wind. The high, steep scrubby hills to the right of the race track, and a high promontory to the high right of the area affect the breeze and those who erred right, looking for a starboard tack lift, upwind were actually punished at times with lighter airs.
“We remembered from last year that this is a tricky race course and that is what it proved today. There is not really any rhyme or reason to what is happening. Really there was never a dull moment out there. It was shifty and it was puffy and hard to be consistent, so we are very happy with today.” Said Emirates Team New Zealand's skipper Dean Barker (NZL),
“It is going to be one of these weeks, consistency in the end will be hard. Anything in the top three is a good result on this race course.”
The downwind legs were at least as hard to read. Synergy (RUS) were fifth at the windward mark at the first turn, but stayed offshore, to the right downwind for longest on the run and were able to steal third at the first leeward gate.
The new brains trust at the back of Artemis (SWE), challengers for second overall in the Series, made a steady fourth place. With Vasco Vascotto (ITA) steering, Paul Cayard (USA) on tactics and past 49er and 505 World Champion Chris Nicholson (AUS) on board for this regatta, initially Artemis were caught out just after the start when they had to avoid the starboard tack Synergy (RUS) at the last minute and ended up very slow, but they recovered quickly and served notice they will be contenders in these conditions.
Things looked promising for the Portuguese crew on Bigamist 7 after they made a sterling recovery from an early start. They were recalled for starting prematurely but rallied back to round the first turn in third place. But from there they slipped back to sixth on the first run, finishing eighth.
Sailing as guest on Bribon was former Real Madrid footballer Ruben de la Red (ESP), while the VIP guest on Bigamist (POR) was a local golden labrador Nana (ESP) who is the star of a popular Spanish TV programme.
With three races scheduled tomorrow Emirates Team New Zealand start with a 52 points series lead.
Audi MedCup Circuit 2009
Caja Mediterráneo Region of Murcia Trophy
1. Bribón (ESP)
2. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), +01:33
3. Synergy (RUS), +01:40
4. Artemis (SWE), +02:16
5. Quantum Racing (USA), +02:20
Audi MedCup Circuit 2009
Overall (after 4 events)
1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 38+27,5+28+25= 118,5 points
2. Matador (ARG), 36+47,5+42,5+44,5= 170,5 points
3. Quantum Racing (USA), 40+41,5+65+29= 175,5 points
4. Artemis (SWE), 37+62,5+49,5+26,5= 175,5 points
5. Bigamist (POR), 46+55,5+57+30,5= 189 points
1. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), 20+23+23+16= 82 points
2. Roma (ITA), 22+17+30+13= 82 points
3. Caser-Endesa (ESP), 33+27+26+13= 99 points
4. Airis (ITA), 21+38+28+25= 112 points
5. Turismo Madrid (ESP), 35+35+43+23= 136 points
Complete results: http://2009.medcup.org/results
Grant Dalton (NZL) mast-man and CEO Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL):
“We will just race this like any other regatta. We have not even talked about a strategy as such, we just race like normal. Today our speed was OK, it was pretty streaky and shifty.
“The major shareholders of the Louis Vuitton Series, that is to say Artemis, ourselves and Synergy are all TP52 teams and so we all want to do this again next year. So we have talked with this organization and looked at their programme and make sure there is no clash. We will have two RC 44's, this (Audi MedCup Circuit) and the Louis Vuitton and so we will have three major projects next year.”
Paul Cayard (USA) tactician Artemis (SWE):
” The breeze is really difficult, very unstable. The sea, the waves are big so it's very difficult to keep the boat going fast. And it's difficult tactically because you can't see if you want to play the shifts because they are so fast. You can't play all the shifts.”
Thierry Peponnet (FRA), helmsman Bribón (ESP):
“This is just the practice but in any case we took the finish line. Ross Macdonald (tactician) has done a really good job. He used everything very well. We had one more knot of pressure than the rest of the fleet on the left, and we've made a good start to the left, have taken advantage of it in a very good way. And then there was more pressure outside of the bay. Even with a bit of choppy water, we had good speed. I don't know if this a good omen. I'll tell you in a few days time.