Racing was thwarted again by inconsistent winds today off Cartagena where the final regatta of the 2009 Audi MedCup Circuit is still waiting to get under way.
The saving grace was that the rain stayed away, but for the second successive day uncooperative winds meant that no racing was possible off Cartagena where the Caja Mediterraneo Region of Murcia Trophy regatta, the final event of the 2009 Audi MedCup Circuit, has yet to get fully under way.
The skies were blue, the seas sparkling, there was an ample supply of puffy clouds and when the start sequence ran down there was 10 knots of SE'ly breeze, but just as the start gun was about to go it was replaced by the red and white AP flag instead.
Another big wind shift was the culprit.
Thereafter the breeze shifted. But once it had settled to a consolidated direction the breeze further up towards the windward mark was too little, just 3-5 knots to go racing.
Thursday's schedule has been changed with the coastal race replaced meantime by windward-leeward races.
So while the situation increasingly favours Emirates Team New Zealand who lead the 2009 Audi MedCup TP52 Series by 52 points as the clock counts down towards the end of the regatta Saturday, so the pressure on second place increases proportionately. Matador (ARG) hold second with a five points lead over Quantum Racing (USA) and Artemis (SWE).
Matador skipper-helm Guillermo Parada (ARG) remarked:
” They are doing everyhing they can, maybe today we could have run one race but it wouldn't have been easy since we would've had wind shifts. I think there's not much to say, the weather is not helping and they are trying to get it going but luck is not on our side.”
The lack of racing today just made the stakes even higher for the remaining three days of racing in the evenly balanced GP42 class, where Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) retains their lead only on a tie-break with Roma 2 (ITA). This reduced number of total races brings their rivalry ever closer to being a proper match race, though the next team back, Caser-Endesa (ESP), is still lurking 17 points behind and within striking distance of the overall title.
And during the long postponement today there was only one team out of both fleets that was out sailing to practice in the light air conditions: fourth-placed Airis (ITA). With regular helmsman Cameron Appleton (NZL) home for the birth of his newborn son, Monti has taken the reins of his own boat, moving into that position from having been a trimmer all season. He is taking every opportunity to get some helm time:
“I'm a little nervous, because I've not helmed this boat since it was new last year, but I'm also excited. I think I did OK in the brief practice we had yesterday, the team around me is very supportive, we've got some new sails and the two lead teams will fight each other, so who knows?”
Grant Dalton (NZ), mast-man and CEO Emirates Team New Zealand:
” They got it right 100% both days. They could not have raced. They took it to right to the edge and got the course perfect. This is good for us but is not the way to win, and the question is also whether we do the coastal race or not. If we don't there's still oportunity to race up to nine races. The forecast for tomorrow is good, but this is yacht racing, this happens and all you can say is that the race committee has got a spot on.”
María Torrijo (ESP), Principal Race Officer:
“It is very tough on us and we are doing everything we can to run races, the wind gives us hopes, the forecast isn't that bad. It seems it's going to pick up but then as we get everything ready on the water it drops again or shifts and we can't get a start.”
Paolo Cian (ITA) skipper-helm Roma (ITA):
“From a meteo point of view the committee is in a difficult situation because no matter what they do they can be criticised. From my point of view it's better not to race any race than to have bad ones so I agree with the decisions they've taken till now.”