Team New Zealand clings to the lead in the Sardinia Audi MedCup

On a blistering hot day on the Gulf of Cagliari, 2007 Audi MedCup Champion Torbjorn Tornqvist (SWE) and the crew of Artemis kept their cool to execute a clinical victory in today's 29.2 miles coastal race and leap-frog Matador (ARG) for second place in the overall standings for the TP52 Series' Region of Sardinia Trophy regatta.

In the GP42 Series, where three races were completed in variable sea breeze conditions, a 3,5,2 scoreline for the day sees Airis lead the overall series from Roma Mk 2, their Italian compatriots also sharing the same 16 points tally as third placed Caser Endesa. It could scarcely be closer after three different boats, Roma Mk 2, Caser-Endesa and Islas Canarias Puerto Calero won successive contests today. And the young fourth placed Canarian team are still only one point off the lead on 17 points.

TP52 Coastal

Second place on the passage down to picturesque Poetta, the next bay to the south east of the Sardinian capital, and back was enough to ensure Emirates Team New Zealand extend their regatta leading margin again to three points. With tactician Paul Cayard joining Artemis for this regatta, the Swedish flagged boat has been furiously consistent so far. Other than a weighty seventh in final race of Tuesday's three, Artemis have never been off the podium .

Cayard's analytical, numerical style may differ slightly from the more intuitive, instinctive approach of three times America's Cup winner Russell Coutts (NZL), for whom the American is standing in, but the crew consider that the 2009 Judel-Vrolijk design is also very much more optimised for these prevailing lighter Mediterranean conditions, such as were encountered in May in Alicante when they finished second, only one point behind Matador.

After a strong first beat and good run, Artemis were well placed to capitalise when early leader Matador erred too close to the bluff line of cliffs at the Cape St Elia. In a matter of a few painful minutes all the good work of the Matador crew, a lead of nearly 100 metres, evaporated. They were no more than four or five boat lengths inshore of the line taken by their pursuers, but Matador nearly halted when they were all but starved of wind, emerging at the Poetta turning mark after dropping to sixth.

As per the ethos of the Audi MedCup Circuit, the finish line for the Coastal Race was set right inside the inner harbour, some 350 metres from the vibrant Audi MedCup regatta village giving spectators a grandstand view as skipper-helm Tornqvist brought Artemis home first, gliding gracefully through the line under gennaker.

The early light sea-breeze picked up nicely to 12-13 knots on the long beat from Poetta where Bribon (ESP) managed to overhaul Bigamist (POR) to score third place which elevated them to fourth place on the overall standings.

GP 42 Race 4: Was raced in nine knots of sea breeze with Roma Mk 2 leading from the first mark ahead of Caser Endesa and Airis. The order remained to the finish.

GP42 Race 5: The breeze peaked at 11-12 knots Caser Endesa were forced right early by the fleet and were able to capitalise on the right hand shift to lead all the way around the course.

GP42 Race 6: The sea breeze dropped back to eight to nine knots as Islas Puerto Canarias profited on the first run to recover from fourth to second. They gained on the second beat and were able to hold on to win from Airis.

Audi MedCup Circuit 2009
Region of Sardinia Trophy

TP52 Series
Overallafter Day 3
1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 1 1 1 5 4 3= 15 points
2. Artemis (SWE), 2 2 7 3 3 1,5= 18,5 points
3. Matador (ARG), 3 3 4 1 2 7,5= 20,5 points
4. Bribón (ESP), 5 6 3 7 8 4,5= 33,5 points
5. Quantum Racing (USA), 7 4 8 4 6 6= 35 points

GP42 Series
Overall after Day 2
1. Airis (ITA), 1 1 4 3 5 2= 16 points
2. Roma (ITA), 2 5 1 1 3 4= 16 points
3. Caser Endesa (ESP), 4 4 2 2 1 3= 16 points
4. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), 3 2 3 4 4 1= 17 points
5. Turismo Madrid (ESP), 5 3 5 5 2 5= 25 points

Complete results:


Michele Ivaldi (ITA) navigator Artemis (SWE):
“These are the typical conditions that we designed the boat for. The boat is exactly the same as Marseille, we have a couple of new sails. Here a matter of a metre or a metre and half at the windward mark can make all the difference, you can be second or you can be ninth.
“Paul is more analytical. He is more focussed on the numbers. We have established a good work on analysing the performance every day. Russell is a lot more instinctive. Rusell's style is very different and he talks a lot to Torbjorn, he has taught him a lot and made Torbjorn learn a lot, it is always great with Russell on board. Paul tends to let them (the crew) do the speed work themselves and talks a little less with Torbjorn.
“Today, keeping it simple was the call. Key was a good first beat, and we were able to pass to leeward of Bigamist when they gybed on us. After that it was a horse track. For the mid point of the season Team New Zealand is really, really strong. They have great starts all the time and so they almost have probability to be in the top five at each top mark. Really strong in tactics, and really good boat handling. But today is the mid-point of the season and so nothing is over and we won't be giving up any points. We feel great. We had a good analysis and de-brief after Marseille, we worked on the weaknesses and it seems to have worked.”

Ray Davies (NZL), tactician Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL):

“We had a great day, we are very happy with how the day went. There was a bit of fortune involved as well but we sailed well as well, so it was a bit of both. We had a very good first downwind leg and passed a couple of boats at the bottom of the run and that set us up well for the soldier's course after that. And Matador were launched but they got a bit close to the headland. They were probably five lengths closer to the headland. Obviously once we saw them getting very soft we were able to sail higher. They had hardly any wind and we still had eight knots. We caught up to within a boat length at the mid race gate windward mark and then they slipped away again on the long downwind. It was a bit of leader's race
“We have extended on our overall position and Artemis are through into second, and we are putting more points on Matador and Quantum on that race. It is a balance between the long game but it's nice to win regattas along the way and that's what we are aiming to do here.”

Steve Hayles (GBR) navigator Matador (ARG):

“We messed it up. We had a really good start and then just got too close to the headland. A little bit, you can argue we were the victims of being in the lead, but we did mess it up.”

Jeanneau JY60
M.O.S.S Australia
Cyclops Marine