CAOL ILA AND STIG CROSS TACKING (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Enthusiasm was in abundance at the 2013 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup as a gathering of the finest sailors, most passionate owners, and inspiring yachts met in Porto Cervo, Sardinia for the pinnacle rendezvous of the annual Maxi yacht racing calendar.

Velsheda's Classic Low Freeboard Awash (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

“The two things which make the event unique are the racecourses and the participants,” explained Riccardo Bonadeo, Commodore of event organizers Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS). “The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup from the very beginning has always been the event of excellence for ocean-going boats. And the environment is perhaps the most spectacular and technical in the world.”

“This is the pre-eminent regatta. Everyone is training for it for the whole season. It’s where everyone comes together,” explained Niklas Zennström, owner of the highly successful Mini Maxi Rán 2. “It’s the one we all want to win.”

Inoui Spinnaker flys (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

37 yachts, divided into six classes, contested a myriad of challenging racecourses organized during the weeklong event on the Costa Smeralda. While conditions throughout the 24th edition of this pre-eminent competition were light, the Race Committee was able to successfully organize a gripping week of racing.

Fast and fascinating

The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, sponsored by Rolex since 1985, has always been the showcase and proving ground for a fleet of contrasting yachts, and a chance for designers and owners to meet and draw inspiration for future projects. “I’m always looking for the latest, newest technology and something that’s a bit different to what other people are doing,” admitted Lord Irvine Laidlaw, owner of the 82-ft Highland Fling. A sentiment and quest echoed by many in attendance.

Many owners are using advances in technology to drive the design of faster boats; an idea at the forefront of Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’s mind when he commissioned Magic Carpet 3, a 100-ft yacht designed to answer his quest for a boat that would be comfortable and sail fast whether cruising or racing. Line honours success at the Giraglia Rolex Cup was an early indication of the boat’s speed potential compared to his previous yacht. “It’s much faster. It is much more fun, much more exciting. It feels like a racing boat and that’s what we wanted,” explained Owen-Jones. “Paradoxically, it is a much better cruising boat because of its extra width, which gives people air and space and makes it a very stable cruising platform.

Magic Carpet 3 on Day 3 (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Owen-Jones had firm ambitions for Magic Carpet 3. “We’ve written our name five times on the wall next to the door to the Yacht Club (Costa Smeralda), the idea of putting it there a sixth time, which I think would be a record for any name, is a terribly exciting idea.”

Jean Charles Decaux – J-ONE Despite the presence of Magic Carpet 3 and Sir Charles Dunstone’s Hamilton, whose crew included both British Olympian Ian Walker and Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran fame, the Wally Class was dominated by Jean Charles Decaux’s J-One, which won four of the seven races. “Consistency, focus and great teamwork is the magic combination and we are very happy to be the winner again after six years,” explained Decaux. “We are the oldest boat in the fleet and smaller compared to the new ones. We really had to make no mistakes, or at least fewer mistakes than our competitors.”

 

Spinnaker Drop on the J Class Rainbow (Photo by Rolex.Carlo Borlenghi)

Elegance Personified

While eyes feasted on some of the newer boats, the J-Class offered purists with an eye-catching reminder of yesteryear. Of the four J-Class yachts entered at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Shamrock and Velsheda are restorations of yachts launched over 80 years ago, while Rainbow and Ranger are design replicas of original boats destroyed for metal during the Second World War.

Those competing in the J-Class were not intent on solely distracting photographers. “We enjoy close racing and have to be very mindful dealing with equipment that is incredibly valuable and doesn’t respond that quickly. However, none of us want to simply nurse the boats around the course. We want to push it in the gap, that’s the challenge,” revealed Velsheda’ s Tom Dodson.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Azzura leads in Porto Cervo by Max Ranchi

 

Azzurra made something close to the start they wanted at their home waters 52 SUPER SERIES regatta, the Audi Setteima del Boche, today.

They returned to the dock at Sardinia’s Yacht Club Costa Smeralda just as the drizzling rain started, wearing big smiles after they scored a comfortable win in the breezy first race of the regatta and then took a second place to lead the season’s final event by two clear points.

While the Azzurra team, which has yet to finish a 2013 European regatta better than third overall, could enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done, no one could mistake the frustration of Quantum Racing’s hard driven tactician Terry Hutchinson at their second and third place finishes today.

Quantum Racing in Porto Cervo (Photo by Max Ranchi)

The American crew, richly studded with America’s Cup winning talent, may be well ahead on the overall 52 SUPER SERIES standings but Hutchinson wants to finish their season unbeaten, winning all four trophy regattas, and with that perfect goal in mind, converting their two leading positions at both first windward marks into that second and third, was deeply frustrating for him.

“ I want to win the regatta.” Hutchinson emphasised, “ I want to put our stamp on the season.”

In the brisk Mistral conditions, the wind just north of west and between 14 and 25 kts, smooth, polished crew work was a premium asset. With rain showers moving through to the south of the island and dark clouds passing overhead, there were always changes in wind pressure and some bigger shifts to use to full effect.

In the first race, the breeziest of the two windward-leewards today, Quantum Racing made the best start and seemed to be cruising to a decent lead.

TP52 Super Series 2013 ( Photo by Max Ranchi)

But at the leeward gate second placed Azzurra picked the right hand gate mark and then worked the right side up the second upwind, earning a good lift to lead over Quantum Racing by the final windward mark which they held to the finish line.

Azzurra could not be faulted on their second start. Starting helmsman and strategist Francesco Bruni – racing his first 52 regatta this season – might this morning have claimed to be feeling a little ring rusty after his months in San Francisco on the Luna Rossa AC72, but Azzurra’s second start – on the pin with pace – was as sharp as any. But although they had a small early lead over Quantum Racing up the first minutes of the upwind, the circuit leaders did steadily ease out ahead to lead around the windward mark again.

This time it was on the second downwind that the big changes occurred, Rob Greenhalgh – tactician on Tony Langley’s Gladiator – chose to work left into better pressure and a nice shift. He admitted later that part of the reason was to stay clear of a cluster which had developed behind after Rán Racing blew up their gennaker, but they made a nice gain coming back with Azzurra to steal first and second across the line.

Gladiator at Porto Cervo (Photo by Max Ranchi)

Langley’s Gladiator – once more burying the perception that theirs is something of a light winds specialist – paired a useful fifth to their race win and so lie third overall only one point behind Quantum Racing.  The circuit leaders Quantum Racing did have to make a small reshuffle of their crew today, substituting for a sick bowman.

Wednesday sees the first of two coastal races planned this week.

52 SUPER SERIES

Audi Settimana del Bocche 2013, Porto Cervo, ITA.

Standings after two races:

1 Azzurra, ITA, (Alberto Roemmers) (1,2) 3pts

2 Quantum Racing, USA, (Doug DeVos) (2,3) 5pts

3 Gladiator, GBR, (Tony Langley) (5,1) 6pts

4 Rán Racing, SWE, (Niklas Zennström) (4,4) 8pts

5 Provezza, TUR, (Ergin Imre) (6,5) 11pts

6 Interlodge, USA, (Austin Fragomen) (3,9) 12pts

7 Rio, USA, (Manouch Moshayedi) (7,6) 13pts

8 B2, ITA, (Michele Galli) (8,8) 16pts

9 Paprec, FRA, (Jean Luc Petithugenin) (DNF, 7) 17pts

B2 in TP52 Super Series( Photo by Max Ranchi)

 

Terry Hutchinson (USA) tactician Quantum Racing (USA):

“We went 2,3 but I am pretty angry as we went 1,1 at the two top marks and we turned them into a 2,3 and that is not acceptable for me. I expect more from myself and out of the guys we are working with to not miss anything. So when you get passed it is like a file going up and down my back, like a big cheese grater. In saying that our bowman was down sick today and Matt Cassidy slipped forward in the boat. We have an awesome group of professional sailors and all credit to them for doing really good work in difficult conditions. The positives are that we executed the starts we wanted, but we have some meat on the bone that we have to get better tomorrow.”

Vasco Vascotto (ITA) tactician Azzurra (ITA):

“ It feels better than Palma. We sailed very well this time. It is nice to have Cecco back on board it makes a difference. He has such great experience. He was trying to get us foiling (laughs).

Francesco Bruni (ITA) strategist and starting helm Azzurra (ITA):

 It was great racing today. I am always amazed how close it is in the 52 SUPER SERIES, there are just metres in it between new boats and old boats. We picked some good shifts. Vasco did some good work. Upwind we were not so sure about the right, we picked the nice shift to the left on the downwind and when you do that in this fleet it is always a nice jump forwards.

It is a great feeling to be back. It is great to be sailing here, it is like sailing with my second family, racing on these waters in the Mistral.”

TP52 Super Series 2013 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

Trophy Conde de Godó TP52 Winners Quantum Racing (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

The last day of the Conde de Godo Sailing Trophy has been crammed full with nervousness. The prevailing light wind indicated the worst but finally the fleet was able to race in appropriate conditions. The 40th Conde de Godo Sailing Trophy already has its winners: QUANTUM RACING (TP52), EARLY BIRD (Soto 40), ZHIK / NOVASAIL (J-80), OPEN SEASON (Wally), XSPAIN (ORC 2) FANYTAS (ORC 3) and RATS ON FIRE (ORC 1)

 

Bowman at start of Conde de Godo (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

 

Doug de Vos’ QUANTUM RACING, with Ed Baird as skipper, started today’s races knowing that only two points separated him from the leader, Alberto Roemmers’ AZZURA. The American team sailed a smart race which took him to win the regatta, while the Italian-Argentinean team (until then leader) ended in last place in the race, as he was falling to third place overall. Niklas’ Zennstrom’s RAN climbed to the second place of the podium in the Conde de Godo’s Sailing Trophy.

Ran (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

In the Soto 40 Class, Pedro Mendoça’s BIGAMIST and Herrik and Christian Najel’s EARLY BIRD started the last day tied up in points. The start was controlled by the German team, while the Portuguese got cornered in an unsuccessful start. This way EARLY BIRD won a comfortable overall victory.

The large J-80 fleet, with 14 boats in the water, proved the tough fight there was within the favorites, which were lots. Spaniard Carlos Martinez’s ZHIK / NOVASAIL, leader since day one, confirmed its great form winning by a margin of 16 points. Following Martinez’s team there was Javier Chacartegui’s HM HOTELS, José María Van der Ploeg’s FACTOR ENERGÍA and Pablo Benjumeda’s PUERTO SHERRY, who fought until the end. Van der Ploeg’s FACTOR ENERGIA, who broke a rudder on the first day and was forced to retire, made an incredible comeback which led him to the second place overall, followed by Javier Chacartegui ‘s HM Hotels in the podium.

Conde de Godo (Photo by Max Ranchi)

In the ORC category two units stood out: Javier Banderas’ XP38 X-SPAIN, who has won all the races sailed in ORC2 (5 out of 5) and Miquel Banus’ Dufour 34 FANYTAS in ORC3, which has also won all his races.

In ORC 1, the overall standings had a turn over after Christian Plump’s ELENA NOVA was disqualified from all races sailed. Once on shore and with the result from the protest that the Race Committee raised against ELENA NOVA, the victory of the Conde de Godo Sailing Trophy in ORC 1 went to Rafael Carbonell’s RATS ON FIRE. In the Wally class victory went clearly to British Mike Atkinson’s OPEN SEASON.

Bowwave (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

 

For results for all classes see http://www.trofeocondegodo.com/resultados2013/resultados_en_2013.php

Photos Courtesy of Max Ranchi  www.maxranchi.com

 

TP52 fleet Conde do Godo (Photo by Max Ranchi)

 

Rán Racing claimed the Royal Cup and their first overall victory in the inaugural 52 Super Series in a testing day’s racing at Palma, Mallorca on Saturday that victorious skipper Niklas Zennström described as being “as good as it gets”.

Zennstroms’s team surged to victory in a 30-plus northeaster at speeds in excess of 24 knots, finishing second across the line in the final race of the day to clinch the overall win.

World champions Quantum Racing finished second in the cup after they were forced to retire from the first of two races on Saturday, when they broke their headstay ram, headfoil and jib in the near gale force conditions.

The team’s shore crew sent an urgent dispatch of supplies to effect on water repairs between the two races. The crew successfully raced the clock and returned Quantum to the second race, but it just wasn’t their day.

Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One rounded out the Royal Cup’s podium, a result that pleased four-time Olympic medallist and twice America’s Cup winner skipper Jochen Schümann despite having entered the final race with a one-point lead.

 

Having won the first race today, All4One entered the final race at the top of the leaderboard with a total of 20 points, while both Quantum and Rán were just one point behind on 21.

Each team had crunched the numbers and knew exactly where they needed to place to clinch the coveted Royal Cup Challenge Trophy, but only Rán were able to execute their plan with success.

Zennström said the conditions in Palma Bay were challenging but very rewarding.

“These conditions are fantastic, you’re going downwind doing 24 knots, you’re doing nine knots upwind and still you’re doing boat on boat racing,” he said.

“Crossing the finish line and seeing Quantum ahead of All4One was just awesome, it’s as good as it gets. Quantum are really the class act, beating them today was really, really awesome. They’re hard to beat and that makes winning even sweeter.”

It was more a bittersweet day for Quantum’s crew, having entered the final day’s racing with a six point buffer and a lead they had held since the four day regatta started on Wednesday.

Tactician Andy Horton said the crew knew that their chances of clinging to their lead was compromised the minute they heard a massive “bang” when their headstay ram broke and they saw their jib tear in the opening nine minutes of the day’s first race.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,’’ Horton said. “But this is a great group of guys, there wasn’t anything said, it was just a freak accident. This is tight racing. You have to be good enough to win despite something like this happening.”

There was a surprise of a different kind for the crew on board Audi All4One, who exceeded even their own expectations to score third in the Royal Cup.

Schümann said being the “underdogs” helped his crew race under the radar, uninfluenced by the other teams’ intentions.

“We’re quite happy, finishing third is more than we expected coming here, but that’s what we dreamed of,’’ he said. “This is our first regatta together as a team. We really enjoy racing together and I think when you see the results getting better and better that reflects it.”

Audi Azzurra Sailing Team finished fourth in the Royal Cup, followed by PowerPlay, Gladiator, Provezza and Aquila.

In the overall 52 Super Series Quantum Racing leads with 53.5 points, followed by Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, 59.5, Rán Racing, 69.5, Gladiator, 93, Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One, 111.5, PowerPlay, 121.2, Provezza, 131.5, Aquila, 140.5 and Paprec, 150.5.

The teams are now turning their sights on 31st Copa del Rey where eight 52 teams will have a chance to race their grand prix yachts in a highly competitive event that won’t count towards the 52 Super Series points.

The next 52 Super Series point scoring event is the Valencia Cup, from September 19-22.

Ranking

  1. Rán Racing 23pts
  2. Quantum Racing 24pts
  3. Audi All4One 24pts
  4. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team 27pts
  5. PowerPlay 41.4pts
  6. Gladiator 44pts
  7. Provezza 47pts
  8. Aquila 56pts

Quantum Racing  (Photo by © Stefano Gattini_Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup)

Quantum Racing (Photo by © Stefano Gattini_Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup)

A new chapter of their green revolution was completed on the fierce blue waters of the Atlantic off Cascais, Portugal when Quantum Racing and Iberdrola won the Cascais Trophy for the TP52 and the Soto 40 series respectively, the opening event of the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit.

Green flashed hulls and sails are not the only common theme which the winning crews have in common.

Both successful programmes roll forwards from a previous iteration. For Quantum Racing (USA), who won five races from nine starts, it is the first victory in the class for the America’s Cup winner Ed Baird (USA) and for a brand new Botin Partners designed boat which is a successor to their 2008 circuit winner, while for Iberdrola Team (ESP) who win the first ever Soto 40 regatta in Europe – their success takes up the reins from previous campaigns at America’s Cup, TP52 and GP42 circuits.

Quantum Racing came into the regatta well behind their desired schedule but were soon able to reveal excellent upwind speed in the brisk winds which prevailed through the nine races, a strong foundation on which to build success on the windward-leeward track which more often than not favoured one side of the courses and also in the high points value 38 miles coastal race in which they finished second.

Though they made several crew changes since last season, continuity at the back of the Quantum Racing line up was ensured with world championship winners Kevin Hall (USA), navigator, Ado Stead (GBR), tactician and mainsail trimmer Skip Baxter (NZL) able to give valuable support to Baird, whose confidence grew noticeably through the regatta.

They finished with two wins Sunday, again proving solid in the strong NW’ly winds.
In the first race of the day Quantum Racing were quickly able to dominate on the right side of the upwind getting around the WW1 mark with a tiny lead over Markus Wieser (GER) and the crew of Container (GER)

The German flagged crew made the better set and gained more wind pressure offshore, to the right side of the downwind but Quantum Racing were able to take the preferred inshore, right buoy which allowed them to get back to the right again and lead to the finish.

Second place for Container kept them in the hunt in their tussle for second with Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA) who were compromised by snaring a fishing buoy and line which slowed them on the first upwind, while Ràn (SWE) took third.

audimedcup_m9583_medcup_110522nm_4552

Iberdrola ( Photo © Nico Martinez/Audi MedCup)

The final race of the regatta was something close to a repeat performance by Quantum Racing who, having clinched the regatta title, were able to start conservatively and use their upwind edge in the 19-24kts breeze to be able to earn that favoured berth again and lead from first mark to the finish. If they were under pressure from Audi Azzurra Sailing Team it evaporated when the Italian team were forced to leave their kite in the water when the take-down line tangled, leaving them with the spinnaker dragging alongside them.

From second Audi Azzurra Sailing Team dropped places but fought back to a spirited fourth. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, winners of the first race of the regatta and the season took a well earned second behind their sister-ship with which they shares an identical sail programme and a lot of performance intelligence.

While Audi Azzurra Sailing Team could not make their promising starts stick, so Container were able to finish their first Audi MedCup Circuit regatta with a fifth place, just enough to give second overall, by one point from Audi Azzurra Sailing Team.

Ed Baird, winning skipper helm said: “The guys have done a great job figuring out how to make this boat go and obviously it worked out pretty nicely. We have a lot to talk about now and find a way to sail faster, there are plenty of things to do before the next event. We don´t know how the boat is going to act in light weather conditions, we haven’t experienced them and we don´t know how the rest of the boats are going to sail in such conditions, we´ll have to learn how to handle the boat as quick as we can. When it´s windy like that you have to be in the hunt at the first top mark, you have to be going fast down there, the other boats showed over and over again that of you got tangled up with other boats downwind, someone is going to come down from behind. It´s important to find that lane Adrian and Kevin Hall did great guiding us in the racecourse, gave us great confidence and it worked out great”.

Consistency was the watchword in the Soto 40 fleet where the British boat Ngoni of Tony Buckingham scored their first win of the regatta when they comfortably lead Iberdrola across the finish line of the first race, while in the second – with the regatta win already secured it was Iberdrola which proved supreme in the strong winds and big downwind conditions.

“The truth is that we sailed great,” smiled Iberdrola’s skipper helm Jose Maria Torcida, “The conditions have been good and pretty similar every day, with lots of wind. We sailed well downwind , reaching peak speeds of 20-22 knots, which was absolutely sensational. The crew´s work has been outstanding, I think that it was due to the training that we did before the competition started.”
“The conditions have been perfect, it´s a perfect spot for sailing, no wonder so many great sailors have come out of here. It really is a spectacular place”.

Cascais has proven consistently windy, with the reliable NW’ly Portuguese trade winds regularly building to more than 20 kts, peaking at 22-24 kts for the second race today – to offer fabulous sailing conditions for both classes, once again enhancing its reputation as a premier venue in Europe.

Cascais Trophy
52 Series
Final results
1.Quantum Racing (USA), 3+3+5+1+1+1+3+1+1= 19 points
2. Container (GER), 2+2+4+3+3+3+7,5+2+5= 31,5 points
3. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+1+2+2+6+2+4,5+6+4= 32,5 points
4. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 1+6+3+4+4+6+6+5+2= 37 points
5. Ràn (SUE), 6+4+6+5+7+5+1,5+3+3= 40,5 points
6. Bribón (ESP), 4+7+1+6+2+7+10,5+4+6= 47,5 points
7. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (EUR), 7+5+7+7+5+4+9+7+7= 58 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), 9DNC+9DNC+9DNC+9DNC+9DNC+9DNC+13,5 DNC+9DNC+9DNC=85,5 points

Owner driver trophy: RÀN

40 Series
Final results
1.Iberdrola Team (ESP), 1+1+2+2+3+1+2+1=13
2.XXII Portuguese Sailing Team (POR), 3+2+4+3+2+2+4+3=23
3.Bigamist (POR), 2+4+3+1+1+5+3+6 DNF=25
4.Patagonia (ARG), 4+3+1+4+5+4+5+2=28
5.Ngoni (GBR), 5+5+5+6DNF+4+3+1+4=33

Owner driver trophy: Patagonia

Quotes:
Ed Baird (USA), skipper, Quantum Racing (USA):
”It was a very exciting week of racing, terrific, I never imagined that these boats could be that exciting going downwind. The guys have done a great job figuring out how to make this boat go and obviously it worked out pretty nicely. We have a lot to talk about now and find a way to sail faster, there are plenty of things to do before the next event. We don´t know how the boat is going to act in light weather conditions, we haven’t experienced them and we don´t know how the rest of the boats are going to sail in such conditions, we´ll have to learn how to handle the boat as quick as we can. When it´s windy like that you have to be in the hunt at the first top mark, you have to be going fast down there, the other boats showed over and over again that of you got tangled up with other boats downwind, someone is going to come down from behind. It´s important to find that lane Adrian and Kevin Hall did great guiding us in the racecourse, gave us great confidence and it worked out great”

Adrian Stead (GBR), tactician, Quantum Racing (USA):
“It was a fantastic event for us, phenomenal, we are very pleased with how things have been going so far. At the beginning of the week our goal was to stay in touch because we were a little behind in our preparation.  We´ve learned every day, improved our sailing and found the chemistry that made the team work very well. Technically, we´ve been trying to work in every area of the boat, in our communication, trying to understand everything that´s happening out there in the water, with the current, with the breeze… I think that we made the best we could out of the wind. We sailed quite well upwind, it´s very easy to not be in the front row at the top mark, in this fleet you need every inch and we maximized that”.

José María Torcida (ESP), skipper, Iberdrola Team (ESP):
“The truth is that we sailed great, the conditions have been good and pretty similar every day, with lots of wind. We started well in the first race but went a bit to the left, after that the current didn´t let us be upfront at the top mark. We had to recover and later, after the leeward gate, we were already second. We almost reached Bigamist but couldn´t do it at the end.  In the second race we had a problem at the starting line, we rushed and had to slow down, so it was hard to speed up again. We sailed well downwind , reaching peaks of 20-22 knots, which was sensational. The crew´s work has been outstanding, I think that it was due to the training that we did before the competition started. The conditions have been perfect, it´s a perfect spot for sailing, no wonder so many great sailors have come out of here. It´s a spectacular place”.

Vasco Vascotto (ITA), skipper, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA):
“We sailed poorly, and with this fleet, if you make mistakes you pay. Now we have to rest a bit in order to be in the best possible shape in Marseille, that´s the key for us now. The result is not bad, but we leave with a bittersweet feeling. We got tangled up with a fisherman´s buoy in the first race, but we were behind and the result would´ve been the same if we didn´t. In the second one, we had a bit of bad luck, because the gennaker´s bag got tangled up in the spinnaker´s retriever system and we couldn´t bring down the gennaker downwind. We have to congratulate Quantum Racing, next time we´ll try to be stronger”.

Marc Lagesse (SOU), navigator, Container (GER):
“It´s been a very tricky venue and the rest of the boats are all tough, but we delivered. The level´s so high that we could easily be last at the next regatta. We are very happy with how the boat sails in strong wind. Consistency´s been the key for us. We didn´t want to start very aggressively and we sailed in a conservative way, staying with the fleet. We didn´t win a race, most teams did and we still got a second place, so we are very happy”.

A new chapter of their green revolution was completed on the fierce blue waters of the Atlantic off Cascais, Portugal when Quantum Racing and Iberdrola won the Cascais Trophy for the TP52 and the Soto 40 series respectively, the opening event of the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit.

Green flashed hulls and sails are not the only common theme which the winning crews have in common.

Both successful programmes roll forwards from a previous iteration. For Quantum Racing, who won five races from nine starts, it is the first victory in the class for the America’s Cup winner Ed Baird and for a brand new Botin Partners designed boat which is a successor to their 2008 circuit winner, while for Iberdrola Team– who win the first ever Soto 40 regatta in Europe – their success takes up the reins from previous campaigns at America’s Cup, TP52 and GP42 circuits.

Quantum Racing came into the regatta well behind their desired schedule but were soon able to reveal excellent upwind speed in the brisk winds which prevailed through the nine races, a strong foundation on which to build success on the windward-leeward track which more often than not favoured one side of the courses and also in the high points value 38 miles coastal race in which they finished second.

Though they made several crew changes since last season, continuity at the back of the Quantum Racing line up was ensured with world championship winners Kevin Hall, navigator, Ado Stead, tactician and mainsail trimmer Skip Baxter able to give valuable support to Baird, whose confidence grew noticeably through the regatta.

They finished with two wins Sunday, again proving solid in the strong NW’ly winds.

In the first race of the day Quantum Racing were quickly able to dominate on the right side of the upwind getting around the WW1 mark with a tiny lead over Markus Wieser and the crew of Container.

The German flagged crew made the better set and gained more wind pressure offshore, to the right side of the downwind but Quantum Racing were able to take the preferred inshore, right buoy which allowed them to get back to the right again and lead to the finish.

Second place for Container kept them in the hunt in their tussle for second with Audi Azzurra Sailing Team who were compromised by snaring a fishing buoy and line which slowed them on the first upwind, while Ràn took third.

The final race of the regatta was something close to a repeat performance by Quantum Racing who, having clinched the regatta title, were able to start conservatively and use their upwind edge in the 19-22kts breeze to be able to earn that favoured berth again and lead from first mark to the finish. If they were under pressure from Audi Azzurra Sailing Team it evaporated when the Italian team were forced to leave their kite in the water when the take-down line tangled, leaving them with the spinnaker dragging alongside them.

audimedcup_m9584_medcup_110522nm_5126

Iberdrola ( Photo © Nico Martinez/Audi MedCup)

From second Audi Azzurra Sailing Team dropped places but fought back to a spirited fourth. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, winners of the first race of the regatta and the season took a well earned second behind their sister-ship with which they shares an identical sail programme and a lot of performance intelligence.

While Audi Azzurra Sailing Team could not make their promising starts stick, so Container were able to finish their first Audi MedCup Circuit regatta with a fifth place, just enough to give second overall, by one point from Audi Azzurra Sailing Team.

Ed Baird, winning skipper helm said: “The guys have done a great job figuring out how to make this boat go and obviously it worked out pretty nicely. We have a lot to talk about now and find a way to sail faster, there are plenty of things to do before the next event. We don´t know how the boat is going to act in light weather conditions, we haven’t experienced them and we don´t know how the rest of the boats are going to sail in such conditions, we´ll have to learn how to handle the boat as quick as we can. When it´s windy like that you have to be in the hunt at the first top mark, you have to be going fast down there, the other boats showed over and over again that of you got tangled up with other boats downwind, someone is going to come down from behind. It´s important to find that lane Adrian and Kevin Hall did great guiding us in the racecourse, gave us great confidence and it worked out great”.

Consistency was the watchword in the Soto 40 fleet where the British boat Ngoni of Tony Buckingham scored their first win of the regatta when they comfortably lead Iberdrola across the finish line of the first race, while in the second – with the regatta win already secured it was Iberdrola which proved supreme in the strong winds and big downwind conditions.

“The truth is that we sailed great,” smiled Iberdrola’s skipper helm Jose Maria Torcida, “The conditions have been good and pretty similar every day, with lots of wind. We sailed well downwind , reaching peak speeds of 20-22 knots, which was absolutely sensational. The crew´s work has been outstanding, I think that it was due to the training that we did before the competition started.”
“The conditions have been perfect, it´s a perfect spot for sailing, no wonder so many great sailors have come out of here. It really is a spectacular place”.

Cascais has proven consistently windy, with the reliable NW’ly Portuguese trade winds regularly building to more than 20 kts, peaking at 22-24 kts for the second race today – to offer fabulous sailing conditions for both classes, once again enhancing its reputation as a premier venue in Europe.

Cascais Trophy

52 Series

Final results

1.Quantum Racing (USA), 3+3+5+1+1+1+3+1+1= 19 points

2. Container (GER), 2+2+4+3+3+3+7,5+2+5= 31,5 points

3. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+1+2+2+6+2+4,5+6+4= 32,5 points

4. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 1+6+3+4+4+6+6+5+2= 37 points

5. Ràn (SUE), 6+4+6+5+7+5+1,5+3+3= 40,5 points

6. Bribón (ESP), 4+7+1+6+2+7+10,5+4+6= 47,5 points

7. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (EUR), 7+5+7+7+5+4+9+7+7= 58 points

8. Gladiator (GBR), 9DNC+9DNC+9DNC+9DNC+9DNC+9DNC+13,5 DNC+9DNC+9DNC=85,5 points

Owner driver trophy: RÀN

40 Series

Final results

1.Iberdrola Team (ESP), 1+1+2+2+3+1+2+1=13

2.XXII Portuguese Sailing Team (POR), 3+2+4+3+2+2+4+3=23

3.Bigamist (POR), 2+4+3+1+1+5+3+6 DNF=25

4.Patagonia (ARG), 4+3+1+4+5+4+5+2=28

5.Ngoni (GBR), 5+5+5+6DNF+4+3+1+4=33

Owner driver trophy: Patagonia

Quotes:

Ed Baird (USA), skipper, Quantum Racing (USA):

”It was a very exciting week of racing, terrific, I never imagined that these boats could be that exciting going downwind. The guys have done a great job figuring out how to make this boat go and obviously it worked out pretty nicely. We have a lot to talk about now and find a way to sail faster, there are plenty of things to do before the next event. We don´t know how the boat is going to act in light weather conditions, we haven’t experienced them and we don´t know how the rest of the boats are going to sail in such conditions, we´ll have to learn how to handle the boat as quick as we can. When it´s windy like that you have to be in the hunt at the first top mark, you have to be going fast down there, the other boats showed over and over again that of you got tangled up with other boats downwind, someone is going to come down from behind. It´s important to find that lane Adrian and Kevin Hall did great guiding us in the racecourse, gave us great confidence and it worked out great”

Adrian Stead (GBR), tactician, Quantum Racing (USA):

“It was a fantastic event for us, phenomenal, we are very pleased with how things have been going so far. At the beginning of the week our goal was to stay in touch because we were a little behind in our preparation. We´ve learned every day, improved our sailing and found the chemistry that made the team work very well. Technically, we´ve been trying to work in every area of the boat, in our communication, trying to understand everything that´s happening out there in the water, with the current, with the breeze… I think that we made the best we could out of the wind. We sailed quite well upwind, it´s very easy to not be in the front row at the top mark, in this fleet you need every inch and we maximized that”.

José María Torcida (ESP), skipper, Iberdrola Team (ESP):

“The truth is that we sailed great, the conditions have been good and pretty similar every day, with lots of wind. We started well in the first race but went a bit to the left, after that the current didn´t let us be upfront at the top mark. We had to recover and later, after the leeward gate, we were already second. We almost reached Bigamist but couldn´t do it at the end. In the second race we had a problem at the starting line, we rushed and had to slow down, so it was hard to speed up again. We sailed well downwind , reaching peaks of 20-22 knots, which was sensational. The crew´s work has been outstanding, I think that it was due to the training that we did before the competition started. The conditions have been perfect, it´s a perfect spot for sailing, no wonder so many great sailors have come out of here. It´s a spectacular place”.

Vasco Vascotto (ITA), skipper, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA):

“We sailed poorly, and with this fleet, if you make mistakes you pay. Now we have to rest a bit in order to be in the best possible shape in Marseille, that´s the key for us now. The result is not bad, but we leave with a bittersweet feeling. We got tangled up with a fisherman´s buoy in the first race, but we were behind and the result would´ve been the same if we didn´t. In the second one, we had a bit of bad luck, because the gennaker´s bag got tangled up in the spinnaker´s retriever system and we couldn´t bring down the gennaker downwind. We have to congratulate Quantum Racing, next time we´ll try to be stronger”.

(Photo © Ian Roman/Audi MedCup)

Quantum Racing Team Celebrating Victory (Photo © Ian Roman/Audi MedCup)

TP52's Take Off (Photo by Stefano Gattini / Studion Borlenghi / Audi MedCup )

TP52's Take Off (Photo by Stefano Gattini / Studion Borlenghi / Audi MedCup )

Only the GP42 Series’ official practice heat was completed today, the first scheduled racing day of the Camper Regatta – Conde de Godó Trophy – Barcelona.

The 11 strong TP52 Series fleet representing 10 different nations, were left waiting, poised and ready for their first ever points racing off Barcelona, but the light breezes proved insufficient to get competition under way.

Around five hours in the hot summer Mediterranean sunshine, tracking the fickle breeze proved to be in vain for the TP52 teams who watched closely to see what they could learn from their smaller GP42 cousins as they took part in a slow, shifty practice race.

But the breeze all but evaporated before the second windward leg was completed and their race was shortened before the final downwind.

For the GP42’s the light airs practice was considered a good chance to get attuned to the kind of conditions which are expected to prevail for some of this regatta. Their practice race today started in a promising 8 knots, but soon degraded to less than 6 knots with many light air zones and shifts in direction down.

Even though AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA) had an enormous lead around the first top mark, they fell prey to the fickle conditions and Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) was able to take and hold the lead into the finish.

This must be promising for the Canarias team, as light air has not been their strong suit in previous stages.

Madrid Caser-Seguros (ESP), runner-up in the practice race today and a sistership to Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, has been aggressively changing their boat set-up to optimize for light air. They did this by removing some heavy items on board and adding corrector weights to get to the absolute bare minimum all-up weight (4200 kg) which was verified by class measurer Jorge Flethes (ESP) on a crane scale yesterday. This and “a few rig and sail changes,” says helmsman Paolo Cian (ITA), “will make us a little faster in the light air. But overall we feel really good for this regatta.”

While they retired today, another team to watch in the light air will be Iberdrola (ESP), who won handily in the first day’s light air at the last stage in Marseille. They have an older generation Botin Carkeek design that has proven to be a good overall performer, and in the light they seem to have an edge on the newer Botin Carkeek designs.

And if only through sheer will, Peninsula Petroleum (GBR) will be strong in their quest to dig out from the points deficit.

Opening party
Last night the Audi MedCup Regatta village for the Camper Regatta – Conde de Godó Trophy – Barcelona on the Moll de la Fusta came alive for a huge opening party which drew more than 700 invited guests, including many local Barcelona celebrities and VIP’s.

Three races are scheduled for the both the TP52 Series fleet and the GP42 Series fleet tomorrow (Thursday) with this evening’s forecast seeming to offer the prospect of a racing breeze.
 

Audi MedCup Warm Up Action ( Photo by Nico Martinez / Audi MedCup )

Audi MedCup Warm Up Action ( Photo by Nico Martinez / Audi MedCup )

Quantum Racing Wins Marseille Trophy Audi Medcup Circuit (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi / Audi Medcup)

Quantum Racing Wins Marseille Trophy Audi Medcup Circuit (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi / Audi Medcup)

Quantum Racing and Iberdrola’s green revolution overtook the Marseille Trophy regatta, the second event of the 2010 Audi MedCup Circuit, as the two green-hulled Botin Carkeek designs lifted the respective top trophies for the TP52 series and GP42 series

Quantum Racing’s (USA) victory in the TP52 Series fleet is their first event win overall since becoming 2008 TP52 World Champions in Puerto Calero, and their first Audi MedCup Circuit regatta triumph since they sealed the 2008 overall title winning the Portugal Trophy in September 2008.

The 2007 and 2008 GP42 Circuit title winners Iberdrola (ESP) leave Marseille buoyed up for the rest of the season by their first ever Audi MedCup regatta win.

Team (Photo by Guido Trombetta - Studio Borlenghi / Audi MedCup)

Team (Photo by Guido Trombetta - Studio Borlenghi / Audi MedCup)

It was the Mistral which prevailed on the final day of scheduled racing. Out on Marseille’s Rade race areas the notorious winds whipped spumes of spray and kicked up a nasty swell. With gusts close to 40 knots it always seemed unlikely that the Marseille Trophy fleet would leave the dock in the Vieux Port. For all that, the Quantum Racing team were never far from their boat and always poised to go and do whatever needed to be done.

Skipper-helm Terry Hutchinson (USA) acknowledged the good work of his team, not least in the behind the scenes industry from their boat-builder, from Quantum Sails themselves and the designers Botin Carkeek, which have all contributed to the 2008 champions upping their game on last year. Winning two races and, for the second year in a row, the coastal race, formed the solid foundations for the Quantum Racing victory composed over just six races sailed.

Their win halts the Emirates Team New Zealand run at five successive regattas which they set off here in Marseille last year. The American crew finished 4.5 points clear of second placed Matador (ARG).

Keys to the Quantum Racing success have been consistently good starting, strong tactics and improved boat speed, whilst the reigning champions Emirates Team New Zealand will rue a high scoring opening day when they amassed 21 of their 31 points, finishing fourth overall, their worst finish ever on the Audi MedCup Circuit. But on the overall standings for the 2010 Audi MedCup Circuit, the Kiwis’ 20 points lead which they came to France with has only been eroded by 1.5 points.

When it comes to consistency the Franco-German team on Audi A1 powered by All4One have been the class act of the season so far. Second in Cascais, the team headed by Jochen Schuemann (GER) and Sebastien Col (FRA), took third place here and lie second overall on the 2010 Audi MedCup Circuit standings.

First MedCup win for Iberdrola
With no racing today, Iberdrola (ESP) two point lead ensured they won the Marseille Trophy in the GP42 Series, also promoting themselves up to second overall on the GP42 Series overall standings behind Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP).
The bright-green machine led by skipper Laureano Wizner (ESP) has shown to be fast in light air, so those conditions in the first day of racing enable her double wins in Races 1 and 2.

Day Two’s big breeze and big seas suited Madrid-Caser Seguros (ESP), whose strong finishes of 2 – 1 – 1 then were still not quite enough to get this team, led by skipper Jose Maria van der Ploeg (ESP) and helmsman Paolo Cian (ITA), to the top of the leaderboard.

The total number of races sailed in Marseille amounts to only five, the silver liming for Peninsula Petroleum (GBR), whose broken masthead crane could not be repaired after its break in Race 3. This will leave more races in the future available for this team, led by Gibraltar-based owner/helmsman John Bassadone and tactician Iñaki Castaner (ESP), to play catch-up to the fleet for the remainder of the series.

The Conde de Godó City of Barcelona Trophy is the next regatta of the Audi MedCup Circuit 20-25 July in the Catalan capital.

Marseille Trophy

TP52 Series
Overall
1. Quantum Racing (USA), 8+1+1+5+6+1,5= 22,5 points
2. Matador (ARG), 3+3+4+1+10+6= 27
3. Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER), 2+9+2+10+2+4,5= 29,5
4. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 10+6+5+4+3+3= 31
5. TeamOrigin (GBR), 4+7+7+3+1+9= 31
6. Synergy (RUS), 9+2+6+7+4+7,5= 35,5   
7. Bribón (ESP), 1+8+8+2+7+15= 41
8. Cristabella (GBR), 6+4+3+8+9+13,5= 43,5
9. Luna Rossa (ITA), 5+5+10+9+5+10,5= 44,5 
10. Artemis (SWE), 7+11(RAF)+9+6+8+12= 53 
11. Bigamist 7 (POR), 12(DNC)+12(DNC)+12(DNC)+12(DNC)+12(DNC)+18(DNC)= 78

GP42 Series
Overall
1. Iberdrola (ESP), 1+1+3+2+3= 10 points
2. Madrid-Caser Seguros (ESP), 4+4+2+1+1= 12
3. AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA), 5+2+1+3+4= 15
4. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), 2+5+4+4+2= 17
5. Peninsula Petroleum (GBR), 3+3+6(DNF)+6(DNC)+6(DNC)= 24

quantum

Quantum Racing Team At Awards Ceremony (Photo by Guido Trombetta - Borlenghi Studios / Audi MedCup )

MedCup Teams

Luna Rossa and Quantum Racing (Photo by Carmen Hidalgo / Audi MedCup)

 

The most hard fought and closely matched circuit featuring the cutting edge TP52 and GP42 Series will compete between the 11th and the 16th of May, for the Portugal Trophy at the first Audi MedCup Circuit of 2010.

After three very successful years in the Algarve, the Portuguese stage of the Audi MedCup Circuit visits Cascais.

The only Audi MedCup event on the waters of the Atlantic will take place at a world class sailing venue, which has hosted many World and European Championships including the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships

2010ís OPENING EVENT: AN EXTRA INCENTIVE
The Portugal Trophy will be the first of the five events which comprise the Audi MedCup Circuit this season.  As the curtain raiser for  for the 2010 season, Cascais will be the first venue to feature the modified TP52, which has undergone key changes which were designed to enhance the performance of this already exciting, demanding class.

Quantum Racing (Photo by

Quantum Racing (Photo by Carmen Hidalgo / Audi MedCup)

Emirates Team New Zealand (TP52) and Islas Canarias Puerto Calero ( GP42), the Audi MedCup 2009 winners, will try to carry on their winning momentum into the new season, starting in Cascais:

Nacho Postigo (ESP) Audi MedCup Circuit director commented: “We are seeing a rise in the level of the competition and the quality this year, particularly due to the three new America’s Cup entries.  Cascais is getting the sailors nervous, many know the race area from previous events and realise that they will need to very agile to control the boat.  The boats are more powerful with the modifications that have been introduced since last year.  The changes have made the boats faster and that is what you have to control with one less crew member. It is guaranteed to be quite a spectacle and I encourage all the people in the region of Lisbon to come and enjoy all this in Cascais.”

“Last year’s fleet was difficult to beat. The teams improved race by race. In 2010, three new teams, TeamORIGIN, ALL4ONE and Luna Rossa,will make things even more difficult for us. We didn’t have much time to train on our modified NZL380 and we are looking forward to coming to Cascais, so that we can test our performance level with the rest of the fleet”, says Grant Dalton, CEO of Emirates Team New Zealand.

Ten TP52 and five GP42 have registered for the Portugal Trophy, among them a total of two America’s Cup crews new to the Audi MedCup Circuit:Britain’s TeamORIGIN and Italy’s Luna Rossa, which has Brasilians Torben Grael and Robert Scheidt on board, two of the world’s most important sailors, who have a very good knowledge of the race area of Cascais.

The host nation Portugal will be represented by Bigamist 7, of Pedro Mendonça. The Portuguese TP52 was the circuit’s revelation in 2009, after eight race wins and climbing on to the podium in the last event, Cartagena.

In the Audi MedCup 2010, after being modified, she is expected to improve last year’s performance and be fighting for the final success.

SUPPORT OF INSTITUTIONS
Beyond the cut and thrust of the action on the water, the Portugal Trophy has been consistently acclaimed for the organization, infrastructure and glamour ashore. Such values are keynote to the Lagos Sports brand, the event organizer together with the Clube Naval of Cascais, the Marina of Cascais, and World Sailing Management with the support of Turismo de Portugal and Turismo Estoril/C?mara Municipal of Cascais.

BAY OF CASCAIS: THE SHOW GOES ON
The Portuguese event of the Audi MedCup 2010 starts competition on the Tuesday 11th of May and runs until the Sunday the 16th. Each day up to three races will be held, as well as a spectacular coastal race scheduled for Saturday, the 15th: the fleet starts from Cascais heading to Cabo da Roca towards Cabo Espichel, and heads back to Lisbon where it turns at Ponte 25 of Abril to reach the finish off Cascais.

The competition will be based in the Marina of Cascais and includes a Race Village, a Press Room, the Race Office of Clube Nacional of Cascais and an area in the Bay of Cascais which will allow visitors a live and exciting experience of the event, with a big screen which will relay racing with live images enhanced by the virtual tracking system, as well as leisure activities, a merchandising area and food and beverage options.