Team Azzurra Win Valencia Cup  (Photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries)

Team Azzurra Win Valencia Cup (Photo by Xaume Olleros/Superseries)

 

At the end Audi Azzurra Sailing Team glided serenely across the finish line of the one final race of the season in a gentle sea breeze and perfect September sunshine off Valencia to secure the overall 52 Super Series title.

When they started Race 8 of the Audi Valencia Cup, all that the team which races under the flag of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda had to do was simply cross that last finish line in any place to ensure the season-long title was theirs.

In so doing they also won the Audi Valencia Cup, counting five first places, a second, third and fifth. Their only regatta win of the four this season, Barcelona, Sardinia, Palma and Valencia, was achieved by a margin of seven points ahead of Jochen Schuemann’s Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One.

Niklas Zennström, the newly elected president of the TP52 class, steered Rán to a win this final contest of the season. With Quantum Racing finishing third, that was enough to give Zennström’s crew third step on the Audi Valencia Cup podium, and also third overall for the season.

The celebrations may have started early for the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, having virtually wrapped up the title yesterday, but after seven years of trying the emotions and jubilation overflowed on the dock in front of the emblematic Veles e Vents building.

 

“We are very proud.” Grinned tactician Vasco Vascotto, “ It was a huge challenge, the standard is so high and so we are happy for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, for the Roemmers family (boat owners), for everybody involved it is such an important result.”

“But we need to start working tomorrow again, because I am sure that next year it will be harder and the teams will be ready to beat us. This is still a sport and so we have to always think not only how we won this year, but also how we lost in the past.”

 

Simon Fry, the British trimmer on board the winning Audi Azzurra Sailing team summarised:

“I think the team has really endorsed the ‘leave nothing to chance’ philosophy. I think we have just been a little more diligent. I think the boat preparation has been excellent. And I think that on top of that we had the human element of a really, really steely focus. It was ‘the time has come, we have to deliver’. We have had the hardware in the past and failed to deliver. So there was a bit of personal pressure on, and a bit of peer pressure, this was the year we had to deliver.”

Day 2 Valencia 52 Superseries (Photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries)

Day 2 Valencia 52 Superseries Marina Real Juan Carlos I, Puerto de Valencia, (Photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries)

For Quantum Racing, the American flagged team which won the class title in 2008 and 20011, letting the 52 Super Series slip from their grasp at the last regatta is a bitter pill to swallow, but skipper Ed Baird stated they will learn from the experience:

“ Every race is a practice race for the next one. You have to learn from every mistake you have made and add it to your bank of knowledge for the next. And we certainly have learned a lot this week.”

The 52 Super Series concluded its inaugural season with three different boats winning regattas, Quantum Racing, Rán and Audi Azzurra Sailing Team. The programme for next season’s 52 Super Series is already in place, starting in January in Key West.

Audi Valencia Cup

1 Audi Azzurra Sailing Team 15pts

2 Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One 22pts

3 Rán 25pts

4 Quantum Racing 26pts

5 Gladiator 32pts

52 Super Series final results

1 Audi Azzurra Sailing Team ITA 74.5pts

2 Quantum Racing  USA 79.5pts

3 Rán Racing  SWE 94.5pts

4 Gladiator GBR 125pts

5 Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One GER 132.5 pts

2013 Calendar

US 52 Super Series

Quantum Key West Race Week: January 20-25th

52 World Championships, Miami, March 5-9th

52 Super Series

Trofeo Conde de Godo, Barcelona, May 23-26th

Royal Cup, Ibiza, July 2-6th

Copa del Rey, Palma Mallorca, July 29th – Aug 3rd

Audi Week of the Straits, Porto Cervo, Sardinia September 10-14th

Quotes:

Vasco Vascotto, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team
“We are very proud. It was a huge challenge, the standard is so high and so we are happy for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, for the Roemmers family, for everybody it is an important result. And we need to start working tomorrow again, because I am sure that next year it will be harder and the teams will be ready to beat us. This is still a sport and so we have to always think not only how we won this year, but also how we lost in the past. It means a lot to me. This is part of my heart. We are still a young team in the sailing circles and we want to win more together. I have won other things but this is important to win because the team have been trying so hard for so long.”

Ed Baird, Quantum Racing: 
“Obviously we are disappointed. We never want to drop boats, we never want to do that. We are still learning and trying our hardest and I have full faith in the group here. One of the things that has gone on all week, is that despite how frustrating it has been to make decisions that seemed like they were the ones, and then have them go wrong, the group was always very positive and always fighting. I appreciate that from a team.

Adrian Stead, Rán Racing:
“We sailed the boat really well, we changed gears really well in the conditions. I think it was shifty enough and puffy enough that as long as you could be under the right breeze at the right time for longest, that gave you the speed and the advantage. We have come a long way. We have improved. We were weak in the light stuff an have improved there.”

Stephane Kandler, Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One:
“We are very happy with our season, we started late and with only little means. So we are quite happy to get two podiums over the season and won the Copa del Rey. So we are pleased to have done the season. Congratulations for the season to Azzurra who did a great job.”

Tony Langley, owner-driver Gladiator:
“It has been a good season for us. I am quite happy with the way things have gone and with the progress we have made. We had better results in Porto Cervo but we have been sailing the boat quite well. The other guys are coming after us now. We were tacked on three times today. We are doing things fairly right now.” 

“Today we had good start, a bad shift, and then we were back in it again. And in the end we finish by taking a scalp off a team with a few gold medals between them and that’s great, that’s quite something.” “We are packing everything up now and heading to the US for the first events of next season. We are already really looking forwards to Key West and Miami.”

VALENCIA, SPAIN. 2012. Day four of Audi Valencia Cup of 52 Superseries on September 22, 2012 at Marina Real Juan Carlos I, Puerto de Valencia, in Valencia, Spain (photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries)

 

PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN. 2012. Day four of Copa del Rey of 52 Superseries on july 19, 2012 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain (Photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries)

PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN. 2012. Day four of Copa del Rey of 52 Superseries on july 19, 2012 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain (Photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries)

The overall lead of the Copa del Rey IRC 1 division hangs in the hands of the International Jury on Thursday, after a collision between longstanding regatta leaders Audi Azzurra and provisional leaders Audi All4One resulted in counter protests. The pair protested each other after their boats collided during an incident that relates to buoy room during a crucial race on day four of the six-day regatta at Palma, Mallorca.

The pair was neck-and-neck on the approach to the mark when All4One narrowly passed on the inside of Azzurra and their yachts collided. The Italian/Argentinean team paid a penance, a 720 turn, and dropped from first to fifth.

At the race’s end each team notified race management of their intention to protest the other. The protest will be heard by the International Jury at the Real Club de Náutico later tonight.

The outcome could cause a major shakeup of the overall leaderboard on what was otherwise a victorious day for Audi All4One.

The team scored back-to-back wins thanks to the powerhouse partnership of America’s Cup and Olympic gold medallists Jochen Schüemann and Jordi Calafat, who proved invincible.

It is the third line honours win in two days for the on-form team, having won Wednesday’s coastal race.

The trifecta of victories provisionally moves the team to the top of the overall leaderboard on 19 points, edging them to a three point lead over longstanding leaders Audi Azzurra Racing Team with just two-days racing remaining.

But, with a protest pending and more racing to come All4One strategist Pascal Rambeau said it was too early to take too much confidence from the victories.

“There is still a long way, four races to go,’’ he said. “We have to take it one race at a time and stay focused and keep the momentum we have. It is competitive racing, today proves that.”

It should have been a day of celebration for Azzurra, as July 19 marks the 30th anniversary of the launch of the first Azzurra yacht. Instead the team were commiserating their worst results yet, sixth and fifth on corrected time.

The bad form could see Azzurra lose the lead they have held for two-days and slip from a 5.5 point lead, to three point deficit in second place.

Provisionally Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One are the Copa del Rey IRC 1 leaders on 19 points, followed by Audi Azzurra Sailing Team on 22, Gladiator, 24.5, PowerPlay, 27.5 and Paprec Recyclage, 29.

More than 1,100 sailors are competing on board about 119 yachts, across seven divisions in the 31st Copa del Rey.  A maximum of 12 races will be contested across the six-day regatta that concludes on Saturday July 21. Copa del Rey does not count towards the overall 52 Super Series.

The penultimate day of racing will begin on Friday at 1300 local, 1100 UTC.

PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN. 2012. Day four of Copa del Rey of 52 Superseries on july 19, 2012 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain (Photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries)

PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN. 2012. Day four of Copa del Rey of 52 Superseries on july 19, 2012 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain (Photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries)

 

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

 

TP52s in Royal Cup 2012 Palma, Mallorca ( Photo  © Jacaranda Marketing )

TP52s in Royal Cup 2012 Palma, Mallorca ( Photo © Jacaranda Marketing )

Defending champions Quantum Racing proved why they are the team to beat in the 52 Super Series after winning a dramatic opening day’s racing in the Royal Cup at Palma, Mallorca where costly crew errors proved just how close the competition is.

Quantum Racing claimed a commanding victory in the opening race and second place in race two to finish on three points on the first day of the four-day regatta to extend their overall lead in the 52 Super Series from three points to five.

Rán Racing are second in the Royal Cup with four points, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team are third with five points, followed by Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One, Gladiator, Aquila, PowerPlay and Provezza.

Quantum skipper and double America’s Cup champion Ed Baird said it was a tough day’s racing that was packed with plenty of wind shifts that came out of no where and put his crew’s recent lessons to the test.

“It was one of those races where the rich get richer, as soon as you were a little bit ahead everything became a little more obvious,’’ Baird said.

“We worked awfully hard all of last year, and this year, at trying to improve every little thing.

“It sounds so basic but the tacks, the gybes, they are better than they were three or four months ago. So are the starts, the straight line speed, the sails, the understanding of the mast and the communications, they’re all improving.”

It was a much tougher day’s racing for crews on board newcomer Provezza and British boat Gladiator, who suffered at the hands of errors that placed them second last and last respectively in race two.

Provezza struggled to come back after being recalled for jumping the start and Gladiator dropped from second to last when they lost their spinnaker overboard halfway through the race.

Gladiator skipper Tony Langley said his team’s severe penance for one error was a testament to the caliber of the class.

“It was all in the drop, we lost the string-line system and that was it,” he said. “At this level you cannot afford to make any mistakes.

“You make a small mistake and you’ll get spat out one place or two places, you make a medium mistake and you get spat out the back, but you make a mistake like this and you’re just completing the course for one point.”

Day two of the Royal Cup, hosted by Real Club Náutico de Palma, starts at 1300 local, 1100 UTC. Early predictions have teams expecting between 12 and 18 knots from the south-southwest.

 Camper Regatta – Conde de Godó Trophy – Barcelona © Ainhoa Sanchez/Audi MedCup

Camper Regatta – Conde de Godó Trophy – Barcelona © Ainhoa Sanchez/Audi MedCup

John Cook, owner of the English Cristabella boat saga, and one of the most loyal fans and participants of the MedCup Circuit, passed away in late April after a long struggle with a disease that eventually took him away, despite him being a born fighter, as he demonstrated both on land and at sea.

The memory of the Cristabella saga and its owner John Cook will remain forever linked to the sea, the Mediterranean, the TP52 class, and the MedCup Circuit. The TP52 Cristabella was part of the fleet which started off the competition in 2005, and remained faithful to it, taking part in almost all its events, until she had to leave due to her owner’s health problems, the same that would finally cause him to pass away in late April.

John Cook (Photo by Audi MedCup Circuit © Ian Roman/Audi MedCup)

John Cook (Photo by Audi MedCup Circuit © Ian Roman/Audi MedCup)

English by birth, Cook ran under the flag of the Real Club Náutico de Palma, and was a “classic” sailor. In fact, the TP52 Cristabella was easily recognizable not only by her white hull and blue letters, but by her rudder wheel, which had not been replaced by the tiller, as it had already happened onboard the whole MedCup Circuit fleet in recent years.

John Cook’s is indeed an irreparable loss to the world of sailing, but his name will live on in the history of racing in the Mediterranean.

Audi MedCup Sardinia (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi_Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup )

Audi MedCup Sardinia (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi_Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup )

Last year Cagliari, capital of the beautiful island of Sardinia, played host to the glittering finale of the 2010 Audi MedCup Circuit. The gulf of Cagliari was where the final battles were settled and the titles won.

When the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit reaches Cagliari in one week’s time the shimmering waters and engaging mix of breezes will set the scene for the theoretical mid-point of the season, half way through the itinerary of five trophy regattas.

For many of the competitor’s in both the 52 Series and the 40 Series, the goal will be to simply keep on doing what they have been doing, making small improvements. Others still have considerable room for improvement.

Last season Quantum Racing (USA) arrived in Cagliari harbouring hopes of a late catch up on the champions elect Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL). This time the crew which is lead by America’s Cup winner Ed Baird are looking to preserve their 11 points lead at the top of the leaderboard.

“For sure our goal is to leave Cagliari having managed to increase our lead, but we would be pleased to finish with the same lead. Cagliari has consistently proven a tough place to race, we are hoping it will be a little easier than Marseille.” Explains Quantum Racing’s project manager Ed Reynolds (USA).

After finishing second to Germany’s Container, winners of the Marseille Trophy, Reynolds is clear that he was in no way disappointed in their team’s performance in France. “It is quite the opposite in fact. It is always hard at a venue like that to go in a leader, being leader is definitely more difficult. In fact we were happy for example with the three race day when we came in having put just 10 points on the board. We were really happy with that. As leader you just cannot afford to take the risks that others did on a race area like that. We were pleased to be quick but for me it is akin to watching the Tour de France at the moment and seeing how difficult it is to protect the yellow jersey, you cannot take the risks that others do to get up to you. In the end in Marseille we gave up one and a half points to one boat there and extended on the others. And you consider that if Audi All4ONE’s risky call on the final race had not paid off as it did we would have tied on points and won the regatta. It was that close.”

“Let us just say that are cautiously optimistic about Cagliari. We do a lot of work between regattas. One of the things about a box rule is that ‘pick your poison’. You will always be giving up some speed somewhere and you have to choose that area. Consistently we can see where we are strong but have been working hard on the little areas we have seen as exposures.”

A summer mix, changing targets.
High summer in Cagliari sees a really good mix of wind conditions and predominantly flat water. The sea breezes tend to wrap round the points into the big, deep U shaped bay and it is not unusual for the breezes to split and conflict on either side of the course. And the strong Mistral blows offshore from the head of the gulf, accelerating hard down the long miles of flat land to the north.

With a second and first in consecutive regattas Udo Schütz’s Rolf Vroijk designed Container has proven the class act which has so far pushed the American flagged world champions the hardest. But it will be the first time Markus Wieser (GER) has skippered his team at the tricky Sardinian venue but so successful have been their first outings in the class, perhaps the German flagged crew are setting their sights even higher: “We are more than happy so far with the outcomes of the first 52 Series regattas. We had set goals quite high at the start of the season, hoping to finish in the Top 3, but it worked out well for us twice already, so why should be we not change the target?” says Wieser.

“Our strength is the good team, working hard together and having a lot of fun. We have no internal pressure at all. It is so important to enjoy racing together if you want to be successful. You even need to have a laugh on board at times. We planned to do the whole Audi MedCup Circuit with the same crew, so no changes. Never change a winning team!”

Despite a difficult start to their campaign pre-season goals have not been modified much on board Audi Sailing Team powered by All4ONE, skippered by Germany’s multiple Olympic medallist Jochen Schümann. They hope to be much more competitive in Cagliari, a venue he now knows well: “Although you could not see it in the final ranking we really made a big step in Marseille compared to Cascais where we had speed problems with the new boat. To win a race and be so close to another bullet gives us so much more self confidence. We hope to build on that and climb the leaderboard from here.”

“Keeping up with our goal of top three for the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit will be hard because we already lost many points in these first two events and it is not so likely the leaders will struggle in the future, but we still look to shoot for podium finishes in each regatta.”

In the 40 Series, two wins from two regattas highlights the consistency of the Iberdrola Sailing Team, but they have been pushed hard at each event by different teams: “Our boat is already in Cagliari and ready to go and the team have been racing in J80’s and Laser. Meantime we have been working how to optimise the sails, building a few new ones, something we are allowed to do after ten races. Part of our crew have raced in Cagliari and know they have sailed in tough 20-25 knots conditions.”

“It is evident that the other teams are all improving and it is getting closer. I think that if there was a point at which we had an advantage because of our preparation it is now gone.”

“Our goal for Cagliari is to win the Trophy and stay on top of the standings.” Recounts Iberdrola Sailing Team’s project manager Augustin Zulueta (ESP).”

Racing starts with the 52 Series Practice Race Tuesday, points racing from Wednesday, while the 40 Series Practice Race is on Wednesday and their points racing starts Thursday.

Follow all the racing live on Audi MedCup TV on www.medcup.org.

Audi MedCup

Iberdrola Region of Sardinia Trophy © Stefano Gattini_Studio Borlenghi/Audi MedCup

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)

 Caja Mediterraneo Region of Murcia Trophy  (Photo by Ian Roman / Audi MedCup)

Caja Mediterraneo Region of Murcia Trophy (Photo by Ian Roman / Audi MedCup)

The penultimate regatta of the 2010 Audi MedCup Circuit, the Caja Mediterráneo Region of Murcia Trophy starts off Cartagena in just one week’s time and has drawn a full complement of 11 TP52 teams and five GP42’s. With the public village opening next Saturday the Audi MedCup logistics team is working at full stretch to make sure everything is ready for another successful visit to Cartagena
 
The return to Cartagena will be welcomed by crews and organisers alike, not just for the memorable sailing conditions which were served up last year, when the big, steep waves and brisk afternoon winds produced some of the season’s most dramatic action images, but for the warmth of the welcome and the huge enthusiasm which the historic city always reserves for the Audi MedCup. This will be the third consecutive year that the Audi MedCup returns.

The Audi MedCup Circuit Public Village opens with free access to visitors on Saturday 21st August with the official TP52 Practice Race on the Tuesday and points racing beginning on Wednesday. The GP42’s have their practice race Wednesday, and the TP52 Coastal Race is scheduled for Friday 27th.

As always Cartagena delivers a very active and comprehensive supporting social programme. The Caja Mediterráneo Region of Murcia Trophy forms the centerpiece of a week long festival of activities including Roman and Carthagenian parades, a regional championship for young Optimist sailors (23rd-25th), a custom motorbike show on Saturday 28th and an aircraft display on the final day of the regatta, Sunday 29th.

Challenging the Kiwi consistency
Over history the city and surrounding towns have become no strangers to conflict. Of strategic importance near the entrance to the Mediterranean and blessed with valuable mineral resources, Cartagena and the adjacent lands saw many battles at sea and on land. Next week it will be up to Audi MedCup champions Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) – who won here last year – to prove they can hold off the attacks from their principal TP52 Series rivals, to protect or increase the lead they have through to the end of the season.

Indeed even if the 2009 champions left Murcia with their current lead intact at 28.5 points they would be in a strong position to defend their overall championship title, but at the forefront of their minds is the knowledge that their margin represents little more than one bad day. The strengths of the challengers appear to be more consistent this season with Quantum Racing (USA) and Artemis (USA) both winning regattas this year.

Photo By Ian Roman / Audi MedCup)

Photo By Ian Roman / Audi MedCup)

At this stage in the season with settled teams, there are few significant crew changes announced so far. After a disappointing regatta in Barcelona, the Franco-German team on Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE have French navigator Philippe Mourniac – who was unable to race there – returning. The all Italian line up on Luna Rossa (ITA) remains the same, buoyed by last week’s triumph in the Melges 24 World Championships of helm Lorenzo Bressani (ITA).

GP42 Series: Tied at the top
After Madrid – Caser Seguros’ (ESP) first regatta win in Barcelona, they now lead the GP42 Series but only on a tie-break with Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), the reigning Audi MedCup Champions.  Skipper/tactician Jose María Van der Ploeg (ESP), who sidelined in Barcelona by injury, returns to lead the line in Cartagena.

Cartagena holds bittersweet memories for Madrid – Caser Seguros helmsman Paolo Cian (ITA). It was here that on the last leg of the last race his Roma (ITA) team lost the 2009 title to the Canarias team. But Madrid – Caser Seguros is going better than ever, and after winning six of nine races in Barcelona could be considered the team to beat for the Caja Mediterráneo Region of Murcia Trophy.

Quotes:

Ed Reynolds (USA), project manager Quantum Racing (USA):
“ ETNZ certainly seem more vulnerable than they did last year, but they are still doing what they need to do. Minimize the big score and stay consistent. There are still 200+ points left at play for the season, so a lot can happen.”
“Barcelona seemed like “the one that got away”.
“We’ve won the most races so far this year, so I know we are going well. But, we’ve put a few big numbers up, which has kept us from closing on the Kiwis.”

Ray Davies (NZL), tactician Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL):
“ We need to keep pushing and looking to improve in all areas, this has always been ETNZ’s philosophy, if you stop improving you get left behind. It’s hard to find new ways but they are out there, it’s our goal to make small gains in all areas rather then to look for one big edge.”
“ The level of the fleet is the highest yet. The main reason is it’s easy to copy and to catch up but its hard to find the next level of improvement, I think if we were to have built a new boat we would have made another jump but there is only one new boat this year, all other teams made modifications and copied a lot of our features from last year so they all made big gains, we made small gains by the new ideas and modifications we made. I’m proud we have managed to keep setting the standard.”

José María Van der Ploeg (ESP), skipper Madrid – Caser Seguros (ESP):
“Our goal in Cartagena is to do well and win, because although we are the leaders of the Circuit, we are tied overall and we depend on each race. Last season it was decided on the final leg of the last race of the Circuit, and I think this year it is not going to be any different.  So the goal is to sail very focused. ”

Photo by Francesco Ferri / Studio Borlenghi/ Audi MedCup)

Photo by Francesco Ferri / Studio Borlenghi/ Audi MedCup)