Thursday, June 14, 2007

TP52 Alicante Trophy - Day 2: Preview

Good morning from Alicante where we hope the second day of the Alicante Trophy will prove to be more exciting than the premiere. Although conditions were testing on Wednesday, it is still too early to draw any meaningful conclusions from the results.

As we mentioned yesterday, the start plays a primordial role in the race and a poor one can be paid dearly. Still, Siemens and Mutua Madrileña showed it was also possible to recover more than 10 places throughout the race. If the boat and crew are good, it is easier to climb from 20th to 10th rather from 10th to 1st.

In yesterday's race, wind shifts had a major tactical importance upwind while downwind, wind pressure was the element tacticians were looking for. As a result, being among the first 5 boats to round the top mark might result in also having limited options. After rounding the top mark, the best options was to gybe starboard and head for the right side of the course. That turned out to be impossible since there was a wall of 10 yachts heading towards the mark, severely disturbing wind.

The large fleet is impressive for spectators but a headache for the crew!

The problems of the large fleet. CAM and Mutua Madrileña collide at the leeward gate. Alicante, 13 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Given the shaky conditions experienced in the first two days and the uninspiring forecast for the weekend, the race committee will try to hold three races today.

Weather forecast
Today's weather forecast is much more promising than yesterday. Most of the teams we talked to expect a southwesterly breeze to build up during the day, even reaching 14 knots at around 2-3pm. It is not the normal thermal breeze one should expect in Alicante (quite similar to the one in Valencia) but it is due to the strong western wind blowing from the interior of Spain (west). Due to the mountainous range to the west of Alicante, the wind is bent and comes from the southwest (direction 170 degrees).

ClearPoint wind forecast for 3pm local time
The ClearPoint wind forecast for today at 3pm seems to agree with the consensus among the teams present in Alicante.



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