The GP42 fleet ready to battle out in Cascais at the Trofeu Quebramar-Chrysler
Note: Due to my duties as web manager of the official GP42 website there will be few updates throughout the duration of the event. For that reason, please visit the GP42 website for all the news and photos from Portugal. Still, any breaking news concerning anything else will be published here.
The GP42 fleet is warming up on the eve of the Trofeu Quebramar-Chrysler, the fourth and last event of the 2007 International Grand Prix Circuit, starting tomorrow Thursday in Cascais, Portugal. A total of 8 boats are present (AA-HPB, Canarias Puerto Calero, Fermax, Quebramar-Chrysler, Quum, Roma, Seawonder 007, Zurich) in the Portuguese city participating in the event that will shape the podium and decide the champion of the 2007 season.
The boat that shares the same name with the event, Quebramar-Chrysler, will enter the strating box tomorrow with a considerable advantage over the rest of the fleet. The Portuguese boat, entirely crewed by members of the Desafío Español, dominated the previous two events in Valencia and Palma and is currently on the top of the leaderboard despite having missed the opening event in Cres.
Still, the 20-point advantage they enjoy, is not a guarantee for any victory and her crew will have to take any race seriously as if it were the most decisive. Seawonder007, helmed by Flavio Favini, had a difficult start in the Copa del Rey but rapidly improved and managed to finish fourth. Her Mascalzone Latino crew will undoubtedly have to sail flawlessly if they want to be crowned champions of the opening season of the GP42 class.
Without any doubt, the toughest battle will take place for third place. Three boats are neck and neck and can easily aspire for the last spot on the podium. Zurich is currently 3rd with 95 points, closely followed by Roma with 97 and Canarias Puerto Calero with 104. Both Zurich and Roma have been reinforced with big-name America's Cup sailors, making sure they leave nothing to chance. Zurich will be helmed by Alinghi's Jordi Calafat, joined by his teammate Yann Gouniot (Alinghi's sail trimmer) while Thierry Péponnet will be calling tactics. Péponnet was the helmsman and then tactician on Areva Challenge, the French America's Cup challenger. Sébastien Col, the young French sailor that replaced Péponnet at the helm of Areva Challenge in Valencia, will now compete against his old crew mate at the helm of Roma.
The Italians have all the chances to have both their boats on the podium. Further down the leaderboard, Fermax will be reinforced with the arrival of Jesper Radich. The Danish sailor, second helmsman of Desafío Español, will hold the role of tactician aboard the Spanish GP42 boat.
Three windward-leeward races are scheduled for Thursday and the weather forecast calls for north-northwestern winds between 15 and 20 knots, a fantastic range for the GP42 to provide exciting races. Being the first day of the event, races will start at 3pm local time.