Sunday, September 16, 2007

Artemis wins 2007 Breitling Medcup

[Source: Breitling Medcup] Job done.

It was neither particularly pretty nor was it winning ugly, but Russell Coutts, skippering the crew of owner-helm Torbjorn Tornqvist's Artemis, today finally lifts the Breitling MedCup trophy on the final day of his third season competing on the world's leading fleet racing circuit.

In 2005 on the last day of the season Coutts had to settle for second to Vasco Vascotto and the crew of Pisco Sour.

Today a nervous tenth followed by a solid fifth was enough for Coutts and the hand- picked team on Artemis to clinch the 2007 Breitling MedCup Circuit. In a light easterly breeze with a 17 points cushion to protect Artemis made a shaky start to the first of two final windward leeward races.

Forced to the wrong side of the left favoured track Coutts, Tornqvist and team rounded the first windward mark 13th, with only one boat behind them. They recovered two places on the second beat, and one on the final run.

The second race start went marginally better, but with four boats recalled for jumping the start gun at the pin end of the line, Artemis effectively had the title secured by the first windward mark.

With Swedish businessman Tornqvist driving the 2007 Judel Vrolijk design, and at least six present or past America's Cup winners among the afterguard and crew, Artemis won the 2007 title by just eight points after 32 windward leeward races and six coastal races over the five series regattas this season. Winning the Hyères Trophy, Artemis became the fifth different boat to win a regatta overall this season after Bribon in Alicante, CxG Caixa Galicia in at Breitling Regatta, Siemens Matador in Copa del Rey, Palma and the outgoing 2006 champions Valle Romano Mean Machine in Portimao, Poretugal.

It is the second consecutive year of the three year old circuit that the winning boat has been steered by an owner-driver, Tornqvist also winning the Corinthian Trophy for the season and for the Hyères Trophy regatta.

"We did what we had to do today. We knew going out today that we needed a minimum of a ninth and a tenth for victory. So we would have liked to have finished off a little bit better today, but the main thing is that we achieved what we had to do today." Said three times America's Cup winner Coutts.

"It was tough conditions out there today and five different winners in five different regattas show that winning this has certainly not been easy."

"It is obviously one of the top events on the calendar these days and now we have a good group of owners who are passionate about trying to win and it is always nice to somehow end up on the top of the heap at the end of the season."

"I though these sailing conditions here have been great, very interesting and it was a tricky day and no side of the course was definitely. It was an interesting racing area."

"I think the high standard will surely attract new owners. Torbjorn Tornqvist our owner this is the first time he has done something like this, and so clearly it is achievable for new owners and that is good for the sport."

"It is great working with an owner like Torbjorn he gives the people a lot of freedom to put the programme together the way they want to, he is a very successful businessman who likes to go sailing for his passion."

"Torbjorn put the necessary funds in to build a really nice boat. We put together a good programme, we always had good boatspeed, we had nice equipment and well prepared crew so these things usually combine to get a good result."

"I hear that there is nine new boats for next year and the competition is going to be very tough again next year."

"Next year I have some other projects on and but I intend to compete in the TP52 class next year and I look forward to more of this type of sailing in the future."

The winning owner, Geneva based Tornqvist commented.

"As Russell has said before this has been about the whole package. From the moment the design, the boatbuilding process, the way we have prepared ourselves for the season, plus the fact that we have had the same crew, plus the fact that we have had the same crew – more or less – through the whole season. And I think that the team has grown stronger through the season. And we really have a good team spirit. There is always a positive word, even if we don't do so well."

"And it is good to show that as an amateur you can do well. Mind you we have a great team, the best sailors in the world."

Bribon, Jose Cusi's Judel Vrolijk design won the Santa Ana trophy as the season's top performer in the 24 boat fleet across the coastal race.

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