Thursday, July 03, 2008

Mutua Madrileña wins coastal race; Quantum Racing leads Cagliari Trophy

[Source: AUDI Medcup] While Italy’s Vasco Vascotto and the crew of Mutua Madrileña (CHI) scored themselves a morale boosting pair of victories around today’s 32.7 miles, two-part coastal race into the Gulf of Angels, the bay immediately to the east of Cagliari, it was the steady perfomance of Quantum Racing (USA) which sees them at the top of both the overall leader-board for this Audi Region of Sardinia Trophy and the season long Audi MedCup Circuit.

Quantum Racing were fifth in the first section of the race and then managed to overhaul Torbjorn Tornqvist’s Artemis (SWE) on an exciting last couple of miles to the finish, and steal the fourth place which was enough to give them a two points lead in the regatta ahead of Mean Machine (MON) and a wafer thin 0.2 point lead on the Audi MedCup Circuit.

But Jose Cusi’s Bribon (ESP) had a good day too, with two second places to atone for a slightly disappointing Wednesday.

With Flavio Favini (ITA) steering and skipper Vascotto on tactics, Mutua Madrileña converted their preference for the left side of the three mile first beat to a lead of 24 seconds over Jose Cusi’s (ESP) Bribon at the first mark.
Mutua Madrileña took the best spot at the pin-end, leftextremity of the start line along with Bribon.

Mutua Madrileña, winner of the coastal race. Cagliari, 3 July 2008. Photo copyright Thierry Martinez / AUDI Medcup

By comparison Platoon powered by Team Germany (GER) steered by three times Olympic gold medallist Jochen Schuemann (GER) started perfectly at the opposite, committee boat end and ploughed the best right side furrow to round ninth, already five minutes behind the runaway duo Mutua Madrileña and Bribon.

With the early breeze remaining light, 6-8 knots for most of the first ten or twelve miles, it was only on the five miles beat from the Poetto leeward buoy in the Gulf of Angels out to the scoring gate, that the sea breeze started to flex its muscles a little more, rising to 11-12 knots at times.

But it was largely on that first, opening beat when the shape of the race was really set, and even by the first mark there was already 8 minutes and 20 seconds - a lifetime in the usual scheme of TP52 racing - between Mutua Madrileña and the 13th placed boat.

Another team enjoying a return to confident mood are CXG Caixa Galicia (ESP), who in their borrowed, substitute boat (the 2007 championship winning Artemis) took third in both sections today, behind Bribon to neatly complement their second place in Race 5.

Today’s were the best results yet this season for Vascotto and his team, many of whom were with him when they won the first MedCup season in 2005, and - he says - confirms they are improving all the time with their new boat. Their season to date has not been straightforward after they broke their masthead crane just before the start of the first regatta, impairing their tuning and training. Then in Marseille, their regatta ended prematurely when their hull sustained damage at the first mark of the Coastal Race.

Quantum Racing, leader of the Cagliari Trophy. Cagliari, 3 July 2008. Photo copyright Thierry Martinez / AUDI Medcup

“We have been waiting on this coming and I have always been confident it would.” said Vascotto of their win today, “ The difference here so far is that we did not break the mast and have not broken the boat, so we are getting a chance to learn and sail. In Alicante the boat was new and we had no real chance to sail her. Let’s just say the difference now is that we are sailing with 10 or 12 more turns on the shrouds than we were there. Up until now we have not been able to sail. We learned a bit in the Sardinia Cup and have been changing a lot all the time.”

“I was always pretty happy with choosing the left where there was a little bias to the line. And we were into a lift and I saw more pressure. As soon as we had Bribon tack on our hip below us I knew we could do it and no one would beat us. We were quite quick downwind against them, but also after what has happened already I was starting to think our luck should change here.”

Quantum’s ever pragmatic Terry Hutchinson keeps his feet flat on the ground as far as topping both leader boards this evening: “Our day was OK, that is a fair assessment of it. Once the left started coming good, Morgan, Ian (Moore) and Mark (Mendelblatt), did a fine job of getting us there."

"We had a really nice downwind Code Zero on and they came round the last corner with a nylon sail on, so we probably took all of their lead out of them, and then they had an upwind Code Zero and they we had a downwind Code Zero and we basically just sailed through them to leeward. But it was good to pick off that point. They all make a difference. But we are very mindful that this is a long season, and at this stage it is like winning a flat stage of the Tour de France, when we all know that race is won in the mountains.”

Video highlights from the third day of the Cagliari Trophy

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