Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bribón leads Murcia Trophy after protest win

[Source: AUDI MedCup] In brisk winds and moderate seas off Cartagena nothing could be taken for granted in conditions which exposed strengths and weaknesses in virtually equal measure to produce and exciting pair of races on the second day of the Region of Murcia Trophy, the penultimate Audi MedCup Circuit regatta of the 2008 season.

The day’s biggest misfortune visited Platoon powered by Team Germany and Quantum Racing proved they are entirely fallible. Honours were shared evenly between a consistent Mutua Madrilena scoring a pair of second places to take a share the same points tally as overall regatta leaders Bribón after the Spanish boat went into the protest room and won, ensuring the disqualification of Artemis from Race 3 of the regatta.

Desafio finished third in the first race and went on to win the second race to lie third overall.

With the muscular winds at between 15 and 21 knots the gusty breeze shifted direction regularly up the course to mix the dividends on either side of the track, whilst downwind there were always extra gains to be made in the surfing conditions.

Platoon powered by Team Germany won the tussle for the boat end of the start line in the first race and were able to work right early, going on to win, but they were only just minutes into executing the same game plan in the second race when a forestay fitting failed and they had to retire immediately. While they were unlucky to miss out on the second contest of the day, Platoon were also counting their blessings that there was not a third race.

While Platoon were able to extend, winning from Alberto Roemmers’ Matador (ARG) which has the sprightly veteran owner Rommers on board this week, enjoying the conditions, Bribón had only just battled back from a modest opening round when they were involved in an incident at the second leeward turn with Artemis (SWE). While Bribón sailed clear and did a penalty turn subsequently the two crews went in to the protest room with Bribón winning and Artemis suffering disqualification from race 4.

On the Audi MedCup Circuit the protest result means second placed Artemis lead third placed Bribón by just 2.2 points.

After a 40 minutes delay between Race 3 and Race 4 of the regatta as the breeze settled in at due East, a second good start for El Desafio gave them the chance to work the right as John Cutler (NZL) and Paul Cayard (USA) conspired to give the Spanish America’s Cup team their first Audi MedCup winning gun of the season, following hard on the heels of their recent success winning the class at Copa del Rey.
Desafio were able to get ahead at the first windward mark and the combination of polished crew work and the ability to sail their own race from the front saw Desafio convert their early lead to a win by 57 seconds over Mutua Madrilena.

Quantum Racing struggled off the second start line. At twenty seconds they were tacking up on port to get height up to the line and when the gun wnet the Audi MedCup Circuit leaders were slow and flat footed. Last off the start line they worked hard to get back to third at the top of the second beat, but they lost five places down a thrilling final run to score a weighty eighth.

“I sailed like a lemon.” said a visibly frustrated Terry Hutchinson (USA), “That’s all there is to it.”

Mutua Madrilena were fast in the conditions, confident in their calls and able to sail to their strategy, and eliminated the mistakes that hampered them earlier in the season. Only at the first mark, first time up did they blot their copybook with a twisted kite hoist, but they took three places on the second beat when they were able to gain the right, and then a further five boats on the final run.

At the top of the Region of Murcia Trophy regatta standings it is now Bribón who lead Mutua Madrilena with both on 15 points, with El Desafio third two points behind them on 17 and Quantum Racing fourth on 18pts.

“ We had a plan of what we wanted to do, we toughed it out and our side came through and we sailed a clean race. Today it was nice for us to make it stick. There have been times in the past where we have been in the lead in the past and worked our way back into the pack. Today was nice and everyone did a nice job. We are a bit more relaxed. We have been working very hard on some downwind techniques to get a bit more speed. Just learning a bit more each time. It has taken a bit of while to get one on the board, but it is important to feel that we can win. Paul has had some more time on the boat and things are going well.” said John Cutler. “We are really liking it here. The conditions are interesting, challenging and different and it is a nice City.”

“It was interesting today because the breeze was shifting and you really needed to stay in phase with it, and if you were allowed to do that you did well. There was a very definite pattern to it and staying in phase was the name of the game.” said Nacho Postigo (ESP) Mutua Madrilena’s navigator. “ In general we have been going well since Cagliari but just needed to cut out the stupidmistakes, and I think we did that today.”

Paul Cayard, Skipper/Helmsman of El Desafio
“ We had a decent start and John had a good game plan. He wanted the right in both races and we managed to get over there, and we did a good job of cashing in when it was time or being patient when we had to wait for a shift. Nacho did a great job trimming the main because there were very difficult conditions out there especially on port tack, it was very rough and hard to keep the speed. When it is that rough you have to find the right trim where the boat has the best balance and the guys kept the boat balanced very well both up and downwind, and we didn’t lose our composure.”

Jochen Schuemann (GER), Skipper/Helmsman of Platoon powered by Team Germany:
“I think the superstition came true again, after winning the practice race as today we won the first regatta, and had a good start to the last one, but after just a quarter of the first beat we broke the head stay and had to retire. A little luck with no third race means we only lose one and I think we can make repairs rapidly to be back in it again tomorrow. We are obviously keen to get good results here, it is very bad luck to break a piece which is hard to check – it either hold or it breaks, but these pieces should be solid enough on an offshore boat.”

Region of Murcia Trophy Regatta
Standings after four races. Updated after protest:

(Position, R1, R2, R3, R4, total points.)

1 Bribón ESP (1,3,8,3, 15)
2 Mutua Madrileña ESP (6,5, 2, 2, 15)
3 El Desafio ESP (9,4,3,1, 17)
4 Quantum Racing USA (5,1,4,8, 18)
5 Matador ARG (2,6,5,5, 18)
6 Caixa Galicia ESP (4,10,6,6, 26)
7 Platoon powered by Team Germany GER (11,2,1,15,DNF, 29)
8 Audi Q8 ITA (8,7,7,7, 29)

9 Artemis SWE (3,9,15 DSQ, 4, 31)

10 Synergy RUS (12,8,9,9, 38)

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