Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Quebramar GP42 Cup grand finale in Puerto Calero: who will win this year’s championship?

[Source: Quebramar GP42 Cup] The international GP42 circuit is about to witness the last thrilling races of the 2008 season. Starting October 15th and until the 18th, the GP42 fleet will gather in Puerto Calero, on the beautiful Spanish island of Lanzarote, in order to race in the VII Trofeo César Manrique, the event that will also decide the winner of the Quebramar GP42 Cup.

Puerto Calero, 1 October 2008:
Given Desafío’s 18-point advantage in the overall standings, it would be easy to assume that the boat helmed by Laureano Wizner and with Santi López-Vázquez calling tactics, will just have to remain as consistent as they have been in order to pocket this year’s Quebramar GP42 Cup. Yet, such a belief couldn’t be further from truth and the Spanish team will not be able to rest a moment, constantly keeping a watchful eye over its competitors.

Competitors that will not spare any single effort in order to reach or beat Desafío. First in the line is obviously AIRIS, second overall in the leaderboard. The Italian boat skippered by Sandro Montefusco has all it takes to threaten Desafío and has never hidden its ambition for leadership as neither has done Near Miss, the Swiss Farr-designed yacht helmed by French match race star Bertrand Pacé. Lagging AIRIS by just 2 points the Swiss will certainly make the Spanish and Italians sweat.

The fleet’s second Italian yacht, Roma GP42.2, owned by class president Filippo Faruffini and skippered by Italian match racing champion Paolo Cian, will not only have to fight against the top three for the podium but will also have on its back Canarias Puerto Calero, skippered by the young José Maria Ponce, and MADRID of Spanish Olympic champion José Maria Van der Ploeg.

Although far from the circuit’s podium, the two teams that lie at the bottom of the leaderboard will fight in order to reach a podium place in the event. Caser-Quum, helmed by Sergio Llorca, has clearly shown in the last two events that it has overcome the keel problems it suffered from earlier. Last but not least, for Bodegas Luis Alegre, with the fleet’s only helmswoman, Spanish Olympic champion Natalia Vía Dufresne, this will be the second event of the year.

Although it is still too early to make any weather predictions, all teams are getting prepared for medium/strong winds, close to 20 knots. This will be unchartered territory for everybody, given the fact we have barely had such conditions so far in the season’s races. Still, this is one challenge more that will make for a grand finale of the Quebramar GP42 Cup.

The Principal Race Officer will be Pete Craig, widely known for his expertise in the organization of prestigious events such as the Acura Key West. The International Jury will be chaired John Doer (GBR) and will include Neven Baran (CRO), Luiz Ferrándiz (ESP), David Lees (GRB), Ana S. del Campo (ESP) and Riccardo Antoni (ITA). The race area of the GP42 fleet will only be shared with the TP52 yachts.

The VII Trofeo César Manrique, is organized by the Club de Mar Puerto Calero, the Casino Club Náutico of Arrecife and the Spanish Sailing Federation, with the collaboration of Spanish Yacht Club Association, the Canarian Yacht Club Association and the Canarian Sailing Federation.

Racing will start on October 15th with the official practice race, and from Thursday the 16th until Saturday the 18th, a maximum of 9 windward/leeward races will take place, 3 per day.

According to Daniel Calero, owner of Canarias Puerto Calero and organizer of the VII Trofeo César Manrique, this year’s trophy will be special for various reasons. First of all, it’s the closing event of the Quebramar GP42 Cup, it will then overlap with the World Cup ORC 670 Islas Canarias and the TP52’s will use it in order to train for the TP52 World Championship Islas Canarias. Adding the fact this year coincides with the 25th anniversary since the creation of Puerto Calero, this will surely be an unforgettable event for all participants.

Organizers will also include the Virtual Eye technology in their rich offering, giving spectators the possibility to watch 3D simulations of the races both in the race village as well as online on

For the first time ever, an exceptional hospitality program will be put in place, boasting a race village of over 2,000 square meters that will house all events and shows related to the regatta. According to the organization, Puerto Calero will be host to more than 900 sailors and dozens of accredited media.

Quotes on the eve of the last event of the Quebramar GP42 Cup

Daniel Calero, owner Canarias Puerto Calero and organizer of the VII Trofeo César Manrique
“We have always supported the GP42 class in Puerto Calero because since its beginnings we saw a bright future for it and we decided to build a yacht in 2006 that was raced in the last two years. This is the first time the international GP42 circuit ends on our waters, and the second one for the Spanish circuit. Our aim, and what makes us different form other events, is to offer teams the highest level of support through our impeccable organization and logistics.
Concerning the organization ashore and offshore, including the sports and social aspects, the bar has been set very high but we are convinced that through our great efforts will be able to pass it. As a result, we feel confident that next year’s Quebramar GP42 Cup will once again close in Puerto Calero.”

Laureano Wizner, helmsman of Desafío
“Our main aim is to maintain our overall leadership in the circuit as well as win the Trofeo Cesar Manrique. In order to achieve it we will also count on the skills of Nano Negrin, expert local sailor. Normally we should expect strong winds, over 18 knots, something that we have rarely seen so far in the season, although we have observed that the 2008 boats perform better than us in stronger conditions. Nevertheless, it seems we are favoured by the fact the prevailing wind direction doesn’t create waves, something that otherwise considerably stalls us compared to the rest of the fleet. We are obviously satisfied with our performance in the latest regattas but we should never be caught off guard because the rest of the fleet has an extremely high level.”

Cesare Bressan, team manager of Airis
"For Airis, as for the rest of the top four teams of the circuit, this last event will not only be a simple event, always fun and thrilling, but also the culmination of a tremendous work our team started in June 2007. Our aim since the very beginning has been to constantly improve technically and climb in the leaderboard. We focused on the details, learning valuable lessons from our errors in the previous events and always trying to look ahead through a division of responsibilities, roles and experiences. In other words, improve as a team in its entirety.
The Puerto Calero event will be interesting due to the changes inside the AIRIS team and because the 18 points that separate from the leader are a lot, although at this high level everything is possible. Whichever way it goes, Near Miss and Roma are practically tied. In these reces the difference might be made by the teams further down the score table, due to their obvious performance improvements and the tight nature of the fleet, where consistency is the key to success.
I expect beautiful races where we can watch sport, professionalism and loyalty and I hope this season is followed by many others with more owners and fans."

Paolo Cian, helmsman of Roma GP42.2
"I can say that in general we've had some difficulties in lighter winds and as a general trend we have raced in conditions that were lighter than expected. In any case, together with Farr Yacht Design we are working hard on sail development in order to further improve our performance.
I can only compliment Desafío that has shown it deserves its leadership, racing in a solid and consistent way, something that we lack in more than one occasion.
Puerto Calero should be a quite windy race course and in that case our yacht could show her true potential.
Regarding the GP42 class, I would say that this season showed that boats were really close and all races were very tight with just 1 minute distance between first and last. It seems to me that this is a demonstration this box rule works well and as a result it promises an interesting growth."

José Maria Van der Ploeg, owner and skipper of MADRID
“Our objective for the last event of the circuit is to finish with a sweet taste in our mouth, to finish the season with the best result possible. Since some time now, my team has shown a great improvement, race after race we are achieving better team work and are fitting better to this class. The proof is that we are just a step from the podium and we have always been in the top part of the fleet. I would even say we are now in a position to finish among the best of the fleet. Being our first season, it allowed us to test this class and I think I can now affirm that we will be one of the favourites for next year and have real chances in winning any of the events."

Javier Goizueta, owner of Caser-Quum
“We have high expectations for the upcoming regatta in Puerto Calero, we almost won it last year after four bullets and a second place, after an unfair protest. Our crew will now be complete since our tactician, Juan Luis Páez,will now be back with us, having finished his job in the TP52’s and the Telefonica VOR boat”

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