TP52 action starts in Marseille on Tuesday with practice race
[Source: AUDI Medcup] Marseille’s Rade Sud is one of the most challenging race areas on the Audi MedCup Circuit.
Tightly bordered to the west by the Iles Frioul – the Ile Pomègues and the Ile Ralonneau – and the mainland to the east, the natural amphitheatre is watched by a whole collection of historic landmarks, not least the iconic Notre Dame de La Garde church which defines the Marseille skyline.
Even the Chateau d’If, on a small somewhat randomly placed islet on the fringe of the race arena, a former penal colony where the Count of Monte Cristo was set, has an influence on the breeze and racers’ strategies.
It’s an intoxicating setting for the second Audi MedCup Circuit regatta of the 2009 season, the second time that the Circuit has been hosted by the sailing savvy highly cosmopolitan city.
Quantum Racing practices on the eve of the Marseille Trophy. Video copyright Quantum Racing
But in sailing terms Marseille is synonymous with the famous blustery Mistral winds. Last year’s Marseille Trophy regatta was visited by the Mistral, strong breezes to produce some of the most exciting conditions of the season, one contributing reason that the Circuit is back, hopefully for more.
“The one thing about the race area here is that there is no simple formula for this week. We could see a little bit of everything, maybe with some Mistral on Friday. Honestly it will not be simple at all, they are not classic conditions at all.” Confirms Dimitri Deruelle, 1992 French Olympian in the 470 class and currently 470 and 49er coach who is offering local input to the Emirates Team Zealand challenge in Marseille.
Tuesday’s TP52 Practise Race for the eleven TP52 Series is preceded today by a muscular 23 knots of breeze out on the Rade Sud.
Alberto Roemmers’ Matador (ARG) team, who top the Audi MedCup Circuit leaderboard after winning the City of Alicante Trophy last month, know how fragile their one point lead is, as do those crews who are in hot pursuit.
British crew Cristabella, who missed Alicante, return to the fray after just one day sailing with a full crew on their new boat, the former El Desafio.
Only two points separate the top three TP52’s. Torbjorn Tornqvist’s Artemis (SWE) lies second by one point and Emirates Team New Zealand are third on the table.
Highlights from the opening event of the 2009 AUDI Medcup in Alicante. Video copyright AUDI Medcup
Racing begins for the TP52 Series again on Wednesday with three planned windward-leewards. The coastal race is scheduled for Friday with racing concluding on Sunday.
Ray Davies (NZL), tactician Emirates Team New Zealand: "It would be nice to see a little more breeze. These boats are a lot of fun when you get up into 20 knots plus. Last year Marseille was incredible and we would like to see more of that."
Audi MedCup Circuit 2009
Current Overall Standings
1. Matador (ARG), 36 points
2. Artemis (SWE), 37 points
3. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 38 points
4. Quantum Racing (USA), 40 points
5. Bigamist (POR), 46 points