First ever MedCup Hat Trick for Emirates Team NZ
[Source: AUDI Medcup] Emirates Team New Zealand became the first team ever to win three consecutive MedCup Circuit regattas when they clinched the Portugal Trophy for the TP52 Series today off Portimao, winning by just 1.5 points from Torbjorn Tornqvist’s Artemis.
With wins in Marseille, Cagliari and now Portimao, the Kiwi team, skippered by Dean Barker, now lead the Audi MedCup Circuit by 52 points heading to the final regatta of the season, next month in Carthagena, Murcia Spain.
The GP42 Series saw the first regatta win this season for Caser Endesa (ESP), skippered by Juan Luiz Paez. Their third place today was enough to secure the Portugal Trophy on countback from Roma Mk2 (ITA), but Islas Canarias Puerta Calero (ESP) still lead the Series.
Video highlights from the last day of the Portugal Trophy. Portimao, 23 August 2009. Video copyright AUDI Medcup
Seventh for Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) to Artemis’ (SWE) disappointing tenth in today’s one and only race was enough for the Kiwi team to prevail, but the final contest was a difficult one to call throughout with a streaky 5-9 knots of sea breeze mixed with some north westerly gradient wind, especially towards the windward mark.
With a 1.5 points lead in the regatta Artemis, missing tactician Paul Cayard (USA) for the final day, could only make a modest opening at the pin end of the start line, while Bigamist 7, the Portuguese entry lead to the windward mark.
On the first downwind the Russian pair Valars and Synergy mined the left, inshore line and passed the Portuguese team with the Synergy winning from Valars, the first time the two Russians have taken the top two places.
The key move for Emirates Team New Zealand was on the second beat when they were able to halt the recovery of Artemis, tacking on top of them and bouncing them above the lay line, but even down the final run the breeze looked shaky, ready to shift or collapse at any minute.
Relief, once again, rather than elation was the mood among the hard working New Zealand outfit. As the time limit expired at 1600hrs and with it the chances of a second race, general satisfaction with another job well done was evident. The steely, professional face drops when the champagne comes on board, and they are getting rather used to it.
With Artemis in second for the regatta, Terry Hutchinson’s Quantum Racing finished in third, just 1.5 points ahead of Bigamist 7, who finished fourth overall for the third time this season.
Emirates Team New Zealand lead the Audi MedCup Circuit, 52 points astern are Matador (ARG) on 170.5 points but only five points behind them are Quantum Racing, third, and Artemis, fourth, both on 175.5 points.
Winning skipper Dean Barker (NZL) commented that throughout the regatta they had never felt like they were sailing as well as last month’s win in Sardinia, confirming that they still have plenty to work on before Carthagena, Murcia, a venue which proved extremely challenging last year.
CEO and mast-man Grant Dalton (NZL), agreed: "We are relieved. It was a pretty tough regatta. I think we identified that as soon as we got here, that this was going to be tough, and I think we also identified Artemis as the boat which could beat us. And it felt that all the way. So we are just pleased to have got through another one really."
He continued: "It’s a big lead now, but we know what can happen, you can still sail badly, it changes pretty quickly. There are always improvements to be made and we made plenty of mistakes in this regatta."
Despite their relatively poor performance in Portimao, Islas Canarias Puerto Calero are the overall leaders in the GP42's. Portimao, 23 August 2009. Photo copyright Pedro Martinez
GP42 Series: Endesa wins the battle
Today’s single race in the GP42 Series was never easy to predict, as the lead changed several times depending on who was where on the shift cycle, the game of tactical chess, and lanes of leftover pressure in the dying seabreeze.
Caser-Endesa (ESP), for example, seemed to have a horrid start, late on the line by three lengths and having to tack early to port. But that move may have been fortuitous, as a right shift on the first beat got them right back into the game. That very same shift benefited Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) even more, as they vaulted beyond the tacking duels into a commanding lead at the top mark, one that would never be challenged except by Roma 2 (ITA) on the final fluky run into the finish.
And Roma’s runner-up finish was remarkable in itself, as they were no better than last around the first top mark, redeemed only by having split from the pack to the left on the second beat to vault into second.
Caser-Endesa’s two victories to Roma’s one wins them the Portugal Trophy, but Islas Canarias Puerto Calero’s win gets them tied up in the war for the lead in the overall GP42 Series. With one event left, Roma 2 and the Kids from Canarias are now tied on 82 points, making for a final showdown at Stage 5 in Cartagena.
"We think for the excitement of the circuit, this is a really good scenario,” says Daniel Calero (ESP), owner of Islas Canarias Puerto Calero. “But it means the pressure will really be on in Cartagena!"
Audi MedCup Circuit 2009 - Overall (4 events)
1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 38+27,5+28+25= 118,5 points
2. Matador (ARG), 36+47,5+42,5+44,5= 170,5 points
3. Quantum Racing (USA), 40+41,5+65+29= 175,5 points
4. Artemis (SWE), 37+62,5+49,5+26,5= 175,5 points
5. Bigamist (POR), 46+55,5+57+30,5= 189 points
1. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), 20+23+23+16= 82 points
2. Roma (ITA), 22+17+30+13= 82 points
3. Caser-Endesa (ESP), 33+27+26+13= 99 points
4. Airis (ITA), 21+38+28+25= 112 points
5. Turismo Madrid (ESP), 35+35+43+23= 136 points