Tuesday, September 15, 2009

AUDI Medcup - Cartagena Trophy - Day 1: Preview

Good morning from cloudy Cartagena. The final event of the 2009 AUDI Medcup season starts in full earnest today with the first races of the TP52 fleet and the practice session of the GP42's.

Unfortunately, the current weather situation promises a long and day ashore or offshore. The official weather forecast was already quite pessimistic earlier in the morning, promising at best a breeze of 4-7 knots around 1pm, time of the scheduled start. To make things worse, at around 10:30 am the race committee decided to raise the postponement ashore flag, keeping the crews in the hospitality tent rather than have drift for hours waiting for the breeze to pick up.

Always according to the forecast, the breeze, if it comes, should peak at 3pm and then die down while rain and even storms might make their appearance.

Ray Davies, tactician on Emirates Team New Zealand: The forecast for today is northeasterly turning into southeast but the northeasterly is offshore here so it's going to be very unstable. There isn't much breeze in the forecast either, the maximum should be around 8 knots. There is a lot of thunder clouds expected in the afternoon and obviously the thunderstorms will produce a very strong breeze but for a very brief period, probably not more than 15 minutes. We are now postponed on shore but I think we might get at least one or two races, later in the afternoon.

The feeling onboard NZL 380 is good; the same it has been throughout the season. We don't want to overcomplicate things every day we go out. Obviously there is a very close battle behind us and our job is to keep the gap between them and us and let them sort it out. We will keep an eye on our opponents and we will try to keep out of the protest room or any gear damage. Given the result achieved so far we feel confident we have a good boat and a good team but again you don't want to choke it at the end of the regatta.

At this stage we are looking at doing the TP52 season again next year as long as the sponsorship money comes in. It has been very good for the team and we surely look forward to doing it next year. Obviously, there is the Louis Vuitton World Series we can focus on now and it is very important for us as well. The combination of these two circuits will be ideal in keeping the same team together. We are not forming a new team like a lot of our competitors are doing now and the future looks good. Obviously, our aim will be to win the Louis Vuitton Series but it will not be easy.

Our TP52 boat is on sale but if we do continue in the AUDI Medcup circuit it will be with the same boat. We haven't received any serious offers and the plan was always to sell her to an owner to race in the TP52 Worlds. At this stage we will not take part in the TP52 Worlds but we will keep the same boat for next year. We will send her back to New Zealand to carry out several modifications and then ship her back to Europe.

The boat is very good but at the end of the day, the key to our success was the whole package. I think that right across the whole team we are very solid. The shore crew are doing a fantastic job and with the exception of some minor failures we've never had any major issues. The team works seamlessly across the board, we have great understanding onboard without the need for too much communication.

Can racing get any closer? Cartagena, 14 September 2009. Video copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

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