Wednesday, September 16, 2009

AUDI Medcup - Cartagena Trophy - Day 2: Preview

Can it get worse than yesterday? Hopefully not but, unfortunately, the forecast isn't very promising either. The entire east coast of Spain will be affected by the front hanging over the Mediterranean for at least one day and we might have in store yet another long and tricky day. The official forecast from the AUDI Medcup organization calls for unstable and shifty winds, ranging from 2 to 10 knots in velocity and 60 to 240 degrees in direction.

After yesterday's botched attempt to hold at least one race, the TP52 fleet is scheduled to sail three races while the GP42's have less pressure since there racing starts today. With Emirates Team New Zealand holding a 52-point lead over the rest of the fleet, it is very probable the Med champion will be from the Pacific. The battle for the remaining 2 podium spots will be between Matador, Quantum, Artemis and, marginally, Bigamist.

Morning quotes:

Ray Davies, tactician on Emirates Team New Zealand: Yesterday I said we could have one or two races and in fact I think we could have gotten that first one. That was the only opportunity in the day to have a race, albeit a very shifty and difficult one, but still it would have been OK. Today the situation is similar to yesterday but a little bit better. We are in postponement ashore and I don't think we'll have any significant wind before 2pm but it is very tricky making predictions.

Highlights from the first day of the Cartagena Trophy. Cartagena, 15 September 2009. Video copyright AUDI Medcup

Guillermo Parada, helmsman on Matador: We have a 5-point lead over Artemis and Quantum and the feeling onboard Matador is good. Without any doubt, this year the circuit is very challenging and we have lost a lot of points halfway through the season when we tried to attack Emirates Team New Zealand. It was a risky tactic in order to win the Medcup but they showed to be more consistent and committed less errors than we did. As a result, we are now paying the price for it and in addition, in Portimao some issues unrelated to sailing, resulted in a bad outcome despite the effort we put.

Guillermo Parada
All these issues have now reduced the advantage we had over the rest of the fleet but we still feel confident. The boat is fast and this is an extremely difficult race course where you can't have a conservative sailing strategy. In my opinion, the best strategy to hold on to our second position overall, is to race well and win this regatta. You can't focus solely on these two boats, because if you do, one of them will escape and ruin you. As I said, we feel very confident. We have a good boat, we know we can sail well and finish the season in second place.

After that, the next stage will be the TP52 Worlds in October and then 2010 since we have the intention to continue in the Medcup circuit. In fact, next week we will launch a 52-foot yacht in Buenos Aires that will follow the new TP52 rule in order to take advantage of our summer and test as much as we can. The changes in the TP52 rule were much-needed, they are indeed a step ahead, they make the boats more modern and simply reflect what their owners had been claiming for some time. The most important issue will be to correctly manage the transition period between the two rules in order to avoid huge differences between the new boats. If we can achieve this, the final result will be better than expected.

I think the new TP52 rule has been conceived in order to reduce costs but at the end of the day, if one wants to spend a lot of money they will still do it. It will be possible to do a TP52 campaign for less money but that doesn't mean that the teams with the biggest budgets will necessarily reduce them!

As far as the newly-created Louis Vuitton World Series is concerned, as a sportsman I'm obviously very interested and it would be great for me to participate. But from being a personal wish to having a Matador team in the series, it's quite some way. We first have to see whether it makes sense to participate and whether we are able to set up the team for it. For 2009, it is impossible since we have already made our plans and have other races scheduled during the Nice regatta in November. For 2010 it is still too early to tell but I would like to at least consider the possibility of Matador taking part.

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