Saturday, August 28, 2010

AUDI Medcup - Cartagena Trophy - Day 4: When the going gets tough Emirates Team NZ get going

I often refer to Emirates Team New Zealand as the "world's best monohull sailing team" and as a result I have received quite a few emails asking when was the last World monohull sailing championship held because they seemed to have missed it. Obviously, such a kind of world championship has never been held but if there was the slightest doubt about ETNZ it was surely dissipated in today's two races.

Saturday was a very tough and testing day with rough seas and strong breeze, reaching 25 knots. The schedule called for a windward/leeward race, followed by a 22-mile long coastal race. Emirates Team NZ showed their excellent form and dominated the fleet by scoring two bullets. I don't remember how many time I must have repeated this but they just sailed flawlessly while their yacht was "flying" in the fresh breeze. Not only did they win both races but the disastrous coastal race for Team Origin gave them the opportunity to leap to first place overall in the regatta. Team Origin where around the middle of the fleet in the reaching leg but after rounding the small rock island off the coast they broke their forestay and had to sail the rest of the race with just the mainsail on. The crossed the finish line inside the port in last position, certainly not the result they wanted in a race with weight 1.5 times.

I was onboard Matador in the coastal race and I have to admit it wasn't an easy ride. We got completely soaked 4-5 times, the waves were unforgiving and just avoiding falling doing was a demanding exercise. As a result, unfortunately, I had to put a premium on securing my gear over taking spectacular photos or video.

Riding the waves onboard Matador. Cartagena, 28 August 2010. Video copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

The coastal race for Matador could be very well summed up in two sentences. The first one was voiced by Francesco Bruni, after rounding the mark at the end of the long upwind leg in second position behind Emirates Team New Zealand, and it was "The shore is good". Indeed the shore proved to be very good for Matador. The Italian brainpower onboard the Argentinean boat, Francesco Bruni and Vasco Vascotto, took the bold decision to part from the rest of fleet and go as close to the shore as possible. Not only did they find very strong breeze, I saw up to 25.5 knots in various occasions as we were almost touching the rocks, a positive current of almost 2 knots propelled them ahead to second place.

Unfortunately, the reaching leg to the small rock island of Las Palomas wasn't as successful and that's where the second sentence comes. Matador is an Argentinean boat and as a result, even if the long term tactical discussions are in Italian and the maneuvers are in English, Spanish is the prevailing language onboard. So, the second sentence that summarizes the coastal race on Matador is "El kukú cost us two places". As we were approaching the island, Matador were defending their second place but Artemis and Bigamist had threateningly closed in and were ready to grab every opportunity Matador would give them. Bruni and Vascotto had decided the next move was to do a peeling and go for "El kukú". As I was told after the race, "El kukú" is the nickname the crew has for a particular A3 gennaker they have. Unfortunately, sloppy crew work meant the gennaker couldn't come down, 2 minutes of furious yelling and shouting took place and when the gennaker was finally down, Artemis and Bigamist were ahead. Matador crossed the finish line frouth

Caja Mediterráneo Region of Murcia Trophy - Day 4
1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 4+2+5+4+3+1+1,5= 20,5 points
2. TeamOrigin (GBR), 3+1+3+2+1+3+16,5= 29,5
3. Matador (ARG), 1+4+1+5+8+5+6= 30
4. Artemis (SWE), 5+6+2+10+4+6+3= 36
5. Quantum Racing (USA), 9+5+6+3+7+2+7,5= 39,5
6. Bribón (ESP), 7+11+4+1+10+4+12= 49
7. Luna Rossa (ITA), 2+7+9+6+2+9+15= 50
8. Synergy (RUS), 8+3+7+11+6+7+10,5= 52,5
9. Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER), 6+8+11+8+9+10+9= 61
10. Bigamist 7 (POR), 11+9+8+9+11+11+4,5= 63,5
11. Cristabella (GBR), 10+10+10+7+5+8+13,5= 63,5

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At 7:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It wasn't the manouvre wich cost them those places! the problem was the decision to hoist that sail for 2 minutes and drop it without even having properly sailed it.


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