Saturday, September 18, 2010

TP52's have first training race in Cagliari under light and shifty conditions

[Source: AUDI Medcup] Light to moderate breezes, overcast skies and humid late summer temperatures gave the ten 52 Series teams which took to the waters off Cagliari, Sardinia a good work out in the lower reaches of the wind range but most teams will be looking forward to a diet of stronger winds for this Region of Sardinia Trophy, such as this venue has delivered on all three previous occasions.

But for this key finale of the 2010 Audi MedCup Circuit all bases need to be covered, all weather possibilities prepared for.

So today’s reconnaissance practice racing, a refresher for many of the 52 Series teams who have been here before, may have been a head-scratcher at times with some big wind shifts, but it is all valuable experience as the countdown to Monday’s 52 Series Practice Race, and Tuesday’s regatta racing, ticks away.

There is still plenty for teams to gain, and to prove. Britain’s TeamOrigin are keen to finish their debut season on the Audi MedCup Circuit on a high note but also face up to a tussle with world champions, Alberto Roemmers’ (ARG) Matador (ARG) for the third step on the season’s podium.

It's very light and shifty in the first day of TP52 training. Cagliari, 18 September 2010. Photo ocpyright Ainoa Sanchez / AUDI Medcup

It is the British 52 Series team’s first visit to Cagliari. Double gold medal winner Iain Percy’s last visit to these waters, he admitted with a wry grin today was 17 years ago, when his four times Olympic medal winning skipper Ben Ainslie won his first Laser Radial European title at the same regatta.

The absence of Melges 24 World title winner Lorenzo Brassani means that the helm of Luna Rossa (ITA) has been handed to Trieste’s young Alberto Bolzan (ITA) who steered Pisco Sour at some regattas last season.

With Sunday also offering free practice, the winds look to be a little stronger for the final informal warm up.

Ashore, the Audi MedCup Public Village opened at 1100hrs this morning and has been the focal point of the day, going through to this evening’s reggae band Zaman who kick off a full week of musical entertainment into each evening. Tomorrow it is the Rocket Queens.

This evening, with all of the 52 Series boats assembled pristine and race ready, the Audi MedCup Public Village opens the pontoons to public for visitors to see these high tech machines up close.

The Audi MedCup Public Village is open each day with free access from 1100 to 2100hrs.

Quotes of the day:

Iain Percy (GBR), tactician of TeamOrigin (GBR): “It's my first time back here for, I think, I'm embarrassed to say, 17 years. So I realized how old I was, I did the Laser European championships here when I was very young. But it was great out there today, the sea-breeze was almost wanting to come in, and then went, and then came in again. But the racing I think can be really fun. Overall I think of all the cities we've been to this season have all been really fantastic. This place has such a nice feel, and it feels good with where we are. We're looking forward to this last event. But it's funny you never quite know what the conditions are going to be. It can surprise even what you think yourself is going to happen.”

Francesco Bruni (ITA), tactician of Matador (ARG): “Today conditions where funny by usual Cagliari standards. Winds here are usually pretty constant, either sea breeze or mistral are the main wind directions. But today we've had a mix of both of them with 40 to 50 degrees shifts in two minutes. We've played the role of race committee today on the water, so to speak, and it's been difficult. The clouds we're not helping the wind settle. Seven or eight boats ‘raced’, the rest were practicing on their own.”

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