World champions Matador exorcised last season’s ghost of Sardinia and lifted their four times coastal race jinx today under the Devil’s Saddle when they won the 1.5 points multiplier 30 miles passage to picturesque Poetteo and back.
Matador (ARG) extend their overall lead in the Region of Sardinia Trophy Regatta’s 52 Series to 11 points over second placed Synergy (RUS).
And, chasing down the second place overall on the Audi MedCup Circuit which eluded them last year, Matador’s momentum moves them to within six points of Quantum Racing.
Last year Alberto Roemmers’ team lead this coastal race but erred too close to the point at the Devil’s Saddle and ran out of breeze, letting a handful of boats pass them. But today, with Vasco Vascotto and Francesco Bruni combining on tactical choices along with navigator Bruno Zirilli, the Italian trio ensured that Matador did not put a foot wrong and were able to win by a comprehensive 1 minute and 46 seconds.
In a light to moderate sea breeze, which built to 12kts midway through the race, the start was critical, setting the order for the windward mark, where Matador lead.
On the long reach across the Bay of Cagliari towards ‘that’ point, the Capo St Elia to the east of Cagliari, Matador were the only team among the leading group to set and hold on to an A3 reaching kite when their pursuers used jibs.
That gave Matador a small boost and allowed them to extend on the run down into the Bay of Angels, to the leeward turning mark off the beach at Poetto.
On the second run back to the same leeward mark Quantum Racing overhauled second placed Jochen Schuemann’s Audi A1 powered by All4One – which had movie actor Jean Reno, star of the Da Vinci Code, Leon, the Big Blue and Mission Impossible -riding at the back as guest. .
The 2008 champions Quantum then held off a spirited attack from Artemis, which has owner Torbjorn Tornqvist (SWE) back on the helm this week, on the final sprint under reaching gennakers in to the harbour mouth, taking second just ahead of the team which won the coastal race here last yeatr.
With a sold fifth place Synergy hold on to second place on the Region of Sardinia Trophy Regatta standings only 2.5 points ahead of Terry Hutchinson’s crew on Quantum crew, still with two days and four races still scheduled of this event.
The rich get richer
In 42 Series racing, Madrid-Caser Seguros (ESP) has today put their slight upwind speed advantage in the moderate flat-water conditions to great use, achieving a rare triple bullets sweep of Races 4, 5 and 6. Their hat trick of race wins sends them even further ahead in the standings of the Region of Sardinia Trophy, leading the regatta by eight points and the Circuit by 15 points.
But their wins today were achieved by more than just pure boat speed.
In Race 4 they were trailing series runner-up Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) on the final run by just a few metres.
Helmsman Paolo Cian (ITA) then put his match race expertise to use and drove the Canarias team past the layline, gybed, then rolled past them to their first victory of the day.
The next two races were a little less dramatic: despite some strong challenges at times from Peninsula Petroleum (GBR) and AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA).
Madrid-Caser consistently pieced together each of the pieces together for success: good starts, good speed and near-flawless crew work, each time putting them into the lead early and kept them there around the track.
Region of Sardinia Trophy
1. Matador (ARG), 2+8+2+1+5+1+1,5= 20,5 points
2. Synergy (RUS), 6+5+3+4+1+5+7,5= 31,5
3. Quantum Racing (USA), 9+3+7+2+6+4+3= 34
4. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 8+2+1+10+2+3+9= 35
5. Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER), 5+1+5+6+3+11(DNF)+6= 37
6. TeamOrigin (GBR), 7+4+4+8+4+2+10,5= 39,5
7. Bribón (ESP), 1+9+8+3+8+3(RDG)+8(RDG)= 40
8. Artemis (SWE), 3+6+10+5+9+8+4,5= 45,5
9. Cristabella (GBR), 4+10+6+9+7+6+12= 54
10. Luna Rossa (ITA), 10+7+9+7+10+7+13,5= 63,5
1. Madrid – Caser Seguros (ESP), 1+2+1+1+1+1= 4 points
2. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), 4+1+3+2+2+3= 15
3. AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA), 2+4+2+3+4+4= 19
4. Península Petroleum (GBR), 3+3+4+4+3+2= 19
Quotes of the Day:
Francesco Bruni (ITA), tactician Matador (ARG):
“At the start we were kind of concerned we didn’t know which side to take, so we were sort of lucky at the beginning, starting at the pin end, but during the rest of the race we’ve sailed really well. We’ve used a different sail than the others when we could use it, and that’s helped us stretch the gap to sail more comfortably. It was an A3, a bit different from the ones the others have, just TeamOrigin and us have it, and we were in a good position to use it, cause we were at the front. And then the long reach came and there’s where we made the bigger gains, that was the best part.”
Terry Hutchinson (USA), skipper Quantum Racing (USA):
“They took a calculated risk on the start of they race, they started down at the pin and to the left of every body;we were happy with how our start went but our side just didn’t work. In fairness to it Edo wanted to go for about two minutes off the line on startboard and we had synergy coming and tangle with us a little so we had to just clear out. But it was probably one of the best coastal races we every had we had a really good one in Marseille, and that was really a good one as well , just brilliant time all the time and everybody is challenging the whole time.”
Paul Cayard (USA), tactician Artemis (SWE):
“Matador were very fast, but we are happy, third is a good race we had a hard but good week but today it was not our problem, it’s a very acceptable day. We have a good coastal record, last year we won here.”
Karol Jablonski (POL), skipper Synergy (RUS): “We are happy with the fifth place, it’s the best result we’ve ever had with this crew in a long distance race. We didn’t have a great start, we chose the right corner, we thought it was going to pay like yesterday, but it wasn’t the case, on the first beat there was a left shift, so the ones which started in the middle and went to the left said made good gains. We were fighting to start on the committee boat but it didn’t work for us today so this bay proofed to be again complicated and difficult to read, and Matador, Francesco and Vasco are doing a great job, they can read this winds really well. They sailed like they are at home.”
Simon Fry (GBR), trimmer Matador (ARG):
On the briefing this morning and whether they discussed how to avoid a repeat of last season’s error:
“As you can imagine that played a little part in the discussions this morning about how far we should be off that headland. It was a different breeze, approaching with the A3 at speed rather than in a dying breeze with the Code Zero, it was a different scenario.”
“We duked it out at the pin with Artemis, but to be fair they probably did a better job at the start but Guillermo did a really neat job, a skinny build, living off them.
Then three or four minutes into the race Audi had double tacked up off the start line and we were almost up to their line, we started to let it rip, a small left shift and then we had a lucky lane and that was it.”
But to be fair, the boat is really, really strong in 12kts, which is down to the optimisation, the way the boat is set up, where Rolf Vrolijk pitched the boat, how Flipper (Paul Westlake) trims the main, it just all fits together. We have always been strong in these conditions. The boat is virtually unbeaten in Palma and these are Palma style conditions.
And if I am honest coastal races have never been our strong point and today things came together.”
What was different:
“ It was a bit more ‘tranquillo’, as they say. And now thankfully we have nailed one. It is the first one we have won since Cartagena two years ago. We lead here, we have lead three others and screwed them up each time. This morning is was ‘don’t take unnecessary risks.’
“ I have said this before and got into a lot of trouble for the way I said it, so I have to be careful, but sailing on Matador has been a bit like sailing with your family. So the spirit of the team is always there. Also the Anglo Saxon is that I have a little up and a little down and get on with it. They have big ups and downs. The skill is to latch on to the ups and sustain it, to keep it going.”
“ I think that Vasco has been good. He has been good for Cecco (Francesco Bruni), taking some weight off his shoulders, he brings and element of fun to the team. And I think Guillermo is steering really well. He just seems like he is steering really well.”