Alberto Roemmers’ Matador lead the Region of Sardinia Trophy after winning two of today’s three races.
Their two well won victories sandwich a fifth place which proved an equal measure of their tenacity and resolution, coming back from last place through the first half of the race.
Matador’s consistency keeps them five points clear of Synergy going into tomorrow’s coastal race which carries a 1.5 points multiplier.
Audi MedCup Circuit champions Emirates Team New Zealand followed a similar pattern to their opening day, starting badly with a tenth, but fighting back to a second and third to lie third on the overall regatta standings.
If on Tuesday it had offered something of a one sided race track, Cagliari’s Bay of Angels may have had a devil’s influence at times today because the breeze pattern altered from race to race as the split winds on either side of the course offered big opportunities for gains and losses, especially on the downwind legs.
Matador won the first race which was contested in near perfect sea breeze conditions of nine to ten knots. Quantum Racing lead through the early stages of the race but chose to gybe set at the final windward mark while Vasco Vascotto and Francesco Bruni conspired to go right down the run to gain more than half a minute, stealing across the finish ahead of the 2008 Audi MedCup champions.
In the second race it was Synergy’s tactician Rod Dawson (NZL) who read the first beat best. They flipped right early and were able to take command as the breeze lifted progressively, ensuring they lead all the way around ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand. Approaching half way up the first beat Matador fouled Quantum Racing, tacking too close to them, and had to take a penalty. That dropped them to round the windward mark as tail enders. They made little impression on the run, but their never say die attitude and inspired downwind sailing saw the world champions restore themselves to a useful fifth.
With dark clouds covering the race area and an oppressive, humid air replacing the early sunshine, the final race of the day was marred by a first beat collision between Audi A1 powered by All4ONE and Bribon. The Franco-German team lost control in the final, painful seconds as the tried to duck the Spanish boat and struck them hard one third of the way from the back of their port topsides. Both boats had to retire and Bribon will not be able to take any further part in the regatta.
Ironically the iconic Spanish crew suffered a similar sad fate in the last regatta of the MedCup in 2006 in Ibiza. The only other big collisions of recent years on the Circuit was at a messy top mark approach in Marseille in 2007, but both times these incidents were as the fleet converged, nearing the windward mark.
Matador lead the race from the first turning mark and at one stage were over 200 metres ahead of second placed TeamOrigin (GBR), while Emirates Team New Zealand took third.
42 Series: The leader leads
Madrid-Caser Seguros (ESP) showed today why they are the overall leaders in the 42 Series: good starts, excellent crew work, solid tactics, and an edge in boat speed that, when given the chance, gets them from behind to ahead before the end of the race.
Their scores of 1-2-1 today have given them a four point lead for the Region of Sardinia Trophy, and an extends to 11 points their overall series lead over the defending 2009 42 Series Champion, Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP).
And while the Canarias team today did well to win Race 2, they are but tied on points with a resurgent AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA), who are also showing to be a possible threat on scores of 2-4-2. Owner/driver Roberto Monti (ITA) had to step off before Race 3 to attend to business commitments in Milan, and was replaced on the helm by project manager Cesare Bressan (ITA).
Even Peninsula Petroleum (GBR) showed moments of promise today in Races 1 & 2, and even closed down a big gap with the pack suffered after an OCS in Race 3.
Region of Sardinia Trophy
1. Matador (ARG), 2+8+2+1+5+1= 19 points
2. Synergy (RUS), 6+5+3+4+1+5= 24
3. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 8+2+1+10+2+3= 26
4. TeamOrigin (GBR), 7+4+4+8+4+2= 29
5. Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER), 5+1+5+6+3+11(DNF)= 31
6. Quantum Racing (USA), 9+3+7+2+6+4= 31
7. Bribón (ESP), 1+9+8+3+8+11(DNF)= 40
8. Artemis (SWE), 3+6+10+5+9+8= 41
9. Cristabella (GBR), 4+10+6+9+7+6= 42
10. Luna Rossa (ITA), 10+7+9+7+10+7= 50
1. Madrid – Caser Seguros (ESP), 1+2+1= 4 points
2. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), 4+1+3= 8
3. AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA), 2+4+2= 8
4. Península Petroleum (GBR), 3+3+4= 10
Ian Walker (GBR), tactician Bribón (ESP):
“ Nobody likes to see any boats damaged, and I think the Germans where just trying to duck us. We were on starboard and I think they must have stalled. They didn’t get behind us and just came straight through us. So it was a big crash, definitely one of the biggest crashes I’ve been involved with. It was quite complicated, there were three or four boats involved and I think they thought we were going to tack and then we didn’t tack and it was very late for them to duck so it was a difficult situation for them. I was actually quite lucky because I fell over just before the crash, and I nearly fell straight where they hit us so…”
“ Because they were trying to duck us they were probably doing ten or twelve knots cause they were trying to get behind, they were going faster and faster,”
Guillermo Parada (ARG), skipper Matador (ESP):
“ Today it’s been a good day. It’s pity that in the second race we had to take that penalty turn which put us in the last spot, and then we also tore the spinnaker, so things were getting kind of difficult, but we’ve kept on fighting and have managed to move up some places. So we still have good chance. In the first and third race the team has made a great job calling tactics and the navigator some good calls…Our goal here is a place on the podium. If we can fight for a second place in the Audi MedCup Circuit standings of course we’ll do it, but as I say our goal is a podium here”
Jochen Schuemann (GER), skipper Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (GER/FRA):
“ There’s not much to say, obviously we misjudged the situation. We were fighting for second and third place with Bribón and it seemed no to be very decided if they wanted to tack leeward of us or crossing, then with the motion, we were close and got too much helm and heel, and couldn’t avoid it. So, stupid in the end…and obviously both boats lost two very good places and I think there’s quite serious damage to Bribón. We lost the bowsprit, we have some work to do to fix that, and obviously lost a good place, either 2nd or 3rd would have been perfect for us to hang on to second. Now we are DNF and cashed in ten points, that’s not good. We will sail again tomorrow, yes.
Gonzalo Araujo (ESP), skipper Bribón (ESP):
“ We were in the first beat of the third race, and it seems they had a problem to duck us, and they lost the rudder, these rudders are very thin, so they lost the control of the boat in the last moment, and after that we crashed. We can’t sail any more but we still don’t know the extent of the damage, and how much time we need to repair it, if we can go on with our plans for the worlds or not. We saw the boat coming down behind us, coming very tight, and then it was clear to us that they couldn’t keep clear. In that moment Ian fell on his knees, and that prevented something worse…”
Dean Barker (NZL), skipper Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)
“We just stuffed to ourselves in the first race, we were 4th at one stage and then we just sailed ourselves back into the fleet, which is very unlike how we normally sail but it bounced back with two good races after that”.
Jose Maria van der Ploeg (ESP), skipper Madrid – Caser Seguros (ESP):
“Today was a good day for us, we had good starts and good speed to keep us in the game and able to get ahead. But in the second race I made the wrong call on the spinnaker in the last run – we should have used the Code 1.5 and not the Code 2 that we used in the first race. This is a new sail and is very fast, but the wind got light and I got too caught up in the tactics at the top of the last beat to pay close attention to the wind for the next leg. But overall we feel good, the team is working very well.”
John Bassadone (GBR), helmsman Peninsula Petroleum (GBR):
“Our OCS in the last start was an unforced error, our team was just not together, and the rest of the group made no mistakes for us to have an opportunity to come back. The flat-water conditions are good for me, because when there are waves the other drivers who are more experienced have that edge that we just don’t have yet. So, the racing is really close and very competitive.”