Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Boom Crash Bang

La Maddalena, Sardinia

There was plenty of action on day four of the Louis Vuitton World Trophy Series in La Maddalena today when a start line altercation between ALEPH Sailing Team and Azzurra not only reduced racing, but saw the French team cop a penalty point in addition to being disqualified.
The collision happened in the fourth race of the day as both boats reached down the line towards the pin end with 35 seconds remaining in the start sequence. According to the Virtual Eye replay, the Italians in the leading boat, hardened up as ALEPH appeared to bear off and attempt a leeward hook. The French boat sliced into Azzurra's transom and while nobody was injured, Italy's veteran tactician Tommaso Chieffi was forced to duck to avoid any impact.

Both BMW Oracle boats sustained damage with USA 87 suffering a splintered stern while USA 98 is missing a chunk of her bow. 

In other action Synergy Russian Sailing Team smelt victory after Karol Jablonski managed to outmanoeuvre Luna Ross helmsman Ed Baird on the start line to dominate the rest of the race.

Terry Hutchinson of Artemis performed a textbook perfect start that left BMW Oracle’s Jamie Spithill astern just a boat length behind snapping at his heels. Oracle short-tacked relentlessly all the way up the first leg but Artemis covered and rounded the top mark with a seven second advantage. While Oracle clung to their rival's transom down the run, the leeward mark margin remained seven seconds before Artemis extended slightly through eight tacks on the next leg. The breeze freshened and Hutchinson gained on the run as Oracle split away in a last desperate search for redemption.

Team Origin got the better of All4One and the Kiwis went down to Luna Rossa despite clawing back some ground during the second beat.

Lulu Roseman

Saturday, May 15, 2010

ETNZ On A Roll

Kiwi's Win The Coastal Race

Emirates Team New Zealand took firm control of the Portugal Trophy Cascais regatta today when they convincingly won the 40 nautical miles coastal race.

The Kiwi's Back On Top

Defending champions take the lead in Cascais
Emirates Team New Zealand has sailed into the lead of the Audi MedCup regatta in Portugal, finding the consistency they were after on day three of racing.
In ideal conditions off the coast of Cascais – winds ranging from 14 to 25 knots making for fast and furious sailing – Dean Barker and his crew posted their best day yet, with a win and a second placing.  They now lead the fleet by three points, overhauling the British TeamOrigin boat, skippered by former Emirates Team New Zealand team member Ben Ainslie.

Barker described it as a day where everything went well for the team, winners of the 2009 Audi MedCup. But he’s conscious of the snags - a stronger fleet this season and the erratic Cascais conditions - that can still catch out the top boats. 
“Over the last couple of days we’ve certainly eliminated mistakes,” he said. “But you could throw a blanket over the fleet at this stage. We feel like we have a small advantage on the boats around us, but not enough to rely on.
“It’s a case of starting well, trying to anticipate the first windshift, working out where we need to be three-quarters of the way up the first beat, and then try to capitalise on our position against the fleet. So it’s just small things all the way around the course where you try to do a bit better.

“It would be very easy to have a bad result - you miss one windshift or you get on the wrong side of a couple of boats, and you’re back in the fleet, where it’s hard to battle your way through to a respectable placing.”
Emirates Team New Zealand did not have those troubles to deal with today, as they were constantly among the leading boats in both races. 
In the day’s opening race, NZL380 got a good start at the pin end of the line, and were able to work their way to the favoured right side of the course to lead the fleet with TeamOrigin. The British boat picked up a better windshift slightly inshore to round the first mark in the lead and keep it to the finish.
“We made gains on them here and there, and managed to hold off Bribon on the final run. But in the end, a second place was a good solid result,” Barker said.
“In race two we got a nice start up the line and we were neck-and-neck with TeamOrigin going for the right of the course, before we managed to open up a bit of a lead at the top mark. We sailed a really good race from there for a good win.  So all in all, a very good day.
“The weather was great, gusting up to 25 knots at times, which makes the downwind sailing brilliant. Now the boats have bigger sail area, it makes them load up a lot more than before and you get some fantastic sailing.”
Barker acknowledged the strength of the TeamOrigin crew, new to the TP52 circuit this season.
“There are certainly other teams with chances;  this is a long way from being over. There's the longer coastal race tomorrow and two more races on the last day which should be just as tough. We have to be patient and take our opportunities.”

Portugal  Trophy, Cascais:  TP52 Series
Overall – Day 3
1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 6+11+1+1+4+2+1= 26 points
2. TeamOrigin (GBR), 4+9+2+4+2+1+7= 29
3. Synergy (RUS), 8+1+6+3+5+8+3= 34  
4. Artemis (SWE), 3+6+7+8+3+7+2= 36
5. Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER), 9+7+4+6+1+5+5= 37
6. Quantum Racing (USA), 1+5+8+2+10+9+8= 43
7. Cristabella (GBR), 2+8+3+5+9+6+10= 43
8. Luna Rossa (ITA), 5+3+9+10+6+3+9= 45
9. Matador (ARG), 7+2+5+9+8+12(DSQ)+6= 49
10. Bribón (ESP), 10+10+10+12(DNC)+7+4+4= 57
11. Bigamist 7 (POR), 11+4+11+7+11+11+12(DNF)= 67

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hutch Gets Whacked!

Thrills and Spills among the TP52’s at Audi MedCup in Cascais

There was action aplenty both on and off the water during the second day of the Audi MedCup in Cascais. While the fleet embraced the gusty nor’westerly conditions Quantum Racing’s Skipper/Helmsman,Terry Hutchinson was rushed to hospital after a dizzying pre-start incident and the Spanish team Bribon didn’t race at all due to broken battens.
The weather provided flukey winds that averaged 10-14 knots with gusts peaking at 23 knots making it a hell of an exciting day of downwind sailing. 

                         Photo: Anihoa Sanchez/Audi MedCup
With Hutch out of action, Quantum’s Adrian Stead took over the wheel for Race 4. Their tactical decision to make for the left hand end of the start line close to the pin allowed them to make good gains from their position on the left side of the course.  Quantum lead the charge around the first windward mark before ETNZ split further inshore to pick up more pressure and a favourable wind shift. 

The Kiwi’s powered ahead  to claim the bullet by 40 seconds, their second successive race victory of the regatta. The Russian boat Synergy crossed third. Hutchinson recovered enough to watch the the live TV feed from his hospital bed.
“Unfortunately just when we were hosting the mainsail Terry got hit by the boom on the top on his head. He was disorientated and very sick so he had a scan and it looks he's going to be alright,” said Adrian Stead.  
“We took out one of our shore crew members and I ended up driving with someone else doing the tactics and pit. The last time I helmed a whole race was in 2005. We just had to try to make the best of the day with what we had and hopefully Terry will be back tomorrow,” Stead added.

                                            Photo: Chris Cameron

In the second race of the day it was Olympic medallists Jochen Schuemann steering Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE  and Ben Ainslie, helming TeamOrigin 1851, who caused pulses to race. They fought it out neck and neck right down to the closing minutes in what was a full throttle drag race during the final run. But the German boat proved too strong and pipped the British crew by just one second across the line. 

Ainslie’s consistency sees Team Origin as the overall leader after five races. While Dean Barker and his crew only managed a fourth in the second race of the day, where they found themselves on the wrong side of a big inshore wind shift during the first upwind leg, it was enough to snare them second place.
Lulu Roseman
TP52 Series
Overall – Day 2
1. TeamOrigin (GBR), 4+9+2+4+2= 21 points
2. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 6+11+1+1+4= 23
3. Synergy (RUS), 8+1+6+3+5= 23  
4. Quantum Racing (USA), 1+5+8+2+10= 26
5. Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER), 9+7+4+6+1= 27
6. Cristabella (GBR), 2+8+3+5+9= 27 points
7. Artemis (SWE), 3+6+7+8+3= 27
8. Matador (ARG), 7+2+5+9+8= 31
9. Luna Rossa (ITA), 5+3+9+10+6= 33
10. Bigamist 7 (POR), 11+4+11+7+11= 44
11. Bribón (ESP), 10+10+10+12(DNC)+7= 49 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Brits Are Sitting Pretty among the TP52 Audi MedCup Fleet

Whether they were inspired by their youthful newly appointed Prime Minister, David Cameron, or not, the British flagged Cristabella conquered her rivals today. Proving that steady and consistent is the name of the game, the Brits are sitting at the top of the leader board just one point ahead of Quantum Racing. Cristabella, owned by John Cook, skippered by John Cutler and steered by Tim Powell scored a second, eighth and a third from the three races sailed on the Bay of Cascais.

It was a challenging day of inconsistent and moderate wind conditions that saw three wins by three different teams.  Sliding past Cristabella on the second downwind leg, Quantum Racing took out the first race of the season. In race two Karol Jablonski steered the Russian boat Synergy to win the second race of the day, getting the better of Matador and one of the new teams for 2010, Luna Rossa, who finished third.

The Audi MedCup TP52 2009 champions, Emirates Team New Zealand struggled for a good start in the first two races before  returning to their winning form and sailing away with the final race of the day ahead of the other British boat, Team Origin.  They Kiwis powered off the start line, got into a good lane, and led all the way around the tricky Cascais course, where the wind leapt between 11 and 14 knots all day.

“We were up and down, when we didn’t really need to be,“ said Skipper Dean Barker. 
“But we take heart from the fact that even though we sailed like that, we’re only five points off the leader.  The boat is going well, the guys are sailing it well and we have good speed. In some ways it feels like we’re shaking the dust and the cobwebs out a little bit. I think everyone obviously feels better finishing the last race in good fashion, so tomorrow we just need to come out firing and get some good results on the board.”
After what Barker called a pretty ordinary start in the opening race, ETNZ battled their way back to a respectable sixth placing.

“In the second race we had a reasonable start and we were in quite a strong position on the first beat, but it was just one of those races where we couldn’t get anything right and we were completely out of phase. We sailed ourselves right back through the fleet, which was a bit frustrating,” he said.
Terry Hutchinson Skipper of Quantum Racing had a a great day sailing in ideal conditions and thought his team sailed bloody well.  
“You fight for every point, that's for sure.  It was disappointing to lose a couple of boats on that last run, but that's life. Today we started well, sailed consistently and didn't risk any fouls. We knew that it was going to be very hard, so full credit to Kevin Hall and Adrian Stead and the other guys on the boat. We didn't get everything right but when we weren't quite right we didn't pay too heavily for it either. It was very shifty but I would say the left side was slightly better than the right. You can make it work,” Hutchinson said.

Lulu Roseman
 Portugal Trophy, Cascais
TP52 Series
Overall – Day 1
1. Cristabella (GBR), 2+8+3= 13 points
2. Quantum Racing (USA), 1+5+8= 14
3. Matador (ARG), 7+2+5= 14
4. Synergy (RUS), 8+1+6= 15   
5. TeamOrigin (GBR), 4+9+2= 15
6. Artemis (SWE), 3+6+7= 16
7. Luna Rossa (ITA), 5+3+9= 17
8. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 6+11+1= 18
9. Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER), 9+7+4= 20
10. Bigamist 7 (POR), 11+4+11= 26
11. Bribón (ESP), 10+10+10= 30 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

TP52's are back as MedCup 2010 blasts off in Cascais

All the big guns are back for another round of MedCup including three new teams including Luna Rosa who are expected to give Emirates Team New Zealand a run for their money.