Mean Machine wins Coastal race to take Medcup lead

Dutchman Peter de Ridder and his crew on Mean Machine won the 30 miles coastal race Thursday and were first through the scoring gate as well, a performance which elevates them to first overall on the 2008 Audi MedCup Circuit after six races in the City of Alicante Trophy.

A long day on the water for the 16 TP52’s at the City of Alicante Trophy, the first regatta of the Audi MedCup Circuit as they took part in the 30 mile long coastal race around Tabarca Island. The ultimate reward was for 2006 MedCup Champion Peter de Ridder and his Mean Machine crew who collected the best points, after leading through the mid race scoring gate and taking the winning gun by a comfortable margin.

Mean Machine's KIwi tactical duo Ray Davies and Tom Dodson called the crucial first beat perfectly and the black hulled new Judel/Vrolijk design, launched only three weeks ago, was able to fend off any advances through a smart combination of good speed, through optimum sail selection across the very differing wind speeds, good trimming and the right tactical calls when the breeze went light and unsettled over the final few miles.

In a repeat of last year's coastal race conditions biggest reshuffle came in the final 40 minutes of the four and a half hour race, when the fleet closed up as the breeze faded and shifted through up to 60 degrees and rose and fell between five and eight knots. Vicente Tirado's CXG Ciaxa Galicia gained four places to finish third, just ahead of Cristabella who took six places between the scoring gate and the finish.

Mean Machine, who won twice yesterday, now leads the Audi MedCup Circuit and the City of Alicante Trophy regatta by a single point from the American boat Quantum Racing owned by Doug de Vos (USA) and Fred Howe (USA). Just one point behind them are Tau Ceramica Andalucia from Spain who lead on Day 1, and who continue to sail smartly with the former Artemis, which won the Med Cup Circuit overall last year.

Second through the scoring gate, which was set off the north west corner of the picturesque island, and second across the finish proved a better day for the reigning MedCup Champion Torbjorn Tornqvist and the new Artemis. They move up to sixth place overall.

Peter de Ridder skipper/helm of City of Alicante Trophy leader Mean Machine:' We are very happy again that we toughed out this one. Our plan was really was to find a big gap on the start line and we managed to do that, to sail in clear wind for a few minutes, and really after that the rest was history. I think that generally the boys on our boat are pretty good on coastal races. I think they are particularly good at making the proper sail calls for the wind, and at making smooth changes between sails and that can be worth a few boat lengths at times. And winning four races in a row matches the first year when we won in Punta Ala and gets towards the five races we won last year in Portimao'

Torbjorn Tornqvist of Sweden, owner/helm of 2007 MedCup Champion Artemis. He finished second today in the new Artemis, to improve from ninth to sixth overall:' We have been working on the boat and we generally sailed better all round today, like me steering after being rusty from over the winter!. Things are coming together, we are definitely feeling ourselves smoothing into it better, we felt we had a speed advantage upwind and that was a good feeling. Of course the start wasn’t the best, we have been asking questions and working it all out, the rig setting and tuning on the new boat. It doesn’t behave like the last. we are trying things out, setting things up again.'

Morgan Larson, tactician of Quantum:'Today was a challenge for all of us predicting the weather, it seemed like it was going to be a straightforward course but it wasn’t at all. Tactically challenging and we also learnt a few things about our boat and those around us. We weren’t disappointed but neither happy – mediocre, hopefully we can just keep doing better and keep learning. We are where we need to be we just have to iron out a few things. The boats themselves are hard work just to keep on the water without breaking, we had a few nervous moments on the water trying out our new code zero- happy to get through without breaking down.'

2008 Audi MedCup Circuit, City of Alicante Trophy:Overall standings after six of a possible ten races:

1st Mean Machine MON (7, 16, 5, 1, 1, 1, 1, 15)
2nd Quantum USA (4, 5, 9, 3, 2, 4, 6, 33)
3rd TAU Ceramica Andalucía ESP (1, 1, 6, 9, 9, 3, 5, 34)
4th Bribón ESP (3, 3, 1, 4, 4, 12, 9, 36)
5th Mutua Madrileña ESP (2, 4, 8, 8, 3, 6, 12, 43)
6th Artemis SWE (12, 11, 4, 10, 7, 2, 2, 48)
7th Platoon by Team Germany GER (5, 9, 2, 5, 14, 8, 8, 51)
8th Matador ARG (10, 14, 3, 2, 10, 5, 10, 54)
9th El Desafío ESP (9, 6, 7, 11, 5, 11, 7, 56)
10th Cristabella GBR (11, 2, 15, 7, 12, 10, 4, 61)

Ono keeps an eye on Cristabella in the Alicante Trophy

2008 Audi Medcup. Alicante Trophy. Day 2. Race 4. "MEAN MACHINE" in second upwind leg.