MedCup Conde de Godó Trophy – A big day ahead

Conde de Godo Barcelona Trophy, 13 09 2011 - Audi MedCup Circuit 2011
Conde de Godó Trophy being held in Barcelona, Spain is the fifth and final event in the series. A big day, perhaps even the biggest yet on the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit.

After 41 races spread over four countries, Portugal, France, Italy and Spain and wind conditions from fierce 35 knot gusts in windy Cascais at the start of the season in May, to this finale regatta in the light, sometimes capricious sea breezes at this finale Conde de Godo City of Barcelona Regatta, it all boils down to the next two days of racing for a delicately poised 52 Series title race.

The momentum is with Bribon. A podium in Italy, winners in Cartagena, Spain last month and leaders since yesterday at the final regatta ever for their Bribon crew, racing on the waters off their club, the Real Club Nautico de Barcelona, it is a fairytale in the making. A late charge to clinch overall victory in the MedCup after seven years of trying since being one of the 2004-5 founding fathers of the MedFleet of TP52’s would be the perfect end Bribon’s 40 year history.

But Quantum Racing are the class act in a position to kill off the Spanish team’s dream, and they have a pedigree to match. Don’t forget that Quantum have history too. In 2005 when the inaugural series went to the wire on the final race of the season, they were title challengers. In 2008, under skipper Terry Hutchinson, they won the title. With new skipper Ed Baird, an America’s Cup winning helm, they have lead since the start of the season. But this has always been a finely balanced season. Though Quantum Racing have always lead, the biggest their lead has been was 12 points – after winning the first regatta in Cascais. So a seven points margin going into the final two days and four races is a cushion – of sorts – in this eight boat fleet.

Two races are scheduled for today at this Conde de Godo City of Barcelona Trophy in breezes which promise to be a little stronger – up to 12kts max from west of South – which should even be a little more settled than yesterday’s split breezes which fought from different sides of the race course.

And for the Soto 40’s the title is all but Iberdrola Team's. They need only get through today’s racing to win, but their absolute target is to win their fourth regatta of the season – their first in the team’s home country after losing out last month to the British crew on Ngoni. Today business commitments mean owner-skipper Tony Buckingham will not be sailing and so Kevin Sproul is back on the helm. And Iberostar, Javier Banderas’ team, will be looking to follow up yesterday’s race win on their second day on the Audi MedCup Circuit.

Agustín Zulueta (ESP), Project Manager, Iberdrola Sailing Team (ESP): 'We just have to start today and we´ll be the Circuit´s virtual winners. Although the main goal was to win the five-venue championship, of course, we also have another goal, and that is to win at least one of the Spanish trophies. We didn´t do that in Cartagena, so we have our chance here in Barcelona, that´s our short term goal now. We are highly motivated for those two reasons. Also, coincidentally, today´s the day when our main sponsor and its Marketing Department representatives are coming to see us, so it´s a big day. Conditions are suppose to pick just a little bit from yesterday, I really hope that we get to sail all three races'.

Ignacio Triay (ESP), Trimmer, Bribón (ESP): It´s going to be an interesting day here today. The weather conditions could be slightly stronger than yesterday but not much different. Even when our boat has sailed really well in light conditions, we´ve also sailed very well with stronger winds. We came here after the Copa del Rey and the Cartagena victories and we were thrilled about having achieved that this season, but we have a chance to make it even bigger. We´ve already seen that the boats are keeping an eye on us, Quantum really did yesterday at the start. Yesterday we manage to reach the rest of the boats after a bad start, Ross McDonald did a great job avoiding the potholes. It´s a tight fight up there and the boats are going to watch each other carefully'.

Ignacio Triay (ESP), Trimmer, Bribón (ESP): It´s going to be an interesting day here today. The weather conditions could be slightly stronger than yesterday but not much different. Even when our boat has sailed really well in light conditions, we´ve also sailed very well with stronger winds. We came here after the Copa del Rey and the Cartagena victories and we were thrilled about having achieved that this season, but we have a chance to make it even bigger. We´ve already seen that the boats are keeping an eye on us, Quantum really did yesterday at the start. Yesterday we manage to reach the rest of the boats after a bad start, Ross McDonald did a great job avoiding the potholes. It´s a tight fight up there and the boats are going to watch each other carefully'.

Ed Reynolds (USA) project manager Quantum Racing (USA): 'I think yesterday we got the best start of the year, everything going in the right direction and it just started slowing down a bit. I saw upwind that we sailed into a real soft spot just below the starboard layline on he second beat and that really pushed us back. We came into this and everyone said, you know what, this is going to come down to the last race and we just have to be strong. I get e-mails constantly asking ‘what happened’ and the response is just the same as always, if you make the slightest mistake these guys are on you. You have to be so fast all the time.

Our guys do have to raise their game, I am not the one saying that, they say that themselves. They feel they have absolutely earned this position, this is their series and they just have to go out there and do it. There is no other way. Think about you as a professional athlete at the top event in the world right now, I believe, coming into the last race two days of the MedCup with a chance to do something really special. If you are not up for that you should get a new day job. I think these guys are ready. They are strong. And as I have said all along I don’t think we will crack under pressure or lose it, but somebody could very well come and take it away from us.

Bribon’s is a beautiful story and we don’t want to be the ones to ruin it, but one of the things we have seen is that when it gets to light air, they have been blazing fast in the light. Even before they had this boat as a team they have always been quick in the light.'

Audi MedCup website
http://www.sail-world.com/88552