Just three weeks out of the builder’s yard, the new Botin Carkeek-designed TP 52 Quantum Racing finished third overall at Alicante in the first regatta of the six-race 2008 Audi Med-Cup Circuit.
'This was a good regatta for us,' said Terry Hutchinson, skipper of the new Quantum Racing. 'With a new boat, and a new crew racing together for the first time, we sailed a very consistent series. We didn’t do anything exceptional, but we didn’t falter either.'
Breeze during the week was light and shifty, mostly in the nine to 11 knot range, a situation that Hutchinson described as very, very tough and challenging.
On Day Three, after a sixth-place finish in the 30-mile City of Alicante coastal race, Quantum Racing took over second place overall, just one point behind Peter de Ridder’s Mean Machine. The American boat held onto second overall until the last race of the series when it dropped to third. Mean Machine was the regatta winner.
'Every now and then you got this feeling ‘Maybe it’s not just meant to be this one!’' said Hutchinson. 'In the last race we pulled off an unbelievable start, tacked two minutes after the gun and crossed the entire fleet on port with not much time left on starboard tack. Bribon continued out to the left of us by about a minute and a half more, then tacked and led the fleet by about a minute at the top mark.'
Hutchinson said the Quantum Racing team achieved everything in its initial regatta that it had set out to achieve. They wanted to finish in the top five without jeopardizing their chances to win the season championship. He described the caliber of the competition as a small step up from last season’s very competitive fleet.
'The regulars are back together with some other strong programs,' he said. 'There aren’t a lot of marshmallows on the starting line. We started almost every race next to Dean Barker and Jochen Schuemann. That’s a pretty good indication of what we’re up against. At the same time the winner, Peter de Ridder in Mean Machine, was an amateur owner driver.
'Early in our practice sessions before racing started we were a little bit behind where we expected to be with our work on the boat, so our time on the water wasn’t as efficient as it could have been. In the short time after taking delivery of a boat fresh off the shop floor, the guys had done a very good job of getting us on the water and competition ready. However we know we still have a lot of room for improvement in the boat itself. That’s very encouraging.
'Our downwind sail inventory is an evolution of last year’s but what we learned in this regatta is that our new boat needs a lot of power in light air so for light air work, we’ll be building a couple of spinnakers that are slightly bigger.
'Botin Carkeek has given us a very nice boat and Longitude Zero did a spectacularly good job in building it. It’s a big powerful boat and we did well in a regatta that it wasn’t really designed for. Wind strength here in Alicante was nine to 11 knots and we expect that the boat will do better up the range.
'One encouraging thing about the Quantum program is that I look around the fleet and I think that between us and a few other boats there is a massive gain rate opportunity. Some teams like ours will gain more simply because of the limited amount of time we’ve had working on the boat and the time we’ve had sailing. We have a very good opportunity to gain through a lot of little things we’ll do to our boat. Others are in a similar situation but it’s a very good opportunity for us to get better in a short period of time. Final Results
(Position, Boat, Country, R1, R2, R3, R4, R5, R6a, R6b, R7, Total Points)
1st Mean Machine MON (7, 16, 5, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 8, 41)
2nd Bribón ESP (3, 3, 1, 4, 4, 12, 9, 5, 1, 42)
3rd Quantum USA (4, 5, 9, 3, 2, 4, 6, 6, 7, 46)
4th TAU Ceramica Andalucía ESP (1, 1, 6, 9, 9, 3, 5, 9, 12, 55)
5th Platoon by Team Germany GER (5, 9, 2, 5, 14, 8, 8, 4, 3, 58)