The new Mutua Madrilena arrived in Valencia this week amidst a growing flurry of TP52 activity. The 2005 champions are making a return to the MedCup Circuit after a ‘sabbatical’ year, Vasco Vascotto and the Mutua Madrileña team are back and mean business, changing from Botin & Carkeek, who designed their 2005 winner Pisco Sour and their 2007 Mutua Madrileña, to a new Judel/Vrolijk design which has just arrived in Valencia from Italy for the final fit out and launching.
'The boat looks fantastic and we are really happy with the construction of the boat.' Vascotto confirmed from the deck of their new boat.
The new boat was built at Farno on the Adriatic by Carboland which is managed by Albino Scarpone who was instrumental in the build of the last Luna Rossa America’s Cup boats.
'Obviously Rolf (Vrolijk) has designed a boat which took some of the best parts of the old Artemis which won quite easily last year but I gave him plenty of freedom. I just asked for the fastest boat in the fleet!' Vascotto suggests. 'I don’t think that there will be much difference between the boats. This is the fourth year and so the difference between one generation of boats and the next gets smaller all the time, and the so the gap becomes always smaller. But for sure Rolf has tried to improve still further the construction of the boats and the ideas he has had last year are maybe made a little more extreme this year.'
The new Mutua Madrileña has a three spreader rig from Hall Spars, Holland, continuing an ongoing relationship which included their 2005 win. The sails are from North Sails Italy’s Giovanni Casinari, who was part of the Mascalzone Latino sail design team along with Marco Saveli. The new boat is being measured now and then will be inclined for measurement on the 28-29 April. They will trial sail the boat immediately after.
'We have three days I want to call ‘spare’ so that we can modify things if we need to, and then after that we go directly to Alicante from May 5th where we will train. We will try to get everything together as quick as possible and then we have quite good relationship with plenty of boats to tune with, but certainly Matador are our good friends from Argentina but we will do that only a few days before the regatta.'
Vascotto confirmed the new TP52’s in Valencia, or near Valencia at the moment are the new Desafio Iberdrola, who sailed the last three or four days and are therefore a little ahead of the new boat pack. In Burrani he has seen the new Quantum Racing and the modified CXG Caixa Galicia and in the near future the new Mean Machine, BMW Oracle Racing are also due in the America's Cup city.
Twenty teams from 12 nations are now in the final three-week countdown to the opening event of the 2008 Audi MedCup Circuit to be run in Alicante, Spain from 12 to 17 May. In Alicante, as at all subsequent events, teams will race a five-day regatta featuring as many as nine inshore races and one coastal race.
The 20-boat fleet is split between eight brand new yachts, yachts that are currently in the process of being commissioned and made race ready, and 12 teams and their yachts that represent the best from previous years of the MedCup Circuit. Many of this latter group have extensively modified their yachts over the winter, with new bow sections, rigs, appendages and deck layouts.
Following the Trophy of Alicante Regatta next month the 2008 Audi MedCup Circuit moves on to Marseille, France (2 - 7 June), Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy (30 June - 5 July), Puerto Portals, Majorca, Spain (21 - 26 July), Carthargena, Spain (25 - 30 August), before closing the season in Portimao, Portugal (15 - 20 September).