The TP52 World Championship in Puerto Calero is all but boring and we were served a third day of intriguing competition on the waters of Lanzarote that resulted in yet another overall leader. We started with Artemis on Monday, then Mutua Madrileña yesterday and finally Quantum Racing today.
After two days of windward/leeward races, the 14-strong TP52 fleet sailed the short coastal race, approximately 35 miles long. The course took the fleet to a windward mark 1.6 miles from the starting line in front of the airport, before turning north towards Arrecife, the island’s capital. From there yachts turned back south towards Puerto Calero, where two buoys a few dozen meters from the breakwater gave the hundreds of spectators ashore the chance to watch the TP52’s 'flying' in front of their eyes. They then headed south for the longest leg of the race towards the cape beach of Punta Papagayo. After rounding the mark there, the course headed back to Puerto Calero to finish just off the marina entrance.
The weather had in store a little bit of everything during the three and a half hours the yachts crisscrossed the waters off Puerto Calero; sun, light conditions, rain showers, squalls with puffs of up to 25 knots, especially in the last leg.
After a less than average performance on Tuesday, Artemis found their form on Wednesday and crossed the finish line ahead of Quantum and Bribón, after clearly dominating from start to finish. There was no doubt yesterday’s clumsy errors were not repeated aboard the Swedish boat. Torbjorn Tornqvist helmed the boat to a clean start and together with Mutua Madrileña, Bribón and Platoon opted for the left side of the race course. As Russell Coutts pointed out, the first leg was very important to the overall race and after rounding first the top mark, they stayed clearly ahead of the fleet.
The most interesting battles took place right behind Tornqvist’s back. Mutua Madrileña rounded second the first buoy and it all pointed to a duel with Vasco Vascotto. Unfortunately, a breakage in their backstay made the Italians slip back and Bribón grabbed 2 nd place when the fleet was heading north. Quantum and Desafío took also advantage of the stronger breeze close to the shore and managed to weave their way through traffic when passing in front of the airport. They rounded the northernmost mark, 3 rd and 4 th respectively, behind Artemis and Bribón.
Desafío took advantage of the nice airport breeze again on their way south to Puerto Calero and were second in the mark in front of the marina, followed by Bribón and Quantum. On the way to Punta Papagayo, Morgan Larson on Quantum put in another fine performance and the American boat reached the mark ahead of Bribón, taking advantage of the fresher breeze close to coast. Still, the play of the day was Ross Macdonald’s decision to take Bribón as much as 2 miles further offshore to the right than the other 13 yachts in the final leg. While Quantum and Desafío were neck and neck close to the shore, Bribón got a nice right shift and sneaked in between.
For tomorrow Thursday, the program calls for the long coastal race, approximately 60 miles long. Quotes of the day Russell Coutts, tactician on Artemis
We are very happy; this is definitely a better day than yesterday. The first leg was very important. Fortunately, we round the first mark leading and from there on it was just a matter of protecting the lead, not making anything stupid and making the correct sail calls. Tomorrow will be an interesting long race and you saw you can get some big swings in the points and it still wide open. Obviously, we did some damage to ourselves yesterday but we still have some chances to get back on the game. Dean Barker, helmsman of Bribón
It’s been a good day for Bribón, the second one after a bad start. We are happy but we still have a few points to make up. Nevertheless, we are much more into the game than 2 days ago. Concerning the last leg, whenever you have such a long leg there is always a lot of leverage. We saw something that could be pretty good on the right, we gave it a go and we had a very nice wind shift. At the end it was really tough for us to come back with the fleet, we had to wait till our shift came, which it did, and fortunately were able to gain one place and finish third. Morgan Larson, tactician on Quantum
It was a good race for us; we kept kicking off boat by boat. Our boat speed was good, all sail choices were correct and fortunately we went into the right direction. Artemis definitely led the way, that showed us the shift and we tried not to make any errors. We let the other boats commit the errors. I wouldn’t say we sailed perfectly; we just didn’t make any big mistakes. We got better as the race progressed. Once again, it was a tricky day, the first beat was very important but then you had showers, squalls and big wind changes but as a team we picked them well. We are happy because we are leading overall but we have only reached the half-point of the event and it is still too early. We definitely take it race by race. There are a lot of great teams and anything could happen. You clearly saw that yesterday. Nano Negrín, tactician on Desafío
It’s been a good day for us because we finished 4th, after a complicated race with an unfavourable weather forecast. At the end we were slightly disappointed because we lost 2 places in the last stretch, but 4th isn’t bad. I think we were very lucky today because I, being a local from the island, know that usually you stay closer to the coast because the wind shifts left. Bribón stayed on the right from the start and finally they were saved by a small puff that enabled them to overtake us, while we were fighting with Quantum and Artemis.
As far as wind patterns in Lanzarote are concerned, the best conditions are always between April and September when the trade winds reach their maximum. On the other hand, in October, when a low approaches it is normal to have these conditions. You can have a week with light winds or days like today with rain showers that increase wind pressure. We were expecting the strong winds to come at 6pm but they finally appeared at 3pm and got us off guard with light-air genoas. This is of course part of the game and you have to live with that. LEADER BOARD
MUTUA MADRILEÑA 23.25
PLATOON POWERED BY TEAM GERMANY 41.25
EL DESAFÍO 42.00
AUDI SAILING TEAM POWERED BY Q8 49.00
TAU CERAMICA - ANDALUCIA http://www.tp52worldchampionship.com/