Emirates Team NZ's TP52 was back on the water for the official practice race of the third round of the Audi MedCup circuit at Cagliari, Sardinia, on Monday.
Practice days give the teams a chance to get a feel for the course and sniff the breeze under race conditions.
The Cagliari sea breeze came in later that expected and there were some small shifts, perhaps a legacy of the strong mistral from the previous day, that unexpectedly favoured the left side of the course.
Grant Dalton: 'The strong mistral died this morning, affected the timing of the sea breeze and its strength. It did get up to a good nine knots at the start and had the usual shifts and subtleties within it.
'The talk on board was that in similar sea breeze last year the right was favoured, but that was far from the case today. Quantum, which won here last year, hit the right hard at the start today and was punished. Emirates Team New Zealand favoured the right but didn’t push hard right and was in a more comfortable position.'
Emirates Team New Zealand rounding the top mark in the practice race, Sardinia Trophy, Audi MedCup 20/7/2009 - Emirates Team New Zealand / Photo Chris Cameron ETNZ © Click Here to view large photo
NZL 380 actually finished fourth but superstitious crews on Matador and Bigamist handed them a second.
Matador and Bigamist were ahead approaching the line but gave in to superstition about winning the practice race (and losing the regatta) and sailed past the end of the finish line. Superstition did not worry Artemis which took the gun, with NZL380 second.
'Speed and consistency will be important at this regatta,' Dalton said. 'We think Matador and Artemis will be as handful here. We will take it race by race, aiming for a good start and getting a clear lane so that we are right there at the first mark.'
The sea breeze is forecast to continue for the first few days of racing.