Audi MedCup’s Region of Sardinia Trophy 2011 has resulted in victory in the 25 mile high-scoring coastal race for Jochen Schuemann and Seb Col who took a big step towards their first regatta victory of the season.
Their Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (FRA/GER) leads the Region of Sardinia Trophy by 8.5 points over second placed Quantum Racing which finished second. And with the strong Mistral NW’ly breeze which strafed the Gulf of Angels race track today set to continue into Sunday, the final day of the regatta, Schuemann says they now have no fears about what tomorrow might bring.
The four times Olympic medallist confirmed again that not only is he happy with the speed they have now found on their new boat, but today he felt they have an edge – especially upwind and on tight reaches – which helped them capitalise on an excellent opening leg.
While Audi All4One’s early season ‘slows’ appear to be behind them, it was the best day yet this season for their Italian sister-ship Audi Azzurra Sailing Team. The slow and problematic blues for the Azzurra team were displaced today by a much more up tempo performance in the strong 23-28kts winds.
Vasco Vascotto and Francesco Bruni along with their team which sail for Sardinia’s Yacht Club Costa Smerelda composed the fleet’s best scoreline today after taking second in an opening windward-leeward contest, race six of the regatta and a good third place in the muscular coastal challenge which went down a turning mark off Poetto.
The tight, demanding schedule today – regaining yesterday's windward-leeward race which was lost to light breeze – saw some tired bodies coming ashore in Cagliari in the beautiful late afternoon sunshine, whilst the spectacular race finishes in the harbour, only 200 metres off the Audi MedCup Circuit’s race dock in the heart of the historic city waterfront, were widely applauded.
The breeze for the first windward-leeward was around 12-16kts as Markus Wieser and the crew of Container stretched to a comfortable win in the strengthening breeze. The German flagged crew have not been able to impose that same level of consistency which was their trademark in Cascais and Marseille. They may have won twice here now, but so too they also have been seventh twice and sixth once.
Audi Azzurra Sailing Team hooked into a strong right hand shift, close to the Cagliari shore on the second beat of the race and were able to round the final windward turn in second which they held to the finish.
The breeze built for the coastal race. Russia’s Synergy Sailing Team made the best start and were able to cross the fleet to get left but lost out to the hard gunning Audi All4One who were slicker and faster at the kite hoist, accelerating better away into the very fast first downwind.
That first jump was enough of a margin for the Franco-German to capitalise on, holding station ahead of Quantum Racing around the long course. It proved to be fast and furious race, especially close and interesting to the end and a fantastic advertisement for how closely matched this group of 52 Series boats now are, markedly better in these conditions under the evolution to the 2011 TP52 rule.
In the regatta standings while Audi All4One have their useful lead, it remains tight for second, third and fourth. Bribon, after their 4,3 today lie third overall.
The Soto 40’s had fantastic racing, perhaps even more physically taxing than that of their bigger cousins. Iberdrola Sailing Team posted another pair of victories, winning ahead of Inaki Castaner and crew on Noticia IV on the first race.
In the big breeze the second heat of the day, which also finished inside the Cagliari port, proved to be a high octane mix of attrition and very fast downwind sailing. Tony Buckingham’s Ngoni lead all the way from the first turn to within the final 450 metres of the leeward gate when a hole the size of a tennis ball which they had suffered at the windward mark hoist, finally spread and their kite exploded allowing Iberdrola through.
Successive big broaches, first by the local crew on XXII-Sardgena and then by Noticia IV, saw theme left to third and fourth respectively. So Iberdrola, skippered and steered by Jose Maria ‘Pichu’ Torcida, stand on the threshold of their third successive regatta win in a row, leading into Sunday by six points. Region of Sardinia Trophy 52 Series Results after seven races:
1. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (GER/FR), 4+1+3+3+1+5+1,5=18,5 points
2. Quantum Racing (USA), 6+6+2+1+3+6+3=27 points
3. Bribón (ESP), 7+4+5+2+2+4+6=30 points
4. Container (GER), 1+2+7+4+7+1+9=31 points
5. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+3+6+7+5+2+4,5=32,5 points
6. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 3+7+1+5+4+7+7,5=34,5 points
7. RÁN (SUE), 2+5+4+6+6+3+10,5=36,5 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), 9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+13,5= 67,5puntos 40 Series Results after five races:
1. Iberdrola Team (ESP), 1+1+2+1+1=6 points
2. Noticia IV (ESP), 2+2+3+2+3=12 points
3. XXII Sardegna (IT), 4+4+1+3+4= 16 points
4. Ngoni (GBR), 3+3+4+4+2=16 points
5. Patagonia (ARG), 6(DNC)+6(DNC)+6(DNC)+6(DNC)+6(DNC)=30 points Seb Col, tactician Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One (FRA/GER):
'In general we like coastal races, and sailing here in Cagliari is a real pleasure The race's been very interesting because Ed Baird and the guys of Quantum have been pushing us so hard throughout the whole course.
Luckily we were fast, especially upwind but also reaching. We haven't been able to open a gap on Quantum, they were always very close so we couldn't afford the smallest mistake. I think we've only been able to make the difference five to 10 minutes before the finish when they've started to look behind in order to control Azzurra which was coming back on the right hand side, it's been then when we've been able to get away. The key point was to be at the front as early as possible, and to keep solid in spite of Quantum's attacks. Also it was a great last upwind...'
Jochen Schuemann (GER) skipper-helm Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One:
52 Series Day 4: Weighting of Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE in the Open Village - Region of Sardinia Trophy 2011 - Guido Trombetta/AudiMedCup Click Here to view large photo
'It was a tough race, and, I think, a well deserved win. We found some boat speed in the heavier airs and we are definitely not slower than the competition when it is windy, if anything a little faster upwind, which is a good sign as that was part of our struggle after the first three events. Ideally with the Mistral tomorrow we are not scared of anything tomorrow.
We wanted to go left. Synergy crossed the fleet quite early, they got very nice right hand shift and we were second at the windward mark. We were a little stronger downwind took the lead and from there on we lead all the way. I think that tight reaching and upwind we were a little stronger than Quantum Racing who were second all the way. I think there was never a chance for them to get past us.
I think it was a great coastal race for all of us. The fleet was very close and I think that os the beauty of this circuit. We have been coming to regattas and getting last and second last and now here we have a chance to win the regatta. That is how close these regattas are. We love it here, we finished second here last year.' José María Torcida (ESP), skipper-helm Iberdrola Team (ESP):
'We had a fantastic day, the first regatta was just perfect, with very good start and tacks, and that gave us and advantage regarding the rest of the boats. Over the second race we had spectacular wind conditions. The first beat was a bit harder for us, so we started the first leg downwind in the fourth position, but our boat has performed really well downwind during the whole championship, so we recovered well. Also, the rest of the boats suffered breakages and we almost sailed by ourselves at the end, having a comfortable lead'. Ed Baird (USA), Skipper, Quantum Racing (USA):
'The day ended up at the very top end in what we can do with these boats. Early in the day, in the first race, it was great, a bit shifty, but in the coastal race it got really windy it built up. It was 25-27 knots and that´s a lot of windspeed for any boat, everybody could feel it. It was interesting for a long race, people saw different opportunities to use their spinnakers, people that had smaller ones kept them up for longer, and those with bigger ones couldn´t use them as long.
Tough choices had to be made. It was certainly interesting to see what was going on. We are thinking about the season not just about the race. Obviously, we didn´t like finishing sixth in the first one, but we are not looking at any position or any particular boat at this event. For the season All4One has moved forward, but we´ve also moved forward from the people who were close to us on the scoreboard'. Nacho Braquehais (ESP), mainsail trimmer Bribón (ESP):
' It's been a hard day, more than we expected. In the coastal the start has been very important, the first part has been crucial to find the right position. Things went well for us cause we were caught in a pack where there was a lot going on, I think we could have passed some more boats but in the end we are very happy with the result.
Tomorrow we have to give it all, we are third but very close to second place. The forecast says we'll have a lot of wind, but we must trust the crew's work and bet for it and give it all and block our rivals, The truth is that throughout this whole event I have a very good feeling with Gonzalo and Ignasi, the trimming is very active and works well, we are improving day by day and learning. We are happy'. Vasco Vascotto (ITA) strategist Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA):
'Finally a good day for us coming back to the dock without have to dry our tears. We sailed with the right approach, we passed a crisis moment. For us usually when the avalanche starts to come down we keep rolling down with it. But the teams that have the 'balls' can stop it before it takes them away. We were the best boat today, so it was perfect.' Audi MedCup website