Audi MedCup Region of Murcia Trophy, being held in Cartagena, Spain is expected to start today, 23rd August with two scheduled windward leeward races for the 52 Series.
It is another very warm morning with only very light winds, for both fleets around the Audi MedCup race village the 52 Series and the 40 Series - which should have their official practice race this afternoon.
The forecast for the day predicts around five to nine knots from the south for the early afternoon, prehaps building to eight to 12 knots as the thermal enhancement helps, but the sea breeze situation on the race course is sometimes complicated as Synergy's Francesco Mongelli explains:
'When the sea breeze starts to build the problem here is that the cliffs are so high and get so hot that the flow is not able to get to cliff, to wrap round and make more acceleration. It just builds offshore and we cannot go far offshore because the water is so deep.
The mountains and cliffs make it a difficult and interesting place to sail. The key I think is to be adaptable, to be able to react quickly and change your mind as you need to, to keep an eye on the current. There is a flow offshore which flows towards Gibraltar. Sometimes it is pretty strong like last year, and there is some circulation (going the other way inshore). When it is light it is important, the current is changing direction and flow.
Offshore there can be two to three knots but it is not coming as close inshore as it was last year.
Because it is dry and not very green then it gets warm very easily, so it does make a good flow for the sea-breeze which, for example, gets very strong in the harbour- but it is not the same on the race area.
The feeling is good with the team, we have to do better than in Cagliari, we deserve better. We have a couple of changes to the crew. Our bowman got injured two days ago before coming here and so we have Bernard Labro, we used to sail with him on the Louis Vuitton Acts so we know him well, and we have Christian Kamp (DEN, ex TeamOrigin, ex Luna Rossa) as trimmer.'
Over a day which does not look or feel too different from yesterday, when the practice race had to be cancelled due to lack of breeze, the important virtues will be patience and adaptability. Experience of light winds off Cartagena has long since dictated that this is what sailors call a 'heads out of the boat' type venue, where watching for the changes - sometimes very subtle, sometimes big - and then adapting to gain the biggest benefit is what usually proves successful.
The Soto 40's practice day is just as important for Spain's Iberdrola Sailing Team which leads the circuit by a comfortable margin as José María Torcida (ESP) reports:
'Our goals are the same. The practice race is going to help us because we´ll be sailing together again, something that has not happened since Cagliari, although we've all been sailing. We usually arrive a day in advance but due to different circumstances we've ended up coming here a bit later. We hope it doesn't interfere with our performance today. Not a lot of wind, that'll help us get used to the racecourse. I'm sure the new teams will be good competitors, but our main rival is NH Hoteles, they are strong because they've been sailing well. We aim to keep our point advantage or even increase by the time we leave Cartagena.' Audi MedCup website