Audi MedCup Region of Sardinia Trophy 2011, being held between 19th and 24th July, is the third regatta out of five events in the Audi MedCup Circuit.
It looks like a tricky, transition day for the teams as the strong Mistral NW’ly breeze which has prevailed through the first two days of racing on Sardinia’s Gulf of Cagliari gives way to S’ly sea breeze conditions.
So the morning has already seen conflict between the two breezes. Under a ceiling of grey skies the morning breeze has been fitful, the warmth oppressive and clammy.
But the forecasts suggest that later in the day will be better with maximum wind pressure due late afternoon, with possibly up to 20kts. First, though, a light 8-12kts of SE’ly thermal breeze should allow racing to get under way.
For Jochen Schuemann (GER) and Seb Col (FRA) and the Franco-German crew on Audi All4One the transition from the brisk, offshore shifty winds to the thermal sea breeze will present its own challenge. The regatta leaders go afloat with a three points cushion, but their confidence has been bolstered especially in the stronger, unsettled conditions where their boat speed has improved. Will they hold their own if the wind is down range?
Quantum Racing are back on the march after their 2,1 yesterday and closed to within four points of the Audi backed red and white boat with Container – winners of the Marseille Trophy – one point ahead of Quantum Racing in second.
For three of the Soto 40’s the challenge today remains the same one, trying to reel in Iberdrola Sailing Team. In the different breeze, which could be more unsettled in the first race at least, perhaps there will be tactical options and it will be less down to firepower and boat handling which is where the Spanish team are especially dominant.
Jochen Schuemann (GER) Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One:
'We are trimming harder and adapting the heel. We are by far not the leading boat for speed, I think Quantum Racing, Container and the Russians are the fastest boats out. We are going better and have recut all our spinnaker inventory because we had problems downwind and that used to be a strength of ours, so last year we were probably one of the fastest downwind boats. We are much better than we were in Cascais, but still very average. And it is hard when you are only average everywhere to win races.
Upwind we are OK, we are better but for sure no one is scared of us. For sure it is good to come with some reasonable sailing and being in good shape.
We like the big breeze here, we like the flatter water and the shifts. We have a bunch of good sailors on the boat and know how to sail shifts and pressure, but more difficult conditions suit us over and above situations where it is about speed, so there are still boats there which have more horsepower under the keel, and so it is hard to do better against them.'
Juan Luis Páez (ESP), Navigator, Iberdrola Team (ESP):
'The weather forecast says that the Mistral that has been blowing early in the morning is going to stop because of the sun, so we expect a light sea breeze to arrive. We hope to be able to race twice. We feel strong in windier conditions, we feel safe, especially downwind, that´s where I think that we are a step ahead of the rest of the boats right now. We haven´t sailed those many time with this boat in this type of conditions, so we really don´t know how are we going to sail today. As usual, we have to avoid making mistakes, especially at the start line. Then, we´ll see what happens.'
Ed Baird (USA), Skipper, Quantum Racing (USA):
'The last two days have been interesting for us if you stop to look at it. We are right in the middle of the season, not in the first day or two of the first regatta. We definitely made some mistakes two days ago and yesterday was better. We have to think about the long term situation and try our hard to avoid making mistakes. The difference between the previous days is that in the first one we had some problems with some of the systems on board and it was really distracting. Those distractions caused to miss little things and they added up and turned into a bigger problem. We were not 100% that day but we were in the hunt. We also made mistakes in our positions. The second day was smoother, everything worked well on board and it was easier to focus on the race. We also felt the difference in how the wind was behaving; it was much steadier yesterday, the first day was quite unpredictable. Yesterday, what you saw was what was going to happen. Now it´s day three, a different one again. For the first time we have a little bit of cloud around, the W`ly is suppose to die, there´s gonna be a change again and everyone´s going to have to see what works in that condition.' Audi MedCup website