Audi TP52 World Championships, hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda on the famous waters of Sardinia's Porto Cervo, is currently underway. Patience may have been a key virtue as the early lack of breeze again imposed a delay to the start of the third day of racing.
Defending world champions Quantum Racing lost no time in establishing themselves at the front of race four which they lead from start to finish. Their win, with Tony Langley’s Gladiator (GBR) taking second and Ignacio Triay’s Paramount Park Murcia team stealing a third, leaves all three locked on the same 10 points aggregate. By virtue of their second race win in these very gentle conditions, consistently lighter than anything else experienced through the Audi MedCup season, Quantum Racing lead on tie break, on track to defend the world title they won last year in Valencia, Spain.
'Our goal was to get through these light airs days leading the regatta, three of us are tied and we win the tie breaker right now, so we are pretty much where we want to be right now.' Confirmed Quantum Racing’s project manager Ed Reynolds (USA), 'Hopefully the averages kind of work out for us. That is our focus.'
Again there was only one race sailed today. The race committee made a perfect call to take the race area to the north in the Secca dei Tre Monti, Bomb Alley’s confines of the Arzachena Gulf, for the first time this regatta and were rewarded with the only race-able breeze to be found.
Even is, it was something of a repetition of Wednesday’s exacting race – reading and using the puffs and lanes of pressure better.
Quantum Racing lead by the first windward mark ahead of Container (GER), Gladiator and RAN (SWE).
After a lacklustre start Langley’s Gladiator showed good speed in the light, rising from sixth early on the first beat to round the top mark third.
After the fleet all gybed set at the WW1 mark, Container - the German flagged team - chose to gybe back earlier on the run and lost wind pressure compared to Gladiator.
And Paramount Park Murcia, with Ross MacDonald (CAN) calling tactics, improved to a third with a good final run, pipping Container on the final approach to the finish, so keeping them in the three way tie.
After three days of benign, fluky breezes the muscular Mistral is expected for Friday with winds over 30 knots anticipated, perhaps dropping to a difficult 10-15kts with an awkward residual choppy sea for Saturday’s final day of racing. Results after four races
1. Quantum Racing (USA) 1+3+5+1= 10 points
2. Gladiator (GBR) 3+1+4+2= 10 points
3. Paramount Park Murcia (ESP) 4+2+1+3= 10 points
4. Container (GER) 2+7+3+4= 16 points
5. RÁN (SWE) 6+5+2+5= 18 points
6. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (IT) 5+4+7+6= 22 points
7. Audi ALL4ONE (GER/FR) 7+6+6+7= 26 points
Adrian Stead (GBR) tactician Quantum Racing (USA):
'It was very tricky out there today. There weas only two and a half hours of breeze in the whole Porto Cervo region today and we were racing up in Bomb Alley where it is quite narrow with the mountain on one side and the island on the other. We had quite a good start and it felt like the right would work. As soon as Gladiator tacked to the right we took the opportunity to get round her. The boat was going pretty well but there were certainly plenty of potholes out there to watch, as light as four knots at times and as much as seven knots. The finishing times at the end the front four boats were all within 30 seconds of each other, but the back markers were some minutes behind and so that shows just how extreme it was racing out there today.'
'We have four races in light winds so far with big winds tomorrow- we might race, we might not, but Saturday is looking very sailable, but with a very lumpy, leftover sea. There is a lot more of this regatta left and if we got out there tomorrow, we would be really pleased.'
'I think we will have a good two to three more races at this regatta, maybe even three races on Saturday so we might only be half way through this regatta. Gladiator and Paramount Park are both grandfathered boats with slightly smaller rudders and they are going well downwind, and upwind in fact, so we have been happy with how we have gone. Great work today, very pleased with the win.'
Chris Larson (USA) tactician Gladiator (GBR):
'I gave the start up a little bit, trying to be a little too fancy with too many downspeed manoeuvres, and that cost us so we had to bale out get right by taking a few sterns, it was how to get there. We found a little lane to get us there and the boat is quick in this stuff and that helped us out. Our speed helps, we were too leeward of a couple of boats and by the time we got to the windward mark it started evening out. We hit a perfect layline, we tacked 15 degrees short of layline and got a shift, 15 degrees with a puff and that got us around, it was fantastic. Nacho (Postigo, navigator) and Tony (Langley, owner-helm) both did a great job and that helped us out from my bad start.'
'It will be a different day tomorrow, we don’t have to win the race we just need to make sure we have a decent finish.'
Ross MacDonald (CAN) tactician Paramount Park Murcia (ESP):
'It was a tricky day out there with the geographical influences in the bay, and so you try not to get caught out too much there. We got off to not a great start, kind of playing second row a bit. It was quite interesting but really as everyone can see the boat goes quite well in these light conditions, you just have to hang in there. It is very close, the next few days will be interesting for sure.'
Ed Reynolds (USA) project manager Quantum Racing (USA):
'We think we are more of a moderate airs boat and so I think that over the piece we don’t suffer as much in the breeze as the light airs boats do and in the light airs as the breeze boats do, so it is a little bit nerve racking, but we will not change anything specific. We have changed our mode a little bit for the wavy conditions which showed a great dividend in Barcelona, we are interested in that. But I think if the big breeze comes in then the Audi boats – Audi Azzurra Sailing Team and Audi ALL4ONE – are going to be pretty quick. If you had to bet I don’t think we will sail tomorrow. Everything we have heard suggests that it will come in early and be mid to upper 30kts, all day. Our weather reports change every hour, but Saturday looks 10-16kts, lumpy. We are full on, coming out tomorrow expecting to sail.'
'For us one of things we have really focused on here is how do we go relative to the rest of the fleet, who do we need to focus on and cover. In the light stuff there are two boats definitely faster and in the heavier air there are two boats definitely fast. At either ends of the winds spectrum it does not change our strategy a lot. But in the medium airs we feel really strong. Our goal was to get through these light air days leading the regatta, three of us are tied and we win the tie breaker right now, so we are pretty much where we want to be right now. Hopefully the averages kind of work out for us. That is our focus.' TP52 World Championship website