Audi TP52 World Championships, hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda on the famous waters of Sardinia's Porto Cervo, is currently underway.
When the Mistral whistled in to break the deadlock at the top early this morning it was the local team on Azzurra which won, but fourth place for Quantum Racing allows the current world champions to move one point clear in the title race which will be decided Saturday.
Audi Azzurra Sailing Team lead at the windward mark on the first round, with already more than 25kts of wind blowing and more threatening. The team which sails under the colours of the host club, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, were first to break to the right on the upwind and were able to lead Container with Audi All4One and Quantum Racing overlapped for third and fourth.
A small problem on the kite drop on Azzurra at the end of the testing downwind allowed Container through to lead up the second beat. Paramount Park Murcia gybed early on the rollercoaster ride of a run and picked up a huge gust which they rode down the left side of the run and were challenging for second before they lost control. After suffering mainsail problems pre-start Ran started late and retired after the first run.
Azzurra's tactician Vasco Vascotto managed to fight back to get control of the right in the very muscular conditions, with good speed and power in the strong conditions, and were just able to cross Container at the top of the second beat. With the wind gusting over 35kts the race team shortened the course at the top mark.
With Container second Audi All4One took third and Quantum Racing fourth, all four top boats finished within 20 seconds. Key for the Audi backed boats was their choice of smaller code 4 jibs.
In the overall standings going into the final day of racing Quantum Racing lead by one point ahead of Paramount Park Murcia on 15pts after they finished fifth today, with Gladiator now dropped to third on 16pts.
After starting at 0900hrs the fleet reached the dock by 1010hrs with no further racing for the day with the Mistral hitting nearly 40kts at times. Results after five races:
1. Quantum Racing (USA) 1+3+5+1+4= 14 points
2. Paramount Park Murcia (ESP) 4+2+1+3+5= 15 points
3. Gladiator (GBR) 3+1+4+2+6= 16 points
4. Container (GER) 2+7+3+4+2= 18 points
5. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (IT) 5+4+7+6+1= 23 points
6. RÁN (SWE) 6+5+2+5+ 8 (DNF)= 26 points
7. Audi All4One (GER/FR) 7+6+6+7+3= 29 points Quotes:
Ed Reynolds (USA) project manager Quantum Racing (USA):
'It really was a day for getting the boat around the course. The light airs boats really struggled and there were a couple of sail handling things out there. It is always worrisome in these conditions, can you outlast everybody. It sounds boring but to be average today and get the boat around the course was good. We would really have liked that one more run because we might have been able to get another point or two, but you can never, ever question Maria the race officer. In all the years I have done this if she says you can’t sail in this then you can’t sail in it.
Vasco Vascotto, (ITA) tactician Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA):
'It was important to win, for all the crew and the people here at the club, It was pretty windy really.
The retrieval system did not work first time and in these winds at these speeds if it does not work you are in trouble quickly. We had a good recovery – it was not an ideal manoeuvre but it worked and we got around the mark, staying close to Container and Jochen Schuemann on Audi All4One and that allowed us to get back on the second beat and go on to win.
We are very happy, the first three days were very, very light breeze and even if we sailed well and did not make many mistakes, the boat is not so fast to help us in the light winds.'
Hamish Pepper (NZL) tactician Container (GER):
'Azzurra sailed pretty well, they made only that one mistake at the bottom mark, we managed to get around them, but they were going quicker up that beat. It has been an interesting regatta, all very close with the top three and we are nipping at their heels and so the last day will be fun.'
Adrian Stead (GBR) tactician Quantum Racing (USA):
'It was a great decision to get out and race early and get a race in which puts less pressure on the last day. It is still very open and even Container with their second today are only four points behind us. For the light winds boats Gladiator and Paramount Park today’s conditions were more detrimental for them.
We nearly changed to the number 4 jib and might have been better for us, but the key thing for us was at the top mark first time up when we were not rolling the red boat (Audi All4One) at the windward mark and that meant they really controlled us down the run. But we were right in there to finish. As we approached the line we were bow to bow with Container, but there was just no room to do anything, it would have been pretty punchy in these conditions.' TP52 World Championship website