Audi TP52 World Championships, hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda on the famous waters of Sardinia's Porto Cervo, has drawn to a conclusion. With a second and first on the final day of racing Ed Baird and the crew of Quantum Racing lifted their third TP52 world title from four challenges.
They added to worlds wins in 2008 in Lanzarote and defended the title they won last year in Valencia.
Emerging with a four points margin over Germany’s Container, the American flagged Quantum team complete the same 'double' as they did in 2008, winning both the Audi MedCup Circuit title as well as the World Championship.
With tactician Adrian Stead (GBR) combining with new navigator Francesco Mongelli (ITA) Quantum Racing were consistent across the very different wind conditions, from the very light sub 10kts conditions of the first three days of racing to a useful fourth in the strong early morning Mistral of Friday, to their final flourish in today’s moderate 7-11kts.
In paying tribute to team owner Doug De Vos, who was on hand to enjoy their success, Quantum Racing’s inspirational project manager Ed Reynolds, architect behind each of their wins, commented:
'Each of these world titles has been about a quintessential team performance, with two different teams of different characteristics and styles with no major, standout star names in either but unified in the level of results, and that is really down to Doug De Vos for putting the resources to give us good solid teams.'
Tactician Stead who called the shots successfully last season in Valencia, smiled. 'It is splendid.'
'It is a great way to finish the season. We had a tense Audi MedCup, we have been really pleased with the way that we have sailed here against boats which have been in their conditions in the form of Gladiator and Paramount Park. Everyone has been pushing pretty hard.'
Udo Schuetz’ Container with skipper-helm Markus Wieser (GER) and his crew, augmented at this regatta by Kiwi mainsheet trimmer Don Cowie, came out on the final day with their strongest finishes of the late season.
Their 2,1,2 over the last three races of the season a secured them second place overall and shook off some of the disappointment of their lacklustre finishes in Cartagena and Barcelona.
Wieser attributed a large measure of their success to completely changing their rig set up under the advice of Cowie who won the Audi MedCup Circuit title twice as mainsheet trimmer with Emirates Team New Zealand. Wieser said:
'We are happy that it finished up like this, it was a long season and the last two regattas we hard with no boatspeed. But here we changed everything, a complete new set up with Don Cowie, and we had boat speed again and could be more aggressive in the way we sailed. We were so slow in Cartagena. But second here is good.'
Tony Langley’s British crew on Gladiator, surprise early leaders of these world championship, held on to third place overall with their third place in what proved to be the final race, completing the podium by virtue of a better tie-break than the Spanish Paramount Park Murcia.
Langley commended the approach of their tactician, Melges 32 world title winning Chris Larson:
'What was great was the attitude he came with. He came to me and said ‘I really think we can win this’ and that mental attitude was really refreshing and we really set out to try and do that. So that was a big change really. Nacho (Postigo) stepped in and did a really nice job with us too.'
Three different boats lead the world championship over different days, but Quantum Racing were on solid form in the light-moderate conditions and today’s leftover sloppy seas. The breeze was shifting up to 30 degrees and there were big changes in wind pressure, between 5 and 11kts. Although there was breeze mid to later afternoon it proved too unsettled to run a third race, leaving Quantum Racing to enjoy their celebrations.
Container won the first race after starting close to the right hand committee boat end of the start line, showing good speed in the testing conditions Quantum Racing were unable to catch them with Audi Azzurra Sailing Team taking third.
In the second race Container led at the top windward mark with a beautiful layline call from the top left of the course by navigator Marc Lagesse (RSA) and tactician Hamish Pepper (NZL) until the leeward gate when Quantum Racing took the right hand gate mark and split to the right and gained 1 minute and 17 secs on Container on the second beat.
For Gladiator, third in the final race proved critical as it gave them the superior tie break over Ignacio Triay (ESP) and the Paramount Park Murcia (ESP) crew. Langley wins the Owner-Driver trophy. Final Results
1. Quantum Racing (USA) 1+3+5+1+4+2+1= 17 points
2. Container (GER) 2+7+3+4+2+1+2= 21 points
3. Gladiator (GBR) 3+1+4+2+6+5+3= 24 points
4. Paramount Park Murcia (ESP) 4+2+1+3+5+4+5= 24 points
5. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (IT) 5+4+7+6+1+3+7= 33 points
6. RÁN (SWE) 6+5+2+5+ 8 (DNF)+6+6= 38 points
7. Audi All4One (GER/FRA) 7+6+6+7+3+7+4= 40 points
Owner Driver trophy for Tony Langley, Gladiator. Quotes:
Adrian Stead (GBR) tactician Quantum Racing (USA):
'It is splendid, a really good day to finish on. It was pretty tricky with the breeze moving between 20 to 30 degrees, puffy and we made the best out of it. Container got away in the first race a little and so we made sure we got a good second place. In the second race we split with Container at the gate and we managed to extend on the second beat which was great.
It is a great way to finish the season. We had a tense Audi MedCup, we have been really pleased with the way that we have sailed here against boats which really have been in their conditions in the form of Gladiator and Paramount Park. Everyone has been pushing pretty hard. Container have been lurking there all week, their OCS in race two there was no way back and that was costly, but that just goes to show how tight the fleet is.
If there had been a bit more breeze this week Audi Azzurra Sailing Team and Audi All4One would have been in the frame too.
I think it is great that we have come and defended. In a couple of the light races we were definitely on the back foot, especially race three. We had to be strong after our fifth. It was a tense MedCup.We overachieved in Cascais, we missed a few tricks with our sails, with our communication which meant we narrowly lost in Marseille. The game moved on in Cagliari definitely.
And there was always the potential of not knowing if it would be a four or five race series or an eight or nine race series. There was pretty of looking out for each other, but for me the turning point of the regatta was the light air race in bomb alley, being able to beat Gladiator and Parmount Park Murica in that really light stuff really made the difference.'
Markus Wieser (GER) skipper-helm Container (GER):
'We are happy that it finished up like this, it was a long season and the last two regattas we hard with no boatspeed. But here we changed everything, a complete new set up with Don Cowie, and we had boat speed again and could be more aggressive in the way we sailed. We were so slow in Cartagena. But second here is good. We knew we could do better than we did in the past and had the better boat speed to do it. The only shock was the OCS which pushed us back but we finished the regattas with 2,1,2 and proved that Quantum Racing are beatable. With more preparation we can get there. Don will be back with us next year with some new sail designs planned, we will back fully motivated. Quantum have shown they are the team to beat.'
Tony Langley (GBR), owner-helm Gladiator (GBR):
'We are really pleased with third. If you had told me at the start of the week we would be third I would never have believed you. But here we are. We are pleased because we sailed well. We took some real steps backwards during the season at Palma Vela and in Barcelona. But we made some changes and I think they have really paid off. It really sets us up for next year.
Chris (Larson) really was good for us. What was great was the attitude he came with. He came to me and said ‘I really think we can win this’ and that mental attitude was really refreshing and we really set out to try and do that. So that was a big change really. Nacho (Postigo) stepped in and did a really nice job with us too.'
'I feel like we are just so far ahead of where we were at the beginning of the season at Palma Vela. So I’m looking forward to next season.'
Ed Reynolds (USA) project manager Quantum Racing (USA):
'What can I say. With fewer boats you would think it would get easier but it always gets more difficult. This really was not easy in the conditions, but I think the team sailed an awesome regatta. They did what they had to do, focusing most of all on being fast all the time. They were good at setting the modes in the different conditions and moving between them. Ado Stead sailed brilliantly with some good start and really following the plans we talked about.
Each of these world titles have been about a quintessential team performance, with two different teams of different characteristics and styles with no major, standout star names in either but unified in the level of results, and that is really down to Doug De Vos for putting the resources to give us good solid teams.
Francesco Mongelli has been a fantastic addition to the team here. In fact both tall Francesco (coach De Angelis) and short Francesco (Mongelli, navigator) have been great here. Little Francesco added a whole different dynamic, visibly excited to be with the team and his energy was infectious, he was so proud to be with the team that it was infectious.' TP52 World Championship website