Emirates Team New Zealand celebrate victories in Marseille, Cagliari and now Portimao

With wins in Marseille, Cagliari and now Portimao, Emirates Team New Zealand, skippered by Dean Barker, now lead the Audi MedCup Circuit by 52 points heading to the final regatta of the season, next month in Carthagena, Murcia Spain.

Seventh for Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) to Artemis’ (SWE) disappointing tenth in today’s one and only race was enough for the Kiwi team to prevail, but the final contest was a difficult one to call throughout with a streaky 5-9 knots of sea breeze mixed with some north westerly gradient wind, especially towards the windward mark.

With a 1.5 points lead in the regatta Artemis, missing tactician Paul Cayard (USA) for the final day, could only make a modest opening at the pin end of the start line, while Bigamist 7, the Portuguese entry lead to the windward mark.

The key move for Emirates Team New Zealand was on the second beat when they were able to halt the recovery of Artemis, tacking on top of them and bouncing them above the lay line, but even down the final run the breeze looked shaky, ready to shift or collapse at any minute.

Relief, once again, rather than elation was the mood among the hard working New Zealand outfit. As the time limit expired at 1600hrs and with it the chances of a second race, general satisfaction with another job well done was evident. The steely, professional face drops when the champagne comes on board, and they are getting rather used to it.

With Artemis in second for the regatta, Terry Hutchinson’s Quantum Racing finished in third, just 1.5 points ahead of Bigamist 7, who finished fourth overall for the third time this season.

Winning skipper Dean Barker (NZL) commented that throughout the regatta they had never felt like they were sailing as well as last month’s win in Sardinia, confirming that they still have plenty to work on before Carthagena, Murcia, a venue which proved extremely challenging last year.

CEO and mast-man Grant Dalton (NZL), agreed:
”We are relieved. It was a pretty tough regatta. I think we identified that as soon as we got here, that this was going to be tough, and I think we also identified Artemis as the boat which could beat us. And it felt that all the way. So we are just pleased to have got through another one really.”

He continued: “It’s a big lead now, but we know what can happen, you can still sail badly, it changes pretty quickly. There are always improvements to be made and we made plenty of mistakes in this regatta.”

Audi MedCup Circuit 2009
Portugal Trophy

1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 2 3 6 3 1 3 7= 25 points
2. Artemis (SWE), 3 4 2 2 4 1,5 10= 26,5 points
3. Quantum Racing (USA), 1 1 4 8 3 6 6= 29 points
4. Bigamist (POR), 5 5 1 1 8 7,5 3= 30,5 points
5. Bribón (ESP), 6 2 3 7 8 10,5 5= 40,5 points

Audi MedCup Circuit 2009
Overall (4 events):

1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 38 27,5 28 25= 118,5 points

2. Matador (ARG), 36 47,5 42,5 44,5= 170,5 points

3. Quantum Racing (USA), 40 41,5 65 29= 175,5 points

4. Artemis (SWE), 37 62,5 49,5 26,5= 175,5 points

5. Bigamist (POR), 46 55,5 57 30,5= 189 points

For more information, visit www.medcup.org .