Emirates Team New Zealand take their second successive win in the TP52 Series
Emirates Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton (NZL) got his wish yesterday as the Mistral breeze returned to present a final crescendo as the Kiwi team sailed cleanly through three final races to secure the Region of Sardinia Trophy – their second successive regatta title after winning last month in Marseille, France.
Dalton explained that he had hoped for a decent wind-strength for the final day of racing, declaring his team was just trying to ‘hang on’ after Friday’s changeable sea-breeze conditions.
Not only did the New Zealand crew ‘hang on’, they sailed with exceptional patience and composure while their two principal rivals – Matador (ARG) and Artemis (SWE) – suffered their own, largely self inflicted problems.
Artemis made infringements in both the first and second races, while Matador blotted an otherwise strong day when they tacked too close to Emirates Team New Zealand and had also to take a penalty, then spectacularly hooked the windward mark and could not release it until 100 metres down the final run.
In contrast Emirates Team New Zealand sailed with precision across their races to score a third, a first and, as a final flourish in the 22 knot Mistral, a second place which ensured they topped the final standings by 14.5 points ahead of Matador. Artemis who started the day in second slipped to third place for the regatta.
Race 9: Matador won the first race when they recognised the small gain to the right of the first beat which they hooked into after an excellent start, to chase Valars 3 around the first windward turn. Emirates Team New Zealand took third, while Artemis’ frustrations were enhanced after taking a penalty for fouling Audi Q8 (ITA), when they partially dropped their gennaker on the final run.
Race 10: In response to his afterguard’s call for the right side on the first beat of the second race helm Dean Barker responded with a swift, neatly timed port tack departure which ensured they could dictate terms to the fleet. Whilst Matador kept the pressure on their Kiwi rivals with a fourth, Artemis fouled Audi Q8 (ITA) and had to take a penalty turn.
Race 11: Bigamist (POR) won the final race when Bribón could not set their jib at the leeward gate, rounding bare-headed in 23 knots of breeze, whilst Emirates Team New Zealand, fighting to the end stole third place from Synergy (RUS). Artemis took a second successive penalty, this time on the final run, close to the finish.
Region of Sardinia Trophy, final standings after 11 races:
1. Emirates Team New Zealand, NZL, 28 points
2. Matador, ARG, 42.5
3. Artemis, SWE, 49.5
4. Bigamist, POR, 57
5. Synergy, RUS, 57
Audi MedCup Circuit 2009 Overall (after Alicante (ESP), Marseille (FRA) and Cagliari (ITA):
1. Emirates Team New Zealand, NZL, 93.5 points
2. Matador, ARG, 126
3. Quantum Racing, USA, 146.5
4. Artemis, SWE, 149
5. Bigamist, POR, 158.5
For more information, visit medcup.org .