Day 3 of the TP52 regatta a three boat pile up at the weather mark

Threading a fleet of 14 high octane TP52s together at the weather mark is quite a task when the course has been even on either side. Bearing away is tricky enough in the breeze when you’re a port tack boat trying to duck a starboard tacker, especially when you’re trying to manoeuvre on skinny foils. Add to this the problems of having another boat below you as you do and as Caixia Galicia discovered, suddenly there was nowhere to go but through the starboard tacker!

Today’s video clip shows the incident and aftermath. As the boat approach the weather mark, keep an eye out towards the back of the fleet. A complicated scenario that changes quickly for which the moral of the story seems to be – anticipate the unlikely!

Official news release as follows:
Platoon powered by Team Germany, steered by triple Olympic gold medallist and double America”s Cup Winner Jochen Schuemann (GER) emerged unscathed from a dramatic and exciting coastal race to take the best of the points available, winning both sections of the 39 miles passage to Cassis and back, on the third day of racing at the City of Marseille Trophy, the second regatta of the Audi MedCup Circuit.
It was the first ever winning gun for the German boat which is owned by Harm Muller-Spreer and helmed by Schuemann with Rod Dawson (NZL) calling the tactics. Only swift avoiding action by the helm, who saw at the last minute what was happening, saved Platoon from becoming involved in a nasty series of crashes and near-collisions when the leading pack converged at speed at the first windward mark.
A big wind shift accelerated the arrival and suddenly favored a pack coming from the left at the buoy, while those with right of way on starboard tack slowed and struggled momentarily. Lightning quick reactions and bold decisions were required from the line up of port tack boats. Sadly Matador (ARG), CxG Caixa Galicia (ESP) and Mutua Madrileña (CHI) all sustained damage and had to retire.
There were six protests from the incidents, all three boats are seeking redress, but CxG Caixa Galicia’s owner Vicente Tirado confirmed this evening that the damage to the bow of their boat is such that he is presently looking for a suitable replacement boat to continue the Audi MedCup season with.
Caixa Galicia’s bow was badly smashed after they hit Mutua Madrileña which sustained a one metre gash in her hull side just below deck level, while in a related crash Mean Machine hit Matador, who have much of their aft port quarter crumpled.
“I think these things happen sometimes because the boats are so evenly matched for speed but Mean Machine crushed Matador’s stern right in front of us and I had to do something quickly or we would have done the same thing.” recalled Schuemann,
“For us as a team it is great got get a win under our belt. The first coastal race we have won for a long time and the first Audi MedCup Circuit race for me and my crew so that feels pretty nice! We are happy after some problems yesterday, we were glad to get a win in! We made it around the top mark well in second and closed in to the Spanish team El Desafío who were leading. We had a long fight and stretched out there. Russell Coutts came close on USA-17 with very good boat speed but we kept them at bay and got a good lead, never risking our win. The learning has been big. Today we have made good decisions and we feel we are really moving up.”
The 39-miles course offered a good selection of points of sail to contest, with a short two miles beat up to the Islands of Ratoneau and Grand Salaman before a long, exciting sleigh ride, peppered with an array of wind shifts to make gains and losses on, down to the scoring gate, 26 miles into the race.

From the turning mark off the entrance to the beautiful bay of Cassis, there was a tough beat back up along the coast, the TP52’s dwarfed at times by the 200 metre high cliffs, which accelerated the Mistral winds to over 22 knots.
Platoon was ahead after about 12 miles when the spinnakers were set, passing early leader El Desafío (ESP). After a poor start USA-17, the regatta leaders, steadily picked their way through the fleet. As the leaders squeezed through the narrow gap between the Ile Jaire and the mainland, tacking only 15 metres or so off the rocky coast, and with the hard hiking crew regularly able to see the sea bed beneath their keels, USA-17 used the shifts and wind bends to get back to within a few boat lengths of the German crew. But Schuemann and his crew extended again to win by 37 seconds from USA-17, who left their Swedish sistership Artemis to pick up third place three minutes behind.
The Reichel/Pugh-designed sisterships, built to the same design from different moulds, shared the seconds and third places between them, ensuring that USA-17 still lead by four points ahead of Artemis going into the penultimate day of racing.
Russell Coutts (NZL), tactician on USA-17 :
“Conditions here are fantastic today the boat is going very well. We have some tuning to do in the lighter winds but in the stronger stuff it all fits together pretty nicely. We have got a pretty experienced team on board and that makes a huge difference especially in these very windy conditions.”
“The first part of the race was important that was how Platoon got the jump, but then the long downward leg was pretty key, and there were some gains and losses with some pretty big wind shifts and big wave surfing conditions. If you had good boatspeed that was a big factor. Coming upwind it was very tricky, puffy, shifty, and a lot of sail trimming – that was great! There is a lot of good banter going between us and Artemis but it is all fun – and obviously we have members of the team on both boats so it is good for both of us to be doing well.”
Guillermo Parada (ARG), Matador’s skipper and helm:
“Approaching the weather mark on starboard a couple of boats came in on port including Mean Machine who overstood. So they were reaching a little bit and by the time they approached us, they must have had a gust and were not able to come down enough and hit us in the aft port quarter of the boat, causing serious damage. ”
“We lost the spinnaker sheet system, three stanchions, structural damage in the bulkhead side, lost the traveller, there is a crack on the deck and obviously the whole port side is completely destroyed. In the middle of the boat there is internal damage and many other things we”re still exploring but we are trying our best to get it fixed and be back racing as soon as possible. We are flying people and materials here.”
Nacho Postigo (ESP), navigator on Mutua Madrileña:
“1.8 miles after the start on the first beat and approaching on port tack and trying to duck the boats arriving in starboard tack we had Caixa behind us and to weather. We bore away hard to avoid Quantum and found a gap behind them ahead of Bribón and behind Audi Q8. CXG had the intention to go behind us. But he suddenly found the Russain boat to leeward of them on port and although they had been shouting at them to avoid the fleet the Russian boat luffed and tried to tack, which forced them to hit CXG and then CXG hit us badly in the middle of the hull.”
“Luckily it was not a high speed collision and nobody was hurt. Vasco Vascotto, steering the boat, was a little injured, but not too seriously as he took about a four metre flight through the air. The boat has a crack in the outside skin, the Nomex is broken along with the inner skin in the panel between two bulkheads. It is possibly a one-week job to repair.”
“Another incident took place at the same buoy between Matador and Mean Machine where MM (similarly to us ) bore away to get behind Matador. Suddenly a big puff came along and they lost control whilst trying to bear away they hit the last few metres of the stern of Matador, but in this case the conditions fully influenced the situation.”

City of Marseille Trophy
Top 10 Provisional Results after six races (14 starters)
(Position, Boat, Country, R1, R2, R3, R4, R5, R6a, R6b, Total Points)
1st USA-17 (6, 5, 1, 1, 3, 3, 2, 21)
2nd Artemis SWE (12, 1, 2, 2, 3, 2, 3, 25)
3rd Bribón ESP (4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 4, 5, 31)
4th Platoon by Team Germany GER (7, 9, 5, 3, 6, 1, 1, 32)
5th Mean Machine MON (1, 14, 3, 9, 4, 6, 6, 43)
6th Quantum Racing USA (3, 6, 12, 6, 1, 11, 8, 47)
7th El Desafío ESP (11, 10, 9, 8, 8, 5, 4, 55)
8th Matador ARG (2, 2, 7, 7, 12, 15, 15, 60)
9th Audi by Q8 ITA (8, 7, 8, 13, 9, 7, 9, 61)
10th CxG Caixa Galicia ESP (9, 11, 6, 4, 2, 15, 15, 62)
2008 Audi MedCup Circuit Top 10 Standings
Provisional Results after 14 races
(Position, Boat, Country, Total Points)
1st Bribón ESP 73
2nd Mean Machine MON 84
3rd Artemis SWE 85
4th Platoon by Team Germany GER 90
5th Quantum Racing USA 93
6th El Desafío ESP 120
7th Matador ARG 127
8th Mutua Madrileña ESP 143
9th Audi by Q8 ITA 147
10th CxG Caixa Galicia ESP 151

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