Emirates Team New Zealand bounce back from an opening race eighth to lead the Region of Sardinia Regatta

Their Region of Sardinia Trophy Regatta lead after day one may be the smallest possible, but Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) proved why they are so firmly on course for their second successive Audi MedCup Circuit when they stretched their overall Circuit lead over 2008 champions Quantum Racing (USA)

After a very modest eighth in the first race the Kiwi champions bounced back to a second and then won the breezy third race to finish the day sharing the same points aggregate as the Franco-German Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER) but leading on countback.

For the Kiwi champions, who won here in July last year, that slender lead is only an early, passing bonus – a reflection of their strength and ability. The real satisfaction came as they added another eight points to their Circuit lead over Quantum Racing whose 9,3,7 for the day underlined just how testing the conditions were. 

As if to underline once again the small margins between glory and a finish in the lower reaches of the 10 boat 52 Series fleet on a race track which favoured the best starters, in Race 1 José Cusi’s Bribon (ESP) were quickest off the pin end of the start line and able to gain early control of the favoured left side of the course. They went on to win but then, unable to exert themselves so well off the start line, could only back up their victory by a ninth and an eighth.

Emirates Team New Zealand were contenders in the top three on approach to the first windward mark, but had to duck out of their port tack approach to round eighth. Jochen Schumann’s Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE got clear early, jumping off the middle of the Race 2 start line in 6-9 knots of ESE’ly wind. Their sharp start allowed them to reap the dividend on the left, but also taking a perfect line in extra breeze to their final layline to lead around the windward mark. They won their first race since Cascais in May when they crossed the finish ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand.

For the third race in succession it was the team which started best which went on to take the winning gun, although Dean Barker (NZL) and the Kiwi crew had to work hard for their victory. While the start saw only 6-7 knots of late afternoon breeze, it swung hard left and built left flank of the first beat, new breeze piping up to more than 20 knots. The gentle breeze was replaced suddenly by marching white horses and full power conditions, still peppered with big swings in direction on different parts of the course as the residual breeze clung to the right of the track.

Emirates Team New Zealand were able to keep the advances of Matador (ARG) in check at the approach to the second windward mark, when the wind seemed to bang back right, towards the original direction, leaving all three leading boats fast reaching into the final turn, well above the starboard lay line. But the Argentine flagged Matador, with their 2,8,2 for the day lie third, only one point behind the kiwis and Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE.

Results, Day One:

1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 8+2+1= 11 points
2. Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER), 5+1+5= 11
3. Matador (ARG), 2+8+2= 12
4. Synergy (RUS), 6+5+3= 14
5. TeamOrigin (GBR), 7+4+4= 15

6. Bribón (ESP), 1+9+8= 18
7. Artemis (SWE), 3+6+10= 19
8. Quantum Racing (USA), 9+3+7= 19
9. Cristabella (GBR), 4+10+6= 20
10. Luna Rossa (ITA), 10+7+9= 26

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