Valle Romano Mean Machine leads with a single point after securing two race wins 22/8/07

Peter de Ridder and his 2006 Breitling MedCup champion crew onValle Romano Mean Machineproved the masters of the big breeze yesterday as they opened the Trophy of Portugal regatta off Portimao with two wins and a seventh to round off a thrilling opening day.

With the northwesterlies gusting to 24 knots, and averaging in the low 20s for most of the afternoon, racing was as testing as it was exciting. Although the waters remained relatively flat there was no room for crewing errors. Any small mistakes with the gennaker hoists or gybes were heavily punished.

Proving that they have speed in the breeze, Stuart Robinson and the crew ofStay Calmreplicated exactly what they did in Monday’s practice and led the 18 finishers home by more than one minute. But any chances of a repeat performance in the second race were extinguished when their main halyard failed and they had to retire.

Stay Calm’stroubles were far from over as they were called over the start line in the third race. They still managed to battle back, however, finishing an admirable fourth.

Peter de Ridder remarked: “I think the venue is excellent. A great breeze makes it really fun to sail these boats and really exploit the planing conditions that they were made for. And it is nice to be on top of the results again. The new boats are definitely a little bit quicker but I think we proved that if you sail smart you can still win… if you look at today’s first race it was five new boats,Anonimoand us.”

Results after Day One:

1.Valle Romano Mean Machine(P de Ridder, MON-Judel Vrolijk 2006) 9 points
2.Artemis(T Tornqvist, SWE-Judel Vrolijk 2007) 10
3.CxG Corporacion Caixa Galicia(V Tirado, ESP-Botin & Carkeek 2007) 17
4.Patches(E Conneely, IRL-Reichel Pugh 2007) 20
5.Bribon(Jose Cusi , SM Juan Carlos, ESP-Judel Vrolijk 2007) 21
6.Siemens(A Roemmers, ARG-Judel Vrolijk 2007) 24
7.Cristabella(J Cook, GBR-Judel Vrolijk 2006) 25
8.Windquest(D de Vos, USA-Botin Carkeek 2006) 25
9.Stay Calm(S Robinson, GBR-Judel Vrolijk 2006) 26
10.Balearia(G Aurajo, ESP-Botin Carkeek 2005) 27