Peter de Ridder holds off strong challenge from Russell Coutts at Breitling MedCup TP52 in Portugal 27/8/07

Racing for the Breitling MedCup TP52 circuit’s Portugal Trophy on the beautiful Algarve coast may have opened Tuesday with an invigorating blast of over 25 knots, but it expired with barely a whimper today as the current Breitling MedCup 2006 champions, Peter de Ridder (left) and his crew, emerged with their first overall regatta win this season.

Monaco based De Ridder and his crew – which includes six members of the Team New Zealand America’s Cup team – collect the Portugal Trophy, the Corinthian Trophy for the regatta’s top owner-helmsman, and the Santa Ana Trophy for winning the 25.18 miles coastal race.

After finishing second in Alicante at the 2007 season’s curtain raiser in June, Valle Romano Mean Machine’s Portuguese triumph is the first this season by a 2006 build boat.

De Ridder’s crew, with Ray Davies calling tactics supported by Tom Dodson as strategist, won four of the six races including winning both stages of the coastal race.

Their final score of 17 points gave them a cushion of 15 points over Russell Coutts and his crew of Torbjorn Tornqvist’s Artemis, while Ian Walker and the crew of Patches, Eamon Conneely’s Irish flagged Reichel Pugh-designed boat earned their first podium place of the season, finishing third, ten points behind Artemis.

An exciting showdown is set for Hyeres, France where the five regatta Circuit concludes, starting on 10 September.

De Ridder is in the advanced stages of ordering a new boat for next season, asked if he might have second thoughts, given how well his 2006 Judel Vrolijk design, which was built in Wellington by Hakes Marine, has performed here, he responded: “No, we are having a new boat. We certainly seem to get the best out of the old lady, but the fact is that her younger sisters – the 2007 generation boats – are a little bit quicker, but it is also interesting to note that already this season the leaders have more points after four regattas than we won the series with last year over six regattas.”

Overall Results

1. Valle Romano Mean Machine (P de Ridder, MON-Judel Vrolijk 2006) 17 points
2. Artemis (T Tornqvist, SWE-Judel Vrolijk 2007) 32
3. Patches (E Conneely, IRL-Reichel Pugh 2007) 42
4. CxG Corporacion Caixa Galicia (V Tirado, ESP-Botin & Carkeek 2007) 44
5. Windquest (D de Vos, USA-Botin Carkeek 2006) 49
6. Bribon (Jose Cusi, SM Juan Carlos, ESP-Judel Vrolijk 2007) 55
7. Stay Calm (S Robinson, GBR-Judel Vrolijk 2006) 58
8. Siemens (A Roemmers, ARG-Judel Vrolijk 2007) 62
9. Cristabella (J Cook, GBR-Judel Vrolijk 2006) 70
10. ONO ( Inaki Castaner-Botin Carkeek) 71

2007 Breitling MedCup, Standings after 4 of 5 regattas

1. Artemis 173 points
2. CxG Corporacion Caixa Galicia 173
3. Bribon 193
4. Patches 200
5. Valle Romano Mean Machine 204