A dominant performance throughout, but what a way to end the season - Smokin’ downhill in 25+ knots. Matthew Sheahan reports
For those that have followed the 2010 Audi Medcup season and remember the dominant performance of Emirates Team New Zealand last year, it is perhaps of little surprise to see the Kiwis take overall victory for the second year running.
Despite several excursions to the back of the fleet in the odd race, the consistency of this solid team has always come good when it needed to. They might not have won every regatta, indeed this last one in Cagliari was won by the Argentinean team Matador, but they have remained at the head of the overall leader board for the entire season.
The last race of the Sardinian regatta was a spectacular one with 25+ knots of breeze and some smoking downhill rides. Make sure you take a look at the video of the last race and if you’re pushed for time scroll forwards to around the 40 minute mark to catch the fleet as the boats career downhill on the first downwind leg.
The second downhill slide starts at around 60 minutes in and includes Matador’s crucial kite blow out.
The Kiwi victory was a perfect manner in which to sign off from their two season’s of TP52 racing. Their boat is sold and heading to Australia while the team readjusts its focus towards it’s next two major challenges, the Volvo Ocean Race in association with Camper and the America’s Cup.
“This is such a nice feeling to be able to come back and be very successful again this year,” said skipper Dean Barker. “No question that the standard this year is much higher than last, and I think as a result of that it’s hard to win as often as we did last year but I think the strength of the team has been sailing consistently all the year through. We came out of Portugal with a nice little points buffer and I think that really set us up pretty well for the year, that allowed us a little bit more of flexibility, a little bit more of room and as a result it was difficult for the other guys to kind of get back info it.”
For all the uncertainty that still surrounds the 34th America’s Cup, of which there are clearly still many concerns within the Kiwi camp, the demonstrative manner in which they have both managed their TP52 campaign and maintained their strong team must surely be the perfect way to embark on the next big challenges. Others have tried to emulate their style, but so far the Kiwis have simply proved how far ahead the really are.
And while the Kiwis are more likely to underplay than brag about their performance, tactician Ray Davies’ summary of their success surely says it all.
“From the start the design and the concept of the boat has been right, just better than the others. But between us on the boat there is really good trust, an exceptional group and we have never changed a single crew member.”
Meanwhile, from an organiser’s point of view the final race was also a dream way to end the series with three boats celebrating at the end of the day. Emirates Team New Zealand’s overall victory, Matador for their well deserved regatta win and Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE, for winning the last race.
“I think that our team has improved in Cagliari in regards with all to the rest of the season season,” said tactician Sebastian Col. “We’ve had some very difficult moments but the team has always sailed well, so I’m really proud of this team. Winning the last race is meaningful.”
But the prize giving and the celebrations on the final night of the tour marked more than simply the end of term. Many were asking what lay ahead for the Medcup and 2011.
Of the known factors, Audi has renewed its support for the next three years, the class rule moves into the second phase of its redevelopment and there’s an interesting new 40ft one design due for next season, all of which should suggest a bright future. But, following the recent America’s Cup news, the grand prix Mediterranean circuit also faces another big change for next season.
Of the eleven teams that took part this year, five were seriously engaged in current or potential America’s Cup programmes. The move to multihulls for the America’s Cup looks likely to see several of these teams leave the Medcup leading to widespread speculation that this high profile grand prix event could suffer. Yet well before the final race was over the dockside talk was of at least three new TP52s for next season. Among them, Quantum, Matador and Russian Synergy teams were expected to have new boats for 2011.
During the last two seasons in particular, the high percentage of fully professional campaigns is thought to have held back some of the more Corinthian based teams from taking part, leaving many of the current participants wondering whether new teams would enter for next year.
“For America’s Cup teams the focus must surely be on multihulls which could make this the leading grand prix event for monohulls,” said Quantum crew member Tom Burnham. “Not everyone is going to want to or be able to transfer to cats.”
A view echoed by many of the crews.
Adding to the change was the news that the next season’s Medcup circuit will see a new one design class, the Argentinia built Soto 40, replace the GP42 class that has struggled to build a fleet since its introduction to the Medcup in 2010.
The new boat, designed by Javier Soto Acebal a strict one design and one which will cost €320,000, was first launched in 2009 and has a fleet of ten that currently race in South America. For the Medcup circuit 2011, eight boats are expected, including three South American, two Spanish and one French teams.
Exciting times for an event that finished 2010 in style. Next stop is the TP52 Worlds in Valencia, 5-9 October.
Region of Sardinia Trophy
1. Matador (ARG), 2+8+2+1+5+1+1,5+5= 25,5 points
2. Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER), 5+1+5+6+3+11(DNF)+6+1= 38
3. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 8+2+1+10+2+3+9+3= 38
4. Synergy (RUS), 6+5+3+4+1+5+7,5+7= 38,5
5. Quantum Racing (USA), 9+3+7+2+6+4+3+6= 40
6. TeamOrigin (GBR), 7+4+4+8+4+2+10,5+2= 41,5
7. Bribón (ESP), 1+9+8+3+8+3(RDG)+8(RDG)+5,3(RDG)= 45,3
8. Artemis (SWE), 3+6+10+5+9+8+4,5+4= 49,5
9. Cristabella (GBR), 4+10+6+9+7+6+12+8= 62
10. Luna Rossa (ITA), 10+7+9+7+10+7+13,5+9= 74,5
11. Bigamist (POR), 12+12+12+12+12+12+18+12= 102 (DNC)
1. Madrid – Caser Seguros (ESP), 1+2+1+1+1+1+1= 8 points
2. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), 4+1+3+2+2+3+2= 17
3. Península Petroleum (GBR), 3+3+4+4+3+2+3= 22
4. AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA), 2+4+2+3+4+4+4= 23
5. Iberdrola (ESP), 6+6+6+6+6+6+6= 42 (DNC)
2010 Audi MedCup Circuit
1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 31,5+31+35+35,5+38= 171 points
2. Quantum Racing (USA), 59,5+22,5+44+53,5+40= 219,5
3. Matador (ARG), 60+27+67+45+25,5= 224,5
4. TeamOrigin (GBR), 59,5+31+63+46,5+41,5= 241,5
5. Artemis (SWE), 57+53+33+64+49,5= 256,5
6. Synergy (RUS), 64+35,5+73+68,5+38,5= 279,5
7. Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER), 51,5+29,5+84+78+38= 281
8. Bribón (ESP), 88+41+58+70+45,3= 296,5
9. Cristabella (GBR), 65+43,5+62+85,5+62= 318
10. Luna Rossa (ITA), 77,5+44,5+73+69+74,5= 338,5
11. Bigamist 7 (POR), 88+78+70+78,5+102= 416,5
1. Madrid – Caser Seguros (ESP), 24+12+14+23+8= 81 points
2. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP), 14+17+19+29+17= 97
3. Iberdrola (ESP), 25+10+26+27+42= 130
4. AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA), 37+15+39+29+23=143
5. Península Petroleum (GBR), 40+24+37+27+22= 150