Romano Mean Machine takes 15pt lead over Artemis at Breitling MedCup event in Portugal 24/8/07

Peter de Ridder and the crew of Valle Romano Mean Machine may have tasted the depths of frustration when they were disqualified after the coastal race at the Breitling Regatta in Portals last month, but they made no mistakes yesterday when they comprehensively won both legs of the coastal race at the Portugal Trophy off Portimao to extend their lead to 15 points over Russell Coutts and the crew of Artemis at this fourth event of the 2007 Breitling MedCup Circuit.

With three conflicting breezes battling for supremacy over the Bay of Lagos the 25.18-mile race was never straightforward, but De Ridder and crew once again took early ownership of the committee boat end of the start line and peeled away to the favoured right side of the first windward leg.

They followed hard on the stern of Artemis around the weather mark, in a gentle south-westerly sea-breeze which never rose much above eight knots for the first of the two-part race, and was often between five and six knots.

Half way down the first run Artemis, racing just 30 metres to leeward and ahead of Mean Machine ran out of breeze whilst the older, black hulled boat just kept rolling away.

On the second run Eamon Conneely’s Patches was one of the first to recognise a hole developing in the middle of the course and gybed away immediately to the right, offshore, and gained the best of the breeze, rising to second which they held, tailing Valle Romano Mean Machine through the scoring gate – albeit 3 minutes and 59 seconds behind the runaway leaders – and then across the finish line.

Once the late afternoon strong north-westerly land breeze arrived to spur the fleet to the finish, with a fast fetch to the finish in up to 15 knots of breeze.

By the time they took the finish gun Valle Romano Mean Machine were still three minutes and 12 seconds clear of Patches.

Results (after three days)

1 Valle Romano Mean Machine (P de Ridder, MON-Judel Vrolijk 2006) 17pts,

2 Artemis (T Tornqvist, SWE-Judel Vrolijk 2007) 32pts,

3 Patches (E Conneely, IRL-Reichel Pugh 2007) 42pts,

4 CxG Corporacion Caixa Galicia (V Tirado, ESP-Botin & Carkeek 2007) 44pts,

5 Windquest (D de Vos, USA-Botin Carkeek 2006) 49pts,

6 Bribon (Jose Cusi, SM Juan Carlos, ESP-Judel Vrolijk 2007) 55pts,

7 Stay Calm (S Robinson, GBR-Judel Vrolijk 2006) 58pts,

8 Siemens (A Roemmers, ARG-Judel Vrolijk 2007) 62pts,

9 Cristabella (J Cook, GBR-Judel Vrolijk 2006) 70pts,
10 ONO ( Inaki Castaner-Botin Carkeek) 71pts.