Big fleet prepares for TP52 Brietling Regatta in Palma, and Chile takes first blood 21/7/08

A total of 18, leading TP52 team have arrived in the spectacular Mediterranean venue of Puerto Portals, Majorca for the fourth round of the 2008 Audi MedCup Circuit – the Breitling Regatta – which starts tomorrow.

Keen to check out the conditions and prepare for tomorrow’s first two races 15 teams headed out into the bay for a practice race earlier today but the stiff 20kt plus breeze dropped off and became very shifty as the day wore on.

The fleet got away after three starts and predictably, the racing was extremely close with the likes Quantum Racing (Terry Hutchinson) the overall series leader, Bribon (Dean Barker) who’s lying second, and Artemis (Jared Henderson) in third overall, keen to iron out any flaws before the event kicks off in the morning.

Vasco Vascotto and team aboard Mutua Madrilena (Chile) who’s lying seventh in the overall standings, got off to a good start with a nine-second lead over the Argentinean boat – Matador – at the finish. Artemis finished third, but Bribon had to settle for sixth.

The conditions for tomorrow’s first race could be interesting because a Mistral is forecast to arrive early in the morning. According to Francesco Mongelli – navigator aboard one of the Russian entries Rusal-Synergy – there’ll be big winds to start with but once it passes through there should be light to moderate sea breezes. “There’s a strange situation here with the weather right now. When you have the wind coming from an opposing direction as the thermal wind such with the low pressure over Corsica and Mistral in France you have a north-north easterly and it’s very shifty. However, after tomorrow’s Mistral with strong northerlies it should revert back to normal sea breeze conditions for the rest of the week.”

Racing starts at 1300 tomorrow and depending on the weather conditions there should be two races.