Quantum Racing win the Cartagena coastal race while second place ensures Bribon lead into the final day of the Region of Murcia-Cartagena Trophy.
Champions make their luck and world champions Quantum Racing had worked themselves into a strong second position, ready to seize any opportunity to win the 25 miles premium points Coastal Race were it presented to them, but a change back from white to their traditional black team outfits might just have contributed an upturn in fortunes for the Audi Med Cup Circuit leading team.
They bounced back from a miserable set of scores Friday, 6,4,7, to crucially win today's vital Coastal test at the Region of Murcia-Cartagena Trophy Regatta off Cartagena.
If it was a day when good fortune favoured Quantum Racing and the ill timed luck of Audi Azzurra Sailing Team dramatically handed victory to the American flagged team when a halyard lock strop failure on race leading Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, only 0.8 miles from a grandstand in-harbour finish. It denied the unlucky Italian crew a hard won victory when their mainsail came sliding down. In the minutes it took to them to make a temporary fix Audi Azzurra dropped to fourth.
Also profiting were Jose Cusi's Bribon crew who immediately jumped from having seemingly lost their grip on their lead of the regatta which they have held since the end of the second day of racing.
Crossing the line in second just behind Ed Baird's Quantum Racing, Bribon now enter the final day of racing with a leading margin of five points over Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, while Quantum Racing's victory promoted them from fifth to lie third overall at this regatta.
The 52 Series coastal race took the tightly matched fleet on an initial windward-leeward loop in the brisk NE'ly Levant wind before a long 5 miles beat out to Cabo Agua to the east of Cartagena, a long tactical run back, two sail reach inshore to round the rocky Pigeon Island before the final beat back into the harbour.
The initial upwind proved difficult to read with an immediate choice to be made, but with the extra wind pressure offshore to the right, it was a benefit which Audi Azzurra and Audi ALL4ONE were able to profit from after starting off the committee boat end of the line. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team lead their sistership narrowly at the windward mark but they had trouble with their spinnaker hoist, losing distance immediately to their rivals. But Vasco Vascotto, Francesco Bruni and the Azzurra crew fought back hard taking places on the top third of the long beat and with an excellent run back, they established their lead again on the run.
They looked set for a certain victory, holding distance on Quantum Racing who had sailed an equally astute race, showing better pace in the conditions and assured, steady tactical choices which allowed them to climb to second.
The position of the finish line was clearly visible to the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team when the drama happened, but with such a failure there was no immediate contingency and it took the visibly frustrated crew some minutes to get sorted.
"We don´t like to speak about luck when we lose places,"
Azzurra's Francesco Bruni said later, "But this time it was really something exceptional. We broke the halyard of the main, the little part that holds the sail up, and then it came tumbling down. It really felt as if it was God´s sign for us not to win the coastal."
It was good sailing which turned a corner for Quantum Racing, but good luck can't be discounted and the wardrobe call might have helped, "It's a bit like one of our guests said to us in Marseille: 'If you are superstitious, then you will have bad luck!. I don't know if that is true but the black shirts do seem luckier,"
smiled Ed Reynolds, Quantum Racing's project manager who was joined on the chase boat by Terry Hutchinson (USA) skipper-helm of Quantum Racing from 2008-2010, "Terry certainly said he found it much more stressful on the support boat than on the race boat."
The 52 Series goes down to two final windward-leeward races with 2008 Region of Murcia Trophy winners holding a five points lead.
Región of Murcia Trophy - Cartagena
Results after seven races:
1. Bribón (ESP), 2+5+1+2+2+3+3= 18 points
2. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+1+4+5+1+1+6= 23 points
3. Quantum Racing (USA), 3+2+6+6+4+7+1,5= 29,5 points
4. Container (GER), 7+4+3+4+3+2+9= 32 points
5. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (GER/FR), 4+7+7+1+5+5+4,5= 33,5 points
6. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 1+3+5++3+7+6+10,5= 35,5 points
7. RÁN (SUE), 6+6+2+7+6+4+7,5= 38,5 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), 9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+9(DNC)+13,5(DNC)= 67,5 points