A new chapter of their green revolution was completed on the fierce blue waters of the Atlantic off Cascais, Portugal when Quantum Racing and Iberdrola won the Cascais Trophy for the TP52 and the Soto 40 series respectively, the opening event of the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit.
Green flashed hulls and sails are not the only common theme which the winning crews have in common.
Both successful programmes roll forwards from a previous iteration. For Quantum Racing
(USA), who won five races from nine starts, it is the first victory in the class for the America's Cup winner Ed Baird
(USA) and for a brand new Botin Partners designed boat which is a successor to their 2008 circuit winner, while for Iberdrola Team
(ESP) who win the first ever Soto 40 regatta in Europe - their success takes up the reins from previous campaigns at America's Cup, TP52 and GP42 circuits.
came into the regatta well behind their desired schedule but were soon able to reveal excellent upwind speed in the brisk winds which prevailed through the nine races, a strong foundation on which to build success on the windward-leeward track which more often than not favoured one side of the courses and also in the high points value 38 miles coastal race in which they finished second.
Though they made several crew changes since last season, continuity at the back of the Quantum Racing
line up was ensured with world championship winners Kevin Hall
(USA), navigator, Ado Stead (GBR), tactician and mainsail trimmer Skip Baxter
(NZL) able to give valuable support to Baird, whose confidence grew noticeably through the regatta.
They finished with two wins Sunday, again proving solid in the strong north westerly winds.
In the first race of the day Quantum Racing
were quickly able to dominate on the right side of the upwind getting around the WW1 mark with a tiny lead over Markus Wieser
(GER) and the crew of Container
The German flagged crew made the better set and gained more wind pressure offshore, to the right side of the downwind but Quantum Racing
were able to take the preferred inshore, right buoy which allowed them to get back to the right again and lead to the finish.
Second place for Container
kept them in the hunt in their tussle for second with Audi Azzurra Sailing Team
(ITA) who were compromised by snaring a fishing buoy and line which slowed them on the first upwind, while Ràn
(SWE) took third.
The final race of the regatta was something close to a repeat performance by Quantum Racing
who, having clinched the regatta title, were able to start conservatively and use their upwind edge in the 19-24kts breeze to be able to earn that favoured berth again and lead from first mark to the finish. If they were under pressure from Audi Azzurra Sailing Team
it evaporated when the Italian team were forced to leave their kite in the water when the take-down line tangled, leaving them with the spinnaker dragging alongside them.
From second Audi Azzurra Sailing Team
dropped places but fought back to a spirited fourth. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, winners of the first race of the regatta and the season took a well earned second behind their sister-ship with which they shares an identical sail programme and a lot of performance intelligence.
While Audi Azzurra Sailing Team could not make their promising starts stick, so Container were able to finish their first Audi MedCup Circuit regatta with a fifth place, just enough to give second overall, by one point from Audi Azzurra Sailing Team.
Baird said, "The guys have done a great job figuring out how to make this boat go and obviously it worked out pretty nicely. We have a lot to talk about now and find a way to sail faster, there are plenty of things to do before the next event. We don´t know how the boat is going to act in light weather conditions, we haven't experienced them and we don´t know how the rest of the boats are going to sail in such conditions, we´ll have to learn how to handle the boat as quick as we can.
"When it´s windy like that you have to be in the hunt at the first top mark, you have to be going fast down there, the other boats showed over and over again that of you got tangled up with other boats downwind, someone is going to come down from behind. It´s important to find that lane Adrian and Kevin Hall did great guiding us in the racecourse, gave us great confidence and it worked out great."
Consistency was the watchword in the Soto 40 fleet where the British boat Ngoni of Tony Buckingham scored their first win of the regatta when they comfortably lead Iberdrola across the finish line of the first race, while in the second - with the regatta win already secured it was Iberdrola which proved supreme in the strong winds and big downwind conditions.
"The truth is that we sailed great," smiled Iberdrola's skipper helm Jose Maria Torcida. "The conditions have been good and pretty similar every day, with lots of wind. We sailed well downwind , reaching peak speeds of 20-22 knots, which was absolutely sensational. The crew´s work has been outstanding, I think that it was due to the training that we did before the competition started.
"The conditions have been perfect, it´s a perfect spot for sailing, no wonder so many great sailors have come out of here. It really is a spectacular place."
Cascais has proven consistently windy, with the reliable north westerly Portuguese trade winds regularly building to more than 20 kts to offer fabulous sailing conditions for both classes, once again enhancing its reputation as a premier venue in Europe.
1.Quantum Racing (USA), 3+3+5+1+1+1+3+1+1= 19 points
2. Container (GER), 2+2+4+3+3+3+7,5+2+5= 31,5 points
3. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+1+2+2+6+2+4,5+6+4= 32,5 points
1.Iberdrola Team (ESP), 1+1+2+2+3+1+2+1=13
2.XXII Portuguese Sailing Team (POR), 3+2+4+3+2+2+4+3=23
3.Bigamist (POR), 2+4+3+1+1+5+3+6 DNF=25