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18 June 2011, 02:44 pm
Three Of The Best At The Marseille Trophy
Quantum Racing
Marseille Trophy Action

Audi MedCup - Marseille Trophy
Marseille, France

Across three races of increasing intensity on a race course which proved to be littered with traps - little ones and big ones - world champions Quantum Racing remained steadily consistent, second best scoring team of the day, to extend their overall lead in the Marseille Trophy regatta to three points.
In the 52 Series racing, contested in a puffy south easterly breeze of 9-19kts, three different teams won.
Tony Langley's British team on Gladiator followed up their victory the previous day with their second winning gun in a row, Bribón added their first win of the regatta and then, when the breeze had puffed up to 15-19kts for the day's finale, Jochen Schuemann and Seb Col conspired to force the monkey off their backs when Audi Sailing Team powered by All4ONE's unleashed first win of the season.

Their text book gun-to-gun triumph provided the Franco-German team with a huge measure of relief after a lacklustre start to their programme.

With the wind blowing down off Mont Rosa, sometimes sweeping around either side of its rugged limestone flanks, the race course area was again peppered with pressure differences - sometimes small periods of lighter airs, other times big differences between the left and right extremes of the course.

It was a day when the processing power of each afterguard's brains was constantly loaded and when a keen eye on the big picture, scanning the horizon for developing gusts which might be several minutes away, was essential.

The key to the course?

"Pressure. You have to stay in the pressure." says Chris Main (NZL), tactician of Gladiator, which was having a decent day after winning the first race of the day.

But in the third heat Tony Langley's British team tangled with RÁN in a port-starboard mix up in which the Swedish flagged boat ended up effectively tacked from starboard in front of Gladiator. In the contact Gladiator's bowsprit bobstay struck RAN's transom cutting the deck and transom material. RAN was disqualified by the jury for their infringement while Gladiator were later granted redress, average points for Race 7.

In the day's first heat Gladiator repeated their Race 6 triumph repeating a facsimile strategy: gaining extra pressure offshore and to the right up the first upwind leg, to build a big margin, while Container worked conservatively and diligently, gaining on the first downwind on that same offshore flank as worked for Gladiator upwind, to take a steady second in 9-12kts of breeze

In the second race it was the other side, the left, which worked for Bribon when they stayed composed to the finish and hold off RAN when the wind pressure was much more up and down.

The cloud gathered late afternoon and under darker skies the breeze peaked for the day during a more rapid contest. With the wind further east, to the left looking upwind, the inshore side of the course closer to the city, had significantly more pressure. Jochen Schuemann, Seb Col and navigator Philippe Mourniac unleashed a perfect pin end start which allowed them to accelerate smartly out to that preferred left. When they could they crossed the fleet again to protect this favoured side and were able to round the top turn comfortably ahead. Once again the dividend of an early lead was soon magnified as the Franco-German crew could sail their own race, leading Container across the finish.

For Quantum Racing the three races aggregated 10 points which means the holders of the Marseille Trophy go into Saturday's coastal race - which carries a 1.5 points bounty - with a lead of three points, competing down a classic course on which they have won the last two years.
Sabina Mollart-Rogerson
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