If world champions Quantum Racing prevailed in Cascais last month, the American team may have emerged from the first day's racing on the Audi MedCup Circuit's French regatta with the slenderest possible margin, but they had to work hard for their fourth place in the first race after a modest start and only just squeezed out Bribon early in the second heat to win Race 2.
Their fourth and first places allow them to top the Marseille Trophy leaderboard, ahead of José Cusí's Bribon (ESP). The Spanish crew with Ross Macdonald
(CAN) calling tactics were solid and consistent, scoring a third and a second to lie second only on countback.
Racing was open and even in the breezes which struggled to muster 10 knots. After a delay of 90 minutes to wait for the winds to settle and build, the first race was blessed with 7-11 knots while, after another delay, the second heat saw 5-7 knots. The later afternoon breeze did hold enough pressure to deliver a slower, but equable contest over which precision and subtlety were vital.
Clean starting was perhaps the most telling component today. In the first heat the team on Audi Azzurra Sailing Team
(ITA) came off the line like a rocket, their speed advantage standing out as the two boats below them - Quantum Racing
and Synergy Russian Sailing Team
and were both slowed in the final seconds.
The Italian team, skippered by Guillermo Parada
(ARG), were able to lead at the first turning mark and from there to extend slightly on second placed Synergy. Quantum Racing
looked to be in trouble, slowed off the start line, but a smart clearing tack into wind pressure quickly got them back into the match and they were able to return a useful fourth.
But on the second start line it was the Race 1 winners, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team
, who found themselves compressed and slowed away from the gun. .
The Russian crew on Synergy
, second in the first race, looked to be heading for a strong opening day - as they have made before here - lying third in the second race.
But as they hoisted their kite at the final leeward turn, it snagged and exploded leaving them dead in the water, opening themselves to the attack of Container (GER). The German crew seized the opportunity and glided past to steal third, improving on their unfortunate seventh in the first race.
Synergy's fourth and second leaves them set in third overall after Day 1.
Results after 2 races
1. Quantum Racing (USA) 4-1 5pts
2. Bribón (ESP) 3-2 5pts
3. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS) 2-4 6pts
4. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA) 1-7 8pts
5. Container (GER) 7-3 10pts
6. Ràn (SUE) 5-5 10pts
7. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (EUR) 6-6 12pts
8. Gladiator (GBR) 8-8 16pts