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14 May 2009, 01:51 pm
Matador Early Leaders As Swiss Penalized On Opening Day Of Audi MedCup Season
The Audi MedCup fleet get their 2009 season underway
The Audi MedCup fleet get their 2009 season underway

Audi MedCup - City of Alicante Trophy 2009
Alicante, Spain

The Argentinean Matador team ended the first day of the 2009 Audi MedCup season on top of the standings at the City of Alicante Trophy after the Swiss team that won the opening race were penalized for exceeding the TP52 Class crew weight limit.
Marazzi Sailing, the first Swiss-flagged boat to compete on the Audi MedCup circuit, looked to have made the perfect start to their 2009 season, with a victory in race one of the opening event, the City of Alicante Trophy in Spain. However, as a result of being officially measured over the crew weight limit for the TP52 Class by a small margin, the team were penalised three points from their aggregate score, effectively negating their opening race win.

This decision by the International Jury dropped the Swiss team to fourth overall on equal points with Emirates Team New Zealand, and means Argentina's Matador lead the standings in the TP52 class. The combined crew weight must be less than 1,273 kilos.

Marazzi Sailing, the campaign put together by Swiss Olympic Star sailor Flavio MARAZZI with Germany's four-time Olympic medallist Jochen SCHUEMANN, seized an early advantage on the first leg of the windward-leeward track when the breeze shifted slightly to the right and went on to lead at each mark to the finish.

It proved to be a long and slightly frustrating opening day to the season. A first attempt to get the opening race away had to be halted when the fitful breeze faded to just three or four knots at the leeward mark when practise race winners Bribon had a clear lead.

But the patience on the part of the competitors and the race officers paid off and the season's first contest was sailed in 8-10 knots of easterly breeze which offered enough in the way of changes in direction and pressure to develop a typically interesting and challenging early season contest.

The overcast, slightly grey and humid conditions did nothing at all to help the breeze build and only one race could be completed for the 12 competing TP52s.

The British boat Cristabella, the former Matador, is still awaiting final administrative clearances in Valencia and is expected to join the fleet at the weekend.

Marazzi Sailing, the 2008 Reichel Pugh design Artemis, were always able to keep control of the fleet, extending slightly over Alberto ROEMMERS' (ARG) new Matador which took second place.

Francesco BRUNI (ITA), tactician onboard Matador commented, "What happened today, that a boat seems to be able to finish second in a leg, and then ends up tenth in another, is very normal in races like these where the boats are so evenly matched. In just one moment and one decision you can go from being first to being last, and that's why it's so important for us to do well today. It makes me so happy that we have been consistent and finished in the top five in all the 'races' we have done here till now."

Recovery of the day was that of the Portuguese team Bigamist 7 which was clearly over the start line early at the extreme left end of the start line. Tactician Hugo ROCHA (POR) ushered helm Afonso DOMINGOS (POR) towards the right flank of the course and they were well placed to also reap the dividend as the small wind shift arrived, going on to finish third.

DOMINGOS was satisfied with the team's start, "We are very happy. It was a shame that they abandoned the first race since we did a good start but the wind dropped. In the second we started ahead, we then lost a bit but since we were close to the buoy we rounded very quickly and we were third, the right paid again and we kept that third. Our tactician did a very good job, and the strategy after the start was very good. We are noticing the change from last year but we still have to improve things like the trim, we are weak in that aspect and since we are not at the top of the fleet, not having a good trim can cost us a lot. We always try to make good starts, I don't like starting at the back."

Emirates Team New Zealand had a spirited joust at times with the current Audi MedCup Champions Quantum Racing (USA), and skipper Dean BARKER (NZL) and tactician Ray DAVIES (NZL) kept the upper hand across the finish line to take fourth, 27 seconds ahead of the American boat.

The GP42 class had their practice race, running on the same course, with Islas Las Canarias Puerto Calero taking first gun.

Results - click here
Sabina Mollart-Rogerson (As Amended By ISAF)
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