Emirates Team New Zealand seized the early initiative at the second event of the 2009 Audi MedCup Circuit with two wins from three starts to lead the Marseille Trophy TP52 Series.
Emirates Team New Zealand confirmed that their powerful new Botin Carkeek designed TP52 is no slouch in lighter breezes when they won two of three races today on Marseille's Rade Sud. Added to the third place in the day's second windward-leeward contest the Kiwi team lead overall by seven clear points in the Audi MedCup Circuit's Marseille Trophy.
Racing in six to eight knots of mainly SSW'ly winds on smooth Mediterranean seas and in perfect June sunshine, the winds scarcely built by more than a couple of knots through the course of the day, but there was always enough for the race committee to realise the target of three races in smart succession.
The New Zealand crew arrived smarting from having let a possible regatta win in Alicante slip through their fingers on the last race. But today the team were consistent in their strategies, often winning the favoured left side of the track, making two good starts and keeping their boat moving well in the light-moderate sea breeze.
After three races Emirates Team New Zealand lead the Marseille Trophy by a clear seven points from José CUSI's Bribon (ESP) who won the second race, a victory which they bolted to a fifth and sixth. The only Spanish TP52 team on the Audi MedCup Circuit, with France's double Olympic medallist Thierry PEPONNET
on the helm, earned a boost to their confidence after their modest 10th in Alicante and lie second overall, locked on 12 points the same as Alicante Trophy winners Matador (ARG).
With a regular dividend paid on the left of the course upwind, reaped towards the Marseille coast where the Pointe Rouge and its craggy 400m high Marseilleveyre mountain influences the breeze, clean, smart starting off the line was always paramount today. Often it was speed as much as position which was crucial, but PEPONNET and tactician Ross MACDONALD
(CAN) conspired to make the start of the day to the second race when they jumped off the pin end and were never challenged again before taking their first winning gun this season on the waters where they finished third overall last year.
Watched by 20 young local Optimist sailors enjoying their Wednesday afternoon away from school, French hero PEPONNET and crew gave the kids a text book display from start to finish.
Emirates Team New Zealand's de-brief after Alicante seems to have improved their decision making, while Adam BEASHEL
(NZL) strengthens their hand, sniffing out the best of the breeze - a role he accomplished with distinction during the team's last America's Cup campaigns.
"Conditions were much easier to read here than in Alicante,"
confirmed Ray DAVIES
(NZL), Emirates Team New Zealand's tactician, "We had two good starts down the pin end when it was favoured, and then we moved up the line. When it was really congested we started off the line a little but much faster and were able to roll over everybody."
"The boat is going really well in this steady breeze. As soon as we have the guys on the rail hiking we go really well."
"In terms of the decision making after Alicante we decided that we needed to talk more and the more you talk and the more you can feel confidence in your decisions. It is working really well, and Adam BEASHEL is doing a superb job calling the breeze up the track and Kevin HALL has been doing some really good lay lines. Dean's [Dean BARKER] starting has been good, and that just means the crew work has been good and the atmosphere is really positive."
"But, it is really easy to be positive when you are winning,"
Results - click here