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3 June 2005, 10:19 am
Clash Of The Titans
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Breitling MEDCUP 2005
Punta Ala, Italy

Caixa Galicia are untouchable after six races in the Breitling MEDCUP in Punta Ala, Italy. Yesterday there were unstable yet mild conditions, which has brought out the close competition between the Transpac 52 boats.
HM King Juan Carlos of Spain joined the event yesterday as skipper of Bribon. The competition provided a great show filled with thrills right up to the finish line, in the fourth day of this brand new event. The price was high for any errors committed.

At about 1245 hours local time the Race Committee signalled the start of the first windward-leeward race of the day. Tension were high from the start.

The Chilean boat, Pisco Sour set off the show with an excellent start, followed by a match race style battle between the Spanish boats, overall leader, Caixa Galicia and HM Juan Carlos's Bribon.

There were only a few metres between the three, with a tough battle ahead to reach the windward marker. Caixa was leading, with Pisco Sour, Bambakou, Lexus with Russell COUTTS (NZL), Orlanda-Olympus, Bribon, and Atlantis coming up behind.

Lexus, lead by three time America's Cup winner COUTTS along with America's Cup veteran Peter ISLER (USA) and Mark REYNOLDS (USA) as tactician, passed the windward marker. They paid a tough price for their mistakes and came in last place.

It was not until the last leeward marker that the leader of the fleet changed after a tough attack, more akin to a match race racing style, where Pisco Sour and Caixa Galicia battled it out pushing the Spanish leaders into second position. They were followed by Orland-Olympus, Bambakou and Atalanti XV, owned by ISAF Vice-President, George ANDREADIS (GRE), with Paul CAYARD (USA) and 2004 Olympic champion in the 470 Sofia BEKATOROU (GRE). A little behind were Bribon-Movistar, and Lexus, who did not seem to be able to reach the boat's full potential.

Race two was difficult with unstable conditions, which even saw the winners Caixa Galicia pushed into last place during various stages of the race. Bribon-Movistar attempted a tactical move in search of wind which eventually saw them finish third, just behind Greek boat, Atalanti XV.

After the second place finish CAYARD commented, 'it's fantastic, the boats a really fun to sail and challenging for the crews, with the Code 0 sails, the master sails are hard to handle. In the long distance race we made 57 changes!! All the boats are pretty close and we are fighting hard with each other and it's a very exiting race. The most important part of the inshore races is a good start and tactics to win the race. There are a few differences on the boats, for example, Orlanda is faster if it's windy or upwind, but they're slower in lighter winds or down wind. It's seems like every boat has it's moments and it depends on the weather. We're ready, relax and happy his is just the very beginning of the season.'

Lexus tactician, REYNOLDS was philosophical about his team's last place on the leaderboard, 'our position on the ranking is not particularly good right now, but it's a brand new boat, and almost all boats here are brand new, we were fixing holes up until the other day; also it's a completely new team and there are quite a few good boats here and great sailors, so you have to be last some times and first some times. There is a really good racing level here and our goals are to make sure that everything is set up properly on the boat, trimming and learn while we are here - this is just the beginning. The Breitling MEDCUP TP52 is going to be very exiting, a lot of the good sailors are here, very fun boats, not limited, it's going to very good also for the public to watch.'

Miriam Torres (As Amended By ISAF). Image, The fleet at the start of race six:© Event Media
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