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1 August 2007, 11:23 am
Copa del Rey Camper Audi 2007
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TP52 Bambakou upwind in 18 knots of wind

A New Beginning For Mutua Madrilena
Palma de Mallorca, Spain

After a start to their 2007 Breitling MedCup Circuit season which has been quite disappointing so far, Vasco VASCOTTO (ITA) and the crew of Mutua Madrilena showed a marked improvement today when they posted a first and a second to lead the 22 boat TP52 fleet after the first two races of the prestigious 26th Copa del Rey Camper Audi on the Bay of Palma.
VASCOTTO admitted that a small error on the final run handed the second race victory to Alberto ROEMMERS' (ARG) Siemens, which has Paul CAYARD (USA) as tactician, but finishing the day with an overall one point lead over Siemens already represents a small measure of redemption.

Jochen SCHUEMANN's (GER) impact on the TP52 fleet at his first regatta was also noticeable, the four-time Olympic medallist picking a peach of a day and probably some of the closest racing of the last couple of years yet to experience his first races on the Breitling MedCup TP52 Circuit.

SCHUEMANN steered Harm MUELLER SPREER's (GER) Platoon to a pair of fourth places to lie third, four points behind Siemens.

Platoon lead the first race but was forced into picking the less favoured leeward mark at the bottom of the first run when their spinnaker halyard jammed, requiring knife action.

After admitting that Puerto Portals had seen some of their darkest moments of the last ten years VASCOTTO was back to his effervescent self after their strong performance today.

'I had a good holiday last week here in Palma and really made sure I was relaxed and had drawn a real line under what had gone on before. My crew need me to be relaxed and less nervous, and the other guys, and for us to be able to react well and I knew that was one of the things that would be important here. And we have a couple of new jibs here and they are definitely giving us a little more speed,' said VASCOTTO, who won the inaugural 2005 Breitling MedCup Circuit with the same team, 'We had two good starts. But we started with a really fresh approach, we come really quickly from the start line and it was like we have a breath of new, fresh air. took the lead on the second beat of the first race when they passed Platoon who were forced too far left by their leeward mark incident.

'Today was good. I already know that we cannot simply expect to do the same again tomorrow, we don't know, we need to be ready to be accept to be behind. We need to be ready to do a nine from a twelve because that is three points and on this circuit that is always important. For the MedCup it is important to fight for every point. And it is for me important because now I go to sleep a little more easily.'

Mutua Madrilena took the lead on the second beat of the first race when they passed Platoon who were forced too far left by their leeward mark incident.

Breitling MedCup overall series leader Caixa Galicia, skippered by Roberto BERMUDEZ DE CASTRO (ESP), posted a valuable second when they picked up a good wind shift on the left side approach to the windward mark, getting inside Siemens and Platoon.

After two general recalls the second race started at the third attempt.

Siemens led at the windward mark by 21 seconds but a shrewd downwind leg from VASCOTTO and Co, sailing higher and faster into better pressure while Siemens tried to soak down deeper on the right of the leg, gave the Chilean owned boat the lead at the leeward gate.

But CAYARD immediately exacted revenge on the final run when the same strategy paid off this time, reaching faster across the line while Mutua Madrilena needed one too many gybes and lost by half a bow.

'It was a small mistake for us, but I'll accept that. We were a couple of boat lengths ahead and next thing they were five metres ahead. But that can happen, but I am happy if that is all, and we come second,' said VASCOTTO.

CAYARD's return to the TP52 fleet on the Judel-Vrolijk designed Siemens Matador already shows an element of contrast to his campaigns last year.

'I think that fleet was pretty competitive last year, obviously maybe the whole group has gone up in standard. It is extremely competitive and on the first leg a matter of metres can make all the difference in the world between having a race in the top five or possibly having a 15th.'

'We ended up having a pretty good day.' CAYARD commented, 'I made plenty of mistakes. I remember Caixa Galicia getting into our left in the first race. We chose to stay close to Platoon because I had a feeling we were going to be able to get round them as we approached the [second] windward mark. It felt like we were going to get them, but it was up to Caixa if they were going to get a big 'leftie' which of course they did. I think you choose your battles and I went for one I thought we could win.'

'I just had a wonderful day,' smiled SCHUEMANN, 'It is actually quite easy to get into it. As long as you have good guys around you they sail the boat and I just concentrate on steering. I really enjoyed these races. I think all these boats here are perfectly prepared. You can see there is a lot of America's Cup experience is around here, and that is also in the boat preparation as well as the boat handling. The newer boats are maybe a little more advanced than those who have been around for one or two years, but it is all about sailing. So when you make a good start and get the right wind shifts you will have this little distance which will get you round the top mark and you are not 15 but fourth or fifth. We had a good day with two fourth places but it was not perfect. We gave away the first race which we were leading, which should not happen, but fourth is still very good.'

The Copa del Rey Camper Audi is regatta three of five on the 2007 Breitling MedCup TP52 Circuit.

Vicky Low (As Amended By ISAF)
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