"Today has been really impressive. We couldn't have made it more exciting if we had tried!" was the reaction from Ignasi TRIAY (ESP), Project Manager and trimmer of Bribón. "In the first race we focussed too much on Matador who we knew we had to beat, and overlooked the rest of the fleet."
"It really was time for Bribón to win a trophy this year, we got very close in Alicante, but missed out at the last minute. We have been fighting hard all year to win one, and suffered right up to the last few metres before the finish line. The fact that Matador sailed so well makes the victory even sweeter, it wasn't in the slightest bit easy!" TRIAY added.
It was a fitting climax, the final twists and turns settling a great event as Cartagena delivered a whole new set of challenges to the TP52 fleet in testing winds on a challenging race arena, complemented ashore by a warm and very enthusiastic reception on the docksides and around the streets of an historic City. Locals and visitors wholeheartedly embraced the first ever visit of the MedCup Circuit to a fast emerging region of Spain and were rewarded when overall victory went to one of Spain's best known racing yachts.
After four days of moderately fresh breezes, the final two races were contested in a light sea breeze which carried some big changes in direction to frustrate and challenge crews, particularly in the first windward-leeward contest.
Just nine points separated the top four boats before the first race. It was always going to be close, but as the principal protagonists, Bribón and Alberto ROEMMERS' Matador (ARG), took the fight to each other, both sailing to the less favoured side of the first windward leg, Paul CAYARD (USA) and the Spanish America's Cup team on Desafio narrowly won the first race, just pipping Audi MedCup Circuit leaders Quantum Racing to the finish gun. With Bribón back in tenth and Matador, who were the biggest victim of a 30 degree shift on the second beat, finishing 12th Desafio became the fourth team to lead this regatta.
Going in to the final race Desafio headed the fleet by one point from Bribón and Quantum Racing, with Matador two points off the lead, and in the unstable late afternoon breeze, running close to the 16:00 time limit, patience and coolness under pressure were well tested.
Realizing that being too consumed in their own battle had jeopardised both of their chances, Matador and Bribón sailed a more open first beat, with Ross MACDONALD (CAN) calling the top end of the first leg to perfection coming in from the right in the changeable breeze, the Spanish boat lead at the first windward mark, with Matador second after sailing the left. Desafio lead Quantum round in 10th and 11th.
While Bribón looked to have gained the winning edge Matador came back on the second beat, sailing faster inside their rivals in a strand of stronger wind, and set off down the final run with a tiny lead. If they could hold off Bribón they would win the regatta.
The two were neck and neck for most of the leg until Bribón were able to stay higher into slightly better breeze and Matador gybed lower. Only on the final gybe was it clear that the winning gun and the overall trophy would go to CUSI's Bribón which is usually skippered by HM King Juan Carlos of Spain.
Guillermo PARADA (ARG), skipper-helmsman of Matador, was not too disappointed despite narrowly missing out on victory. "We fought right up until the very end in two races with very shifty and unstable conditions. We would obviously have liked to win but were second in a fight that lasted until the very last few metres. We were very close indeed, so it will have to be next time!" he said. "The race course didn't give us a moment to breathe, even though it was very light, it was very shifty, so incredibly hard tough. After the disappointment of the first race we put our heads down, thought positively and went out to fight. When you don't win but know you have put your absolute all into it, then you can walk away happy. We are now looking towards the Trophy in Portugal, we have had two seconds in a row, so it is now time for us to win!"
Bribón win the regatta by two points and regain second place overall on the Audi MedCup Circuit 2008, behind Terry HUTCHINSON (USA) and the crew of Quantum Racing (USA) who leave Murcia and head for the final regatta in Portimao having extended their overall lead from 30 points to 41.2 points.
"It could have finished much better for us than it did, but we have had a goof regatta with this team who are on the podium for the second MedCup regatta. My worst moment was much more in the first race when we were on the wrong side of the 35 degrees wind shift, that was painful and I should not have let us get there," said Matador's tactician Thierry PEPONNET (FRA), "We just didn't quite have the speed to hold them off on the last run, but it has been fun to fight to the very last run."