The green and black American boat opened the last day of racing with another first place finish in mistral winds of 18-20 knots. In more moderate but puffy and shifty conditions, it finished sixth in the second race of the day. Then, in sixth place at the last mark of the last race, Quantum Racing was tied on points for the week with Peter DE RIDDER's Monaco-based TP52, Mean Machine. On the exciting final leg, the Americans overtook El Desafio, sailed by the Spanish America's Cup team and the Argentinian boat Matador, to preserve a two-point lead over Mean Machine.
Terry HUTCHINSON paid tribute to his team and to Quantum. "Everything that we worked on prior to the regatta has been better here," he said. "Our starting was better and our boat was going faster. We are slowly improving our equipment and our sails to a point where they are very nice. The faster you get the easier it gets, however, I think we have to keep working hard at getting more out of our boat.
"This week has been a really good test, but we still leave stuff on the table, and so the good news is that we can still get better. Everyone on the team can enjoy this win for what it's worth for a day or two, but there are still 30 races to go and we are only half way there."
This is the first season for the new Botin Carkeek-designed TP52. The boat's owners, Fred HOWE and Doug DeVOS have, in the past, each raced boats in the MedCup, but this year they chose to make their new boat a factory entry under the colors of the Quantum Sail Design Group (QSDG).
"A lot of credit has to go to our technology team. They are the invisible force behind the scenes," said Ed REYNOLDS, who is president of QSDG, and program manager and coach for Quantum Racing. "They have done a great job of interacting with the sailing team, and giving them the tools they need on the race course. Leading at this point of the series is better than the alternative, but the real excitement for me is watching the process of continual improvement get executed as planned"
Launched in Valencia, Spain, by her builders Longitude Zero just over two months ago, Quantum Racing finished the opening MedCup regatta in Alicante, Spain, in third place overall. In Marseille, France, two weeks later, she was fifth for the week but moved up to second overall for the season's championship.
Competing on the Bay of Cagliari, Quantum Racing moved up in the standings every day, never finishing worse than sixth in the ten-race series. Sailing on flat water in moderate and stable sea breezes, the green and black American boat posted finishes of 3-1-6 on day one of racing. In similar conditions the next day, HUTCHINSON and his afterguard of tactician Morgan LARSON, strategist Mark MENDELBLATT, and navigator Ian MOORE won their starts and led from start to finish in back-to-back races.
On day three, with lighter conditions for the coastal race, Quantum Racing finished 5-4 in the two sections, in one of the few position changes of what proved to be a procession from start to finish. HUTCHINSON and his crew earned their fourth place in a spirited downwind battle in the fading sea breeze, to beat the Swedish boat Artemis steered by American John KOSTECKI.
Day four of competition brought the Mediterranean's notorious mistral blowing into the high twenties with gusts over 30 knots. HUTCHINSON sailed a conservative race, keeping his boat on its feet without gear failure, while some boats profited with huge planing runs but others broached or blew out spinnakers. Quantum Racing finished fifth, but ahead of Mean Machine and Bribón, their rivals for the points lead.
REYNOLDS predicted further successes for his factory team boat. "We have completely changed our product and our technology at QSDG and of course we want to win this series," he said. "But our aim was to come here with the new technology and validate it. This program is also a fantastic platform for us to take brand new information and transfer it to our core customer base. Other sailmakers try out their new technology and sail concepts on their customers. We're ironing out the wrinkles on our own boat before taking it to the customers."
The next event on the MedCup circuit is the Breitling Regatta, July 21-26 at Puerto Portals, on the Spanish island of Mallorca.
Audi MedCup - http://2008.medcup.org