After one final nervous race Peter DE RIDDER and the crew of Mean Machine emerged as winners of the City of Alicante Trophy, and leave the first regatta of the six-event 2008 Audi MedCup Circuit with a lead of just one point.
Their maiden regatta victory with the brand new Mean Machine, which was only launched on 3 May, mirrors their success with at the start of their 2006 Med Cup Circuit winning season when they won in Punta Ala, Italy in the previous Mean Machine with a scoreline which included four race wins. This time their winning tally includes five race wins, but there is little doubt that the Circuit has moved up on immeasurably since then.
With a possible 60 races and no opportunity to discard poor results over the whole season, this may be a winning start for the Mean Machine team and their new Judel VROLIJK designed boat, but Peter DE RIDDER
(NED) believes that seven or eight boats have a real chance of winning the Audi MedCup Trophy.
"I think it is going to be a very competitive year,"
said DE RIDDER. "In Marseille it is going to be all on again! I wouldn't be surprised to see another boat winning it, and us fifth, sixth or seventh."
Mean Machine went into what proved to be the last race with a lead of six points over the American boat Quantum Racing skippered and steered by Terry HUTCHINSON
(USA) and eight points over Bribon, who won the City of Alicante Trophy last year.
A significant wind shift on the first leg of the race punished Mean Machine who had chosen the very opposite side of the race course. While they rounded the first turn in ninth place, it was Bribón steered by Dean BARKER
(NZL) and skippered by HM the King of Spain, with Canada's double Olympic medallist Ross MACDONALD
making the tactical calls, who read the windshift best.
When they turned for the first run they already had a lead of half a minute and were tied on overall points with Mean Machine. While Bribon extended, with the King driving across the finish line, Mean Machine took the one crucial place which ensured victory was theirs.
"We had no expectations coming in here and we have seen that certainly in light to medium conditions we are pretty competitive,"
commented BARKER on Bribon's second place overall. "I think when the breeze comes up we see that the new boats maybe have a click of an edge so its going to be hard work in the events with more breeze but for now we are happy indeed."
A second race was attempted but with heavy rain clouds over Alicante city proving too much of an unsettling influence on the breeze, the time limit expired.
Second place for Bribón rewards a high level of consistency, their 12th then ninth on the coastal race proved their heaviest ballast in a scoreline comprising six races in the top five, while Quantum finished third, five points behind Mean Machine and four points behind Bribon. And the top three places monopolised by afterguard members from Emirates Team New Zealand's Louis Vuitton Cup winning crew, Ray DAVIES
(NZL) and navigator Kevin HALL
(USA) getting one over on their former helm BARKER, and strategist HUTCHINSON.
After leading on the first day of the regatta fourth place is an excellent result for the Tau Ceramica Andalucia team whose choice of the 2007 MedCup champion Artemis, looks a shrewd purchase.
As well as winning the Alicante Town Hall Trophy for triumphing at this City of Alicante Trophy regatta, the Mean Machine crew also collected the Breitling Trophy for the best elapsed time over all eight races. Bribón's second place earned them the Generalitat Valenciana Trophy, and the Alicante Port Authorities Trophy went to Quantum for their third place.
Results - click here
Audi MedCup - http://2008.medcup.org