First and third place finishes from two challenging races sees Bribón leading the Region of Murcia Trophy Regatta off Cartagena.
Bribón made their best start to an Audi MedCup Circuit regatta since the start of the season in Alicante, when they won the first race of the Region of Murcia Trophy Regatta and followed up with a strong third place to take an early two points advantage over the ever consistent Audi MedCup Circuit leaders Quantum Racing.
"It was great, good waves and different open race course, nice to get a shifty race course,"
said Dean BARKER
(NZL), Bribon's helm. "One of the things today was there was opportunities on both sides of the race course, and then the nice thing is when you do get a bit of an opportunity to mix it up, it works. It was really good for us. We are slowly getting more and more out of this boat, but we are certainly not as quick as the newer boats. In that breeze our speed is OK, but not as good as the newer boats."
The waters off Cartagena, a new venue for the MedCup Circuit, have already dealt a new set of challenges for the crews and the regatta organisers. The deep waters shelve sharply to the shore and the adjacent steep mountainsides swirl the breezes. Combined together the choppy, big, disorganized seas and the shifty winds, which ranged from 14-21 knots today, were an invitation to the opportunists and smart, slick sailors. Certainly the opening day of this fifth regatta of the Audi MedCup Circuit did not simply bow down and respect the speeds of the newer boats in the fleet, and there were plenty of chances to use the wind shifts and big waves.
While series leaders Quantum Racing relinquished their early lead in the race when they fouled their spinnaker sheet on the first hoist, Bribón's winning tactics carried the same hallmarks as previous race victories this season.
After a modest first beat to lie 12th behind leaders ONO (ESP) and Caixa Galicia (ESP) then double Olympic medallist Ross MACDONALD
(CAN) used the shifts downwind for helm BARKER to challenge on the second beat and cross the bows of both boats, going on to win by 27 seconds from Matador (ARG) which has Thierry PEPONNET
(FRA) serving as tactician, with Artemis (SWE) third.
Quantum Racing made no such errors in the second race and went on to win, leading from first mark to the finish, although Platoon powered by Team Germany - also looking to atone for a less than perfect first race - pushed the American boat to the gun, the Audi backed German boat timed across just one second behind and losing out only on one final surge by Terry HUTCHINSON
(USA) on the helm of Quantum.
Platoon lost out at the windward mark, first time up in the first race, when they tried to make a port tack approach and ended up having to duck to the back of a very busy starboard tack line up, skipper Jochen SCHUEMANN
(GER) reporting later that they were forced to sail all day with no instruments.
While the two leaders duelled down the final run, so too it was close between Bribón and Spain's El Desafio which has Paul CAYARD
(USA) back on the helm. Bribón had to swap spinnakers in a hurry on the final run, but managed to hold off the Spanish America's Cup team by three seconds to reserve third place and the regatta lead is theirs.
Results - click here
Audi MedCup - http://2008.medcup.org