Classic Lanzarote weather for Day 1 of the TP52 Worlds

Shifty, puffy, sunny…..

Puerto Calero, 20 October 2008: The 2007 TP52 World Champion started this year’s edition of the championship on a strong footing with a first and two seconds in tricky conditions. The opening day of the event was marked by a breeze that swung left and right, sometimes by more than 60 degrees, following the movements of the clouds that covered the skies over Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. The breeze ranged from 6 to 12 knots but direction was a real gamble and the tough race track off Puerto Calero saw three different winners today.

The first race of the day turned into a match-race between Artemis and Quantum, with the current World Champion crossing the finish line ahead of the Americans. Both boats, together with Mutua Madrileña, lead the race from the start by correctly opting for the left side of the course. In fact Vasco Vascotto’s yacht was behind Artemis during the first half of the race but had to relinquish its spot to Terry Hutchinson. The turning point came in the second beat when Russell Coutts on Artemis and Morgan Larson on Quantum called again tactics right on the spot and built a considerable lead over the rest of the fleet, reaching 200 meters at times. In the race’s final leg Artemis kept on the left while Quantum tried to get better breeze in the center but to no avail. Torbjorn Tornqvist helmed the Swedish boat to victory.

The story in the second race changed radically as the breeze shifted to the right by more than 30 degrees. Desafío, TAU Andalucia and Bigamist were over the line early, while Mutua Madrileña, Synergy, Artemis and Quantum had a clean start. Flavio Favini at the helm of Mutua Madrileña got the control of the race despite the attacks from both Artemis and Synergy, even rounding the leeward gate 45 seconds ahead of Artemis. The three leading positions didn’t change for the rest of the race, resulting in a second for Artemis and an excellent third for Russian Synergy, with kiwi sailor Cameron Dunn calling tactics.

With the breeze dropping to 6 knots and another shift, this time back to the left, the race committee fired the starting gun for the third time. As in the first race, the left paid handsomely and Cristabella with Quantum got off ahead of the fleet. The Anglo-American pair could have held on to the top two spots till the end of the race but disaster stroke Cristabella when their spinnaker touched the pin end buoy in the very last stretch of the race. The British boat had to avoid a large spectator fleet in order to carry out their 360-degree turn and as a result dropped back to the bottom. Quantum was first, with Artemis second after a great recovery in the last leg while Dean Barker helmed Bribón in third place, their best finish of what was a tough day for the Spanish King’s boat.

Torbjorn Tornqvist, owner and helmsman of Artemis:
It was an excellent start for Artemis, it couldn’t have been better. We had good boat speed, we got the wind correctly and in general Russell made excellent tactical calls but, of course, Quantum is a very dangerous opponent and we have to take the event race by race; it’s too early to make any prediction. We have a good boat and fine crew work and as a result there is no reason we shouldn’t be optimistic. Still, it’s going to be a very tough fight.

Terry Hutchinson, helmsman of Quantum:
It was a very good day for us and we start the event second placed. The third race was the toughest one, we were at the back of fleet and it was impossible to climb back as much as we would have liked and finished sixth. Picking the shifts was the key to today’s races. We even had a 90-degree change in direction within 5 minutes and we were left with no wind. In such a case you just try to do damage control. Nevertheless, we had a very good day overall.

Dean Barker, helmsman of Bribón:
It was a really average day for us, we simply didn’t sail well.

Silvio Arrivabene, navigator on Mutua Madrileña:
It was a good day for us, despite the result in the last race. The afterguard, especially Vasco and Flavio, did a great job. We had good crew work overall but it was a very difficult race course. There were a lot of wind shifts and you had to time your sail work correctly due to the constant changes in wind direction.

Nacho Braquehais, mainsail trimmer on Desafío:
It was a very complicated day because wind was constantly changing both in direction and intensity. It was very difficult to control the rest of the fleet, especially in the last race where we took the tactical decision to overtake two boats ahead of us. We gybed to the right side of the course and we got trapped with no wind while the fleet was sailing with greater pressure on the left. The day’s key was to find the correct pressure and direction. There were two prevailing winds, a right one on the right and a left one on the left. As a result, it was very important to really study your approach to the layline.

OVERALL STANDINGS (after 3 races)

1 Artemis (SWE), Torbjorn Tornqvist, 1-2-2, 5 points
2 Quantum (USA), Terry Hutchinson, 2-6-1, 9 points
3 Mutua Madrileña (CHI), Vasco Vascotto, 3-1-6, 10 points
4 Matador (ARG), Alberto Roemmers, 6-4-5, 15 points
5 Synergy (RUS), Sergey Pichugin, 7-3-10, 20 points
6 Valars (RUS), Sergey Chetvtsov, 4-8-9, 21 points
7 Audi (ITA), Riccardo Simoneschi, 9-11-3, 23 points
8 Desafío (ESP), Paul Cayard, 5-7-11, 23 points
9 TAU Andalucía (ESP), José María Torcida, 11-5-8, 24 points
10 Bribón (ESP), Dean Barker, 10-12-4, 26 points
11 Bigamist 6 (POR), Alfonso Domingos, 12-10-7, 29 points
12 Platoon (GER), Jochen Schuemann, 8-9-12, 29 points
13 Cristabella (GBR), Roberto Bermúdez de Castro, 13-13-14, 40 points
14 Fram XIV (NOR), Kell Arne Myrann, 14-14-13, 41 points