One of those Coastal Days
Little breeze, nasty chop, a magical mystery tour day……..
So it looked like playing the shifts up the middle of the beat was the key there, Quantum first, Valars second, Platoon third, Desafio fourth, ONO fifth. Mean Machine caught a cold out on the left of the course after a poor start and rounded 15th, so they need to start taking places, but there is a long way to go. Audi Q8 dropped after their penalty to 8th at the mark.
So at the gybe at the island of Sech which is not much more than a rocky lump 100 metres by 50 metres at the west extreme of the Bay, and Platoon arrive in first with Quantum powering in nicely in second, gybing 35 seconds after the German boat which has Jochen Schuemann steering and Rod Dawson on tactics, third round is Artemis at +1m33s, fourth is going to be Desafio at +2m 25 secs, fifth is Valars having a great scrap with their compatriots in sixth on Rusal Synegry, ONO go rounde seventh, eighth is Mutua Madrilena, ninth is Matador, tenth Cristabella, eleventh is Bribon, twelfth is Bribon, thirteenth is Audi Q8, fourteenth now Mean Machine, and fifteenth Tau Ceramica Andalucia. So Bribon lost three places. This is another reach, course 020 to the variable mark 1, 3 miles distance to the scoring gate.
Well in those slow sticky conditions the gate mark offered real chances to pick up bonus points within the last few metres of the scoring gate line. Valars and Rusal came through clear in fourth and fifth, but the main pack were very condensed with Desafio, Mutua Madrilena ONO were all close,Matador and Cristabella needed a photo to separate them, then Bribon, CXG have made a good recovery, Audi Q8, Tau Ceramica Andalucia amd Mean Machine back in fifteenth looking very out of sorts.
So this has been an expensive day so far for Mean Machine in terms of points, 15th through the gate, with Quantum Racing first, means the American boat leads the regatta by four points as they head across this long one sided beat under upwind zeros all the way across the Bay to the Arenal turning mark. But the good thing is that the breeze has picked up coming across the Bay and is freeing them as they track across. We now have 12 knots of wind and Platoon and Quantum are nearly alongside each other.
Every place counts for Mean Machine at this stage and they had Tau Ceramica in their sights, but Audi Q8 are a little bit further ahead. Breeze is about 180 on this true beat out to the variable mark, in 11-13 knots of breeze. Distance from the last mark is 3 nautical miles. The other close duel is between Matador and CXG who rounded that last mark nearly overlapped. Bribon have been the best at chipping away today after rounding the first mark in 13th, they are up to seventh, and of course Artemis who were ninth at the very first mark and lie third. We have just this windward mark to turn, bearing off to set Code Zeros for the finish, five miles to the finish. And Quantum are now 400 metres ahead of Platoon, Artemis in third the same distance behind them.
Quantum Racing, with Terry Hutchinson steering, Morgan Larson on tactics, Ian Moore navigating, Mark Mendelblatt on strategy look set to take max points today winning their first Coastal Race on the Audi MedCup Circuit 2008. Their best finish so far on the Coastal courses have been a pair of fourth places. And a good result today for Rusal Synergy who will take fourth with Cameron Dunn now calling tactics, they stuck to their guns and made few errors.
It is Quantum Racing winning maximum points today, 3 minutes ahead of the German team on Platoon, third is Artemis just over another a minute later. Rusal get fourth, fifth Mutua Madlrilena, sixth Bribon, seventh CXG Caixa Galicia, eighth Valars, ninth Matador, tenth Audi Q8, eleventh Desafio, ONO steal twelfth, Tau Ceramica thirteenth, Mean Machine fourteenth and Cristabella fifteenth.
And when we look back at the end of this season this may yet prove a defining day, Mean Machine having climbed back from one bad day in Marseille had another one today, while Quantum Racing really enhanced their position on the overall Audi MedCup Circuit leaderboard with first on both sections of the race. They literally stole the first place in the first section of the race from under the German teams nose, gybing inside them at the mark and just ghosting a bow ahead.