One or two races today?

There is little pressure on time today and so the race officers are happy to continue the delay to allow the Embat sea breeze to become more established. At the moment they have about 5.5 knots in the start area, while up the course, near the windward mark there is about 8 to 9 knots.

The intention is to commence the start sequence at 1330hrs. The pin to mark the right hand limit of the start line is now in its place. Breeze has only built a little so far, quite hazy over the back of the City of Palma, and indeed to windward. Ashore it is interesting to see how much the corporate hospitality and guest programme has developed at this showcase regatta.     

General Recall is called from the committee boat as a result of a busy start with some considerable pushing and jostling at the committee boat end and a small puff of extra pressure set them off early. Matador and Artemis breathe again…Matador were shut out at the committee boat end, Artemis had their jib flapping and were second rank. Totally academic, but there is a little time now to re-group and prepare again.

Clear start second time away. Mean Machine and Mutua Madrilena at the pin, Mean Machine were borne away on a speed build but these two have worked the left. Quantum made another solid start and worked the middle right and it is likely to be between these two boats at the moment. Though at the moment the best pressure is in the middle of the course.

At the windward mark it is Quantum Racing leading with a perfect layline, 2 was Matador, 3 Desafio, 4 Audi Q8 who made a terrible mess of their kite hoist as did Tau Ceramica Andalucia in eighth. Mean Machine in 14th and Mutua Madrilena in 13th caugtht a horrible header on port tack coming from the left. Matador, once again showing well when they get a good start, well ahead of Artemis and four places ahead of Platoon, in the quest to make second at this regatta.

Quantum held their lead nicely into the right hand gate mark with an accomplished drop, Matador followed them round in second, Desafio went to the left hand mark, Cristabella making a good gain from sixth to fourth, partly due to Audi Q8’s botched kite hoist at the top of the course, but also taking Caixa Galicia who rounded the WW1 mark ten seconds ahead of them.

In the right hand shift to the WW2 mark Matador were able to get inside Quantum, squeezing them round the outside of them at the windward mark, Audi Q8 also making a perfect layline in the shift to get up to third ahead of Desafio and Cristabella. So the question on that approach is always how much do you judge the breeze will lift. Matador did the same thing the other day, but it will be a great finish.

And it is Matador who get the win by half a boat length from Quantum Racing, Audi Q8 get third, El Desafio get fourth, fifth Cristabella, sixth Caixa Galicia, seventh Platoon. Great win for Matador with Francesco Bruni calling tactics. Mean Machine have another bad race, and looked out of sorts off the start line. They need a confidence boost and to start to be able to chip away, taking places.     

So in the overall 14th Breitling Regatta standings it is Quantum Racing on 31pts, 2nd is Matador now on 43 points taking over from Platoon who drop to 3rd on 47pts, with Artemis on 52 points and Mutua Madrilena and Mean Machine swapping to fifth and sixth.        

Clear start then to Race 9, Cristabella have mainsail problem with halyard. Mean Machine revert to a classy comittee boat end start and wind themselves up to speed very effectively, best off the that end. Platoon try the pin end this time and looked fair, but Quantum Racing again started mid line with a nice lane, hung with it until they had a good lane to go right. Audi Q8 look good on the far left four minutes into the race.

Exciting WW1 windward mark, Quantum just getting there by a bow from Platoon, Matador looked good on the approach to the mark, as if they might just get there, but rounded a good third all three top boats virtually overlapped and gybe setting at the spreader mark in close sequence. Again, managing the right shift on the top half of the beat, sail high and you sail extra distance, sail low and you live in dirty air or do what Vasco Vascotto likes to do, try and get in on port and that time Mutua Madrilena threaded through to tack into fourth, Bribon who started well on the right side third of the line rounded fifrth with Mean Machine sixth. Will be interesting to see if they can punch their way up from there this time.

Breeze is up to 16 knots and Mean Machine sail a great run, Quantum have problems on their drop and are slow, but get round first from Mean Machine in second, Artemis in third now, and Matador fourth, Platoon fifth, Bribon sixth,, Mutua Madrielena seventh, Rusal Synergy and Tau Ceramica Andalucia gybe in sequence. Artemis and Mean Machine botrh take the left hand gate mark. Cristabella’s temporary mainsail repair has give up and they have had to drop it.

Great racing at the windward mark where Mean Machine have sailed a little higher and got back at Quantum Racing who could not quite cross them on port and tacked, forcing Mean Machine to bounce back on to port. But Quantum get around first with Mean Machine glued to their transom, Matador, third, and a gap to Artemis, Bribon and then Mutua Madrilena who are the only one of that group to bear away set, everyone lese has gybe set on to port.

Well Quantum held their lead but that big left into better pressure gave Artemis second at the leeward mark, choosing the left hand gate with Bribon fourth while Matador rounded the right side gate mark in third. Mean Machine drop to fifth, with Mutua Madrilena sixth. Great afternoon for racing with classic 14-16knot late afternoon conditions, slightly bouncy, choppy seas, fierce sunshine, and great TP52 racing.

Only two minutes from the finish it is going to be a second and first today for Quantum Racing, extending their overall lead to 13 points with just one race to sail tomorrow. You would conclude that their second successive regatta win is all but in the bag, and they are increasingly looking like serious Circuit favourites.

Artemis get second, half a boat length ahead of Matador who had an other good day, first and third, while Bribon tack on the finish line to beat Platoon to fourth. Great spectator crowd out on the Bay of Palma, adding so much to the atmosphere when there are cheers and horns and clapping as the top boats finish.     

Provisional overall standings Quantum on 33pts, second is Matador on 46pt and Platoon third on 52pts, fourth Artemis on 54pts.