Sunday, October 10, 2010

TP 52 Worlds 2010

photos ©2010 Tim Birch

Valencia, 9 October 2010

Watching the crew line-up for the TP52 Worlds was a bit like reporting on the America’s Cup, so many names and faces were familiar. And of course, the America’s Cup Port venue and the waters off Valencia played their part in supporting this feeling.

Paul Cayard was sailing aboard Artemis, the Swedish yacht helmed (yes, helmed) by businessman Torbjorn Tornquist. Jochen Schueman, the German Olympic sailor (and former skipper of Team Alinghi) was steering Audi/All4ONE, whilst Terry Hutchinson, tactician aboard Team New Zealand, took the helm of US entry Quantum Racing.

Thanks to a Franco/German alliance, no less than 8 nations were featured in the championship which, due to an unfortunate earlier incident, left host nation Spain without a representative. Their yacht Bribon was severely damaged in a collision with Audi/All4ONE and could not be repaired in time for the start of the regatta. Nevertheless, Valencia provided a welcome mix of weather conditions which saw Argentina’s yacht Matador going into the last day just 3.5 points behind Quantum Racing.

After a two-hour delay, a 6 – 8 knot easterly set in and racing got under way.
The Russian yacht Synergy, steered by Eugeni Neugodnikov showed good speed off the line heading left. Artemis had a fine start and headed right. When these two crossed, Synergy had to duck behind Artemis. Meanwhile Bigamist, the Portguese entry steered by Afonso Domingos, continued out to the right and crossed the fleet coming into the top mark. Matador was over the line early and had to tack back, giving Quantum Racing the perfect opportunity to watch their every move. Their aggressive covering held Matador down in seventh place going into the first downwind leg and only some tactical sailing allowed them to reel in the American yacht before they rounded the bottom mark. During the final beat, Quantum racing carried Matador far out to the right “almost to Ibiza” quipped one of the cameramen. They rounded the top mark eighth and ninth, both carrying protest flags and followed closely by the on-water judges.

Bigamist led the fleet home to claim her first win of the regatta, followed by Audi/All4ONE, Cristabella (the first British yacht), Artemis and Synergy.
As Quantum Racing crossed the line just behind Matador, Terry Hutchinson ordered the removal of their protest flag and the Argentines generously applauded their well-deserved victory. Just 2 points separated these boats after nine races. Just 1 point separated the next four yachts but Synergy had done enough to hold onto her 3rd overall.

1 Quantum Racing USA 31.5
2 Matador ARG 33.5
3 Synergy RUS 41
4 Artemis SWE 41
5 Audi/All4ONE GER/FRA 41.5
6 Cristabella GBR 42
7 Bigamist POR 51.5
8 Pace GBR 72
9 Weapon of Choice GBR 76.5

Mike O’Neill