Cagliari fulfilled expectations

Emirates Team New Zealand proved the primary force in Cagliari, Sardinia as backed up their overall win in Marseille, France when they took the Region of Sardinia Trophy for the TP52 Series with another accomplished display of tight teamwork, composed tactical sailing and good boat speed across the range of breezes which the Gulf of Cagliari offered.

For the GP42 Series, which was another closely fought affair, the victors who emerged left the island’s capital with the Region of Sardinia Trophy proved to be Daniel Calero‘s young Canarian team on Islas Canarias Puerto Calero.

Emirates Team New Zealand may have started with a perfect opening day but they went on to prove that they are not infallible. On the second day when Argentina’s Matador and Portugal’s Bigamist won races, the Kiwi team twice dialled up recovery services from their afterguard Ray Davies, Adam Beashel and Kevin Hall. They stayed focussed and fought back in both races, posting a fifth and a fourth; results which, in their own way, will prove as valuable in their season’s end tally as winning guns.

Alberto RommersMatador (ARG) team looked like they had seized the early initiative on the 30 mile coastal course but committed a basic error when they stood in too close to the rocky cliffs at the Cape Sant’Elia.

Under the spectacular cliffs atop, which some the very earliest Sardinian settlers lived, Matador was starved of breeze and dropped four places in a matter of minutes, a mistake which proved costly when the win bonus is 1.5 times.

While Emirates Team New Zealand CEO and mast-man Grant Dalton talked of ‘winning ugly’ and ‘just hanging on’ it was the Kiwi team’s dogged consistency which prevailed, when once again errors and bad luck visited their nearest rivals. With tactician Paul Cayard (USA) in the hot seat for the absent Russell Coutts (NZL), Artemis were a serious contender, proving their speed in 6-10 knots, but they were caught out by one 50 degree wind shift which resulted in a seventh. But with two penalties in three races in the final day, Torbjorn Tornqvist’s team slipped to third overall. Matador were also close contenders for the regatta title but also failed to sail a clean final day. After winning the first race of the day, in brisk Mistral conditions they fouled Emirates Team New Zealand and hooked the windward mark but emerged with a well won second, and second on the season’s Audi MedCup Circuit standings.

Islas Canarias Puerto Calero won and lead the GP42 Series
The regatta started strongly for the Italian pair Airis and Roma. Airis with Vasco Vascotto (ITA) calling tactics for Cameron Appleton (NZL) started with a victory in the modest sea breeze conditions to get the upper hand over their compatriots on Roma, the Farr design which had the Portuguese 470 Olympic helm Alvaro Marinho deputising on the helm for Italian match racer Paolo Cian.

The regatta tempo was set for this incredibly tightly matched class when the top four boats finished within 40 seconds. For the second race it was Airis again but in the third an error by Vascotto let their rival compatriots away to win.

With Gustavo Martinez Doreste (ESP) calling tactics, the Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) team turned the tables in Race 6, in the unstable, shifty late afternoon sea breeze, and from there they ran in a string of four successive wins, the foundations for their second regatta win of the season, just three points ahead of Juan Luis Paez‘s Caser Endesa (ESP).

The season standings on the Audi MedCup GP42 Series remain tightly bunched still, with Islas Canarias Puerto Calero regaining the overall lead, ahead by three points from Roma as the Series heads for Portimao, Portugal.