That Marseille joker called the Mistral pinned the Audi MedCup ashore today for what should have been the final race, meaning that the German yacht Container took the trophy.
Click here for the Audi MedCup Overall Results
But their number one rival, the American team Quantum, retains the overall lead by 11 points after two regattas with three to run.
Unfortunately, the 30-knot northerlies meant that the chance of a final flourish for the British team Rán to take away the taste of a couple of races they wanted conclusively to put behind them was snatched away.
The clincher had been yesterday’s coastal race, which scored points and a half, and was won by Udo Schutz’s Container. That allowed his skipper Markus Weiser to leapfrog into a one and a half point lead over Quantum, skippered by Ed Baird with British Olympian Ado Stead as tactician.
Both had decided to sail their own races for the final inshore encounter figuring that points in a competition that counts every race from all five regattas mattered more than an individual trophy.
For Niklas Zennstrom, whose first season this is in this type of competition, the disappointment of a couple of disastrous races, including a disqualification, was tempered by knowing that, at one stage he was lying second in Marseille.
He finished sixth, and lies fifth after two events, but could say with increasing confidence: “If we sail well, we can beat any of these boats. It’s all up to us. Quantum had seemed to be in a league by itself but now we have seen they are beatable and, here in Marseille, by a boat that it a sistership to our own.”
He also pointed out the tricky the wind conditions had been in Marseille – there were enough snakes and ladders to run a double-size board game – but it was still all about how the boat was sailed.
And was he still able to enjoy such close-fought competition against the pros? “Absolutely I am enjoying it,” he said. “It’s fantastic. What’s great here is that it is so tough boat on boat that winning makes it more fun and even if you are not winning, the downwind sleigh rides are truly exciting.”