Light winds affect Audi MedCup once more


Off to a bad start on the opening day of the Audi MedCup regatta in Cartagena, Spain, the British-based TP52 Rán, owned by Skype founder Niklas Zennström, added a couple more on a second day delayed by light wind.

In those conditions, engineering a comeback ranges from very difficult to impossible. It wasn’t quite a miracle, but Zennström managed the impossible in the second race of the day, losing by just one second in the tightest of finishes with Spain’s Bribón,

That sent Gonzalo Araujo into the clubhouse leading the Murcia Trophy, but with much tricky racing still to come.

Not so for the series leader, Quantum, skippered by Ed Baird, who posted a very satisfactory second in the opening race but then struggled in the second, finishing 6th as his main rival, Markus Wieser’s Container, a sistership to Rán, restored some pride with a third in the second race to add to a fourth in the day’s opener.

“I am happy with thirds,” Baird had said of the opening race. He would, therefore, have been unhappy.

There is a new team from Australia on the Soto 40 block, dipping its toe in the Mediterranean ahead of what is hoped to be a full season campaign next year and oozing youth and optimism.

Its skipper, Brent  Fowler is just 23 and the average age of the crew, including Malaysian sail trimmer Tiffany Koo, is 24 pushed up because the oldest is 31.

Fowler ignored superstition by winning the practice race but was pipped into third in the first race of the regatta proper when Kevin Sproul, running Tony Buckingham’s Ngoni, spotted an inside track to the finish line of a race won by Iñaki Castañer at the helm of Noticia IV.

Fowler would like the campaign to be pan-Australian but is also talking to potential sponsors, for what is likely to be an AUS$500,000 push, in W. Australia, where the mining boom is roaring along.

He plans to continue training during the winter and then come back to Europe and either an existing or new boat for a month of training ahead of the 2012 circuit.

The Australians did their cause no good by jumping the gun at the start of the second race, but Sproul sailed a scorcher to win.