Light winds benefit specialists in Audi MedCup


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The Independent Online

The light air specialists came through strongly in the opening race of the fourth regatta for the Murcia Trophy in the Audi MedCup series, but it was a day to put in the bin for Niklas Zennström’s south coast-based Rán team.

It was a down to earth day for many of the crew who flew to Spain after back-to-back wins in the Rolex Fastnet Race and there was no chance of a comeback from a disappointing sixth position as the seven-strong fleet was restricted by the light conditions to just one race.

Victory in that went to the Russians, skippered by Eugeniy Nedugodnikov, capitalising on a good start and the performance of a boat that likes the light stuff.

He was followed by Spain’s Bribón, so long associated with the king of Spain, and the series leader, the American team Quantum, now skippered by Ed Baird.

Baird would not have been too unhappy with a third as his nearest rival in a series which is cumulative and in which every result counts, the German yacht Container, skippered by Markus Wieser, came a dismal last.

Forecasts for the next couple of days are also a little pessimistic. Both Wieser and Zennström will be hoping they are wrong.

With his third consecutive win in the fourth and final leg of the Figaro Solo race, Jérémie Beyou was the runaway winner of an event he first won 16 years ago.

But the four British contenders crossing the finish line in Dieppe could only wonder at the dominance of the French in an event that is hard to win in its own right and an essential nursery for transoceanic singlehanded racing.

Best of the British quartet was Phil Sharp in 20th, which put him third in the private battle between the ‘rookies’, followed by Conrad Humphreys in 31st, Sam Goodchild in 33rd, and Nigel King 37th  in a fleet with 44 finishers from the 47 starters.