Zennstrom continues upward march


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The Independent Online

Is Skype founder Niklas Zennström on a roll? Having won the Fastnet Race, he jetted his crew across to Sardinia and Porto Cervo to win the mini-maxi division of the maxi worlds and then to Catalunya.

Sardinia was to race the 72-foor Rán, On Tuesday he went into the Barcelona race village leading the Audi MedCup in his TP52 at the end of the first day.

And leading in some style. After a carefully crafted second place in the opening race of the day, he won the other to put behind him some rather more miserable results at the previous MedCup regatta in Cartagena, further south on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, last month.

“We think these lighter conditions were good for us,” said Zennström. “We had two good starts, felt confident, and could sail the way we wanted. We weren’t so stressed.”

A change of tactician, from Kiwi Gavin Brady to American Morgan Larson, may have helped the change of mood on board but the successes on the big boat, where Adrian Stead is tactician, seem to have spilled over. “We said at the beginning of the season that this was a learning year and it has been tough,” added Zennström. But he hopes that the upward march will continue next season. 

And, after some straight talking when things were looking a little custardy in Cartagena, the American overall leader, Quantum, finished that week on the up. Skipper Ed Baird said that consistent thirds or even better would be just fine and they opened their Barcelona account with a third and a second.

Quantum started this fifth and final MedCup, in which every result from every race counts, with a slender overall lead of three and a half points. After one day, that has increased to eight and a half over the Argentinian/Italian team from Sardinia, Azzurra, which, frustratingly for them, posted two fifths.

Rán has already lifted itself from seventh overall for the 2011 season and is just half a point away from overtaking the Russian team, Synergy.