Virtuoso performance

Russell Coutts and Artemis win coastal races at the TP 52's Regata Breitling Iles Balears

Sunday July 22nd 2007, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: none selected
Following a virtuoso performance from skipper Russell Coutts, Torbjorn Torqvist's Artemis scored maximum points from today's 33.7 miles coastal race which spanned the Bay of Palma and provided a comprehensive test on all points of sail.

Artemis' finished three minutes and 11 seconds ahead of Peter de Ridder's Valle Romano Mean Machine and closed the gap on Regata Breitling Iles Balears leader Caixa Galicia to seven points. Vicente Tirado's Caixa Galicia came away today with a fifth and fourth, which tactician John Kostecki acknowledged could have been worse, but it sets up the prospect of an exciting final showdown tomorrow when two windward-leeward races are scheduled.

But the biggest loss today proved later to be that for Valle Romano Mean Machine who fell victims to the Coastal Race's double jeopardy penalty. A visit to the protest room was the result of an incident with Balearia at the first windward mark and De Ridder's team were consequently scored disqualified from both parts of the race, suddenly being burdened by an additional 50 points, dropping them to a provisional 14th in the regatta. Having also assumed leadership of the Breitling MedCup series today, it proved a very costly protest.

Artemis showed a clear speed edge upwind on the first beat, and while - as Valle Romano Mean Machine's Tom Dodson observed earlier - the black-hulled 2006 Judel-Vrolijk design bolted Mean Machine neatly off the pin end of the line and was one of the first to benefit from the persistent left shift, the newer Judel Vrolijk design did not have to be as extreme and started mid-line with a good, solid clear lane of undisturbed air and simply went faster.

It was the Swedish flagged Artemis, with owner Torqvist steering throughout the race - which led Valle Romano Mean Machine around the windward mark by 11 seconds on the short windward-leeward circuit. This loop was followed by a long, tight Code sails reach westwards across the bay to round the Isle de Sech.

In 9-11 knots of mainly southerly breeze a broader, the return starboard tack gennaker reach became a run as the first leeward mark was approached off the San Juan de Dios before a one-sided, windward leg. The breeze faded slightly as the afternoon wore on and the final shorter windward leg was more tactical, leading into a long, final code sails fetch to the finish just off the entrance to the Marina Portals.

The strength of the Artemis sail programme directed by Ross Halcrow and the Judel-Vrolijk design was perhaps most envied on the long westwards reach when they opened distance on Mean Machine.

Caixa Galicia made a modest start but fought hard throughout. "Considering how badly we sailed I have to pretty happy," commented Caixa Galicia's tactician John Kostecki. "We had to a back down with a minute to go before the start because we had a big bit of plastic on the keel, so we had a really bad start. But we recovered pretty good but we had a few tactical and a few crewing problems that could have gone better. It doesn't feel like we sailed well enough to get a fifth and a sixth (elevated subsequently to fifth and fourth), and come out still ahead.

Chris Hosking, Artemis Boat Captain reported on their race: "We had a really good first beat. It is so important to get the off the start line well and we did, with a clean lane and the opportunity to tack if we wanted to. We did not want to be dictated to and so we started mid line, really clean, with good speed and good height. The boat is going really well. I think the boat is going well upwind, Torbjorn is doing a really good job steering the boat, Russell is the best in the business and we have a good sail programme going with Ross Halcrow. We have pretty standard set up in that long port leg to the island, just a Code Zero and a genoa staysail. We did notice that Mean Machine had a more reaching orientated Code Zero high clew, deeper sail, and for sure we extended on them on that leg."

There was drama for the crew of Cam, Fernando Leon and Kiki Sanchez's Botin & Carkeek design, when their port side pushpit support gave way causing the lifelines to slacken early on the first long port tack reach. They had to quickly roll away the Code Zero and turn back to rescue their seven crew who fell into the water. Lying seventh, they lost more than ten minutes in the manoeuvring and, although they finished 17th then 14th, two crew have been taken to hospital for X-rays on rib injuries.

Valle Romano Mean Machine's misfortune elevates Doug de Vos' Windquest to score a pair of sixth places today giving them third place overall going into the final day.


Pos Boat Nat R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 Tot
W/L Coastal
1 CxG Corporación CaixaGalicia   ESP   1 1 4 1 4 5 4 20
2 Artemis  SWE  13 2 7 2 1 1 1 27
3 WINDQUEST  USA  12 5 9 3 10 6 6 51
4 SIEMENS  A/E  8 3 16 14 11 2 2 56
5 Patches  IRE  2 4 3 9 22 12 8 60
6 BRIBON  ESP  14 8 22 5 5 4 3 61
7 Stay Calm  GBR  9 16 10 6 9 9 7 66
8 PLATOON  GER  3 7 19 20 3 10 9 71
9 ONO  ESP  4 14 8 13 17 8 10 74
10 BALEARIA  ESP  11 22 6  25 DSQ  6 3 5 78
11 CAM, Caja Mediterráneo  ESP  15 11 2 10 13 15 12 78
12 ANONIMO Q8  ITA  10 13 15 17 2 11 11 79
13 Valle Romano - Mean Machine  MON  7 6 1 4 12  25 DSQ   25 DSQ  80
14 Glory  USA  20 9 12 15 8 13 16 93
15 Cristabella  GBR  6 12 17 8 23 14 14 94
16 Mutua Madrileña  ESP  5 15 11 7 7  25 DSQ   25 DSQ  95
17 Bigamist 6  POR  18 17 18 19 19 7 13 111
18 Bambakou  USA  19 18 20 12 15 16 15 115
19 RUSAL - Synergy  RUS  22  25 DSQ  5 11 14 21 17 115
20 FRAM XVI  NOR  16 10 14 16 20 20 22 118
21 Tau ceramica-Andalucia  ESP  21 21 13 21 18 18 18 130
22 AIFOS  ESP  17 19 21 23 21 19 20 140
23 C-Quadrat - ASTRO  AUS  24 23 24 18 16 17 19 141
24 VALARS  RUS  23 20 23 22 24 22 21 155

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