Iberdrola power to early lead in Soto 40, consistent Audi Azurra Sailing Team lead TP52's

Cascais revealed perfect racing conditions for the debut of the Soto 40 class in Europe delivering 14-20 knots of NW’ly winds, bright sunshine and a moderate swell rolling in from the Atlantic. Just as the weather and sea state were to order for the exciting one new design fleet, so too they were equally ideal for the second day of racing for the TP52’s.
Spain’s Iberdrola Sailing Team fulfilled expectations that the European team who have had their boat longest and trained hardest might prevail, but even though they lead at each mark and won back-to-back races, they were never out of reach and the two Portuguese teams which have only had their boats for a matter of days both had second places and were certainly in contention. In the 52 Series it was again consistency rather than brilliance which won the day, this time the pair of second places for Audi Azzurra Sailing Team was enough to scale the leaderboard to top the seven boat fleet, one point ahead of Germany’s Container. Over four races there have now been four different winners, as first Bribon and then Quantum Racing both proved the virtue of sharp starting and being able to gain early control of the right, inshore side of the opening beat. 
Both times the winners were able to extend to win comprehensively in the fresh breezes which presented some brilliantly exciting downwind sailing.
Quantum Racing’s win in the second race was momentarily in jeopardy when two of their ultra-faired stanchions snapped, almost plunging their crew into the water. Had that happened their 250 metres lead would have very quickly disappeared.
But the crew clung to each other, stayed out of the sea, and the world champions’ first win of 2011 elevates them to third, two points off the lead and one point behind Markus Wieser and the crew of overnight leaders Container (GER).
 
In the first race, helm Gonzalez Aurajo (ESP) in concert with tactician Ross MacDonald (CAN) did a smart job of winning the committee-boat, right hand end of the start line and they were able to peel away to the right early, capitalising quickly to lead around the windward mark by 19 seconds ahead of Jochen Schuemann’s Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE.
Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA) were not so good off the line but worked their way up from fifth at the windward mark with a good first run and second beat to take second with Russia’s Synergy Sailing Team in third. 
With the breeze stiffening for the second race Quantum Racing won the start cleanly and were also able to dictate terms to the chasing pack before the first windward mark, new skipper-helm Ed Baird (USA) collecting his first Audi MedCup winning gun.
In the Soto 40 fleet second places were shared equally between the home Portuguese crews as Bigamist finished behind Iberdrola in the first race and Francesco Lobato’s team on XXII Portuguese Sailing Team secured second in the second contest despite finishing with a rip in the lower sections of their gennaker.
Boat handling was key in the Sotos, acknowledged Iberdrola’s skipper helm Jose Maria ‘Pichu’ Torcida, not least gybing the very large gennaker without a pedestal grinder.
The Spanish crew were always slicker than their opposition, but in raw boat speed terms the Soto 40 fleet looks to start on the same page, offering a huge amount of excitement and intensive sailing for a more modest budget.

Cascais Trophy TP52 Series Day 21. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+1+2+2= 10 points
2. Container (GER), 2+2+4+3 = 11 points
3. Quantum Racing (USA), 3+3+5+1= 12 points
4. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 1+6+3+4= 14 points
5. Bribón (ESP), 4+7+1+6= 18 points
6. Ràn (SWE), 6+4+6+5= 21 points
7. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (EUR), 7+5+7+7= 26 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), DNC+DNC+DNC+DNC=36 points

SOTO 40 Series Day 11. Iberdrola Team (ESP), 1+1=2
2. XXII Portuguese Sailing Team (POR), 3+2=5
3. Bigamist (POR), 2+4=6
4. Patagonia (ARG), 4+3=7
5. Ngoni (GBR), 5+5=10













Iberdrola power to early lead in Soto 40, consistent Audi Azurra Sailing Team lead TP52's Iberdrola power to early lead in Soto 40, consistent Audi Azurra Sailing Team lead TP52's Reviewed by Panos Douros on Thursday, May 19, 2011 Rating: 5

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