GC32 MAR MENOR CUP
A chilly start to the penultimate day of the GC32 Mar Menor Cup after Spain’s Costa Calida experienced an overnight deluge, turned into a perfect day with the full schedule of five races held. The wind remained 13-15 knots, slowly veering into the north and the sun eventually came out to warm competitors and the large weekend spectator fleet that had gathered outside of the race course’s safety perimeter.
The GC32 Racing Tour leader, Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi which began today with a two point lead, got off to a difficult start. However compatriot Christian Zuerrer and his talent-laden crew on Black Star Sailing Team in second, also found today’s initial races tough.
On the ascent in their place was the young Danish team, Team Rockwool Racing and the recently crowned GC32 World Champions, Red Bull Sailing Team, skippered by double Olympic Tornado champion Roman Hagara. With reaching starts throughout the day, some last minute high speed repositioning got the Austrian team off to the best start but the Danes chose the time to gybe well and led onto the upwind. Red Bull eventually reclaimed the lead on the second upwind, only for Rockwool to relieve her of this coming into the top mark with starboard rights, thereby scoring her first bullet of the event.“That race was the windiest and we could two-sail downwind. We sailed pretty fast and clean,” explained Team Rockwool Racing skipper Nicolai Sehested. “We could have won more races today but we made some painful mistakes, making the wrong calls. That is something we can improve upon.” In particular in the third race, the Danes were forced to give Erik Maris’ Zoulou room at the final mark which in a matter of seconds dropped them from third to last.
In today’s second and third races, Red Bull Sailing Team prevailed. In the first the start was again the ‘Rockwool and Red Bull’ show, with Rockwool leading on to the run but Red Bull using the power of the right to get ahead coming into the subsequent top mark and holding her lead from then on.
Alinghi may be in a strong position going into the final day, but after losing September’s GC32 World Championship on the last upwind of the last race, they know not to ease off the gas.