The void left after the 33rd America’s Cup is still to be filled. The new Defender, BMW ORACLE are talking with teams and planning the beginnings of a strategy, but in the meantime, teams with America’s Cup pretentions have the Louis Vuitton Series and the Audi Med Cup to keep their teams together as a competitive unit.
The Audi Med Cup 2010 starts in two months time with the the first regatta; the Portugal Trophy. Activity throughout the TP52 fleet has been building up progressively over recent months.
Small changes to the TP52 Class Box Rule mean that all of the teams which plan to compete at this season’s five Audi MedCup Circuit regattas or the TP52 World Championships in October are required to have made the prescribed modifications to their existing boats: adding 150kgs of weight to the keel to compensate for the reduction in crew weight, moving to a ‘square-top’ mainsail with twin backstays and increasing spinnaker area and adopting bowsprits.
Organisers expect 10 to 13 boats in the TP52 class and five or six in the GP42 class including the new Juan Kouyoumdjian designed boat for TEAMORIGIN nearing completion at Salthouse Boats in Auckland.
Mike Sanderson, CEO of TeamOrigin said:
“The schedule was always going to be tight but we are on time. The boat is due to leave New Zealand in the middle of March. We have it booked on a fruit ship which means it is pretty reliable because if it gets late then the fruit goes rotten.”
Current Audi MedCup champions Emirates Team New Zealand completed their modifications in-house and have been trial sailing the new configuration on the waters off Auckland in excellent conditions. Otherwise, explains CEO Grant Dalton, the only change to their winning set up is the new paint job. They will sail with exactly the same core sailing team, with the exception of the reduced crew number.
2008 Audi MedCup champions Quantum Racing, who finished overall runners-up are believed to have taken the opportunity to update their deck profile and have made a bigger winter refit. Torbjorn Tornqvist’s 2007 champions Artemis, third overall in 2009 have a busy sailing season planned and will be back to challenge hard. Alberto Roemmers’ team of Matador start training on March 19th as a build up to the Palma Vela regatta, where up to five teams will race including Artemis, Cristabella Matador and Synergy are expected to take part.
Home hopes for the opening regatta will be with Pedro Mendonça’s Bigamist who have been winter training hard off their native Cascais. Their prolonged training together was the foundations for a very successful 2009, and so on their own local waters, the Portuguese team have a good chance of starting the 2010 Audi MedCup season on a high note.
Finally, the circuit remember the fans…
An official statement from the series says:
“The new season starting in two months will not just add new teams, rules and venues, but a new effort in popularising both the Audi MedCup Circuit and the sport of sailing.”
Fernando Iñigo, Audi MedCup Circuit and World Sailing Management Marketing Director, explains:
“We are working on consolidating the TV successes we achieved in 2009, including important innovations that we will reveal soon which will revolutionise the way we communicate the sport of sailing. Apart from that, we are designing a new and more ambitious public area in order to keep on evolving our goal of making the Audi MedCup Circuit more popular. In that sense, the two new venues, Barcelona and Cascais, are key”.