Dominique Strauss-Kahn not 'a drooling dog', claims porn star

An Italian porn star named Natasha Kiss has claimed that she had sex with Dominique Strauss-Kahn but insists that he behaved like a gentleman, not "a drooling dog".

Miss Kiss, whose real name is Michelle Conti, claims to have met the former head of the International Monetary Fund on several occasions in a private club in Paris four or five years ago.

She said she decided to speak out in his defence because he was being treated "worse than an assassin" over allegations that he tried to rape a chamber maid in a New York City hotel.

Miss Kiss, the star of numerous pornographic films, said she nicknamed the French economist "Genghis Khan", without explaining why.

She claimed that he had sexual relations with her and a second woman and that he came to the unnamed nightclub three or four times.

She watched him approach several other women at the club but said he was rebuffed.


Green Revolution in Cascais: Quantum Racing and Iberdrola Team win the Cascais Trophy

A new chapter of their green revolution was completed on the fierce blue waters of the Atlantic off Cascais, Portugal when Quantum Racing and Iberdrola won the Cascais Trophy for the TP52 and the Soto 40 series respectively, the opening event of the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit.

Green flashed hulls and sails are not the only common theme which the winning crews have in common.

Both successful programmes roll forwards from a previous iteration. For Quantum Racing (USA), who won five races from nine starts, it is the first victory in the class for the America’s Cup winner Ed Baird (USA) and for a brand new Botin Partners designed boat which is a successor to their 2008 circuit winner, while for Iberdrola Team (ESP) who win the first ever Soto 40 regatta in Europe – their success takes up the reins from previous campaigns at America’s Cup, TP52 and GP42 circuits.

Quantum Racing came into the regatta well behind their desired schedule but were soon able to reveal excellent upwind speed in the brisk winds which prevailed through the nine races, a strong foundation on which to build success on the windward-leeward track which more often than not favoured one side of the courses and also in the high points value 38 miles coastal race in which they finished second.

Though they made several crew changes since last season, continuity at the back of the Quantum Racing line up was ensured with world championship winners Kevin Hall (USA), navigator, Ado Stead (GBR), tactician and mainsail trimmer Skip Baxter (NZL) able to give valuable support to Baird, whose confidence grew noticeably through the regatta.

They finished with two wins Sunday, again proving solid in the strong NW’ly winds.

In the first race of the day Quantum Racing were quickly able to dominate on the right side of the upwind getting around the WW1 mark with a tiny lead over Markus Wieser (GER) and the crew of Container (GER)
The German flagged crew made the better set and gained more wind pressure offshore, to the right side of the downwind but Quantum Racing were able to take the preferred inshore, right buoy which allowed them to get back to the right again and lead to the finish.

Second place for Container kept them in the hunt in their tussle for second with Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA) who were compromised by snaring a fishing buoy and line which slowed them on the first upwind, while Ràn (SWE) took third.

The final race of the regatta was something close to a repeat performance by Quantum Racing who, having clinched the regatta title, were able to start conservatively and use their upwind edge in the 19-24kts breeze to be able to earn that favoured berth again and lead from first mark to the finish. If they were under pressure from Audi Azzurra Sailing Team it evaporated when the Italian team were forced to leave their kite in the water when the take-down line tangled, leaving them with the spinnaker dragging alongside them.

From second Audi Azzurra Sailing Team dropped places but fought back to a spirited fourth. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, winners of the first race of the regatta and the season took a well earned second behind their sister-ship with which they shares an identical sail programme and a lot of performance intelligence.

While Audi Azzurra Sailing Team could not make their promising starts stick, so Container were able to finish their first Audi MedCup Circuit regatta with a fifth place, just enough to give second overall, by one point from Audi Azzurra Sailing Team.

Ed Baird, winning skipper helm said: “The guys have done a great job figuring out how to make this boat go and obviously it worked out pretty nicely. We have a lot to talk about now and find a way to sail faster, there are plenty of things to do before the next event. We don´t know how the boat is going to act in light weather conditions, we haven’t experienced them and we don´t know how the rest of the boats are going to sail in such conditions, we´ll have to learn how to handle the boat as quick as we can. When it´s windy like that you have to be in the hunt at the first top mark, you have to be going fast down there, the other boats showed over and over again that of you got tangled up with other boats downwind, someone is going to come down from behind. It´s important to find that lane Adrian and Kevin Hall did great guiding us in the racecourse, gave us great confidence and it worked out great”.

Consistency was the watchword in the Soto 40 fleet where the British boat Ngoni of Tony Buckingham scored their first win of the regatta when they comfortably lead Iberdrola across the finish line of the first race, while in the second – with the regatta win already secured it was Iberdrola which proved supreme in the strong winds and big downwind conditions.

“The truth is that we sailed great,” smiled Iberdrola’s skipper helm Jose Maria Torcida, “The conditions have been good and pretty similar every day, with lots of wind. We sailed well downwind , reaching peak speeds of 20-22 knots, which was absolutely sensational. The crew´s work has been outstanding, I think that it was due to the training that we did before the competition started.”

“The conditions have been perfect, it´s a perfect spot for sailing, no wonder so many great sailors have come out of here. It really is a spectacular place”.

Cascais has proven consistently windy, with the reliable NW’ly Portuguese trade winds regularly building to more than 20 kts, peaking at 22-24 kts for the second race today - to offer fabulous sailing conditions for both classes, once again enhancing its reputation as a premier venue in Europe.

Cascais Trophy

52 Series

Final results

1.Quantum Racing (USA), 3+3+5+1+1+1+3+1+1= 19 points
2. Container (GER), 2+2+4+3+3+3+7,5+2+5= 31,5 points
3. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+1+2+2+6+2+4,5+6+4= 32,5 points
4. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 1+6+3+4+4+6+6+5+2= 37 points
5. Ràn (SUE), 6+4+6+5+7+5+1,5+3+3= 40,5 points
6. Bribón (ESP), 4+7+1+6+2+7+10,5+4+6= 47,5 points
7. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (EUR), 7+5+7+7+5+4+9+7+7= 58 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), 9DNC+9DNC+9DNC+9DNC+9DNC+9DNC+13,5 DNC+9DNC+9DNC=85,5 points

Owner driver trophy: RÀN

40 Series

Final results
1.Iberdrola Team (ESP), 1+1+2+2+3+1+2+1=13
2.XXII Portuguese Sailing Team (POR), 3+2+4+3+2+2+4+3=23
3.Bigamist (POR), 2+4+3+1+1+5+3+6 DNF=25
4.Patagonia (ARG), 4+3+1+4+5+4+5+2=28
5.Ngoni (GBR), 5+5+5+6DNF+4+3+1+4=33

Owner driver trophy: Patagonia


Ed Baird (USA), skipper, Quantum Racing (USA):

”It was a very exciting week of racing, terrific, I never imagined that these boats could be that exciting going downwind. The guys have done a great job figuring out how to make this boat go and obviously it worked out pretty nicely. We have a lot to talk about now and find a way to sail faster, there are plenty of things to do before the next event. We don´t know how the boat is going to act in light weather conditions, we haven’t experienced them and we don´t know how the rest of the boats are going to sail in such conditions, we´ll have to learn how to handle the boat as quick as we can. When it´s windy like that you have to be in the hunt at the first top mark, you have to be going fast down there, the other boats showed over and over again that of you got tangled up with other boats downwind, someone is going to come down from behind. It´s important to find that lane Adrian and Kevin Hall did great guiding us in the racecourse, gave us great confidence and it worked out great”

Adrian Stead (GBR), tactician, Quantum Racing (USA):

“It was a fantastic event for us, phenomenal, we are very pleased with how things have been going so far. At the beginning of the week our goal was to stay in touch because we were a little behind in our preparation. We´ve learned every day, improved our sailing and found the chemistry that made the team work very well. Technically, we´ve been trying to work in every area of the boat, in our communication, trying to understand everything that´s happening out there in the water, with the current, with the breeze… I think that we made the best we could out of the wind. We sailed quite well upwind, it´s very easy to not be in the front row at the top mark, in this fleet you need every inch and we maximized that”.

José María Torcida (ESP), skipper, Iberdrola Team (ESP):

“The truth is that we sailed great, the conditions have been good and pretty similar every day, with lots of wind. We started well in the first race but went a bit to the left, after that the current didn´t let us be upfront at the top mark. We had to recover and later, after the leeward gate, we were already second. We almost reached Bigamist but couldn´t do it at the end. In the second race we had a problem at the starting line, we rushed and had to slow down, so it was hard to speed up again. We sailed well downwind , reaching peaks of 20-22 knots, which was sensational. The crew´s work has been outstanding, I think that it was due to the training that we did before the competition started. The conditions have been perfect, it´s a perfect spot for sailing, no wonder so many great sailors have come out of here. It´s a spectacular place”.

Vasco Vascotto (ITA), skipper, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA):

“We sailed poorly, and with this fleet, if you make mistakes you pay. Now we have to rest a bit in order to be in the best possible shape in Marseille, that´s the key for us now. The result is not bad, but we leave with a bittersweet feeling. We got tangled up with a fisherman´s buoy in the first race, but we were behind and the result would´ve been the same if we didn´t. In the second one, we had a bit of bad luck, because the gennaker´s bag got tangled up in the spinnaker´s retriever system and we couldn´t bring down the gennaker downwind. We have to congratulate Quantum Racing, next time we´ll try to be stronger”.

Marc Lagesse (SOU), navigator, Container (GER):

“It´s been a very tricky venue and the rest of the boats are all tough, but we delivered. The level´s so high that we could easily be last at the next regatta. We are very happy with how the boat sails in strong wind. Consistency´s been the key for us. We didn´t want to start very aggressively and we sailed in a conservative way, staying with the fleet. We didn´t win a race, most teams did and we still got a second place, so we are very happy”.


Ran's marathon win, Iberdrola lead Soto 40s

While Niklas and Catherine Zennstrom and the crew of Ràn, newcomers to the Audi MedCup Circuit this season, scored their first win from today’s 38.5 miles coastal race which carries the 1.5 points bounty, second place for Quantum Racing ensures the TP52 world champions enter the final day of the Cascais Trophy with a lead of 5.5pts over Audi Azzurra Sailing Team.

And as the 40 Series fleet approach their final day of their first regatta in Europe a win in the close, exacting second race which was contested closer inshore, over a shorter more tactical course, keeps the Spanish crew of Iberdrola Team in the driving seat with a lead of six points after six of eight planned races.

Zennstrom’s crew with Gavin Brady calling tactics and Steve Hayles as navigator, sailed an impeccable, relatively trouble free race, leading at every mark of the track which took the fleet out to Cabo Raso to the west of Cascais – where the winds peaked at 22kts – down river towards Lisbon where the breeze dropped to a much more gentle 12kts with a strong current to contend with.

While their success was in the simplicity of their clean sailing, keeping out of trouble ahead of the chasing pack, comebacks of different magnitudes were required for second placed Quantum Racing and third placed Audi Azzurra Sailing Team.

For Quantum Racing that was fighting back from being slightly out of phase when the pressure proved to be offshore, to the left of the first short beat, but for Vasco Vascotto, Francesco Bruni and the crew of Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, fouling Synergy Sailing Team on the long beat to Cabo Raso – not completing their tack in time – required a penalty which meant they rounded the most westerly turn of the course in last place with a deficit of 1 minute and 34 seconds.

But to their credit, according to Vascotto they stuck to the game plan, worked furthest offshore on the long run back, picking up some stunning surfs in the brisk conditions, to pass the mid-race mark in fourth, just 16 seconds off third placed Synergy Russian Sailing Team. Their atonement was completed when they overhauled the Russians on the penultimate leg.

And while America’s Cup winning helm Ed Baird and the Quantum Racing crew did their best to bounce the Italian flagged boat right and offer Synergy an opening, this ensuring a one boat buffer between them and their nearest rivals for the overall, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team kept their cool and, as Vascotto put it later, are ‘still alive’.

While the top four were those who kept their attack on the rails in the stiff conditions, the so-far consistent Container ripped their preferred heavy airs downwind spinnaker from luff to leech and were relegated to today’s second division as a consequence, so too Bríbon slumped back on this downwind handicapped also by a spinnaker tear.

“It was just great downwind sailing, I mean phenomenal downwind sailing!” smiled Adrian Stead, Quantum Racing’s tactician, “….just great fun, completely full on and it just adds to it, seeing kites blowing up around you, and people struggling.”

Race winner Zennstrom said: “ We handled the boat well and managed to stay away from them. We´ve made so many mistakes this week that it was time for us not to make any, and we almost achieved that goal. It was important to get our first win, it boosts our confidence. Now we can put our first Audi MedCup victory behind and try to get a few more in the future”.

Afonso Domingos, Inaki Castaner and the Bigamist crew won the first, boisterous Soto 40 race with a 50 seconds lead over their compatriots on XXII Portuguese Sailing Team, while the Spanish team finished third.

But the second heat of the day showed a different side of the adaptable Soto 40’s as they raced on their own laid course with a windward mark just off the Cascais Marina entrance. With the wind shifting and puffing up and down, blowing off the town, a thrilling five way tussle saw Iberdrola prevail, holding a slender lead over XXII, while Tony Buckingham’s Ngoni (GBR) stole a third place on the final beat.

Niklas Zennström (SWE), skipper, RÀN (SWE):

“We are very pleased because we´ve had very bad days before. We took a good breath yesterday, we went back to basics and it helped us to get our confident back. It was a nice race, we wanted to have a good start and we did. We sailed very well upwind and going downwind was also a lot of fun, but at the second mark Quantum nearly got to us. We handled the boat well and managed to stay away from them. We´ve made so many mistakes this week that it was time for us not to make any, and we almost achieved that goal. It was important to get our first win, it boosts our confidence. Now we can put our first Audi MedCup victory behind and try to get a few more in the future”.

Afonso Domingos (POR), skipper, Bigamist (POR):

“The first race was great, with great conditions as usual in Cascais, lots of wind and big waves… Just after the start we gained speed and after a while being second we managed to lead the race. We´ve gone great upwind, which helped us stay on top for so long. The tactic job by Hugo Rocha has helped us a lot; we saw that Iberdrola was getting closer, but kept sailing well and got a victory. The second one didn´t go well, we were in a tight pack and we couldn´t sail the way we should´ve had”.

Kevin Hall (USA), navigator, Quantum Racing (USA):

“We are really pleased with the result, started a little back from the line but got a really nice stretch later on that put us back in the fight. Going downwind was a lot of fun, but it got kind of tricky at the end with the current. After that it was a nice trip up and down the river. We almost reached RÀN at the bottom but they did a really nice job. The boat is going very well, we have a great crew and the sails are doing fine. We were trying to stay put of trouble and stay in the hunt.”

Pichu’ Torcida (ESP), skipper, Iberdrola Team (ESP):

“We almost started out of line at the first race, we missed a position and struggled against XXII, who forced us for the rest of the race. We beat them later with a leeward tack and almost caught Bigamist. After that we went fine downwind and chose the right mark, but upwind Bigamist made us go right and we got stuck. We had to recover again and managed to finish third. We started great in the second race by the pin, in the favored side, and we rounded the top mark leading although we had a problem with the spinnaker, a knot, that we finally solved. The critical moment came at the leeward gate, because XXII protested, but we didn´t break any rules, we left enough space and the committee showed the green flag. Then we sailed well but it was quite difficult since the boats were on both sides and we had a difficult task covering them. It was thrilling”.

Cascais Trophy

52 Series overall standings after 7 races
1-Quantum (USA) 3+3+5+1+1+1+3 = 17 points
2-Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA) 5+1+2+2+6+2+4,5 = 22,5 points
3-Container (GER) 2+2+4+3+3+3+7,5 = 24,5 points
4-Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS) 1+6+3+4+4+6+6 = 30 points
5-Ràn (SUE) 6+4+6+5+7+5+1,5 = 34,5 points
6-Bribon (ESP) 4+7+1+6+2+7+10,5 = 37,5 points
7-Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One (EUR) 7+5+7+7+5+4+9 = 44 points
8-Gladiator (GBR) DNC+DNC+DNC+DNC+DNC+DNC+DNC = 67,5 points

40 Series overall standings after 6 races
1-Iberdrola (ESP) 1+1+2+2+3+1 = 10 points
2-Bigamist (POR) 2+4+3+1+1+5 = 16 points
3-XXII Portuguese Sailing Team (POR) 3+2+4+3+2+2 = 16 points
4-Patagonia (ARG) 4+3+1+4+5+4 = 21 points
5-Ngoni (GBR) 5+5+5+DNF+4+3 = 28 points


Coastal surprises?

The first coastal course of the season has the potential to be one of the most spectacular of the season as the Cascais Trophy, the first event of the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit takes the TP52 fleet up the River Tejo towards Lisbon.

Carrying a bounty of 1.5 points there is no room for early mistakes which too often prove difficult to come back from on the longer course. Course distance in total should be between 25 and 30 miles.

The forecast shows mainly NNW’ winds but the reality is there is likely to be more left hand wind out towards Cabo Raso and probably much more left hand in the River, so flexibility and anticipation are vital.

The course starts with the windward leeward loop with the windward mark set close to the entrance to the Marina of Cascais, so more east of the course area which has been used to date, and it will be much mores shifty and puffy as the TP52’s close the shore.

Then the pressure gradient will increase quickly on the downwind leg and so any early advantage is magnified. From there it is a close reach out to Cabo Raso, long broad reach/run out to a fixed offshore mark before a gybe to reach into the river.

The most easterly mark has a flexible position and so that is to say it will be more towards the spectacular 25 de Abril bridge, but the likely turns could be at Santa Maria de Belém as it was last year.

And from there the finish is back off the marina, an upwind from the original pin end mark. The wind range looks to be between as little as 5-6 kts in the river and up to 18 knots at the western turn.

In the TP52 Series fleet it is Quantum Racing who head out with a three points lead with Container second.

The Soto 40 Series race two more windward-leeward races with the second contest set to finish off the harbour entrance too.

Ed Baird (USA) skipper-helm Quantum Racing (USA): “For me it is a totally new concept and so I will just be listening very carefully to what the navigator and the tactician tell me to do. I will try to help think ahead a bit. But it will be interesting because the way the boat is set up it is not very easy to change jibs, it is not even that easy to change spinnakers, you really do have to be able to be flexible in each situation especially as you go up the river.

We have learned a lot abut the boat these past few days but we are far from knowing it as well as we would like to. We are just going to keep trying.”

The answer to our consistency lies in the fact that we are sailing in a conservative way, not taking many risks. The reason: our boat is not as fast upwind as Quantum´s or Audi Azzurra´s, but we usually manage to stay in a good position, so we catch up going downwind. It´s important to have a good, solid team. We have a reliable crew with great guys onboard, and that makes us feel very confident. The coastal race is always different. You have to be in a good position at the top mark because after that if you manage to stay ahead, chances are you´ll be in good shape at the end. We arrived here wanting to check and see how competitive and reliable our boat was and we are really happy. For me it´s the first Audi MedCup event, and so far I´ve learned a lot. As I say everyday, we have to go out there, minimize our mistakes and see what comes out of that”.

Marc Lagesse (SA), navigator, Container (GER):

“The forecast for today is basically the same as yesterday. For the coastal race the wind offshore will be very strong and inshore will definitely be lighter. We don´t really have a planned strategy; for the first part of the race any wind will do it, and once we start the coastal part of it we´ll play with what we´ve got, see what happens. It´s definitely an exciting course, going up the river with all the tides and the currents. It should be a very interesting day. We haven´t broken anything so far and all the systems are working. We are reliable because of our safe starts, after that we let the boat do the work. The other teams have had issues and we haven´t, but I´m sure that they are learning a lot about their boats and they´ll sail better. We have to take one regatta at a time, not think about the whole thing”.

Juan Luis Páez (ESP), navigator, Soto 40 Iberdrola Team (ESP):

“The weather´s going to be similar as yesterday´s, with strong winds blowing from the NW. We´ll have to do better than yesterday. We had a pretty bad start but we managed to finish second, we are quite happy about that. The start is one of the keys for a good race because it´s tough to recover if you don´t start well. If we avoid making mistakes like that, we´ll finish in the top three teams. If you finish among the best three teams at the end of the day you keep your chances of winning the trophy alive. It is just now that we are seeing the results of a well-planned pre-season, having a ready to go boat, and the hard work done by Agustín Zulueta, the owner, and Pablo Rosales, our Technical Director. These might be the keys that explain why we are a bit ahead of the rest”.

Firing up the green machines

Not for the first time on the Audi MedCup Circuit, and likely not for the last time this season the common hue of the leading teams is green, and the complexion of those who are chasing in pursuit might already be a similar shade.

In the 52 Series at the Cascais Trophy it is the newly launched green machine of Quantum Racing which today proved they are already well into in the straps for the season.

After winning the second race Thursday Ed Baird and crew extended their run to three successive wins from six starts, while their level of perfect symmetry, two wins today in robust conditions was not quite achieved in the Soto 40 series by the Iberdrola Team skippered by Jose Maria Torcida, but his team proved their powers of recovery when they took a pair of second places which ensures they retain their comfortable lead.

With winds which averaged more than 22 knots and gusted to 28 knots in the second race, the boisterous conditions took some crew closer to their early season limits, but the drama, such as it was, was confined to ill luck and the odd torn sail.

Early in the second race the Russian team on Synergy had their lifeline lashing which dumped three crew into the water, and on the first upwind of the first race Iberdrola compromised their prospects when they picked up a lobster pot and struggled to get free.

Otherwise there were a few modest broaches and some slightly dented egos, but all in all it was another memorable day of racing in conditions which further endorse Cascais’ reputation as the wind capital of Portugal.

Confidence on Quantum Racing is building:
“Today we get our best start yet this afternoon, we sailed our best downwind and we sailed our best upwind. We are pretty happy with where we are. We look back at where we were last Wednesday and I can see a big step forward, just confidence and time in the boat and my communication with Ed. (Baird, skipper helm),” explained Adrian Stead, Quantum Racing’s tactician, “ I feel very confident with what I have seen today, there are still gains to be made with each race we do.”

Second placed Container have retained a level of measured consistency from a very experienced crew who seemed rock solid in their boat handling today complemented by steady strategies from tactician Hamish Pepper. Their pair of third places today leaves Markus Wieser’s team three points behind Quantum Racing, while Italy’s Audi Azzurra Sailing Team bolstered an otherwise lacklustre first race sixth with a second place in the second race today to hold third, one point behind the debuting Germans.

The Golden Ticket
Though the first beats remain resolutely one sided – the favoured right closer to the cascais shore is the golden ticket – on the first upwind it was those who judged the first layline best who were able to chase Quantum Racing hardest. Ross MacDonald and Marcel Van Trieste were able to set Bribon helm Gonjalez Aurajo a target which they achieved with little to spare, but they were able to squeeze around the first buoy in second which they held to the finish.

And in the second race it was Ed Baird’s perfect timing at the committee boat end of the line, Quantum Racing’s best start of the season yet, which was the foundation on which to build their second win of the day. This time Bribon slightly undercooked their approach and were judged to have skiffed the mark.

A two turns penalty dumped them from challenging Container for second to a painful seventh place finish.

Patagonia, steered by class president Norberto Alvarez Vitale, with Nacho Postigo on tactics, guided the largely amateur crew to their first win in Europe when they were able to profit as Iberdrola’s unexpected catch halted them, while Bigamist took third.

Local Star class Olympian Afonso Domingos on mainsheet, Hugo Rocha on tactics and Spain’s Inaki Castaner form the backbone of the Bigamist team and they proved the depth of their talent when they won Race 4, the second of the day, in the strong winds, despite only having sailed the Soto 40 for a matter of five days so far.

Quantum Racing lead overall by three points into Saturday’s picturesque coastal race, which carries 1.5 points weighting, while the Soto 40’s are scheduled to race two more windward-leewards.

Cascais Trophy
52 Series
Day 3
1.Quantum Racing (USA), 3+3+5+1+1+1= 14 points
2. Container (GER), 2+2+4+3+3+3= 17 points
3.Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+1+2+2+6+2= 18 points
4. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 1+6+3+4+4+6= 24 points
5. Bribón (ESP), 4+7+1+6+2+7= 27 points
6. Ràn (SUE), 6+4+6+5+7+5= 33 points
 7. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (EUR), 7+5+7+7+5+4= 35 points
 8. Gladiator (GBR), 9DNC+9DNC+9DNC+9DNC+9DNC+9DNC=54 points

40 Series
Day 2
1.Iberdrola Team (ESP), 1+1+2+2=6
2.Bigamist (POR), 2+4+3+1=10
3.Patagonia (ARG), 4+3+1+4=12
4.XXII Portuguese Sailing Team (POR), 3+2+4+3=12
5.Ngoni (GBR), 5+5+5+6DNF=21

Ed Baird (USA), skipper, Quantum Racing (USA): “We are very happy with how the day went, for sure, the boat is performing very nicely in that breeze. We are starting to get along more comfortable with how the boat sails. We didn´t do anything different, we were trying to do the same things that we did yesterday. We didn´t want to get in trouble ourselves but find a clear area in which to sail upwind over the first leg.

But, look at how close the races are, we actually commented how small the leeward gate looks with all those boat squeezing in. Any mistake you make is going to cost you, we made some errors but luckily for us they were small and they didn´t hurt us with the rest of the teams”.

Adrian Stead (GBR) tactician Quantum Racing (USA): “It is a shame to lose some of the guys we did, but we did look carefully at the options who we bring in.

It has kind of complemented what we had already, because we have Ben Durham coming in from Luna Rossa, we have Louie (trimmer Grant Loretz) coming in from Team New Zealand and that has given us just a slightly different take on how things work. We have a bit more horsepower on the boat, playing with the weights a bit we took the opportunity to be sure that when we have four people on the handles we have a lot of kilograms of strength on the handles, so that has worked well. We definitely feel stronger, we have people on the boat in Joe Spooner and Louie who have won the Circuit already and they bring new ideas and it is good.”

“Ed Baird is building more and more confidence. He learns more every day and the last race showed that, that for me is great. He is understanding the boat more and more, and has the confidence to say if the boat feels too loaded, say, it is just experience of  driving the boat. He hasn’t done as much TP52 sailing as a lot of people and it is switching into a light weight boat, and here we are, today we get our best start yet this afternoon, we sailed our best downwind and we sailed our best upwind. We are pretty happy with where we are. We look back at where we were last Wednesday and I can see a big step forward, just confidence and time in the boat and my communication with Ed.

I feel very confident with what I have seen today, there are still gains to be made with each race we do.”

Rod Dawson (NZL), tactician Synergy (RUS): “In fact it was the lashing that broke, we had broken a stanchion yesterday but it was the lashing which went and three of us went in the water, including myself. We were picked up very quickly and were only in the water for a matter a a few minutes. According to the rule now we had to stop the boat and I think that is a good safety feature now. Everyone was OK it was just a mishap, but was a bit frustrating because we had made a good start and were in the mix.

Otherwise we are a bit disappointed because the boat is certainly fast and we are very happy with it, but we put the spinnaker under the bow earlier and the broken lifeline cost us, but we well get there. There are few things to sort out.”

Afonso Domingos (POR), skipper and mainsheet trimmer Bigamist (POR): “Great day for us, the crew has done a magnificent job in the first race. We started in the first place and we sailed well enough to keep that position until the end of the race. Our speed going upwind was not as good as we´d like it to be, the key for us is to sail in a more technical way, which is going to be really important if you want to be fisrt. Our first start of the day was bad and that left us with a third place”.

Guillermo Parada (ARG), skipper, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA):
“It wasn´t a great day for us. In the first race didn´t sail at the top of our capabilities, we made bad decisions and we paid in the long run. It was just a bad race. In the second one I sailed pretty badly upwind to start with, but we sailed better and we managed to finish second, which makes us feel better at the end of the day. It also keeps our chances alive facing the last two days of the competition. We have to analyze our mistakes, correct some things here and there, and keep on going”.


Attacking spirit from Figo, great wind forecast.

A quiet morning with the flags hanging limply around the race dock belies the prospects for the third day of racing at the Cascais Trophy where there are forecasts of breeze up to 25 knots from much the same direction as the first racing days.

Regular steady results are the target again for the top groups in both the TP52 and the Soto 40 Series, but in both fleets yesterday proved that only small mistakes, especially off the start line are enough to shape each race.

Quantum Racing, world champions and runners-up last season, are looking to carry on in the same mode they finished yesterday, winning the final race of the day:

“ I think the wind will come in a little sooner and a little stronger than yesterday. We haven’t made our luck so far on the left hand side coming down the run, but you could almost argue that it has been a little bit tough on us, certainly we are happy with the boat upwind and downwind I think we can refine a few things that we have talked about a lot. But yesterday the race committee did a great job keeping us on shore and we get out there we put the main up in no wind and then the wind was in, so, perfect.”

“There are some crew changes and so that has not been easy with different styles, and so the strategy today is just to stay in the hunt, and try to be still in the hunt at the end of the regatta.” Said Kevin Hall (USA), Quantum Racing’s navigator this morning.

“I think it will depend on where we go today, but if we are outside then we might see as much as 25 knots, and a bit less if we are inside. We are not so bothered, as long as there is wind,” comments Marc Lagesse (SA), navigator of second placed Container (GER).

The forecast for the day shows the wind building to 15-17knots from the NW but already with the temperatures rising then it seems likely there will be more wind than forecast.

In the Soto 40 fleet, after two wins, Iberdrola Team will be looking to keep their momentum intact as they go for Races 3 and 4, while the TP52’s head out for Races 5 and 6 and it does seem likely that racing will get away on time.

Any of the crews looking for attacking tips had the opportunity to meet one of Portugal’s golden generation of footballers Luis Figo this morning. One of the few players to have played for both Barcelona and then Real Madrid, Figo, who was capped 127 times for Portugal and was 2001 FIFA World Player of the year, loves the sea but this morning was the first time that he had taken the helm of a Soto 40 when he steered XXII Portuguese Sailing Team around the bay.

“Like most Portuguese I love the sea and like to be on the sea, but this is the first time I have been to an event like the Audi MedCup Circuit. The Audi MedCup Circuit is a very important event for all of the country because it keeps the country on the international map for sport. On board the sensation is very different to what you experience on other boats like you sail on holidays.” Said Figo who is godfather to XXII Portuguese Sailing Team, “I come to give spirit and support to the team.”

Juan Luis Páez (ESP), navigator, Iberdrola Team (ESP):“We are very happy with what we did yesterday, but we saw that we have to improve things upwind. We hope that things go as well as yesterday, we started great and that´s not easy. Once we started well, we managed to stay ahead of the rest of the boats and stretched from them. It seems that we will have great conditions again today, so we hope not to make mistakes handling the boat, something that went great yesterday. If we win again, it will not be easy, if we miss the shift it will be very hard to reach the other boats”.

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
52 Series

Day 2
1.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

40 Series
Day 1
1.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


José María ‘Pichu’ Torcida (ESP), skipper, Iberdrola Team (ESP): “We really can´t ask for more, we had two great starts and we sailed in the right sides. The key was going downwind, we knew that we couldn´t make any mistakes there. The first race had 18-20 knots and the second one 20-22, so it was key for us not to make mistakes at that speed, that´s why we got such a distance from the rest of the boats. It was easier for us to hold our advantage the second time sailing upwind. It´s a very close competition, we are a bit ahead of the rest handling the boat because we´ve had more practice, but we know that there´s good teams that will improve their performances in the next races. Today was a perfect way to start, a good wind, sunshine and waves. The key for us was in the manoeuvres and there was not much difference between the boats and the racing is close and quite tough. It was a good day for the team.

“ I think the manoeuvres and downwind speed, we were very comfortable with the boat.

For these type of boats which are very flat, very wide with big kites with twenty knots it was very exciting. We probably only had a couple of days training in these kind of conditions in Valencia, not quite as much wind.

It is difficult in the gybes because you don’t have a grinder, so we need a lot of coordination between the trimmers and the kite and with the helmsman because it is not difficult to lose the rudder.”

Vasco Vascotto (ITA), strategist, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA): “The difference between yesterday and today lies in the fact that we sailed a lot better, with a cooler head and a warm heart, a key combination to finish well. We have to keep going like we are so far, trying not to make mistakes like the ones we made in the first races. We have tofind a way to sail clean. We are not always going to be so lucky as we were today, and that means that we have to keep the same attitude that we´ve shown. We had currents, wind, waves… everything that you need to sail and have fun in the boat”.

Ed Baird (USA), skipper-helm, Quantum Racing (USA): “It was a lot of fun, the breeze was up. In the second race we had a little jump at the starting line, enough to sneak out in front of the group near the weather mark. The boys did a tremendous job at the first run. Somehow, we got a puff or two extra from the other guys and that was the end of the race. Perfect conditions for this kind of boats, they go great upwind and downwind. It was tons of fun”.

Adrian Stead (GBR) tactician Quantum Racing (USA): “It was a good result for us, a good result for Ed (Baird) and one to give the team some confidence. Really although we were quite early to launch the boat we have ended up behind where we wanted to be because of various different issues. It could have been worse for us when we lost the stanchions, we just managed to save things which was important, but we had a little in hand.”

Ignacio Triay (ESP), trimmer, Bribón (ESP): “We had a perfect start in the first race, it´s that simple. We got ahead of the fleet, and once you´re in that position, if you have enough speed, you stretch and stretch and you just keep going, it´s just a matter of not making mistakes handling your boat. In the second one we got trapped and they've pushed us out by the committee boat. That made us start in the last place and in the bad side. Even in that situation the boat had speed, so we managed to get close to the fleet and made a glorious first stretch downwind. We passed ALL4ONE and reached RÀN, but he missed a few more meters to pass them. We are happy with the boat´s speed, today we´ve shown that it´s a good start what counts. A bad one means a disaster”.


Soto 40's sunshine debut in Europe, Container lead the TP52's

Yesterday was the big day for the 52 Series fleet but today is an historic one for the Audi Med Cup Circuit and for the S40 fleet as they contemplate their first races as a class in Europe.

It looks like they have been blessed with potentially great conditions with predictions os 9-14 knots of N-NW’ly wind. As yesterday, racing will be round on the westerly, offshore Race Area 2.

In fact the variation between the navigators and weather experts seems to show some differences of opinions. Hugo Rocha, the Portuguese tactician on Bigamist in the Soto 40 fleet thinks there will be slightly less wind than forecast, Nacho Postigo tactician on Patagonia believes we might see 18-19kts.

If there were clear signs of nerves and stage fright in the TP52’s with some rash decisions, lacklustre starting and rusty crew work evident in that fleet, so today the focus will be on the Soto 40’s as they take centre stage. Iberdrola are tipped as the form team after launching their boat first in Europe and unrolling the most structured training programme from their base in Valencia.

According to their rivals, yesterday they were smoother and more refined in their crew work but certainly not unbeatable.

Five S40’s take to the start line. Local hopes rest with the two Portuguese boats, Pedro Menonca’s Bigamist and Frances Lobato and his team on XXII Portuguese Sailing Team.

Tony Buckingham’s Ngoni team (GBR) were ironing out some of their small kinks yesterday and are a successful, experienced team while the South American team on Patagonia have Audi MedCup Circuit technical director as tactician.

In the TP52 fleet it is very tight. Container (GER) will head out into the sunshine and brisk spring breezes with a two points lead, looking to maintain that same level of consistency into their second day on the Audi MedCup Circuit.

For both classes two races are scheduled today. This season the maximum number of eight races per regatta for the S40’s and nine for the TP52, a reduction which reflects the feedback of the crews who felt that three race days were too long. So for the TP52’s than means a maximum tally over the season of 45 races including one coastal race per regatta. Here in Cascais the coastal race will be Saturday.

Norberto Álvarez (ARG), skipper, Patagonia (ARG): “Clearly, there are great competitors here. We are worried because we came here with a 2010 set of sails, since the newest one is in Argentina, where we´ll race shortly. The boat is fast, we are testing a double-section mast that worked well yesterday. The competition here is huge and the organization is great, impeccable. We´ve been racing this boat for two and a half years, and almost eight in different Patagonia boats. The good thing about this boats is that there´s no secret to them, they are all One-Design. Yesterday we saw a close race, there are very good crews and I don´t think that we have any particular advantages over them. We are a bunch of friends who has been sailing together for a lot of years and we are going to compete against well-prepared professionals, so I´d say that the disadvantage is ours”.

Nacho Postigo (ESP), Patagonia (POR): “Yesterday was our first day as a fleet and the one thing which was immediately obvious was that we are all not so far from each other, we were all close. And I think we were all expecting there to be bigger differences in speed between us all. We were all racing together as a pack and that makes a big difference when you compare that to the GP42 racing of last year where there were three generations of boat racing together and so in some conditions there were some which were really quick. In other conditions there were two which were really quick, but here we were all pretty much at the same speed. It is relatively straightforward to get the boats up to speed and then it is small increments, there is no changing keels or having to work hard on the boat between regattas. These are the virtues of a one design.

And then it is very challenging for me personally, coming from the TP52, where there is a coffee grinder, gybing the big gennaker with four pairs of hands was not easy, it was challenging but it is the same challenge for every one. But of course it is the same challenge for everyone.

They are physical boats and very technical in little details: so for example if the helmsman changes direction too quickly, too quickly that screws up the whole manoeuvre, so teamwork is very, very important.

It is a very, very exciting today. There has been so much talk through the winter and a lot of passion about the class, and so we are really looking forward to starting today and seeing the class grow in Europe. It is an important moment.

Gaining numbers will be important. I think we are on the right path already. There is a lot of interest, potential owners are now starting to see the boats in magazines and on TV, and they are asking for more and more information. And I think that by the end of the year we will be seeing a good increase in numbers and for sure double figures for next year. I am tactician now on Patagonia. It is not an easy place to take on this role.

Normally the better tactician you are the better navigator you are because the more you can preview what the tactician is going to want then the better it is. You give the information before it is asked for. But the navigator does not make the decisions. Now, all the decisions are taking by me, which is a nice challenge.

Yesterday Iberdrola were very consistent on each start and upwind everyone was very similar in speed, and downwind we were similar but they had practised a lot more, especially gybing, downwind and mark roundings and each time they are gaining half a boat length, half a boat length, and by the end that is ten boat lengths. I expect them to be leading or be top two or three for sure.

We should see a little delay today but 12-19 kts of wind.”

Juan Luis Páez (ESP), navigator, Iberdrola Team (ESP): “We face the first race a bit worried just because it´s the debut. We don´t know how are we going to react in competition but we know that we have gone through a good solid preseason. We have a feeling of uncertainty even when we know that we are the team that has spent more time with the boat. Yesterday we saw that it will be a close fight and that it will be hard to win. We can´t determine yet if we will be sailing better with strong or light winds, but I think that we´ll do better with constant wind and not a lot of pressure changes. We might be seen as a top candidate to win the race, but the fact is that all boats are the same. Yesterday we won a very tight race. The moment you make a mistake, you might drop back to the fourth, fifth or last position”.

Hugo Rochas (POR) tactician Bigamist (POR): “My forecast for today is a little less wind. I think they are nice boats which are big in South America. In Europe I think they will grow well for next season.

The boats are great to sail. Upwind it is normal, easy and downwind when you gybe it is more physical with no pedestal, so it is harder for the crew. For the manouvers it is not easy.

Yesterday we did not get a good start and improved in the second upwind, finishing second.

Iberdrola is a very good team so we will have to see what we can do against them. And I don’t think there is any special advantage for us being in Cascais on our home waters.”

Francisco Lobato (POR), skipper, XXII Portuguese Sailing Team (POR):“The boat is quite fast and fun to sail. Anything but last is going to be very good for us, because we are learning how to handle the boat. This is the first time that we sail as a team together. Iberdrola are quite good and Bigamist is also a good team. The rest of the teams have experience with the boat, but we don´t have that. We´ll do better with less wind, because we´ll be vulnerable handling the boat with strong winds. We are confident because we sail at home, we know the race course and we know what can happen.”

Kevin Sproul (GBR), tactician Ngoni (GBR)” “It will be very exciting and yesterday it was very exciting. It was very close and the downwinds were fast. They were really full on. I was trying to do the runners, pull the main across and look after the vang and I only managed one out of the three! The rig stayed up but we did spear it in.

The key is getting smooth, we were ragged yesterday as it was the first time we were really under pressure to get things done in a race. So we have to be smoother and refine the rig a bit more.

I had us go the wrong way on the downwind and so I think we have to focus on getting what is going on in the inside of the boat sorted out so I can get my head out and see what is going on. We missed a couple of downwind shifts – more pressure really – if there was pressure on the left then there was big difference with the rest of the course. That was a shame. We were right in there.

Our owner is not here but we are relatively sorted. Mark Lamy is steering and is used to it and has steered a lot on the Farr 40 and the Mills 40.

It is quite exciting because it is new boat and everyone has more than enough to do on it, more than one job to do. It is very exciting. We looked at it before an wondered if it really would do 16-18 knots downwind and we were quicker than that at times yesterday, it is really quick.

I think what differentiate this from say a Melges 32 is that it is a big dinghy and this is a proper keelboat upwind and a dinghy downwind, and at this size at 40 foot this is the way to go. For an owner this is big enough and relatively speaking very good budget wise.”


Container fill the top spot on their Audi MedCup Circuit debut.

It was one of the Audi MedCup Circuit’s TP52 debutants, Udo Schutz’s famous Container team from Germany, which proved the most consistent performer across the two races which opened the 2011 season at the Cascais Trophy in Portugal.

A pair of well earned second places, behind the Synergy Russian Sailing Team in the first heat and Italy’s Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, was enough to give Markus Wieser (GER) and crew a lead of two clear points after their first ever races as a crew in the fleet.

The Container team, with Hamish Pepper (NZL) calling tactics, built their pair of second places from solid, if not spectacular first beats and twice in consecutive races they got the better of the world champions, Quantum Racing on the final run to the finish.

The German backed crew made no big errors, and – crucially – were always taking places rather than going backwards in the tough fleet. Indeed it was Quantum Racing which managed to maintain the same consistency. Ed Baird (USA) and crew collected two third places to lie third on count back.

Racing in 13-18kts of mainly northerly breeze, with the windward-mark set just off Cabo Raso, to the west of Cascais, the wind carried the typical hallmarks which the Portuguese capital’s sailing centre has long been known for – big differences in wind pressure and shifts in direction- plenty for the tacticians and strategists to work with. And there was more than enough wind strength to punish any crewing errors.

The Russian team looked odds on to finish the day on top of the fleet after winning the first race comfortably with their brand new, from the wrapper, Botin Partners design, but their messy leeward gate rounding in the second race cost them dearly and their first race win was paired to a sixth.

And after a series of errors in the first race which resulted in an opening race fifth, an inspired gybe-set at the windward mark of the second race for Audi Azzurra Sailing Team turned a fifth place with a 40 seconds deficit to a race lead by 40 seconds at the leeward gate.

From there alchemists of the day, Francesco Bruni (ITA) and Vasco Vascotto (ITA), at the back of the boat did not put a foot wrong and they won comfortably with Container second.

But, as Vascotto acknowledged later, such opportunities to redeem themselves are not handed out often at this level.

“To be honest when we saw the wind was so far right then the decision was made for us, but when it was most right at the top mark there was nothing else to do. But, yes, we were a little surprised, not to say pleased, to gain so much. These things don’t happen every day and we really should not have been relying on things like that. We need to focus more and make fewer mistakes. Said Vascotto.

Markus Wieser paid tribute to the shore team which has worked relentlessly to ensure they made the start line on time, acknowledging that he has a lot to learn having only steered a TP52 for the first time last Monday:

“It was extraordinary for us. We were quite fast downwind and we sailed quite well. Our team is working very well together For me I only started driving the boat last Monday, so I have a lot to learn, it all comes down to the team and if it all comes good then you look good as a helmsman. And I have to pay tribute to the owner who gave me a free hand to sail with the guys I want to sail with. Consistency is about keeping out of trouble, sailing your own race and get the breaks when you can take the them. But it is a long week and this is only the first day. For us, a new TP52 project it is great for us.”

“I am too old to be nervous, I enjoy it, there are more important things than sailing and so there was no pressure today.”
In the Soto 40 fleet it was Iberdrola Sailing Team (ESP) which proved their supremacy, gained through a solid training programme off their Valencia base, when they won the first practice race of the season. But it is only tomorrow, Thursday, that points racing begins for this exciting new class for the first time ever in Europe.

Cascais Trophy
52 Series

Day 1
1. Container (GER), 2+2 = 4 points
2. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 5+1= 6 points
3. Quantum Racing (USA), 3+3= 6 points
4. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), 1+6= 7 points
5. Ràn (SUE), 6+4= 10 points
6. Bribon (ESP), 4+7= 11 points
7. Audi Sailing Team Powered by All4One (EUR), 7+5= 12 points
8. Gladiator (GBR), DNC+DNC=18 points

40 Series
Practice Race
1. Iberdrola Sailing Team (ESP)
2. Bigamist (POR)
3. Ngoni (GBR)
5. Patagonia (ARG)

Markus Wieser (GER) skipper-helm Container (GER): “It was extraordinary for us. We were quite fast downwind and we sailed quite well. Our team is working very well together. It is the same core team that we sailed the STP65, the last Container, except for Hamish Pepper who I know very well and sailed with in the 1990’s on the match race.

But it all comes down to the shore team making the boat go very well to start with. Tome Swift is the boat captain who runs the shore team and is Mid-bow on the boat, and the sailmakers and our sail designer Sandro (Benigni), and Hartwell Jordan who is running all the sail coordination and the shore team and that leaves me free to just go sailing.

The starts are always important, we did not have the best starts but we played the shifts well, it was alright but most of the gains we made downwind on wind pressure. For me I only started driving the boat last Monday, so I have a lot to learn, it all comes down to the team and if it all comes good then you look good as a helmsman. And I have to pay tribute to the owner who gave me a free hand to sail with the guys I want to sail with.

Consistency is about keeping out of trouble, sailing your own race and get the breaks when you can take the them. But it is a long week and this is only the first day.

For us, a new TP52 project it is great for us.

“I am too old to be nervous, I enjoy it, there are more important things than sailing and so there was no pressure today.”

Ed Reynolds (USA) project manager and coach Quantum Racing (USA): “We are relatively satisfied. We were learning some things, a couple of downwind things which we are getting figured out, different modes, the angles of the kite downwind and so we are satisfied with the day. We were very close to having an outstanding day and ended up having a good day. Upwind we were really powerful. I don’t think the downwind calls were the difference. A little bit of the set up downwind, and that is some of the stuff which we did not have time to practice, so we have seen it now, we have seen our strengths and our weaknesses with each sail, that part. Overall though it was a good day after I was really nervous about today, I don’t mind saying.”

Rod Dawson (NZL), tactician, Synergy (RUS):
“It was good, our first competition since we put our boat in the water just last week. We are pretty happy with the boat, the boys did a pretty good job today. We had a good start in the first race which was key for us to win it. In the second race it was all going well in the first top and bottom marks, then we had trouble with the spinnaker, got a big chunk of it stuck around the rudder and we lost a lot of places as a result We have a lot of improving to do”.

Vasco Vascotto (ITA), strategist of Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA):
"Today we have payed very dearly for our mistakes, but we know that we can sail better, and we have demonstrated it in the second race. We had the opportunity to make a gybe set and this has been the key of the race. Starting from tomorrow, we will pay more attention, because you don't always have this opportunity, and in the Audi MedCup, in a moment you can pass from first to last."

Nikklas Zennstrom (SWE) owner-helm Ran (SWE):
“It was very frantic. You can do a lot of practice with a few boats but when you go racing and it is much tighter and much tougher and we made a few mistakes. And so we are glad that at least the first day is behind us. I was not so much nervous this morning, but we did have a bit of an issue just before the first start when there was an issue with pit winch was not working and so we had to service it, and then we were late into our sequence for the start, and problems kind of accumulated.

This is much, much more intensive for me than what I have done, much more boat for boat sailing. It is tough, but is good fun and that is why we are here. For us there it is good to know we can mix it in, we made a couple of mistakes and were able to get back at the last top mark until we had a problem with the spinnaker. When we hoisted the spinnaker we got a rip, and then when we peeled to the new one the old one did not come down properly and the tack line got hooked, and we damaged it and so we could not gybe. But the good thing is we seem to be fast enough and we were in there.”

Afonso Domingos (POR), mainsail trimmer, S 40 Bigamist (POR):
“It´s been a good day, although we didn´t start quite well because we had a problem with the mainsail. We were a bit slow trimming, something that we corrected in the second start, when we got ahead of the other boats, rounding the last mark in second place, which is just how we finished the race. When we sailed the boat well we gained speed. We had a small problem with the genoa traveler, but it was not too bad because it happened before the start. We have to repair it, that´s all. We like to sail at home, but for us it will be key to trim better. Iberdrola looked the best to me, but we´ll have to see tomorrow”.

Strauss-Kahn Case Puts Focus on the Real Special Victims Squad

In some ways, last weekend was not especially remarkable for the New York Police Department’s Special Victims Squad. About 30 new cases came in, typical for the citywide unit of 190 specially trained investigators and supervisors.

But of those cases — among the 6,000 sex-based cases that the squad handles each year — none carried the notoriety of the one that accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, of sexually attacking a housekeeper at a Manhattan hotel.

For some, the stunning arrest of Mr. Strauss-Kahn, who was taken into custody aboard an Air France jet at Kennedy International Airport, drew comparisons to television shows like “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” or “C.S.I.”

On television, the investigators might have dashed off to the airport to capture Mr. Strauss-Kahn themselves. In reality, three detectives from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey took him off the plane and handed him over to detectives from the Midtown South precinct in Manhattan, who in turn delivered him to the Special Victims Squad.

Indeed, the real-life detectives of the Special Victims Squad do not solve their cases in the span of an hourlong television show; their work is done more deliberately, often in the quiet spaces of police squad rooms or private hospital bays.

“The people who work in this field are dedicated to it, but I don’t think any one of them would call it glamorous,” said Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman. “It is often very gritty and difficult work that they engage in, with impressive results.” Some of their cases are well-known: the so-called preppie murder, the Central Park jogger rape, the rape and murder of Imette St. Guillen by a SoHo bar bouncer. Others are not nearly as celebrated; last weekend, in the midst of the Strauss-Kahn case, the city’s special victims detectives swung around the five boroughs, absorbing the accounts of victims of all ages.

They dealt with a 10-year-old girl in East Harlem, who told the squad’s investigators that her older cousin raped her, Mr. Browne said. They also looked into the case of a 4-year-old in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, who told her mother her uncle had pulled down her underpants. The police found the man, who admitted that he had tried to have sex with the girl and had planned to flee to Mexico, the police said. He was arrested.

Yet few cases could more ably illustrate the importance of the squad than Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s arrest.

Uniformed officers from the Midtown South precinct were the first to arrive at the hotel, the Sofitel New York, near Times Square, and they recorded the hotel housekeeper’s first account of what had occurred. Once it was clear her claim involved felonious sexual contact, they called in the members of the Manhattan Special Victims Squad, Mr. Browne said.

After Mr. Strauss-Kahn was apprehended at the airport, he was taken to the squad’s Manhattan headquarters, on East 123rd Street. He stayed there overnight on Saturday, sitting for much of the time in a chair, with his feet up on another one, and declining initial offers of food.

His accuser was also brought to the squad’s office, where she identified him in a police lineup on Sunday afternoon.

And when the first official documents from the court paperwork emerged, detailing the accusations, they emphasized the words of a Special Victims Squad detective, Steven Lane, upon which they were based.

New York City formed its Special Victims Squad a few months after the first such unit in the United States was established in Los Angeles in the early 1970s, said Linda A. Fairstein, who spent about a quarter of a century as Manhattan’s chief sex crimes prosecutor. She said the detectives in the unit have a special skills set that helps them in dealing with victims who are often frightened or reluctant to speak.

She said the experience they gain in dealing solely with such cases helps them understand the complications they can pose and the kind of skepticism such charges often encounter among the public. “The idea is that these detectives are specially trained, one, to deal with the investigation of these cases, which have very specific and often nuanced details,” Ms. Fairstein said. “And secondly, is their manner, to deal with victims who are generally, in most circumstances, emotionally traumatized because of the intimate nature of the assaults.”

Different targets for Day 1?

It is Race Day 1 of the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit in Cascais and the one unwanted visitor has been the overnight rain which has persisted into the morning, with showere still doing their best to dampen spirits.

But the mood is very upbeat. Some of the teams are confident that today’s two TP52 races will be a chance to simply deliver what they have been doing in training, others know that it will be another trip into relative unknowns, trying to galvanise the dynamics of crew work and finding boat speeds across the wind conditions.

Seven TP52’s will take to the start line of Race 1 which is scheduled a little after 1300hrs. The race area is due to be race area 2, that out to the west of Cabo Raso, the small headland to the west of the Bay of Cascais. With winds forecast between NNW and NNE through the day then that should give a little more open water, but for sure it will be shifty and puffy, a real opportunist’s first day.

The five Soto 40’s will race their Practice Race after the start of the 52 Series’ Race 1, following the established format: two practice starts then practice race.

If Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA) have shown to be the form team for the moment, the performance so far of the new Quantum Racing has been pretty modest by the high standards set by the 2008 Audi MedCup champions and current TP52 World Champions.

Ed Reynolds, coach, project manager and President of Quantum Sails, explains his perspective on the problems of being behind their desired schedule with a new boat and a crew of which half are new this season:

"First day, we are really just hoping to get out of today and that is about it. There are so many unknowns with the team, and just the dynamics of the team, so we would be really comfortable to come in 'above the fold' if you will, out of today. I know that we will consistently get better and better. One of the issues has been our boat construction. We did two boats at the same builder and for a variety of reasons we are probably about three weeks behind schedule. And that starts steamrolling.....you can't finalise your sail shapes, you can't the practices, and you can't get all the things you want to get done before the first event. So we are not the only ones in that position, so there is really no crying about it."

"In 2008 we were similar. You know that building these boats, there is nothing in them, but they are so complex and so complicated, all the systems. Last year when we had the new deck it put us behind a little bit, but we had an absolutely consistent crew, we had the same crew for three years. But here, we have a brand new boat and half he crew new, there are a lot of things to work out. I know that we are going to get there."

"It is not difficult, no, here we are in Cascais racing sailboats, that is not difficult. There is nothing difficult, it is just challenging. We have some challenges to work through, but I am really confident in the group we have and the equipment we have, but I feel we have some exposures early in the season."

"This changes my role for the moment, a little bit. Terry was dialled in to everything, it was automatic. I think that dynamic still exists, but everyone is kind of finding their way, feeling their way through. So it will take a little bit more, as with everything I do I like to be hands on early, and get the hands off as quick as possible."

Weather for the day seems to suggest an 80% chance of racing with between 8 and 16 knots of wind from between 340 deg and 010 deg.

Bribon wins the Practice Race but Audi Azzurra show their form

Cascais has proven in the past that it is a sailor’s venue, one which favours the simple principles of reading windshifts and wind pressure changes rather than necessarily respecting any inherent order of advanced design or technology.

So it proved again for today’s TP52 official practice race, the warm-up prelude to Wednesday’s first races of the Cascais Trophy will raise the curtain on the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit.

It may have been the highly polished, well prepared Audi Azzurra Sailing Team which peeled away, bowing to superstitions and choosing not to take the winning gun, but it was the Russian Synergy Sailing Team which have the latest boat launched of the six new builds, who lead off the start line, read the first beat best and who would have finished second had they not followed the same precedent and missed out on finishing.

And in the end it was the only TP52 of the fleet which was not built this last winter, José Cusí’s 2009 build Bríbon (ESP) which took first place in the practice race.

The Synergy Sailing Team have a new Botin Partners boat, a hull sister to Quantum Racing, which only went in the water for the first time on Friday 6th May, delivered directly from Burriana, Spain.

A frantic race to be ready to race was put behind them when they gained the early advantage off the start line and were comfortably ahead at the first windward turn.

Towards the end of the first run Audi Azzurra’s Francesco Bruni (ITA) and Vasco Vascotto (ITA) conspired to find more breeze on the left side, quickly closing the gap on Synergy and rounding ahead. In the 7-9kts of breeze the Vrolijk design was able to stay ahead to the finish Synergy snapping at their stern to the finish.

The W’ly wind was not the strong breezes that Cascais has a reputation for, but there were many small wind shifts and bends, currents, and variations in wind pressure and it was the teams which read these combinations best which profited. Rod Dawson the Kiwi tactician on Synergy called the right, the inshore line and gained the crucial wind bend off the shore and could have built from there.

Bribon , with Ross McDonald (CAN) calling tactics and several new crew members this season, were third around the course and able to accept the winning gun just ahead of Nikklas Zennstrom who is steering the new Ran.

In contrast Markus Wieser and the team on Container (GER) were scarcely able to recover from their first start and first big mistake on the Audi MedCup Circuit, finishing sixth of seven.

But it may be a foretaste of the season to come. Small mistakes are likely to be just as costly in the tightly matched fleet with no hiding places.

The Audi Azzurra crew look to be on formidable form, very slick crew work and astute tactics. Anyone looking for an easy ride in the seven boat fleet here was disappointed and the standard is clearly high when the fleet’s most medalled sailor Jochen Schuemann (GER) finished seventh on the maiden race for Audi Sailing Team Powered by ALL4ONE.

Points racing starts Wednesday when three windward-leeward races are scheduled for the 52 Series with the time sequence starting at 1300hrs, and the Soto40 fleet having their practice race.

Cascais Trophy
TP52 Practice Race Results

1 Bribon (ESP)
2 Ran (SWE)
3 Quantum Racing (USA)
4 Container (GER)
5 Audi Sailing Team Powered by ALL4ONE

DNF Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA)
DNF Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS)

Audi MedCup TV broadcast live action with comment and commentary from the race course from 1255hrs local time/BST (1355hrs UTC) Wednesday

Francesco Bruni (ITA), tactician, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA):
“We are pretty happy with the speed of the boat. We sailed in light conditions and a lot of current, so there were a lot of tactical decisions to make. We have a good feeling with the boat, we tried some new sails and I think that we have the potential. It´s been a good day, we had a bad start but we recovered very well, leading the race at the end. We decided not to cross the line because in Italy we are very superstitious. Teamwork was very good overall, it should be our strength this season because the speed of the boats is very similar. I think that our magic tool is the time that we´ve spent together, it should be good for us”.

Evgeny Neugodnikov (RUS), skipper and helmsman, Synergy (RUS):
“I think that our team did a good tactical job today. We´ve shown good team work and I believe that´s an aspect that we need to keep working on. It´s still early to know how well the boat is going to perform against the rest of teams, but we are definitely satisfied with how we sailed the boat today.”

Francesco Mongelli (ITA) navigator Synergy:
“In fact today was a real boost for us because we have been late and only had the boat in the water for just over a week. But we proved we are ready for racing even if we have all had to put in some long hours and the shore team have been working around the clock to make sure we would be ready on time. Jared Henderson has done a great job project managing things and making sure that we are ready. Otherwise there is nothing much changed with the team since the World Championships. We have no real defined goals for the first few regattas, we just want to sail well. There are fewer boats than in the past, but the level is certainly very high. The boat feels good.”

Jochen Schuemann (GER) helmsman Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE (GER):
“It was a difficult day with very difficult wind conditions, so it is hard to say much about the boat’s performance we are still very busy trying to sort out our boat, and obviously we did not do too well in this practice race which may be a good omen for the future, usually it is a problem which is the other way round. In Barcelona last year we won the practice race and went on to be last, so maybe we were just playing it very safe here, last in the practice race, but we are really looking forward to the real races.”