A glittering launch for the 2011 Audi MedCup season

The Atlantic waters off Cascais were sparkling in the Spring sunshine today Sunday as the majority of the fleets of TP52’s and new Soto 40’s took advantage of the near perfect training conditions to continue their work-up to the start of racing for the Cascais Trophy.

A glittering start to the season is assured when two of the newest TP52’s are formally launched on Monday at midday.

Italy’s Audi Azzura Sailing Team will have Princess Zahra Aga Khan as godmother, while model Eva Padberg and actor Jean Reno will share duties naming the Franco-German TP52 Audi A1 Team powered by ALL4ONE.

Princess Zahra Aga Khan is President of the Board of Directors of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda which the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team represent and will be present to act as godmother. Eva Padberg was voted sexiest woman in the world in 2005 by readers of FHM and featured on the cover of GQ in 2006, while actor Jean Reno – Hollywood star of Mission Impossible, The Da Vinci Code, Léon, - is no stranger to the Audi MedCup Circuit after sailing as a guest in Cagliari, Sardinia last year.

Both Vrolijk designed Audi supported boats will fly distinctive spinnakers carrying the message ‘Audi Ultra-Lightweight Technology.’

After sailing on Monday, leading TP52 designer Rolf Vrolijk (NED) and a prominent designer from Audi will give an informal seminar on design trends, similarities and comparisons between the different marine and car technologies.

A break in training?

With no limitations on training days pre-regatta this season, some of the TP52 teams in particular have been training off Cascais now for several days and the brisk conditions have seen several breakages on the newly launched boats.

“Of course it is better to learn what will break now before the regatta starts rather than once on the race course.” Comments Nacho Postigo (ESP) Audi MedCup director,

“It is difficult to predict what the weather conditions will be like for the week, certainly a bit light and weak for the start of the week, then seeing more wind and maybe some rain for Thursday and Friday and then into sea breeze for the weekend.”

“Training has been very good so far, but people have been breaking things and that has been good for them, learning about the boats before the start of racing. But it has been very changeable with wind from the north, and now today the wind has been coming from the east.”

Double Olympic silver medallist Ross MacDonald (CAN) returns this season as tactician for José Cusí’s (ESP) iconic Bríbon (ESP) team which has a boat which is new to them, the former world championship winning Matador in the team’s 40th anniversary year:

“It has not been an easy year to get boats together on to the start line, but for sure we can say the overall standard is up a step, it is just phenomenal. There will be little to choose between the boats and the new boats. It will be very interesting to see the Soto 40’s start training in earnest Monday.”

“We have had a few days of good training since Wednesday. The conditions have been really typical of Cascais. Offshore it is breezy with good waves, very shifty and gusty. It is such a great spot.”

“I could not really tell you the differences between the new boats and this boat which is new to us, but is an ‘older’ boat. If there are any then it is very small. But I guess we will find out as time goes on, but if there is anything it is very minor.”

“What is going to be critical here is day in day out there will be the potential for breakages and so we will be just looking to keep it all together, boat, equipment and the team itself.”

The Audi MedCup Open Village opens Monday morning adjacent to the regatta site, by the Club Navale Cascais. The official practice race for the TP52’s is on Tuesday with racing for that fleet starting Wednesday and the Soto 40’s start racing Thursday.

Programme, Cascais, Monday 16th May.

12:00 - boat christenings Audi Azzurra Sailing Team and Audi A1 Team Powered by ALL4ONE
13:00 – sailing: Audi Azzurra Sailing Team and Audi A1 Team Powered by ALL4ONE 
16:30 - Audi Sailing Talk - VIP area with Rolf Vrolijk and Audi design team.