Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ready and raring to go...

Nico Martinez/GP42 Global Cup
With a practice race now under their belts, the eight teams assembled here in Puerto Calero have only a few minor details left before the real battle begins in earnest at tomorrow's start to the Puerto Calero GP42 Global Championship. A few sails loaded and unloaded, some rig details here and there, but in general everyone is relaxed, confident and happy to be in such a picturesque place and recipients of the legendary hospitality of the Calero family.
After a few days of preparation and measuring, today’s practice race was a great opportunity for teams to put themselves to the test in mock battle, especially in the five pre-starts Principal Race Officer, Peter “Luigi” Reggio and his race management team provided for the fleet. In these it was apparent some teams were pushing hard to test themselves and the race committee, most notably Caser-Endesa (ESP) who was called OCS more often than not, though it was Roberto Monti’s Airis (ITA) that got that on their scorecard when it counted in the one practice race of the day.

Conditions for today’s practice racing were perfect for old and new teams alike: a gentle 8-10 knot east-southeast breeze allowed for close maneuvers in the practice starts to test their skills at positioning and timing, and the 1.3-mile legs were long enough to shift gears, play a few shifts, and gauge each other’s speed potential for the upcoming week. Most teams have saved their last new sail slots for use here, but there are also other upgrades: Monti and his team, for example, will be looking closely at how their brand new keel with its longer thinner bulb will be helping enhance their upwind pace.

One team – Team Nordic (SWE) - had to sit out the fun while making a few final tweaks to their new keel installation job on the Cognit-designed Totalboats before launching this afternoon. The team, led by skipper Magnus Olsson (SWE), spent many months here training up prior to the last Volvo Ocean Race. - http://www.gp42globalcup.com/