|MedCup, a simple background|
The Audi MedCup Circuit has continuously built on six years of real, solid racing history. This year the 40 Series joins the 52 Series to continue the evolution of the world‘s leading regatta circuit.
Originally, back in 2004, the TP52 class grew from the dissatisfaction with the complex handicapping system which prevailed in the Mediterranean.
It was overly technical, and required complex mathematics after the race finished to compute the winner, revealed only after handicaps had been taken into account.
With a simple box rule, development classes cut away all of that and immediately produced simple, exciting, enthralling racing which found favour with owners, competing crews, organizers, sponsors and venues.
The classes and the circuits grew year after year and since 2005 have consistently drawn the best sailors in the world to compete on an equal footing.
2005 saw the first event of the Breitling MedCup Circuit in Punta Ala off the Italian Tuscan coast. There were just seven yachts on the start line of this first event but the seed had been sown and later in the season the fleet grew in size to eleven boats and competed as a class at the Trofeo Reina in Valencia, followed by the Copa del Rey in Palma de Mallorca. The closing event of the inaugural season was held in Porto Rotondo in Sardinia, with Vasco Vascotto’s (ITA) Pisco Sour (CHI) crowned the first MedCup Champions.
2006 was to exceed all expectations with a total of 22 boats competing at the highest possible level. The fleet welcomed new designers and new owners to compete against the ‘old hands’ from the previous year. The Circuit increased the number of races and venues – first they went back to Punta Ala in Italy, then to Castellón in Spain followed by Portals and Palma in Mallorca, then Athens in Greece and finally to the closing event in Ibiza. Mutua Madrileña – Mean Machine (MON) and her owner and skipper, Peter de Ridder (NED), were the overall winners, but they did not have an easy ride with boats like Warpath (USA) and Siemens (IRL), ensuring that there was a battle right to the final race.
2007 turned out to be stronger again for the MedCup, with a total of 24 boats competing and yet more new faces and boats appearing over the five-event circuit. The season started in Alicante in mid-June, then moving to Mallorca for two events in July and August in Portals and Palma respectively, before heading to the Atlantic for the first time with a regatta hosted by Portimão in Portugal, before returning to the Mediterranean and closing the season in Hyères, France in early September. There were many winners in 2007 but the dominant Swedish Artemis, owned and steered by Torbjorn Tornqvist (SWE) with Russell Coutts (NZL) on tactics, dominated and took the circuit prize.
2008 was an historic year with eight new boats being built especially to compete during the six individual regattas that make up the Circuit. AUDI AG took the title sponsorship for the Circuit. Terry Hutchinson (USA) and the crew of the American boat Quantum Racing won the overall title, setting a new highly professional standard.
2009 was no less exciting and no less historic as the 42 Series added a new and equally enticing dimension to the Audi MedCup Circuit. The Circuit visited Alicante, Marseille, Cagliari, Portimão and Cartagena and so, over the season, the widest range of weather and sea conditions were offered to the competing teams. On their debut season on the Circuit, the tightly knit, highly polished Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), set the bar high from the start of the season with skipper-helm Dean Barker (NZL), and went on to win the 52 Series with races to spare. The 42 Series went to the wire, right down to the final race when the young team from the Canary Islands, Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) clinched the first 42 Series title on the Audi MedCup Circuit.
2010 saw new features added to the Audi MedCup Circuit with the goal of increasing popularity and its ongoing success.
The Crew programme reserved a guest spot on board during all races during the 2010 Audi MedCup series, thus allowing key visitors to experience the action up close and personal. For the first time, as well as Virtual Eye and text updates from the race course, the 2010 Audi MedCup Circuit had all the races beamed live from the water streamed on to the internet. In 2010 the honours in the 52 Series went again to Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) after a tighter contest than when they won in 2009 on their debut. Racing was closer and tighter, not least due to the presence of three new America’s Cup teams, ALL4ONE (FRA/GER), Luna Rossa (ITA) and TeamOrigin (GBR). In the 42 Series the winner was past Olympic champion's José María Van der Ploeg's Madrid Caser (ESP).