With a win at the last stage in Cagliari, and a new position as leader in the GP42 Series standings, one would think Puerto Calero Islas Canarias owner Daniel Calero would be ecstatic coming into next week's Stage 4 event in Portimao. But whether due to the jet lag after a long trip from Palma to San Diego to attend a press event, or a reflection on all the work ahead of him as a principle organizer for this October's GP42 Global Championship at his home port on Lanzarote, Calero's mood is pensive.
Well, I'm not unhappy," admitted Calero, "just focused. Of course our team is pleased to have achieved the lead at this point in the series. We are a very young team and our talent is all 'homegrown' from the Canary Islands, so we are working very hard to get the most out of the boat and ourselves.
"But we're only 3 points clear of Roma 2, they are a very tough team to beat, and the other teams are always getting better as we have this year."
Calero and team have been quite active, in fact, not just in the Audi MedCup Circuit events in their GP42, but also on Calero's RC44 all around Europe. While the RC44 and GP42 are quite different boats, Calero chooses to have the same team members in both designs so as to keep continuity and maximize his team's talents and communications.
"It was certainly nice to win the last event and be sitting on top of the leaderboard now," he said, "but our programme has longer-term goals we must keep in perspective. We are trying to grow and expand the talent base for world class sailing in Puerto Calero, as we think this is one of the premier places to sail in the world."
To this end, Calero is not only focused on the next MedCup event in Portimao next week, but also on all the myriad of details that need attention in order to successfully organize the GP42 Global Championship, scheduled to be held in Lanzarote over 13-17 October. For this event, Calero expects to attract some significant international talent to the islands, talent which includes not only the MedCup regulars and others from the GP42 class, but also newcomers who will charter boats to give racing in this class a try.
These include some high-profile Scandinavian-based teams, such as the VO70 Ericsson Team, who trained in the Atlantic waters among and beyond the Canary Islands in preparation for the last Round the World Race. In all Calero expects 9-10 teams to attend.
“The GP42 Global Championship should be a high-profile event on the sailing calendar,” said Calero, "and continues a trend we have started 2 years ago to attract attention among the top sailors and the top classes to the excellent conditions here at Puerto Calero.”
While the GP42’s have lost one entry in their ranks - Keisuke Suzuki's team on Swing, which is undergoing modifications before being shipped to Japan" the remaining five teams are bracing for another intense series of races next week at the Audi MedCup. This third stage in the series is to be sailed in Cagliari, Sardinia and is the only stage to be raced in Italy this year. As seen in the last MedCup stage in Marseille, this group is small but highly-competitive, with any team capable of winning races.
And if the breeze ramps up to the high teens and over 20 knots, as is likely in Cagliari, watch out: these boats off the wind plane as fast as their larger TP52 bretheren, but with the added intensity of close tactical combat. This should make the gate mark roundings spectacular indeed.
And changes made to the hull forms of Islas Canarias Puerto Calero and Caser-Endesa have enhanced their high-wind performance, so they could be particularly tough to beat.
"We're very much looking forward to Cagliari," says Roma 2 helmsman Paolo Cian, winner of the last stage and current series leader by 4 points.
"But we know this will be a tough fight because these other teams are getting better and better with each event."