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‘The Boys in Black are Back!’
by New Zealand Marine Artist Jim Bolland

‘MEAN MACHINE’ at the front of the 2008 MedCup fleet. Photo © Th Martinez/AUDI MEDCUP.

Owner, skipper and helmsman Peter de Ridder and his 2006 Med Cup champions have stepped up from their sub-par 2007 season. With a new Rolf Vrolijk designed ‘Mean Machine’ and with a determination to show that they still have what it takes to be champions, they put a bad start behind them and battled through to win the first round for the 2008 Audi Med Cup.

They’re not champions yet, there is a fair way to go, but they sure showed that their minds are on the job, because after a seventh and dead last on the first day of round the cans races, they had, in Peter’s words, ‘a bit of a talk’ and came out swinging on the second day with a fifth place and two bullets.

They followed this up with a win in the double (gate) scoring coastal race and a bullet and eighth on the final day, to win the Alicante Town Hall Trophy. This is the first jewel up for grabs in the six-regatta tour of the 2008 Audi Med Cup, which is without doubt, the sailing worlds number one Grand Prix tour!

But here’s the rub. ‘Mean Machine’ won by only one point from the 2007 Rolf Vrolijk design ‘Bribon’, owned by Jose Cusi, skippered by H.M. King Jaun Carlos of Spain with Emirates Team New Zealand’s Dean Barker sharing the helm with His Majesty. This was another team obviously improving during the regatta and the fact is, there is so much talent throughout the fleet that it will be very surprising if the winner of the Med Cup is obvious until the final regatta at Portimao in September.

For the complete article, including discussions on the QUEBRAMAR GP42 CUP, RC44’s AND THE ‘AUSTRIA CUP’, Rosebud Racing, ‘Ragtime’, the new Melges 20 and more, click here.

Visit Jim's website to see his paintings of the America's Cup as well as Commissioned works he has painted.

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