19 Sept 2006 – Breitling Med Cup – When the twenty boat fleet lined up today off Ibiza town with the 12th century castle, which was built to defend the island, and the Faro de Botofoch lighthouse forming a distant backdrop, it was down to series leader Peter de Ridder and his team to repel the advances of all who seek to topple their 14 point lead. De Ridder and crew, also announced their intention to compete in the next Volvo Ocean Race, know they need only to sail a consistent series to lift the overall title.

But as has been proven at numerous regattas this season, this TP52 class does not simply bow down and respect Olympic medal, America’s Cup or Volvo Round the World race winners. A momentary lapse of concentration on the start line, or an ill chosen tactical call can mean a heavy loss in a fleet of this standard. With light and fickle winds expected for the first couple of days of racing, there will be no easy races at a venue which is all new to the TP52 fleet.

Last week they were rivals on the race course at the Rolex Swan Cup organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, but Paul Cayard and three time America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts returned to join forces to get the best out of George Andreadis and Jaime Yllera’s Lexus, with Coutts steering and Cayard calling tactics.

Racing started on Tuesday with windward leewards, coastal races planned for Wednesday and Friday, and the final races set for Saturday.