Azzura (Photo © Max Ranchi )

Azzurra won the third race of the Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week after executing an excellent pin end start and leading around the top mark. Making a seemingly brave gybe set – the only boat to do so – they lead by over 100 metres through the leeward gate ahead of Alegre.

Alegre got back to within 40 metres of Azzurra on the second upwind, but while Azzurra hold on to win, Quantum Racing again steal second place on the final stages of the last run.
That second place leaves Quantum Racing leading overall on eight points, four points ahead of a four way tie for second to fifth places between Provezza, Azzurra, Alegre and Phoenix.

Photo © Max Ranchi

For full results, visit: http://bit.ly/2MznlZR
To watch the race again, visit http://bit.ly/2e6o3tR.

State-of-the-art boat tracking technology will allow 52 SUPER SERIES fans to follow their favourite teams at the Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week. Streaming is available via the 52 SUPER SERIES App, and is paired with expert commentary both on and off the water. All shows start 15-minutes before racing is due to start.

Photo © Max Ranchi

Quantum Racing - TP52 Super Series from Sibenik, Croatia (Photo © Max Ranchi  www.MaxRanchi.com )

Quantum Racing – TP52 Super Series from Sibenik, Croatia (Photo © Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

(Wednesday 23rd May, Sibenik) – From the high tension and great expectations that prevailed amongst the crews of the 12 TP52s, who contested an exciting first day of the 2018 52 SUPER SERIES, it is three-time champions, Quantum Racing who emerge with the tiniest possible lead at the Sibenik 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week in Croatia.

TP52 Super Series from Sibenik, Croatia (Photo © Max Ranchi  www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 Super Series from Sibenik, Croatia (Photo © Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

With nine shiny, brand new boats competing on a race arena that is completely new to the 52 SUPER SERIES, the de-facto leading grand prix monohull circuit in the world, it was the Quantum Racing crew, marshalled by afterguard Terry Hutchinson; tactician, Dean Barker; and helm and navigator Ian Moore, that finish the day ahead, but only on countback by virtue of their victory in the second race of the day.

It proved to be a dream start to the season for the Quantum-powered crews as Harm Müller-Spreer’s Platoon mirrored their counterparts’ score with a 1,4 to lie second – on the same points aggregate – and Brazilian Eduardo de Souza Ramos crew on Onda, the third team in the Quantum stable, lie third after a strong opening second and seventh places.

TP52 Super Series from Sibenik, Croatia (Photo © Max Ranchi  www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 Super Series from Sibenik, Croatia (Photo © Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

The tactical key to the first race was recognising the wind shift generated on the right side of the course by the effect of an island upwind to the right of the course, and in the second race when there was a thunderstorm lurking out to the right of the course area there was a series of shifts totalling more than 50 degrees from the start.

 

After the Race 1 start, World Champions Platoon took the lead on the first downwind, when early pacemakers Provezza appeared to suffer a technical problem with their kite halyard. Onda, with five-time Olympic medallist Robert Scheidt as tactician, stuck to their pre-start game plan and benefited from their early choice to go right, moving up to second on the downwind behind Platoon. That was the order through the finish line but the last run witnessed several exciting place changes in the 8-10 knot seabreeze, and the finishes behind the runaway top two were some of the closest yet.

 

Quantum Racing’s was the sharpest start of the day when they leapt off the line in the second race, that allowed them to take early control of the right side and by the top mark they were sixty metres, or more, clear of second-placed Gladiator. Once more the top two were able to hold their positions through the finish line – Takashi Okura’s Sled getting third with Platoon fourth.

TP52 Super Series from Sibenik, Croatia (Photo © Max Ranchi  www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 Super Series from Sibenik, Croatia (Photo © Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

It proved to be a fascinating opening to the season. The surprise package were Onda who have made significant gains since finishing tenth at PalmaVela, but tactician Scheidt pointed out they had stuck with their game plans, but the hugely experienced Brazilians positioned their boat shrewdly, keeping away from the traffic and any tussles with the top teams. On successive first beats, XIO Hurakan, the Italian team lead by Tomasso Chieffi, were top four, only fading on the second round. So too Gladiator – with Morgan Larson as tactician – proved a new boat is not a pre-requisite to win a podium place. And right now race wins are shared evenly between the Botin (Quantum Racing) and the Vrolijlk (Platoon) design studios.

Harm Müller-Spreer owner-driver of Platoon, emphasises.

“The difference between the two designers’ boats was greater last year. I know we are closer this year in terms of performance. You can win races with either boats. But this is such a long season it is hard to guess what will happen.”

James Lyne, the Quantum coach summarises:

“The conditions were tough and both boats Quantum Racing and Platoon executed one race well. There were some big shifts and so Terry [Hutchinson, Quantum tactician] played that nicely in the second race,” explains the Quantum team coach James Lyne. “The level is higher than ever. There are more coaches, there are more analysts, there are better sailors on board. The level keeps going up.”

Of the first day for Onda, Robert Scheidt, back in the TP52 class for the first time since 2010 said:

“We had a plan. We stuck to our plan, and it worked. Sometimes you can be a little bit lucky and I think we got a nice shift on the first beat and that put us up the front at the top mark of the first race. If you can be in the top three at the first mark you can have your own race, you can use your speed and sail your own race.”

Circuit champions Azzurra, reckoned to be the best prepared team and winners of PalmaVela training regatta in early May did not have the start they wanted. Their opening third was strong enough but they were on the wrong side of the first big shift during the second race and could not recover, resulting in a weighty tenth. So too it was something of a baptism of fire for the Luna Rossa crew, which lies just one place ahead of their training partners Azzurra after a 7,5 start to their campaign.

Regatta standings at the end of Day 1
1. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (4,1) 5 p.
2. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (1,4) 5 p.
3. Onda (BRA) (Eduardo de Souza Ramos) (2,7) 9 p.
4. Luna Rossa (ITA) (Patrizio Bertelli) (7,5) 12 p.
5. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto Roemmers) (3,10) 13 p.
6. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (10(+2 PEN PTS),2) 14 p.
7. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (5,9) 14 p.
8. Phoenix (RSA) (Hasso/Tina Plattner) (8,6) 14 p.
9. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (12,3) 15 p.
10. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (9,8) 17 p.
11. Paprec Recyclage (FRA) (Jean Luc Petithuguenin) (6,12) 18 p.
12. XIO Hurakan (ITA) (Marco Serafini) (11,11) 22p.

For full results, visit: http://bit.ly/2IGhEE1
To watch the race again, visit http://bit.ly/2e6o3tR.

The Sibenik 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week will take place from 23-27 May. State-of-the-art live boat tracking technology will allow 52 SUPER SERIES fans to follow their favourite teams. Shows start 15-minutes before racing, and can be enjoyed via the 52 SUPER SERIES homepage – www.52SUPERSERIES.com – or via the app. Never miss a beat.

TP52 Super Series from Sibenik, Croatia (Photo © Max Ranchi  www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 Super Series from Sibenik, Croatia (Photo © Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

Maxi Fleet Start ( Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Maxi Fleet Start ( Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

 

It’s a wrap. The 2011 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup concluded in dramatic style with the completion of the scheduled programme for all classes. The verdicts are in. This year’s class victors are: Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship: Niklas Zennström’s Rán 2 (GBR); Maxi Racing: Sir Irvine Laidlaw’s Highland Fling (MON); Maxi Racing/Cruising division: Danilo Salsi’s DSK Pioneer Investments (ITA); Supermaxi: Filip Balcaen’s Nilaya (GBR); Wally: Claus-Peter Offen’s Y3K (GER).

For the second day running, the crews had to be patient in view of the light conditions, although the delay of one and a half hours pales in comparison to yesterday’s testing four hour waiting game. A 24-nautical mile coastal course that included the rocks of Monaci, a duck into Bomb Alley and a long beat to Mortoriotto was organised for the Maxi and Supermaxi crews. For the Mini Maxis and Wallys two intense windward/leeward races of approximately seven nautical miles were on the agenda.

Nilaya and Visione (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Nilaya and Visione (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

A number of today’s races went right down to the wire. Winners on day 5 were: Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship: Rán 2 (GBR) with a 2,1 scoreline; Maxi Racing: Highland Fling (MON); Maxi Racing/Cruising: DSK Pioneer Investments (ITA); Supermaxi: Nilaya (GBR); Wally: J-One (GBR) with a 1,3 scoreline.

Rán at the double
It was on the cards. Bar a catastrophic loss of form or retirement, Rán 2’s second successive triumph in the Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds was in the bag after a convincing start to the week, when she won three of her four bullets. Quite a month for the fully professional crew who only three weeks ago claimed a second straight overall victory at the Rolex Fastnet Race. Rán are in imperious form. Her three main rivals: Alegre (GBR), Shockwave (USA) and Jethou (GBR) all had moments in the sun but never really got close enough.

Zennström’s crew arrived in Porto Cervo with a single objective: “We came here to defend our championship title and pulled off a very good series, sailing very well often under pressure. We came into today with a comfortable lead so we knew we just had to sail well and not make any stupid mistakes.” The Rán crew enjoyed the challenge posed by this week’s temperamental conditions: “This venue is fantastic, you always have good wind during the week here in Porto Cervo. It was a little challenging with the Mistral before two days of good wind and yesterday’s fickle conditions. The Race Committee did a really good job organising everything,” closes Zennström. The season doesn’t end here for Rán – a return to offshore racing is scheduled with an appearance at the Rolex Middle Sea Race next month.

Final fling
The plot in the Maxi Racing division has had one constant theme: speed. Igor Simcic’s 100-ft Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) is bigger and faster than Sir Irvine Laidlaw’s 82-ft Highland Fling, a Wally-hybrid. The question was: could Esimit Europa 2 win by enough of a distance to see off her opponent on handicap as well? Awaiting the results has been an antagonising experience for both crews over the course of this week. The first three days saw the speed machines separated by mere seconds on corrected time. Today, the plot took a dramatic, final, twist with Esimit Europa 2 leading two bullets to one.

Igor Simcic's ESIMIT EUROPA 2

Igor Simcic's ESIMIT EUROPA 2 (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Simcic’s pan-European crew made a fantastic start, gaining a significant advantage on Highland Fling by Monaci, but as the race developed and conditions suited the lighter boat, Esimit Europa 2 saw her elapsed time margin reduced to 13 minutes. Not enough to see off Highland Fling. Once the maths was done, corrected-time victory, today, was not by seconds but by four minutes. Laidlaw was ecstatic: “Esimit Europa 2 is a serious boat, very well crewed and run and for us to beat them is a great thrill after being nowhere near her last year. Overcoming Esimit is very difficult indeed, she is 20-ft longer and has a canting keel: through great crew work and sail choices we managed it.”

Laidlaw was surprised by the quality of today’s conditions: “It is really nice when you have a day where you don’t expect to get any wind and a good sail but end up with a lovely one. You don’t get any better than sailing here in Porto Cervo: varied conditions and a perfect backdrop.”

Down to the wire
Following yesterday’s dramatic collision between Kora 5 (ITA) and Illusion of the Isles (ITA) during the pre-start, the ultimate drama of the day was once again reserved for the Maxi Racing/Cruising division. Brian Benjamin’s 82-ft Aegir 2 was tied with Danilo Salsi’s Swan 90 DSK Pioneer Investments going into the final act, but held a narrow advantage having won two races to DSK’s one. The ultimate cliffhanger. Winner takes all.

DSK made the better start to today’s coastal race, although Aegir 2 were able eventually to pass and extend her lead en route to Monaci. At Monaci, DSK launched her code zero previously unseen this week, and proceeded to reduce the distance. Worse still for Aegir 2, she then got caught up with the largest yacht in attendance, the 148-ft Saudade (GER), after rounding Secca di Tre Monti. The race could not have been closer, the tension rise higher.

Dockside, post-race, the crews did their calculations but still could not determine whether the prize was theirs. When the results arrived, it transpired that DSK Pioneer Investments had prevailed: by a matter of seconds. As is custom in these situations, Salsi was launched into the harbour by an elated crew. “Two years ago we lost the same race in real time by one second so it is a nice feeling,” explained DSK’s owner, “Aegir is a faster boat downwind so we had to try to do our best upwind, and we did all we had to do to win. This crew has done a lot of races together over ten years, all around the world, and we know the boat very well.” A sweet finish to an intense week for the crew whose home base is here in Porto Cervo.

Debutant’s joy
The 112-ft Nilaya (GBR) was one of a number of new entries in the nine-strong Supermaxi class. She had a good week, taking four bullets and never finishing below fourth, blowing the field apart by a massive fourteen points ahead of nearest rivals, Visione (GER) and Hetairos (CAY).

“It was quite an interesting week,” reflects owner Filip Balcaen, at the helm of an established crew, “during the first half it was very windy and a bit of a challenge. The bigger boats in our fleet sailed more conservatively, and we did pretty well both in the strong conditions earlier this week and then when it became lighter. Success always makes one happy, it is the second time here for us after winning the Swan Cup five years ago.”

Triple triumph
Y3K have made history, taking the Wally crown for the third straight year and for the fourth time in seven years. An outstanding achievement for Claus-Peter Offen’s crew who have seen off powerful opponents. After two straight wins going into the final day, it looked plain sailing for the Germans. However, serious spinnaker issues characterised an uncharacteristically difficult day with Y3K having to settled for third and a sixth place over  two windward/leeward races as Andrea Recordati’s Indio (ITA) closed in. Her final victory margin was a mere two points. “It is a good feeling to make it the third time in a row,” explains Offen, “our victory in 2009 was by a larger distance, last year was a close run thing and this year even closer. Despite our issues today, dropping the spinnaker, we held a certain advantage from the previous days, which was enough. The victory is down to a good boat, crew, experience and once again we had our luck.”

Prized moments
Trophies were awarded this evening at a ceremony held at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS). The winners of four of the classes: Rán 2Y3KDSK Pioneer InvestmentsNilaya plus the best performing racer/cruiser in the Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds – Gunter Herz’s All Smoke (GER) – were presented with a Rolex Yacht Master. In addition, the winner of the annual Rolex IMA Championship – Andres Soriano’s Alegre (GBR) received a Rolex Submariner.

At least four of the yachts which featured at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup are commencing preparations for the Rolex Middle Sea Race (22-29 October, 2011).
ROLEX CUP RESULTS 

Maxi Racing/Cruising

 

BOAT NAME COUNTRY BOAT OWNER R1 R2 R3 R4 TOTAL
DSK Pioneer Investments ITA Danilo Salsi 1 2 2 1 6.0
Aegir GBR Brian Benjamin 3 2 2 3 7.0
Kora 5 ITA Paolo Scerni 2 4 3DNF 8DNC 17.0

 

Maxi Racing

BOAT NAME COUNTRY BOAT OWNER R1 R2 R3 R4 TOTAL
Highland Fling  MON Irvine Laidlaw 1 2 2 1 6.0
Esimit Europa 2 SLO Igor Simcic 2 1 1 2 5.0

 

Wally

BOAT NAME COUNTRY BOAT OWNER R1 R2 R3 R4 TOTAL
Y3K GER Claus Peter Offen 1 1 3 6 11.0
Indio ITA Andrea Recordati 4 5 2 2 13.0
Magic Carpet 2 GBR Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones 2 3 5 4 14.0

 

SuperMaxi

BOAT NAME COUNTRY BOAT OWNER R1 R2 R3 R4 TOTAL
Nilaya GBR Ficaya Ltd 1/1 2/4 2/2 1/1 14.0
Visione GER Hasso Plattner 3/2 3/1 4/4 6/5 28.0
Hetairos CAY Rockport Ltd. 2/4 1/2 5/6 3/6 29.0

*The Supermaxi class is being dual scored in each race under IRC & ORC. The combined scores determine the leaderboard. Individual race scores show IRC race position/ORC race position.



Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship

BOAT NAME COUNTRY BOAT OWNER R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 TOTAL
Rán 2 GBR Niklas Zennström 1.5 1 1 (4) 2 1 6.5
Alegre   GBR Andres Soriano 4.5 2 2 (3) 3 2 13.5
Shockwave  USA George Sakellaris 6 (4) 4 1 1 4 16.0

 

Massimo Violati's OPS 5 turning at the mark Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)