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 )

 

Azzura leads in Porto Cervo by Max Ranchi

 

Azzurra made something close to the start they wanted at their home waters 52 SUPER SERIES regatta, the Audi Setteima del Boche, today.

They returned to the dock at Sardinia’s Yacht Club Costa Smeralda just as the drizzling rain started, wearing big smiles after they scored a comfortable win in the breezy first race of the regatta and then took a second place to lead the season’s final event by two clear points.

While the Azzurra team, which has yet to finish a 2013 European regatta better than third overall, could enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done, no one could mistake the frustration of Quantum Racing’s hard driven tactician Terry Hutchinson at their second and third place finishes today.

Quantum Racing in Porto Cervo (Photo by Max Ranchi)

The American crew, richly studded with America’s Cup winning talent, may be well ahead on the overall 52 SUPER SERIES standings but Hutchinson wants to finish their season unbeaten, winning all four trophy regattas, and with that perfect goal in mind, converting their two leading positions at both first windward marks into that second and third, was deeply frustrating for him.

“ I want to win the regatta.” Hutchinson emphasised, “ I want to put our stamp on the season.”

In the brisk Mistral conditions, the wind just north of west and between 14 and 25 kts, smooth, polished crew work was a premium asset. With rain showers moving through to the south of the island and dark clouds passing overhead, there were always changes in wind pressure and some bigger shifts to use to full effect.

In the first race, the breeziest of the two windward-leewards today, Quantum Racing made the best start and seemed to be cruising to a decent lead.

TP52 Super Series 2013 ( Photo by Max Ranchi)

But at the leeward gate second placed Azzurra picked the right hand gate mark and then worked the right side up the second upwind, earning a good lift to lead over Quantum Racing by the final windward mark which they held to the finish line.

Azzurra could not be faulted on their second start. Starting helmsman and strategist Francesco Bruni – racing his first 52 regatta this season – might this morning have claimed to be feeling a little ring rusty after his months in San Francisco on the Luna Rossa AC72, but Azzurra’s second start – on the pin with pace – was as sharp as any. But although they had a small early lead over Quantum Racing up the first minutes of the upwind, the circuit leaders did steadily ease out ahead to lead around the windward mark again.

This time it was on the second downwind that the big changes occurred, Rob Greenhalgh – tactician on Tony Langley’s Gladiator – chose to work left into better pressure and a nice shift. He admitted later that part of the reason was to stay clear of a cluster which had developed behind after Rán Racing blew up their gennaker, but they made a nice gain coming back with Azzurra to steal first and second across the line.

Gladiator at Porto Cervo (Photo by Max Ranchi)

Langley’s Gladiator – once more burying the perception that theirs is something of a light winds specialist – paired a useful fifth to their race win and so lie third overall only one point behind Quantum Racing.  The circuit leaders Quantum Racing did have to make a small reshuffle of their crew today, substituting for a sick bowman.

Wednesday sees the first of two coastal races planned this week.

52 SUPER SERIES

Audi Settimana del Bocche 2013, Porto Cervo, ITA.

Standings after two races:

1 Azzurra, ITA, (Alberto Roemmers) (1,2) 3pts

2 Quantum Racing, USA, (Doug DeVos) (2,3) 5pts

3 Gladiator, GBR, (Tony Langley) (5,1) 6pts

4 Rán Racing, SWE, (Niklas Zennström) (4,4) 8pts

5 Provezza, TUR, (Ergin Imre) (6,5) 11pts

6 Interlodge, USA, (Austin Fragomen) (3,9) 12pts

7 Rio, USA, (Manouch Moshayedi) (7,6) 13pts

8 B2, ITA, (Michele Galli) (8,8) 16pts

9 Paprec, FRA, (Jean Luc Petithugenin) (DNF, 7) 17pts

B2 in TP52 Super Series( Photo by Max Ranchi)

 

Terry Hutchinson (USA) tactician Quantum Racing (USA):

“We went 2,3 but I am pretty angry as we went 1,1 at the two top marks and we turned them into a 2,3 and that is not acceptable for me. I expect more from myself and out of the guys we are working with to not miss anything. So when you get passed it is like a file going up and down my back, like a big cheese grater. In saying that our bowman was down sick today and Matt Cassidy slipped forward in the boat. We have an awesome group of professional sailors and all credit to them for doing really good work in difficult conditions. The positives are that we executed the starts we wanted, but we have some meat on the bone that we have to get better tomorrow.”

Vasco Vascotto (ITA) tactician Azzurra (ITA):

“ It feels better than Palma. We sailed very well this time. It is nice to have Cecco back on board it makes a difference. He has such great experience. He was trying to get us foiling (laughs).

Francesco Bruni (ITA) strategist and starting helm Azzurra (ITA):

 It was great racing today. I am always amazed how close it is in the 52 SUPER SERIES, there are just metres in it between new boats and old boats. We picked some good shifts. Vasco did some good work. Upwind we were not so sure about the right, we picked the nice shift to the left on the downwind and when you do that in this fleet it is always a nice jump forwards.

It is a great feeling to be back. It is great to be sailing here, it is like sailing with my second family, racing on these waters in the Mistral.”

TP52 Super Series 2013 (Photo by Max Ranchi)