Winners Quantum Racing  (Photo © Pedro Martinez / Martinez Studio/ 52 Super Series)

Winners Quantum Racing (Photo © Pedro Martinez / Martinez Studio/ 52 Super Series)

Quantum Racing may have won the premier class at the 34th Copa del Rey MAPFRE, TP52s for the third time in a row when they won the final race but tactician Terry Hutchinson considers today’s victory in the fourth regatta of the 52 SUPER SERIES their hardest won and by far their most satisfying.

Victory in the Mediterranean’s showcase regatta was a real family affair this time. Son Dalton DeVos steered the first two days of the regatta before father Doug DeVos took over for the final days.

“That was by far the hardest Copa del Rey that we have won.” grinned Hutchinson on the dock at the Real Club Nautica de Palma, wiping the sweat from his forehead, “It is a rewarding day and a rewarding win.”

“As much as the DeVos family have given us over the eight years, what an awesome, awesome day for Quantum Racing. To do it with our inspirational leader Doug and his son Dalton doing the first two days of the regatta…..you would say we did not do it the easy way. And yet it is by far the most rewarding.”

Doug, one of the founding fathers and shareholders of the 52 SUPER SERIES, took over the helm on Thursday and made a shaky ninth and fifth, incurring a penalty on the first race, but came back strong thereafter winning today’s on race showdown when all the pressure was on, to seal the regatta title three points clear of Azzurra.

Quantum Racing’s first regatta win of the 2015 season was clinched by a 5,2,1,1 sequence. Indeed after their nine points aberration the 2014 52 SUPER SERIES champions amassed only nine points over the last four races.

Four boats were in the frame for the Copa del Rey title, Azzurra went afloat with a one point lead ahead of Quantum Racing and Harm Müller-Spreer’s Platoon, with Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec just one more point behind.

A delay preceded the sea breeze build. And when it came in it was shifty and fitful. A first start was annulled when a 35 degree shift skewed the start line.

But when the showdown race did get away, the 6-9kts breeze as far right as it has been all week, at 235 degrees, it was Quantum Racing who executed perfectly. They worked the right side of the course, avoiding the initial light patch to the right of the committee boat and stayed patient to earn the winning dividend, leading all the way around the course. Azzurra rounded the top mark in sixth after choosing the pin end, left side option. They then dropped two places on the run and recovered to fifth. The world champions finish runners up to Quantum Racing with Platoon finishing on the third step overeall, the German flagged team’s second podium in succession.

Once again one of the hallmarks of the Quantum Racing team was their ability to bounce back after a bad day.
Correspondingly Platoon had a day of two wins during the week but then finished 4,8,10. Azzurra may rue their wrong choice today but they leave Palma having extended their lead on the season long 52 SUPER SERIES championship by another point, heading to Cascais in September with 35 points of a margin. Tactician Vasco Vascotto remarked:
“It is also true that we started the event with a lead of 34 points on the circuit standings and we finish it with 35 so if we are crying today to finish second and have gained another point in the overall standings, I think our life would be nightmare.”

Final Standings 52 SUPER SERIES at 34th

Copa del Rey Mapfre, Palma de Mallorca

  1. Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (3,4,2,9,5,2,1,1) 27pts
  2. Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (1,1,5,3,4,6,5,5) 30pts
  3. Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (6,3,3,1,1,4,8,10) 36pts
  4. Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (10,5,1,4,2,3,2,11) 38pts
  5. Alegre, GBR (Andres Soriano USA) (2,2,6,5,10,9,3,7) 44pts
  6. Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) (5,7,8,2,9,5,4,4) 44pts
  7. Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (4,11,10,6,11,1,9,6) 58pts
  8. Spookie, USA (Steve Benjamin USA) (7,10,4,11,8,10,7,2) 59pts
  9. Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (8,9,11,7,3,11,11,3) 63pts
  10. Xio/Hurakan, ITA (Guiseppe Parodi ITA) (9,8,7,10,7,8,6,8) 63pts
  11. Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (11,6,9,8,6,7,10,9) 66pts

52 SUPER SERIES Rankings, Top 6 overall after 4 Regattas

  1. Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) 140pts
  2. Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) 175pts
  3. Sled, USA (Takashi Okura JPN) 188pts
  4. Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) 189pts
  5. Alegre, GBR (Andres Soriano USA) 199pts
  6. Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) 204pts

Quotes:

Terry Hutchinson, USA, tactician Quantum Racing USA: “That was by far the hardest Copa del Rey that we have won. It is a rewarding day and a rewarding win. I think the guys were a bit down after the day we went 6,9. The first thing I said this morning when I got on the boat was I didn’t want the penalty which we incurred to be the deciding factor in our regatta. And I think probably one of the things which helped us the most was the fact that it became a one race day and there were four boats which could win the regatta. At that point we just had to execute our plan and trust that in the process of racing the boat well that we would be right. 
And we were.
Ado was confident in the right had side. We had two definitive moments in the race. The first one was lane conviction that the right was going to be favoured as the breeze was oscillating back and forth, that we extend for a minute on starboard and we always want to be the first boat going right. And Ado just encouraged patience. Once got the thumbs up from Ado that he was happy, we tacked an off we went . That was it. It was a matter of executing the manouvres and sailing smart. 
As much as the DeVos family have given us over the eight years, what an awesome, awesome day for Quantum Racing. To do it with our imspirational leader Doug and his son Dalton doing the first two days of the regatta, you would say we did not do it the easy way. And yet it is by far the most rewarding.”

Harm Müller-Spreer GER Platoon: “Their choice was the right side of the course, ours was the left and theirs worked out. Today was tricky. The first third of the upwind looked good for us, we could see no one underneath us. But then slowly the right side gained. And from then we just had to defend our third place. Azzurra came close they were going forwards and backwards and we had to keep Bronenosec behind us.”

Vasco Vascotto ITA tactician Azzurra: “Obviously it was just one race and unfortunately their four boats and somebody would win from the right, somebody would win from the left. We wanted to started on the pin, that is my favourite call but it did not play out this time. It is also true that we started the event with a lead of 34 points on the circuit standings and we finish it with 35 so if we are crying today to finish second and have gained another point in the overall standings, I think our life would be nightmare.”

Guillermo Parada ARG skipper-helm Azzurra:“It is a little bit disappointing to lose the lead on the final day after leading for the week. But thew objective of the week is to consolidate our lead on the circuit and we have done that. We did our best to win the Copa del Rey. And today some days you win some days you lose. We went into the final day of Porto Cervo trailing Quantum Racing by two points and came out winners by three. This time we went to the water leading by one and came back trailing by three. That is the way life is. You make your choices and you live with them. The good thing is we are making our own decisions and in control of our own destiny.”

 

Quantum Racing  (Photo by Pedro Martinez / Martinez Studio/ 52 Super Series)

Quantum Racing (Photo by Pedro Martinez / Martinez Studio/ 52 Super Series)

copa del rey race 6 ph m ranchi (3)

HRM King Felipe skippered “Aifos” in the second of the two races held today in the class Gaastra IRC 1. Three classes sailed today a coastal race and five sailed two windward/leeward races. The overall provisional leaders at the end of this third racing day received the Enlace trophies, as winners of the regatta halfway point.

 

Today was the midpoint of the 33rd Copa del Rey MAPFRE, which is being held until Saturday. The classes Gaastra IRC 0, Gazprom Swan 60 and Barclays 52Super Series sailed a 29 nautical miles coastal race around the bay of Palma. All other classes added two more races to their scoring boards. The rankings offer different scenarios: two classes have new leaders (one-designs Nespresso X-35 and Herbalife J80), four have ties between the second and third place, and only three seem to have a clear leader. The best teams of the week received an award today.

The wind was kind again to the fleet, blowing from the south-southwest and speed of between 10 and 13 knots, and peaks up to 15 knots.

Gaastra IRC 0 
The Gaastra IRC 0 fleet completed its coastal race in just over three hours. The fastest was Hap Fauth’s American “Bella Mente”, who fought an intense duel with Andres Soriano’s British “Alegre”. There was only a 36 seconds difference at the finish line. Third was George Sakellaris’ “Shockwave”, who maintains the overall lead in the class with 10 points. In the fight for second place, there is a tie between Roberto Tomasini’s “Robertissima III” (fourth today) and “Bella Mente”, both with 14 points. Tomorrow they will sail again a windward / leeward race.

Gaastra IRC 1
Giuseppe Parodi’s “Hurakan” continues to lead with iron fist the class Gaastra IRC 1. He won both races today and is already seven points ahead of “Team Vision Future” (3-3 today) and ten ahead of René Mangold’s “Aquila” (2-2). In the second race of the day, HRM King Felipe VI joined “Aifos” as skipper, which after three days is in fifth place overall. The King is expected to return tomorrow to skipper the Spanish Army’s TP52 in both races scheduled for the Class Gaastra IRC 1.

(Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com )

(Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com )

copa del rey race 9 ph m ranchi (4)

Gazprom Swan 60 
In the battle for the Gazprom Swan 60 world championship, “Bronenosec” seems to be catching up and won today’s coastal race, his second consecutive win. Second was Boris Gusev’s “Spirit of Europe”, followed by Lorenzo Bortolotti’s “Windward”. Vladimir Liubomirov’s team leads the overall classification seven points ahead of “Petite Flamme” (fourth today), and 11 ahead of “Tsaar Peter” (sixth today).

Barclays 52 Super Series 
Swedish Niklas Zennström’s “Rán” is recovering today from an irregular start of the week, winning the coastal race 43 seconds ahead of Brazilian Eduardo de Souza’s “Phoenix”. Third was British Tony Langley’s “Gladiator”. “Rán” is the fifth winner out of five races in the Barclays 52 Super Series. Despite its discreet sixth place in today’s race, “Quantum Racing” retains its lead, now five points ahead of the tie between “Rán” and “Azzurra”.

BMW 1 ORC 
Double victory for Manuel Doreste’s “Rats on Fire” in the class BMW ORC 1, who has won five races out of six. Last year’s winner makes up for yesterday’s seventh place, and now leads 14 points ahead of the tie between Christian Plump’s “Elena Nova” (2-2 today) and Hendrik Brandis’ “Earlybird” (3-3). The category is dominated by the Swan 45 teams, which after six races have taken over the top four positions.

BMW ORC 2 
The class BMW ORC 2 seems a replica of the class BMW ORC 1: five out of six victories for the leader and tie on points in the second place. “Movistar” skippered by Pedro Campos is not slowing down, and won both races today. In the fight for the second places, Teo Matheu’s “Airlan Aermec” suffers from his results today (4-5) and is overtaken by Lluis Blanchar’s “Varador 2000” (2-2). Good day also for Felix Comas’ “Pinyol Vermell” (3-3).

Nespresso X-35
In the class Nespresso X-35 today’s victories went to Dani Cuevas’ “Puerto Deportivo Benalmádena” and Alessandro Solerio’s “Lelagain”. Today’s good results allow the Italian boat to stand as the new class leader, one point ahead of his rival. Javier Sanz’s “Red Eléctrica de España”, who docked out at the top of the scoring board, lost its lead due to the eight place in the first race today, but recovered well with a second on the next race and is third overall.

Herbalife J80 
Flawless day for José María Torcida’s “Noticia”. The Spaniard won both races today and snatches the lead to Javier Padrón’s “Herbalife”, who had a rough day (8-5). Third on the podium is the defending champion, Hugo Rocha’s “New Territories”, who finished fourth in both races today.

The social program continues
The Nespresso Brunch this morning received the visit of Spanish actor and top model Andres Velencoso. Former Irish cyclist Stephen Roche, winner of the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia, was also in the RCNP and sailed onboard TP52 “Gladiator” to sail the Barclays 52 Super Series coastal race.

The Sailor’s Tent hosted a new performance by Alex Caro and Sote de Lino, with their musical entertainment at the tastings offered to the sailors at the Real Club Náutico de Palma at the end of the day.

The Enlace Trophies in the midpoint 
Today the Enlace Trophies were awarded to the leaders of each class at the end of the first three days of racing. “Shockwave”, “Hurakan”, “Quantum Racing”, “Bronenosec”, “Rats on Fire”, “Movistar”, “Lelagain” and “Noticia” received the trophy for leading their classes in this halfway point of the regatta.
copa del rey race 6 ph m ranchi (12)
Tomorrow’s racing schedule is a coastal race for the classes Gaastra IRC1, BMW ORC 1 and BMW ORC 2. All other classes will sail windward-leeward races. The one-design classes Nespresso X-35 and Herbalife J80 may discard their worst result if they sail their eighth race tomorrow. The first race of the day will start at 13h00.

The 33rd Copa del Rey MAPFRE is organized by the Real Club Náutico de Palma and will take place from August 2nd to the 9th, 2014.

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copa del rey race 6 ph m ranchi (2)

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Copa del Rey Day One (Photo by Max Ranchi / www.maxranchi.com

Today was the first day of competition in the 32nd Copa del Rey MAPFRE. The wind has blown unevenly in the three race courses throughout the Bay of Palma, but allowed all classes to debut. “Jethou”, “B2”, “Rán”, “Natalia”, “X-Spain”, “Vamos Spain”, “Margherita” and “Turismo do Algarve” are the first leaders of the week. On shore, the attention has focused on the opening of the public Village at Sa Feixina. Tomorrow, the competition returns at 13h00.

A north-easterly wind of 10-12 knots received the fleet in the Bay of Palma in order to race the opening day of the 32nd Copa del Rey MAPFRE. Conditions have been uneven in the three race courses, but all classes were able to sail at least one race. The Alpha race course was the most favoured, where the X-35 and J80 were the only two fleets that managed to sail two races.

Copa del Rey Day One by Max Ranchi

The first leaders of the week are: British “Jethou” in the Hublot IRC 0 class, Italian “B2” in Hublot IRC 1, Swedish “Rán” in Gaastra IRC 52, Romanian “Natalia” in G.H. Mumm ORC 1, Spanish “X-Spain” in G.H. Mumm ORC 2, Spanish “Vamos Spain” in Nespresso Soto 40, Italian “Margherita” in La Caixa X-35 and Spanish “Turismo do Algarve” in Mahou J80.

 

Hublot IRC 0 and IRC 1
Today the best out of the spectacular Hublot IRC 0 fleet was the smallest boat, Sir Peter Ogden’s 60 feet “Jethou”, who won with a 50 seconds delta over the also British “Alegre” in handicaped. The third place was for American “Shockwave”.

In Hublot IRC 1, victory went to Michele Galli’s “B2”, first on elapsed time and on handicaped. He was followed by Johann Killinger’s German “Emma” and Spanish Armada’s “Aifos”, skippered today by Jaime Rodríguez-Toubes.

Gaastra IRC 52
Niklas Zennström’s “Rán” has dominated the only race held today, and is the first leader in the Gaastra IRC 52 class. Ahead of Italian “Azzurra” skippered by Alberto Roemmers and American “Quantum Racing” skippered by America`s Cup Champion Ed Baird.

Azzurra Day on Copa del Rey by Max Ranchi

G.H. Mumm ORC 1 and ORC 2
In the multitudinous class G.H. Mumm ORC 1 (36 entries), just eight seconds separated the top three classified after applying the handicap system. The winner was Natalia Brailoiu’s “Natalia”, followed by Sander Speet’s British “Antilope” and François Duguet’s French “Axelle`s”.

Among the 23 teams in Class G.H. Mumm ORC 2, there was a new clash of titans between “X-Spain”, skippered by Iñaki Castañer, and Pedro Campos’ “Movistar”. Javier Banderas’ “X-Spain” is the first leader after beating “Movistar” for three seconds on handicaped. Third was Toni Guiu’s “Marina Port Vell/Sailing Control”.

Nespresso Soto 40
The only race sailed today in the matched Nespresso Soto40 class was won by Jose Maria Torcida’s “Vamos Spain”, followed by Stefan Jentzsch’s German “Black Pearl”. The podium was closed by the Chilean team “Mitsubishi Motors” who had an excellent debut in Europe.

 

Copa del Rey Day One by Max Ranchi

La Caixa X-35
Roberto Mazzucato’s “Margherita” scored with a decisive victory his intention to defend the Copa del Rey MAPFRE title. The winner of the 2012 edition won both races today, and rules the La Caixa X-35 class with five points ahead of Javier Sanz’s local “Red Eléctrica de España” and with six over Alessandro Solerio’s “Lelagain” (ITA).

Mahou J80
The two races sailed in the Mahou J80 class have been dominated by Hugo Rocha’s “Turismo do Algarve”. The 2013 world champion in J80 is the first leader, ahead of José María Van der Ploeg’s “Factor Energía” champion in 2012, who scored two second places. Carlos Martinez’s “Deltastone” closes the provisional podium.

Copa del Rey Day One by Max Ranchi

 

Tomorrow, second day
The regatta program continues tomorrow in the Bay of Palma. The Race Committee will attempt to organize three races in all classes except for La Caixa X-35 and Mahou J80, which has scheduled a maximum of two races tomorrow. The first start of the day is scheduled at 13h00.

Nespresso in the club, Village in Palma
On shore, the attention was today focused in the Real Club Nautico de Palma and the public Village. The club hosted this morning their “Brunch by the Sea” for their guests. The Village opens today at 18h00 with an intense social program which will run until next Monday. DJ Fonsi Nieto is responsible for opening the live performances with the best music at 22h00.

Photos by Max Ranchi   see more of Max’s Photos here

 See all provisional Results HERE

Copa del Rey Day One by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com

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PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN. 2012. Day four of Copa del Rey of 52 Superseries on july 19, 2012 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain (Photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries)

PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN. 2012. Day four of Copa del Rey of 52 Superseries on july 19, 2012 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain (Photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries)

The overall lead of the Copa del Rey IRC 1 division hangs in the hands of the International Jury on Thursday, after a collision between longstanding regatta leaders Audi Azzurra and provisional leaders Audi All4One resulted in counter protests. The pair protested each other after their boats collided during an incident that relates to buoy room during a crucial race on day four of the six-day regatta at Palma, Mallorca.

The pair was neck-and-neck on the approach to the mark when All4One narrowly passed on the inside of Azzurra and their yachts collided. The Italian/Argentinean team paid a penance, a 720 turn, and dropped from first to fifth.

At the race’s end each team notified race management of their intention to protest the other. The protest will be heard by the International Jury at the Real Club de Náutico later tonight.

The outcome could cause a major shakeup of the overall leaderboard on what was otherwise a victorious day for Audi All4One.

The team scored back-to-back wins thanks to the powerhouse partnership of America’s Cup and Olympic gold medallists Jochen Schüemann and Jordi Calafat, who proved invincible.

It is the third line honours win in two days for the on-form team, having won Wednesday’s coastal race.

The trifecta of victories provisionally moves the team to the top of the overall leaderboard on 19 points, edging them to a three point lead over longstanding leaders Audi Azzurra Racing Team with just two-days racing remaining.

But, with a protest pending and more racing to come All4One strategist Pascal Rambeau said it was too early to take too much confidence from the victories.

“There is still a long way, four races to go,’’ he said. “We have to take it one race at a time and stay focused and keep the momentum we have. It is competitive racing, today proves that.”

It should have been a day of celebration for Azzurra, as July 19 marks the 30th anniversary of the launch of the first Azzurra yacht. Instead the team were commiserating their worst results yet, sixth and fifth on corrected time.

The bad form could see Azzurra lose the lead they have held for two-days and slip from a 5.5 point lead, to three point deficit in second place.

Provisionally Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One are the Copa del Rey IRC 1 leaders on 19 points, followed by Audi Azzurra Sailing Team on 22, Gladiator, 24.5, PowerPlay, 27.5 and Paprec Recyclage, 29.

More than 1,100 sailors are competing on board about 119 yachts, across seven divisions in the 31st Copa del Rey.  A maximum of 12 races will be contested across the six-day regatta that concludes on Saturday July 21. Copa del Rey does not count towards the overall 52 Super Series.

The penultimate day of racing will begin on Friday at 1300 local, 1100 UTC.

PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN. 2012. Day four of Copa del Rey of 52 Superseries on july 19, 2012 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain (Photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries)

PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN. 2012. Day four of Copa del Rey of 52 Superseries on july 19, 2012 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain (Photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries)

 

Rán Racing claimed the Royal Cup and their first overall victory in the inaugural 52 Super Series in a testing day’s racing at Palma, Mallorca on Saturday that victorious skipper Niklas Zennström described as being “as good as it gets”.

Zennstroms’s team surged to victory in a 30-plus northeaster at speeds in excess of 24 knots, finishing second across the line in the final race of the day to clinch the overall win.

World champions Quantum Racing finished second in the cup after they were forced to retire from the first of two races on Saturday, when they broke their headstay ram, headfoil and jib in the near gale force conditions.

The team’s shore crew sent an urgent dispatch of supplies to effect on water repairs between the two races. The crew successfully raced the clock and returned Quantum to the second race, but it just wasn’t their day.

Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One rounded out the Royal Cup’s podium, a result that pleased four-time Olympic medallist and twice America’s Cup winner skipper Jochen Schümann despite having entered the final race with a one-point lead.

 

Having won the first race today, All4One entered the final race at the top of the leaderboard with a total of 20 points, while both Quantum and Rán were just one point behind on 21.

Each team had crunched the numbers and knew exactly where they needed to place to clinch the coveted Royal Cup Challenge Trophy, but only Rán were able to execute their plan with success.

Zennström said the conditions in Palma Bay were challenging but very rewarding.

“These conditions are fantastic, you’re going downwind doing 24 knots, you’re doing nine knots upwind and still you’re doing boat on boat racing,” he said.

“Crossing the finish line and seeing Quantum ahead of All4One was just awesome, it’s as good as it gets. Quantum are really the class act, beating them today was really, really awesome. They’re hard to beat and that makes winning even sweeter.”

It was more a bittersweet day for Quantum’s crew, having entered the final day’s racing with a six point buffer and a lead they had held since the four day regatta started on Wednesday.

Tactician Andy Horton said the crew knew that their chances of clinging to their lead was compromised the minute they heard a massive “bang” when their headstay ram broke and they saw their jib tear in the opening nine minutes of the day’s first race.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,’’ Horton said. “But this is a great group of guys, there wasn’t anything said, it was just a freak accident. This is tight racing. You have to be good enough to win despite something like this happening.”

There was a surprise of a different kind for the crew on board Audi All4One, who exceeded even their own expectations to score third in the Royal Cup.

Schümann said being the “underdogs” helped his crew race under the radar, uninfluenced by the other teams’ intentions.

“We’re quite happy, finishing third is more than we expected coming here, but that’s what we dreamed of,’’ he said. “This is our first regatta together as a team. We really enjoy racing together and I think when you see the results getting better and better that reflects it.”

Audi Azzurra Sailing Team finished fourth in the Royal Cup, followed by PowerPlay, Gladiator, Provezza and Aquila.

In the overall 52 Super Series Quantum Racing leads with 53.5 points, followed by Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, 59.5, Rán Racing, 69.5, Gladiator, 93, Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One, 111.5, PowerPlay, 121.2, Provezza, 131.5, Aquila, 140.5 and Paprec, 150.5.

The teams are now turning their sights on 31st Copa del Rey where eight 52 teams will have a chance to race their grand prix yachts in a highly competitive event that won’t count towards the 52 Super Series points.

The next 52 Super Series point scoring event is the Valencia Cup, from September 19-22.

Ranking

  1. Rán Racing 23pts
  2. Quantum Racing 24pts
  3. Audi All4One 24pts
  4. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team 27pts
  5. PowerPlay 41.4pts
  6. Gladiator 44pts
  7. Provezza 47pts
  8. Aquila 56pts

 

TP52s in Royal Cup 2012 Palma, Mallorca ( Photo  © Jacaranda Marketing )

TP52s in Royal Cup 2012 Palma, Mallorca ( Photo © Jacaranda Marketing )

Defending champions Quantum Racing proved why they are the team to beat in the 52 Super Series after winning a dramatic opening day’s racing in the Royal Cup at Palma, Mallorca where costly crew errors proved just how close the competition is.

Quantum Racing claimed a commanding victory in the opening race and second place in race two to finish on three points on the first day of the four-day regatta to extend their overall lead in the 52 Super Series from three points to five.

Rán Racing are second in the Royal Cup with four points, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team are third with five points, followed by Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One, Gladiator, Aquila, PowerPlay and Provezza.

Quantum skipper and double America’s Cup champion Ed Baird said it was a tough day’s racing that was packed with plenty of wind shifts that came out of no where and put his crew’s recent lessons to the test.

“It was one of those races where the rich get richer, as soon as you were a little bit ahead everything became a little more obvious,’’ Baird said.

“We worked awfully hard all of last year, and this year, at trying to improve every little thing.

“It sounds so basic but the tacks, the gybes, they are better than they were three or four months ago. So are the starts, the straight line speed, the sails, the understanding of the mast and the communications, they’re all improving.”

It was a much tougher day’s racing for crews on board newcomer Provezza and British boat Gladiator, who suffered at the hands of errors that placed them second last and last respectively in race two.

Provezza struggled to come back after being recalled for jumping the start and Gladiator dropped from second to last when they lost their spinnaker overboard halfway through the race.

Gladiator skipper Tony Langley said his team’s severe penance for one error was a testament to the caliber of the class.

“It was all in the drop, we lost the string-line system and that was it,” he said. “At this level you cannot afford to make any mistakes.

“You make a small mistake and you’ll get spat out one place or two places, you make a medium mistake and you get spat out the back, but you make a mistake like this and you’re just completing the course for one point.”

Day two of the Royal Cup, hosted by Real Club Náutico de Palma, starts at 1300 local, 1100 UTC. Early predictions have teams expecting between 12 and 18 knots from the south-southwest.