(Tuesday 7th March, Miami) – Just as they led after the first day of racing in Key West in January, Harm Müller-Spreer’s Platoon crew top the early leaderboard at the 52 SUPER SERIES Miami Royal Cup for after a dramatic first day of TP52 racing in brisk SE’ly winds and big, disorderly waves off Miami Beach.Platoon’s victory in the second race, gained in the closing stages of a fast final run, credits them with the overall lead on tie break from the Roemmers family’s Azzurra, which posted two consistent second places.
“It was a really good start for us. We had good speed and we made some nice comebacks and in that last race on the last downwind it was down to just a few metres, so that was good. It was really great racing. But of course tomorrow is all different, new situations and new challenges, but it is good to start well.” owner-helm Müller-Spreer smiled on the dock of the Miami Beach Marina where the 52 SUPER SERIES fleet is hosted.
The 16-20kts winds and the unruly swell kicked up by the strong winds of the last few days punished small errors and placed a real premium on well-coordinated crew work. Azzurra in second place lead Quantum Racing who are one point behind in third. With Bora Gulari steering his first 52 SUPER SERIES races Quantum Racing won the first race but did not get the start they wanted in the second contest, taking fourth.
But the toughest challenge at this second regatta of the 52 SUPER SERIES is that facing the Gladiator crew. Their new boat was hit by Sled during the second beat of Race 2, only the second race for Tony Langley’s team with their latest Gladiator, suffering a significant gash to their port topsides which eliminates the boat from further competition at the regatta.
The shore team and crew now aim to re-dress and step the mast on their previous Gladiator, which they aim to bring from West Palm Beach which is some 70 miles away, aiming to be ready for racing on Thursday. Sled suffered damage to the forefoot of their bow but hope to be back in action Wednesday.
Race 1: Gulari Shows His Mettle As Quantum Racing Opens With A Win
There may have been a new hand on the helm, but Quantum Racing carried forward the momentum from their impressive 2017 52 SUPER SERIES opening win at Quantum Key West Race Week six weeks ago.Bora Gulari, the team’s newest addition, moved from the strategist role to the helm for this event and showed that all his time sailing foiling moths and Olympic cataramans has prepared him well for driving these 52-foot thoroughbreds in some challenging conditions off Miami Beach.Quantum Racing was among a handful of boats, including Harm Müller-Spreer’s Platoon and Tony Langley’s new Gladiator, which controlled the front row off the starting line.
Azzurra, with Guillermo Parada at the helm and Vasco Vascotto calling tactics, didn’t have quite the same freedom early in that first leg, but made the critical call to hit the left side on the top third of beat and so squeaked past Quantum Racing around the first mark.
Those two boats battled nip and tuck down the first run with Azzurra holding the lead and choosing the left side of the next leg. It was the right which paid better for Quantum Racing which was able to take over the lead when the boats converged again midway up the second beat.
Azzurra pushed Quantum Racing hard on the final run, closing to within a boat length, but the American team held on for the win. Platoon was third with Rán Racing fourth and Provezza rounding out the top five.
Race 2: Platoon Steals A March With Win, Leads Overall
With John Kostecki calling tactics and Olympic gold medallist and America’s Cup winner Jordi Calafat on strategy the Platoon team displayed poise under pressure to win Race 2 of the 2017 52 SUPER SERIES Miami Royal Cup and grab the overall lead.From a four way final sprint to the finish line, the outcome of the second race was in the balance until the final metres. Platoon edged out Azzurra by only four second and were only six seconds ahead of Provezza.Miami Royal Cup. 52 SUPER SERIES.
After Day 1, Two Races.
1 Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer, GER) 3,1 4pts
2 Azzurra (ITA) (Roemmers Family, ARG) 2,2 4pts
3 Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos, USA) 1,4 5pts
4 Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre, TUR) 5,3 8pts
5 Rán Racing (SWE) (Niklas Zennström, SWE) 4,8 12pts
6 Alegre (GBR) (Andy Soriano, USA) 8,6 14pts
7 Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley, GBR) 7, RDG (7), 14pts
8 Bronenosec (RUS) (Vladimir Liubomirov, RUS) 10,5 15pts
9 Sorcha (GBR) (Peter Harrison, GBR) 9,7 16pts
10 Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura, USA) 6, 12 (DSQ) 18pts
11 Paprec (FRA) (Jean Luc Petithuguenin, FRA) DNC 12, DNC 12 24pts
John Kostecki (USA) tactician Platoon (GER):
“[There were] some really big shifts and if you missed it you were out the back. In that second race, first beat, at times we looked like we were in last place. Sometimes we were in first place. It was quite shifty. We learned in the first race we really needed to attack the shifts and be a little more aggressive. We did that in that second race and it seemed to pay off. The waves made the crew work a challenge. You can definitely get thrown around and get your timing off because of the waves. So you play it a little conservatively at times, at least we did. The last race, it was close. On the final run we were pinned and we couldn’t jibe. Azzurra pinned us out all the way to the layline. Then they jibed away and we all of the sudden got a little header, so we kept going and extended away from them. That seemed to help us a little bit on the final jibe in. We were a minute or so separated [from Azzurra and Provezza] and they had to do an extra jibe and we were able to sail straight through the finish. It was close racing.”
Vasco Vascotto (ITA) tactician Azzurra (ITA):
“I think we still made a couple of small mistakes. They are little, stupid mistakes but in the end they are what cost us a point and the lead. But we have to be happy. In the second race we were better, but still we gybed twenty second too late and so lost the chance to win that race. And so, overall, we have to be happy with two second and a share of the lead with Platoon. But on the other we need to clean up our way of sailing and not lose these kind of points. The level is so high every point is so important. The breeze was oscillating a lot. You work to what you think is the average for the day, still I think the right was generally better, with current and other things. It was exciting and I feel we positioned the boat quite nicely.
I am getting older and so don’t remember too much about different venues. I remember little things but I try to go out each day with a clear mind. I think we have sailed a lot here with the wind and 90 and 100 degrees but not so much 120 which we saw today. I clean all past from my head and just work with what I see and I go on the water with a plan, knowing how I want to sail.”
The 52 SUPER SERIES Miami Royal Cup will take place from 7-11 March. Live commentary and boat tracking via the Virtual Eye is available Tuesday and Wednesday. 52 SUPER SERIES TV powered by Quantum Sails goes live THURSDAY, FRIDAY, SATURDAY with live action streamed from the race course supported by tracking, commentary and comment from 15-minutes before racing starts each day. All available at www.52SUPERSERIES.com/LIVE and the the app.
(Thursday 26th May, Scarlino) – Broad smiles around the Marina di Scarlino told the story of Races 3 and 4 for the 52 SUPER SERIES’ Scarlino Cup and without doubt the most contented crew were that of Ergin Imre’s Provezza. Not only did the Turkish flagged team win both races but they led at every mark, even the margins at times were mere metres. It was a nice early season payback to the hugely supportive and enthusiastic owner Imre who invested heavily through this last winter, ordering a new, stiffer rig and new foils and enhanced their sail programme in a clearly defined quest to stand on the podium at the end of this season.
With the 9-13kts breeze round more to the south than Day 1 there was an acknowledged advantage on the left side of the upwind, closer to the beneficial influence of the land. Provezza executed their game plan to the letter, staking an early claim to the pin end of the start line and fighting to maintain that key spot.
Their lead at the top mark in the first race was more conclusive, in the second it was down to a matter of a half a boat length on Azzurra and Quantum Racing. But the Provezza team stayed cool through the day and enjoyed their success, well knowing that they had been fortunate to make it to the start line.
They broke a deflector during the pre-race warm up and had to send a crew member aloft for nearly 30 minutes to make a fix. In fact this mishap rather cleared their heads, admitted tactician Tony Rey later, and they could do little more than focus on fighting for the pin and delivering on their game plan.
Andy Beadsworth, the GBR Olympian who steers Provezza commented:
“We have done a lot of work over the winter. Ergin has committed a lot of resources to try and improve the boat with a new rig, new foils, a few changes to the positions of the foils. We have made a few sail design changes and hopefully these things are coming together and we will see a general trend of improvement. A day like to today makes everything worthwhile.”
The two race wins promote Provezza to second overall after four races of this opening regatta of the 52 SUPER SERIES season four points behind Quantum Racing. If Provezza’s starts were pin sharp today Quantum Racing’s were not up to their usual high standards. They were fouled in the final minute of the second race and had to compromise on what they wanted to do. Second to last off the line they still battled to third by the windward mark. The first start was the better but they held fourth all the way around the track. Overall it was another consistent day for the Ed Baird skippered Quantum Racing, 4,3 giving them a lead of four points now, improved by one point on the morning’s standings.
Azzurra came back to the dock with smiles much more evident than their “nightmare” start to the season yesterday. A good second in the second race of the day finally ignited their grins. They had their best start of the series so far, next boat to windward of Provezza and held second all the way around. This contrasted sharply with their first start of the day when they were ejected from the pin end sandwich and had to take a penalty. The Azzurra team were fully 40 seconds late in starting as a consequence but pulled through to sixth, what Vasco Vascotto, the Azzurra tactician, later described as “a little miracle”.
Consistency has been the Quantum Racing metier so far, Terry Hutchinson so far proving the fleet’s professor of risk management. This is especially evident on the start line where, as Hutchinson points out, they will not compromise the security of the big picture game plan by pressing for a high risk start. Don’t mistake this playoff between prudence and high stakes gambling as not pushing hard at the start:
“When I open the door in the morning I start pushing!” Hutchinson says emphatically.
Meantime rival Vasco Vascotto reaffirmed that nothing changed in the way they sailed the Azzurra, the 2015 52 SUPER SERIES championship winners, from yesterday’s high scoring opening to today’s very obvious improvement:
“I said to the guys on the boat ‘we change nothing’ we sail how we know we can sail and just remember there will be many ups and downs this season, that is how close this fleet is.”
Racing continues Friday with the coastal race planned.
52 Super Series – Scarlino Cup
Standings after four races:
1 Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (1,3,4,3) 11 pts
2 Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (4,9,1,1) 15 pts
3 Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (5,2,3,6) 16 pts
4 Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (3,4,7,4) 18 pts
5 Alegre, GBR (Andres Soriano USA) (2,5,8,5) 20 pts
6 Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (7,8,6,2) 23 pts
7 Sled, USA (Takashi Okura JPN) (6,1,9,8) 24 pts
8 Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (9,6,2,7) 24 pts
9 Xio/Hurakan, ITA (Guiseppe Parodi ITA) (8,7,5,9) 29 pts
10 Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (10,10,10,10) 40 pts
11 Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (11,11,11,11) 44 pts
Andy Beadsworth GBR, helm Provezza TUR:
“We recognised in the pre race line ups that the left was pretty strong. We had a panic before the start because we broke a deflector and so I say the shore crew did a greta job getting up there and lashing a new one in. They got us on the start. We worked hard on both starts to win the pin. The left came good and we were just half a length forward, and I mean only half a length. It was only that and that is that half boat length you are always looking for in tuning and training . That was what it was at the top mark.
We have done a lot of work over the winter. Ergin has committed a lot of resources to try and improve the boat with a new rig, new foils, a few changes to the positions of the foils. We have made a few sail design changes and hopefully these things are coming together and we will see a general trend of improvement. A day like to today makes everything worthwhile.”
Terry Hutchinson (USA), tactician Quantum Racing (USA):
“The first race we did not get a great start and had to clear and take some transoms and so to get back from that and get fourth was good. And in the second race at 50 seconds we got fouled and that really put us on the back foot and forced us away from where we wanted to go and so there to battle back to third was a solid day.
There are a lot of things still we can improve upon. The endgame is on Sunday and so we just try to keep ourselves in the hunt.
Everyone I think had the same strategy wanting to go left. Provezza I think footed off a little to leeward it was very subtle. The left came in strong at the top of the beat. I would have picked Azzurra winning the second race. We sailed in about 45 seconds of fluffiness and Provezza was rumbling on layline the whole time. They were just in the spot they needed to be to pin Azzurra from tacking. Certainly that was higher risk higher reward (for them). But in the big picture world I am plenty happy with how we sailed. Our executions of our starts were not to our standards and so there are a lot of things there we can make gains on, there are good things communication wise that I will get better on which will Ed get us away cleanly.
I am pushing the minute I get out the door in the morning. I think it is risk/reward, you are balancing the percentages. Yesterday first race of the year we came off the pin clean, it was high risk but it was open. We are never going to compromise our start to execute the big picture strategy. It is only one part of the race.”
Vasco Vascotto ITA, tactician Azzurra (ITA/ARG):
“I am happier for sure. Yesterday was a bit of a nightmare for sure. And then in the first race we had a penalty and so were last by a long way. Left was so strong that it was then hard to come back from there, but really we did a nice job from there. We made a little miracle. We had a nice start in the second race. Who won the pin won the race but it was very close. At the top mark it was just down to a few metres. Now we need to slow ourselves down a little, prepare well and relax. We are doing a good job, speed is good, crew work is good, the worst thing is the tactician. We are happy today because we know that we don’t have to change much. I said to the guys this morning ‘we don’t have to change anything, be ready to have some ups and some downs this season because the fleet is so competitive.”
(Wednesday 25th May – Scarlino, Tuscany) – There were few surprises on the long awaited first day of the new 2016 52 SUPER SERIES season. Along the race dock of Tuscan’s showcase Marina di Scarlino the nervous tension bubbled from early morning right through until dockout time. But the two light winds races adhered to the letter the widely expected plot line when Quantum Racing emerged with a small three points lead – smart, patient, percentage sailing being their Day 1 watchwords – and no fewer than four boats all log-jammed into a share of the same 7 points tally between second and sixth in the 11 boat fleet.
Quantum Racing’s tenacious tactician Terry Hutchinson may have expressed his concerns that their team was not quite at the high level of readiness he would have wanted, but the American flagged crew made key crucial gains, going forwards in both windward leeward races to score a first and third and so lie three points ahead of the four boat cluster.
When they lost Alegre on the first run of the first race they fought hard to get back into the lead on the second run, so taking first blood for the season, leaving Andy Soriano’s team to second place. And in the second contest Quantum Racing showed their mettle when they chipped away to convert a fifth at the top of the first beat to a third on the finish line.
“It’s two down 48 to go” smiled Hutchinson ashore after racing. He considers they sailed little different today to how they did in yesterday’s practice race when they made a sixth.
“We had a great session this morning talking about the mistakes we made yesterday, and how we are continuing to do the high percentage things that we think are going to work. Yesterday [practice race], we felt like we did that, but we got absolutely nothing for it. But overall the boat is going quite well. We have quite a good setup.
Just as every team has expressed their pre-season belief that this will be an incredibly close season, the level being almost universally high, so there is an immediate, ringing endorsement with four boats – all you would consider as podium contenders for a regatta or at the end of the season – unerringly finishing Day 1 on the same points. Takashi Okura’s Sled won the second race and matched that to a sixth and are credited with second overall.
Platoon’s fifth in the first race is bolted to an excellent second behind Sled in the second race. Alegre showed great potential but might rue small losses for a 2,5 when it could have been a 1,3 had they converted their best positions in both races. Rán Racing, with Morgan Larson and Adam Beashel combining on tactics and strategy, proved to be one other team along with Quantum Racing which made important successive gains. They transformed an early fifth to a third in Race 1 and then a Mark 1 sixth to a finish line fourth in Race 2. Gains down the last run were a notable aspect of the Rán game.
Of course there is little of real solid substance to be extrapolated from Day 1 of a season which is likely to comprise somewhere around 25 days and perhaps 45 or 50 races which all count. In essence it just sets the ball rolling, buries the first day nerves – which were very evident in the way some teams sailed – and sets the 52 SUPER SERIES down to business in this fifth year of is existence.
The Scarlino race arena – new to this 52 SUPER SERIES circuit – delivered light, shifty breezes which were hard to read. Staying in the best strands of wind pressure and changing gears was vital.
Now with a full year of racing under their belts since the newest generation of boats were launched and prepped hurriedly for the Valencia opener 12months ago, suffice to say that Day 1 may not have yielded any big, toys out the pram upsets, no high octane drama but instead it served only to whet the appetite further for what promises to be a truly mouth watering 52 SUPER SERIES season.
52 SUPER SERIES
Scarlino Cup, Standings after Day 1, 2 Races
1 Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (1,3) 4 pts
2 Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) (6,1) 7 pts
3 Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (5,2) 7 pts
4 Alegre, GBR (Andres Soriano USA) (2,5) 7 pts
5 Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (3,4) 7 pts
6 Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (4,9) 13 pts
7 Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (9,6) 15 pts
8 Xio/Hurakan, ITA (Guiseppe Parodi ITA) (8,7) 15 pts
9 Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (7,8) 15 pts
10 Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (10,10) 20 pts
11 Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (11,11) 22 pts
Terry Hutchinson (USA), tactician Quantum Racing (USA):
“It’s two down, 48 to go. It was a good day. We had a great session this morning talking about the mistakes we made yesterday, and how we are continuing to do the high percentage things that we think are going to work. Yesterday [practice race], we felt like we did that, but we got absolutely nothing for it. The boat was going quite well. We have quite a good setup. I think there was that and then there being a little bit of better pressure up the leeward left hand side going up the beat made for a good gain up the second beat where we were hanging on and defending.
Yes we were making gains but yesterday we went backwards. That’s the difference, but we didn’t sail any differently today than we did yesterday [practice race]. I think that we’re scratching the surface as a team about how we’re going to evolve. We had a great session on the boat this morning as well, on our way out, about things that we can go better. I’m very optimistic. The other unique feature is that now, we have a great training partner in Platoon, which is making for our ability to get faster through the water. We’re faster, as well, on shore. We debrief every morning and talk to those guys, I mean, they’re a great sailing team so there’s a lot of evolution that’s happening. It’s simply a matter of keeping it all pointing in the right direction.
Hamish Pepper (NZL) strategist Sled (USA):
“We’re reasonably happy. It’s going to be a long season, so to start the first day with two ‘keepers’, we’ve got to be happy with that. It’s more important for us to be consistent overall than to win races, but it’s nice to win a race this early in the regatta. It just shows the work we’ve done over the winter to the boat, the boat’s going well, and the team’s going well. But it is certainly going to be a tight series, and that’s why we’re here sailing TP52s!”