(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.
Team Russia (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) had problems unfurling their gennaker after what looked like a good starting position, and were quickly hundreds of metres back.
Telefónica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED) made a move well out to the right along with PUMA (Ken Read/USA), and Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA), while Green Dragon remained closer to the coast and watched the others surge ahead. As this leading bunch started to curl in towards the shore, making the most of the northwesterly sea breeze, which will fade in the next two hours as daylight fails, it was PUMA who led the leading pack.
There are no turning marks at the start of the leg and the next mark of the course will be the scoring gate set off Pulau We, near the northern tip of Sumatra. Here the fleet will be faced with an important decision – whether to sail north or south of the rhumb line. Race Meteorologist, Jennifer Lilly, says sailing north of the rhumb line, the fleet is likely to face moderate northeast to east-northeast upwind conditions. But, says Jennifer, if they sail south of the rhumb line, the winds could back to become more westerly and with more favourable downwind angles. However, wind speeds are generally lighter and there tends to be more rainsqualls. How to attack this split breeze could make for some interesting tactics to the scoring gate.
Earlier today, when the gates opened to the Race Village, spectators came in their thousands to see the fleet leave the dock. Some two hours later, the queues to get into the race village were still snaking for hundreds of metres down the road and, when the time came for the sailors to parade through the crowds and down to the pontoons, it made for one of the most spectacular departure ceremonies this event has ever seen.
The Indian people, while unfamiliar with this race and its history, have shown incredible enthusiasm on this first visit to Asia. They pressed deep into the passage walked by the sailors and, with arms waving and voices coarse, mobbed the crews and took pictures of them as they walked one-by-one to their boats.
What should have been a quick 200-metre walk took most crews seven or eight minutes. No one seemed to mind. “Unbelievable,” Bouwe Bekking said to Jonathan Swain as Telefónica Blue escaped the gauntlet. The welcome was not just reserved for the front-runners. For each sailor, be it Team Russia’s Wouter Verbraak, who only arrived in the country in the last 36 hours because of visa issues, or runaway leader Torben Grael, the reception was incredible.
At 1110 GMT today, two miles separated the fleet from first to last and the whole fleet was just four miles off the coast. Closest inshore was Team Russia and furthest offshore was Delta Lloyd (Roberto Bermudez/ESP).The order was:
Puma (Ken Read/USA)
Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA)
Telefónica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED)
Ericsson 3 (Anders Lewander/SWE)
Telefónica Black (Fernando Echávarri/ESP)
Delta Lloyd (Roberto Bermudez/ESP)
Green Dragon (Ian Walker/GBR)
Team Russia (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT)
Here are some highlights of the second leg of the race