TP52 Super Series Miami  (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

(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.

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

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.

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

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

Quotes:
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.”

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

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.

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

 

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com 

 

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

 

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

 

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

 

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

 

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

 

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 Super Series Miami (Photo © Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

(Friday 16th September, Menorca) – As a team which is much more used to winning Quantum Racing had some tough moments in 2015 when they were overshadowed by Azzurra. But the TP52 class’s most successful team are back on song this season, more so than ever in Menorca, racing at their very, very best.As the 2016 52 World Championship regatta passed its theoretical mid-point today, Doug DeVos’ American-flagged crew already have the title by the scruff of the neck and look firm favourites to run away with another world championship win at Sunday’s prizegiving in Mahón.

After six races Quantum Racing have accumulated only ten points.

Their worst race finish so far is the third place that they gained in Race 6, losing second to Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing because their bow pulpit had failed and the Quantum crew could not fully hike.

With Terry Hutchinson calling tactics, Ed Baird steering, and Ian Moore as navigator Quantum took three points from Day 1, three points from Day 2 and now just four more points from today after winning the first race.

In pursuit of the seemingly untouchable Quantum, Rán Racing had one of their best days of the year so far to match Quantum’s daily score with two second places. But it is Ergin Imre’s Provezza which holds second place, separated from Rán on countback only by virtue of a gun to gun win in Race 6, today’s second windward-leeward.

Menorca delivered two great races today. The first was raced in the south-westerly breeze which has prevailed so far. But the NW’ly pushed through for the second race, requiring the course area to be changed, offering a whole new array of tactical choices on a brand new arena.

Quantum Racing and Rán Racing broke away early in the first beat of the first race of the day, Race 5 of the series. Quantum Racing started closer to the middle of the line and were able to impose themselves early, while Rán went more to the right, inshore and profited. On the first run Peter Harrison’s Sorcha made a great gain down the offshore side of the leg, jumping up to third. Unfortunately they were penalised for an infringement during a very compact group at the finish, dropping to 11th. Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec made a great recovery to steal third with Provezza fourth.

A big, heading shift on the first downwind forced the first attempt at Race 6 to be abandoned. But the delay, as the course area was moved several miles, was rewarded with an exciting second race where boatspeeds topped 20kts and the head to head drag race off the start line which went on for several minutes was one of the most exciting periods of the season so far.

Cognisant of how the new breeze would bend down the race course, Provezza executed their game plan to perfection, hooking into the left lift early to lead all the way around the course, surging away from Quantum Racing at the first kite hoist.

The hard tactical racing was a great chance for consistency for some. The young team on Paprec posted two fifth places and lie eighth overall. Bronenosec halted their miserable run of races here so far with a third and fourth today.

The plan to run a coastal on Saturday has been changed to a schedule requiring two more windward-leewards with a warning signal for the first one at 1200hrs.
52 World Championship – Mahón, Menorca
Standings after Day 3, six races sailed

1 Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (2,1,1,2,1,3) 10pts
2 Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (6,7,3,6,4,1) 27pts
3 Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (9,2,2,10,2,2) 27pts
4 Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (1,10,7,1,6,7) 32pts
5 Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (5,3,5,7,12,8) 40pts
6 Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (4,4,10,4,8,11) 41pts
7 Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (8,8,9,11,3,4) 43pts
8 Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (3,DNF/13,8,9,5,5) 43pts
9 Alegre, GBR (Andy Soriano USA) (7,5,6,8,9,12) 47pts
10 Sorcha GBR (Peter Harrison GBR) (12,6,4,12,11,6) 51pts
11 Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) (11,11,12,3,7,9) 53pts
12 Phoenix, USA (Richard Cohen USA) (10,9,11,5,10,10) 55pts
Quotes:

Ed Baird (USA) skipper-helm Quantum Racing (USA):

“It has been magical so far. Everything Terry has gotten us to do has worked out and so I just try to keep up with driving the boat. Unfortunately we had a bit of a breakdown on the second race, we broke the bow pulpit on one side and could not hike upwind on the second leg. Rán were able to catch up to us and get around us. But the positioning of Terry and the teamwork of the guys has been fantastic. It is working. All we ever try to do is realise that yesterday is yesterday and tomorrow is tomorrow when we can do a little better. It does not matter if you had a good day or a bad day tomorrow you just try to do that little bit better. So far it is working. We have a lot of racing to go and there are a lot of good teams putting pressure on where we are. But it is magic.”

Nacho Postigo (ESP) navigator Provezza (TUR):

“We had a good idea of what the wind would do after the big change, and so we had a plan and we stuck to it. There was a transition between the SW’ly and the NW’ly wrapping around the island. And when the NW’ly was in normally it does a left bend around the island. We are up to second overall, tied with Rán Racing and so the fight through the final two days with be interesting.

I think this is the one of the best places to race because there is no single track. And there are plenty of opportunities to gain and to lose. So it is not only boatspeed and finding the best side. It is about being awake and focused on what is happening. It is a very good place to race. Some are reading it very well, and some not so well.”

The 52 World Championship will take place in Mahón, Menorca from 14th-18th September. Tomorrow, racing will start at 12:00 CEST every day, with live coverage for the remainder of the regatta. You can catch all the action atwww.52SUPERSERIES.com or via the app.

 

TP52 World Championship Race Days 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race Days 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

 

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com)

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

(Wednesday 14th September, Menorca) – Quantum Racing did what they do best today to earn the early lead at the 52 World Championship in Menorca. They kept cool heads, sailed smooth and clean, and worked through the fleet to finish second in the championship after the first race (behind Azzurra), and then won the second race, pipping Rán Racing on the finish line to lead by five points.

Conditions improved across the two races culminating in a fast, enjoyable tussle through the Second heat in building seas and 18-22kts of breeze and sunshine. In the brisk conditions it was as important to stay out of trouble – to avoid mechanical breakdowns – as it was to sail fast, smart and consistent.

Quantum Racing came back from a positively lacklustre start to the championship, flatfooted off the start line, and worked hard to get second behind Azzurra. The defending champions Azzurra led from the first run and consolidated on the final run to keep Quantum Racing under wraps to the finish line. But Azzurra suffered in the second race, losing contact with Quantum Racing early on, they had a winch pedestal problem and then tore a kite to pair a weighty 10th to their first.

 

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com)

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

tp52-worlds-races-1-2-ph-m-ranchi-2

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

In the windy, wavy conditions Provezza shredded a kite near the leeward mark after leading round the first circuit and Paprec had to retire from the second heat after breaking their backstay. This was especially tough for the French crew which had just finished third in the first race.

Tony Langley’s Gladiator led the first race which started in 11-13kts of SW’ly breeze, and a difficult, leftover, sloppy sea. The confused, steep waves and chop were out of proportion to the modest early breeze and made it especially hard for helms and trimmers to work to their best. Gladiator did not manage to gybe early enough at the top mark, being held to the right of the downwind by the French. With a big shift to the right Azzurra profited from their early gybe set at the top mark and took the lead. Quantum Racing took places on each leg and were attacking hard at Azzurra by the finish. Paprec took third and Gladiator fourth.

The breeze had built for the second race. Ergin Imré’s Provezza and Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing were well placed to the right of the first upwind with the Turkish boat just leading Rán at the first turn. Rán stayed right (looking downwind) on the final run leaving Quantum Racing to the left, closer to the shore and the geographical header which allowed them to get passed the black hulled Rán just on the finish line.

tp52-worlds-races-1-2-ph-m-ranchi-3

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

Quantum Racing’s skipper Baird confessed:

“I did not do a good job of getting us off the starting line. But the team really rallied up and made some good manoeuvres and some good tactical calls to get us around. Terry [Hutchinson] picked us some really strong positions around the track and got us back in the game. There are a lot of good teams and you just don’t get a good start every race. And today was my day for that.”

Harm Müller-Spreer’s Platoon crew sailed a consistent day with their 5,3 to lie second on countback against Langley’s Gladiator and their 4,4.

tp52-worlds-races-1-2-ph-m-ranchi-5

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

Quantum Racing’s skipper Baird confessed:

“I did not do a good job of getting us off the starting line. But the team really rallied up and made some good manoeuvres and some good tactical calls to get us around. Terry [Hutchinson] picked us some really strong positions around the track and got us back in the game. There are a lot of good teams and you just don’t get a good start every race. And today was my day for that.”

Harm Müller-Spreer’s Platoon crew sailed a consistent day with their 5,3 to lie second on countback against Langley’s Gladiator and their 4,4.

tp52-worlds-races-1-2-ph-m-ranchi-6

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

52 World Championship – Mahon, Menorca
Standings after Day 1, Two Races
1 Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (2,1) 3pts
2 Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (5,3) 8pts
3 Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (4,4) 8pts
4 Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (1,10) 11pts
5 Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (9,2) 11pts
6 Alegre, GBR (Andy Soriano USA) (7,5) 12pts
7 Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (6,7) 13pts
8 Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (3,DNF13) 16pts
9 Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (8,8) 16pts
10 Sorcha GBR (Peter Harrison GBR) (12,6) 18pts
11 Phoenix, USA (Richard Cohen USA) (10,9) 19pts
12 Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) (11,11)  22pts
Quotes:
Ian Walker (GBR) tactician Gladiator (GBR):

“The first race we should really have done better than that. We lead around the top mark and did not have a good enough spinnaker set and then could not gybe because of Paprec. So that was disappointing but we did well to hang on to fourth. Second race we did well in the end because we had an absolutely shocking start. We picked boats off. We were in phase the whole race. One or two boats did not tack on us which was a first, making a world of difference. And the boat goes better when there is some wind. I think the wheels – it becomes an advantage, or less of a disadvantage when the wind is up, the Vrolijk hull shape I think is better uprange than downrange. And I think we sail it better in the breeze, maybe we have more learn to in the light. There are a number of reasons but at least we can compete when there is more breeze.

I am absolutely loving Menorca. I think everyone is friendly. The pace of life is a little slower. It is beautiful. The sailing is good. And gimme anywhere we don’t have to just smash a corner!”

Ed Baird (USA) skipper-helm Quantum Racing (USA):

“I did not do a good job of getting us off the starting line. But the team really rallied up and made some good manoeuvres and some good tactical calls to get us around. Terry [Hutchinson] picked us some really strong positions around the track and got us back in the game. There are a lot of good teams and you just don’t get a good start every race. And today was my day for that.”

Tony Rey (USA) tactician Provezza (TUR):

“We broke the kite in the second race in the worst possible place, approaching the leeward gate. It was a windy, wavy day and we quickly went from hero to zero. The good news is that we saved a few points. We were second to last at the leeward gate but got up to seventh and that is good in this fleet.”

Paul Cayard (USA) skipper-helm Phoenix (USA):

“We had a good day. I love how close the competition is. We made a big mistake at the leeward mark in the second race which was a shame because it was going well up until then. But we learn from it and we will be better tomorrow. We have a great team with sailors from big programmes – America’s Cup and so on. Most of us have some experience in this class but not for some years. And so we are just coming into the group which has been sailing against each other for a while, at least all this season. It is matter of inches, metres, seconds. We dealt with the pile up and the weather mark quite well, for example. There is a lot of opportunity out there but Quantum Racing just show us how to do it. They sail smooth and clean and stay out of trouble and just chip away.”

The 52 World Championship will take place in Mahón, Menorca from 14th-18th September. Racing starts at 12:30 CEST every day, with live coverage on the final three days. You can catch all the action at www.52SUPERSERIES.com or via the app.

 

tp52-worlds-races-1-2-ph-m-ranchi-7

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

 

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com)

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com  )

 

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com)

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com)

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com)

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

 

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com)

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

 

 

 

 

Fleet racing in 2015 at the Les Voiles de Saint Barth (Photo © Christophe Jouany )

Fleet racing in 2015 at the Les Voiles de Saint Barth (Photo © Christophe Jouany)

 Known throughout the world under the pseudonym of Kongo, street artist Cyril Phan will be in St. Barth in April. His arrival ties in perfectly with the wishes of the organizers of the Les Voiles de St. Barth through the creation of an event that combines sport, lifestyle and friendliness, where art has its rightful place. “Getting artists involved in the event is part of the DNA of Les Voiles de St. Barth, and we’ve entrusted the creation of several posters to artists over previous editions,” explained François Tolède, Organizing Director of Les Voiles de St. Barth. “We’ve offered Kongo the chance to create a piece on the theme of the sea and Les Voiles de St. Barth.”

“Since 1991, I have lived in Guadeloupe for half of each year. The Caribbean is a massive source of inspiration to me,” explained Phan. “My presence at Les Voiles de St. Barth this year is the result of a meeting I had with François Tolède last summer. He suggested I give a performance on a sail, which will subsequently be auctioned off for charity. Painting on a sail is something new for me, even though I’m used to painting pretty much anywhere. It’s going to be intriguing to do my thing within the context of Les Voiles de St. Barth.” Moreover, it’s a work that may well appear on the poster for the 2017 edition of the Caribbean sailing event.

Though he does not sail himself, this traveling enthusiast is delighted at the prospect of coming to St. Barth in the spring. “I’ll paint the sail live in front of a public audience during the regatta,” said Phan. “I love discovering other worlds. Three months ago I discovered the world of aviation, which involved painting a plane, and I’m continuing to explore the world of aeronautics through several collaborations, one of which is with the Fondation St Exupéry, he continues. The world of sailors strikes a logical chord with me and my own journey. It’s a thrilling world, filled with people who are passionate about what they do. Sharing my passion with them and discovering what makes them tick is bound to be an enriching experience.”

Kongo, an artist with multiple influences 

Born in 1969 to a Vietnamese father and a French mother, Cyril “Kongo” Phan arrived in France as a political refugee back in April 1975 after the fall of Saigon. After a childhood spent in the South of France with his grandparents, in the early 80s he headed off to Brazzaville in the Congo, to join his mother. It is here that he discovered a passion for art. “I have friends there who were just back from New York and introduced me to hip hop. I was immediately drawn in by the dance and the music, but more as a spectator rather than an actor,” says the man for whom drawing has always been a primary mode of expression. It was not until he returned to France that he discovered an interest for graffiti. “I was lucky enough to meet the people creating the graffiti and the drawings and they got me into it,” he recalls. Banding together, they created the MAC group. “Graffiti arrived in France with the hip hop movement after the stencilists. Back then we were just a group of kids from Le Faubourg St. Antoine. There were only 100 or 200 street artists who essentially geared themselves towards the microcosm of graffiti. We began by tagging walls, living in the moment. Nothing was planned. Today, there are thousands.” The frescos they painted on big walls meant that the group gained renown across France as well as internationally. “We were invited to paint in Europe and in the United States, which brought us in touch with the entire international graffiti scene at the time. That fuelled my lust for travel, which has always been part and parcel of my life.”

During a trip to Asia, Kongo met the director of the Asian branch of the Hermès fashion label, which was to mark the artist’s first steps in the luxury market. “He gave me the opportunity to paint the window of the Hermès shop at Hong Kong airport. The shop window proved to be a tremendous success, to the extent that the parent company in France invited me to reinterpret its famous silk scarf by creating the ‘graff.’ It was an incredible opportunity to work on such a fashion icon.” In the space of two months, the collection had sold out across the world. “This adventure, that began with a meeting and went on to nourish both our worlds, demonstrated that the luxury environment is not so far removed from that of graffiti as they both reference travel, handwork and singularity.”

Now recognized as one of the world’s key figures on the graffiti scene and a man capable of developing his practice to achieve genuine artistic maturity, Kongo continues to exhibit his works right around the globe, while collaborating with prestigious companies, such as French crystalware manufacturer Daum, for whom he is making a crystal sculpture. “I’m very interested in French expertise, which I’m trying to retranslate through a graphic vocabulary.”

Part of the Les Voiles de St. Barth 2015 the fleet at St. Barth   (Photo © Jouany Christophe)

Part of the Les Voiles de St. Barth 2015 the fleet at St. Barth (Photo © Jouany Christophe)

 

Today’s single race for each of 10 classes sailing at Les Voiles de St. Barth determined overall winners and marked the fourth and final day of the regatta. The event has been growing steadily since its inception in 2010 and hosted 70 boats in this sixth edition, all with their own brand of famous sailors aboard from around the world. Boats competing ranged from speedy multihulls such as Lloyd Thornburg’s Mod 70 Phaedo 3 to technologically sophisticated new-builds such as George David’s Rambler 88 and Jim and Kristy Hinze-Clarke’s Comanche (at 100 feet, one of the largest boats here) to the more traditional grand prix racers in the 50-70 foot range and smaller racing/cruising boats. There was even a one design class for Melges 24s (the smallest boats competing) that are as fun, physical and demanding in teamwork and skill as their larger counterparts.
While teams in six classes had clinched their overall victories yesterday (some did not have to sail today’s last race but chose to do so anyway), four classes went down to the wire in 15-20 knot winds that were stronger than yesterday’s but not as strong as on the first two days of racing (Tuesday and Wednesday, April 14-15).
“It was a very interesting race course,” said Lupa of London’s winning skipper Jeremy Pilkington (UK) about his Maxi 2 class’s 28 nautical mile course. It started off Gustavia and went in the opposite direction from days before, wrapping around the western end of St. Barth before using buoys, rocks and islands as waypoints and turning marks on an oblong windward-leeward course set in the Atlantic Ocean. “There was much more going on today than there was on the courses that were set earlier in the week, so it kept us busy. We had a few little challenges and a few ups and downs going around, but we were very pleased with how we did. We had to finish top-three and were assuming that Selene was going to win on handicap, and we did a little bit better than that.” (On corrected time, Selene indeed won, and Lupa of London placed second today to secure the class victory overall.)
In the Spinnaker 2 class, which sailed a shorter version (23 nautical mile) of the 28 miler, Ramanessin, chartered by Germany’s Christian Zugel, had to watch itself against El Ocaso and Ventarron, since they were all one point apart going into today.
“Today it was very tight. We started with one point up, so if we had finished second today we would not have won,” said Zugel. “Right at the start line we were lined up very nicely, but one boat came from the left on the port side and hit us, so you can see some pretty big scratches on the front of our boat but luckily no further damage. We decided to keep going and managed to win.” This is Zugel’s third time at the event, and he has chartered a different boat each time.  Like many others here, his crew is quite international so it’s hard to really say the boat is a German entrant. “I’m German but live in the U.S., and I am crewing with a team of Irish and English sailors who have sailed all over the world, so it is a great experience for us all to be here.”
Claude Granel’s Martinique entry Martinique Premiere-Credit Mutuel won today’s race in Spinnaker 4 (sailing a 17 nautical mile course) to secure overall class victory after going into today with a slim lead. His closest competitor from yesterday, Maelia, slipped to third in the overall standings while Zarafa wound up second. “It was a very tough race, and at the end we just won the race by one second,” said Granel. “What was very difficult was that two team members could not race today, so we went from seven to five onboard, and it was windy – much windier than we thought it would be – but it turned out to be a great race for us.”
James Blakemore’s South African entry Music, in Spinnaker 3, posted another first today to add to his three others from the three previous racing days. “The race was great today – good steady breeze between 16 to 20 knots and great sea conditions,” said Blakemore. “My guys sailed the boat really well; we got off to a really great start, and from the first weather mark, I don’t think we lost the lead in our class from then on. Every day has been good for us.  Yesterday the conditions were a bit tough because we were dealing with the squalls coming through and very light breezes, but fortunately we got through just in time, before the boats really came to a halt. We’ve really thoroughly enjoyed ourselves this week. It’s fantastic coming here; it’s a fantastic regatta.”
Spinnaker 0’s winner Vesper (Jim Swartz, U.S.) finished the regatta with all first-place finishes in the five races it sailed over the four days of racing. “You go into these regattas where you’re in good shape going into the last day, but there is only one way to sail these boats and that is at 100 percent,” said Vesper‘s tactician Gavin Brady about the fact his team didn’t need to sail today in order to win. “Today we pushed as hard as every other day, which is the best thing for the boat and the best thing for the team.”
It was a different sort of day on the left side of the island, because more time was spent negotiating wind shifts in flat waves, making it more tactical than on the right-hand side where the fleets had sailed for the previous three race days.
Lloyd Thornburg’s U.S. entry in Multihull class, Phaedo 3, spent its regatta leaving the seven other Multihull class entries in its wake and won again today for a fourth time over four races. “It was a great event,” said Thornburg, who on Wednesday established the Multihull record for a newly introduced 43-mile course that will be repeated here each year. (Comanche and Odin established the records for Maxi 1 and Maxi 2 classes, respectively) “Today the wind came back, which was nice, whereas yesterday was a little bit light for us. For our boat, this was the most challenging course, so it was a lot of fun.”
Not so much fun was Gunboat G4 Timbalero III’s dramatic capsize today. No one was injured, and the brand-new foiling catamaran was righted within two hours.
Puerto Rican entrant Lazy Dog, skippered by Sergio Sagramoso, also added another victory to his score line of all firsts to win Spinnaker 1 class. “Racing was a lot of fun today, and the start was incredibly critical. There were four classes (on the line), around 40 boats, so it was probably the hairiest start I’ve ever done. The first start was a general recall; the second start, our main competitor (Hamachi) was hit, so it was pretty dramatic. But we had a great time, and the conditions suited us. It was beautiful like usual. We’ll be back next year; great racing and hands down the best organization we’ve ever seen.”
Bobby Velasquez (St. Martin), winner of Non-Spinnaker class  in L’esperance, agreed: It’s wonderful here in St. Barth, and it’s a wonderful organization. We’ll definitely be back for the regatta again next year.” L’esperance had nothing but bullets in its score line.In Melges 24s, the St. Martin team of Budget Marine GILL topped the leaderboard. Skipper Andrea Scarabelli said, “This is one of the events we love the most. Racing in one-design is always nice because you are racing at a similar pace. The goal is to keep building the Melges 24 class. This year we were only four boats, but we hope to get more.”
The event’s largest, fastest boats sailed in Maxi 1 class, and it was George David’s Rambler 88 that won the four-race series there. All eyes had been on Rambler 88 and the larger Comanche during the first two race days, since no one had yet seen the two boats sail against each other. The powerful Comanche showed blazingly fast speed, taking line honors in every race. It was Rambler 88, however, that prevailed with corrected-time performances that gave the team three first-place finishes in a row. By today, when Rambler 88 took second to Hap Fauth’s U.S. entry Bella Mente, the focus had returned to who was doing the best on ratings. Rambler 88 maintained its place at the top of the scoreboard, but Bella Mente was able to replace Lucky as runnerup. Bella Mente, Lucky and Comanche had all shared the same point score after today’s race, but Bella Mente’s performance handed the tiebreaker to their team.
“I’m very happy,” said David. “I think we sailed very well to rating, and we are just a click off Comanche. Of course, they have the big-boat edge and get in front, and that tends to help a little bit, but I am impressed by how fast we are. In fact, I’m very impressed. This boat is wicked quick and I think we’ll do even better in the future. I don’t count us out for records, including the Transatlantic Race 2015 this summer, which we hold already (with Rambler 100).”
At the prize giving, Principal Event Partner Richard Mille presented George David, who also was the overall winner of the Maxi division, with a Richard Mille Caliber RM 60-01 Regatta watch.FULL RESULTS: https://app.regattaguru.com/lesvoiles/100085/results 
2015 Entry List: www.lesvoilesdesaintbarth.com

Part of the Les Voiles de St. Barth 2015 the fleet at St. Barth   (Photo © Jouany Christophe)

Part of the Les Voiles de St. Barth 2015 the fleet at St. Barth (Photo © Jouany Christophe)

 

 

 

Phaedo 3 (Photo  © Jouany Christophe)

Phaedo 3 (Photo © Jouany Christophe)

 

Les Voiles de St. Barth: Starting off Just Right With winds whipping briskly at 15-20 knots, it was a lively show on the water for opening day of Les Voiles de St. Barth. After an equally lively opening party held on the Quay General de Gaulle last night, 70 teams in 10 classes were raring to begin what they really came here for: hard core racing. The regatta organizers, knowing their audience, took no prisoners, sending Spinnaker 1,2,3 and 4 plus Non Spinnaker and the Melges 24 classes on a 23-mile course that started off Gustavia Harbor and led counter-clockwise and three quarters of the way around the eight-square-mile island of St. Barth before rounding a buoy off St. Jean and heading back in a clockwise direction. For the Multihulls and the larger monohulls sailing in Maxi 1, 2 and Spinnaker 0 classes, a similar course added an extension on the far side of the island to incorporate a total of 39 miles.

 

“Today was typical St. Barth conditions–20 knots of wind, big waves and a lot of reaching legs, so it was a lot of fun being on a boat like a TP52 and surfing downwind in big waves,” said Gavin Brady, tactician aboard Vesper, which was today’s winner in the six-boat Spinnaker 0 class. “We had a good day, starting the regatta off with a win. We have large spinnakers on the boat for this event…so it worked out really well. We hope these conditions last for the rest of the week.”

Vesper had a scare yesterday when one of its side stays, made of carbon, gave way.  Luckily, a rigging shop in St. Martin was able to provide a rod-rigging replacement overnight.  “Carbon rigging is fine for the big boats like Comanche and Rambler where they have bigger safety margins for going out in the ocean, but with a little TP52 blasting around St. Barth or doing the Med Series, it’s another story,” said Brady.

Vesper is sailing against two other TP52s (Sorcha and Team Varg, which finished second and fourth, respectively), but third-place Spookie poses a threat, too. “We are in a class with TP52s, which in every handicap system seem to be the sweetheart boats,” saidSpookie’s Strategist Peter Holmberg. “We know we just need to sail out of our league to beat them.”

The Mod 70 Phaedo 3 handily won the seven-boat Multihull class, which was the last of the 10 classes to start. The foiling G4 Timbalero III’s successful attempt to port-tack the fleet at the start looked swift, but it wasn’t swift enough to hold off the giant green trimaran, which started slightly late at the windward end of the line but came screaming in with all the power of a giant eagle swooping in for its prey. While Timbalero III continued on starboard tack out to sea, Phaedo 3 continued on port tack to shore, no doubt giving sunbathers at Shell Beach a shock as she flew by on one hull, then tacked up the shoreline for a horizon job done not only on the other multihulls but also the entire fleet.

 

Phaedo 3 finished the long course in just over two hours and 25 minutes, approximately 34 minutes ahead of the next fastest boat in the fleet, Comanche, whose long-awaited battle with Rambler 88 yielded some answers today. Though Comanche beat Rambler by ten minutes in real time, which pleased her crew, Rambler had to be satisfied with beating Comanche on corrected time (5:04:48 compared to Comanche’s 5:11:30), even with a spinnaker problem that forced them to change headsails and cost them several minutes.

sans_titre_260

Taking second in Maxi 1 class, where they are grouped with Rambler 88, Comanche and Bella Mente, was Lucky, with Mark Watson standing in as driver for owner Bryon Ehrhart (who will arrive to drive tomorrow). “We sailed a good race; we really didn’t have any big mistakes at all,” said Watson. “When you think about it, normally the team that wins is the team that has the fewest mistakes. A happy boat is a quiet boat, so everybody was pretty dialed in together, and the boat was immaculately prepared, so I couldn’t ask for more.”

Bella Mente, a favorite here, unfortunately was unable to race today because of an equipment failure that occurred only a few minutes before the start. “We had a hiccup today, but you can bet we’ll be out there and ready to race tomorrow,” said owner/driver Hap Fauth.

In the Maxi 2 class, Lupa of London led the way today, while in the Spinnaker 1 class,Lazy Dog won. VentarronMusic and Martinique Premiere-Credit won the Spinnaker 2, 3 and 4 classes, respectively. L’esperance took Non-Spinnaker class, while GFA Caraibes won the Melges 24 class.

Fleet (Photo © Jouany Christophe)

Fleet (Photo © Jouany Christophe)

sans_titre_258

 

Right here, right now. This is it. Seventy teams have finished practice and final preparations for Les Voiles de St. Barth and will start racing tomorrow (Tuesday, April 13th) in what promises to be this year’s most provocative regatta in the Caribbean, if not the entire yacht racing world.

 

Headlining as a first-time matchup between the marine industry’s newest break-through speed creations are Comanche and Rambler. A balance of eight other Maxis between 63 and 90 feet in length with highly recognizable names such as Bella Mente, Lucky, Odin, Lupa of London, Selene and Aragon makes this the most formidable Maxi Division that has shown up here since the regatta’s inception six years ago. Extremely tight competition also will be found in five Spinnaker Division classes as well as in classes for Racing Multihull, Non-Spinnaker and Melges 24 one-designs. Forerunners in these classes will no doubt distinguish themselves before the Lay Day on Thursday (April 16), if not sooner. (The second half of racing for Les Voiles de St. Barth resumes on Friday and Saturday, April 17th and 18th, for a total of four racing days.)

Onboard Comanche (Photo © Jouany Christophe)

Onboard Comanche (Photo © Jouany Christophe)

 

Comanche and Rambler will sail in the Maxi 1 class with Bella Mente and Lucky but will start on the same line as the other Maxis, which will be sailing in Maxi 2 class. Scores will be tallied separately for each class; however, a combined score for all Maxi Division entries at the regatta’s conclusion will determine the winner of the Richard Mille Caliber RM 60-01 Regatta watch. (Richard Mille is the principal sponsor of the event.)

The two Maxi classes and five Spinnaker classes are sailing under the CSA rating, as defined by the Caribbean Sailing Association, and have been split into their classes according to rating bands. “We have defined the classes with a true sense of equity,” said Les Voiles’ General Commissioner Luc Poupon. “The idea is to create groups that are as homogeneous as possible so that the battle on the waves is as tight and exciting as possible.”

As for how that rating will play out in the Rambler vs. Comanche battle, no one yet knows, but all are curious. Optimizing for ratings was not a priority in the design or building of either boat, as both were conceived for straight-line speed, specifically to break distance records. (Rambler, at 88 feet, is 12 feet shorter than Comanche.)

“We’re not here for rating honors,” said Comanche’s helmsman Ken Read. “Our goal is to be first to finish (over the line), and clearly it will be a lot of fun lining up against Rambler, a very similar boat, for the first time. They’d like to beat us boat-for-boat, and we’d like to beat them boat-for-boat, so I think the sailing world is excited to see this. We’re excited to see this.”

For any of the 27 different course choices with distances ranging from 10 to 42 miles, the start and finish lines will be set near Pain de Sucre and Gouverneur Beach, on the southwest side of the island. Something new this year for the smaller boats: two inflatable buoys in the colors of Richard Mille—the first in the bay of Saint Jean and the second in front of Gouverneur—will be placed so that the public can see the boats sail closer to the shore. Also new, the Race Committee has planned for one day, weather depending, to start the fastest big boats on course number 27 (a loop between St. Barth and the island of Tintamarre, to the east of Saint Martin) in order to give all reaching-optimized boats an opportunity to show their speed and establish a speed record for Les Voiles de St. Barth.

“We have to race the courses as fast as we possibly can, and they (Comanche and Rambler) will be great gauges for what is happening in front of us with the wind,” said Terry Hutchinson, who will serve as Bella Mente’s tactician in the Maxi 2 class. “We have to be smart in the pre-start, because they can have a pretty big impact to our race early on. Once they’re out in front and away from us, then it’s simply a matter of sailing the boat as well as we possibly can and executing the sail handling maneuvers as well as we possibly can, because things happen very quickly on this course. I think this plays into our favor, because Comanche and Rambler are just going faster all the time, so everything is very condensed for them. If we have ten minutes on a leg, they have five. “

While the shorter races will be better for Bella Mente and the 42-mile race will be better for Comanche and Rambler, Hutchinson said it will be interesting to see how they all match up in the 25-mile race. “They have very good sailors on their boats and we have good sailors too, so when they take a race off us they will have sailed well, and when we take a race off them, we will have sailed well.” Last year Bella Mente was leading when its mast broke on day three. “We feel like we let ourselves down a bit when that happened, so we want to come back and redeem ourselves this year.”

At tonight’s opening ceremonies Bruno Magras, President of the Collectivity of St. Barth, shared the stage with Les Voiles de St. Barth officials, including the event’s honorary ambassador and French sailing legend Loick Peyron. A minute of clapping (rather than a moment of silence) was observed to honor the inspired life of French offshore sailor Florence Arthaud, who recently died in a helicopter crash

Fleet in practice (Photo  © © Jouany Christophe)

Fleet in practice (Photo © © Jouany Christophe)