Bella Mente, JV 72 Custom, USA45. Class IRC Z & CSA 1 (Hap Fauth and his team on Maxi 72 Bella Mente competing in the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600 (Photo Credit: RORC/ELWJ Photography)

Bella Mente, JV 72 Custom, USA45. Class IRC Z & CSA 1 (Hap Fauth and his team on Maxi 72 Bella Mente competing in the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600
(Photo Credit: RORC/ELWJ Photography)

ANTIGUA, WEST INDIES (February 24, 2017) – Bella Mente Racing, led by owner/driver Hap Fauth, launched its 2017 campaign season with a major victory this week, winning IRC Overall, CSA Overall and CSA 1 at the RORC Caribbean 600 in Antigua; The team took home the coveted RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy for the IRC win as well as the Bella Mente Trophy, the team’s namesake award, for being the first IRC yacht to finish that is wholly manually powered. The 600-mile offshore race hosted a record number of competitors for its 2017 edition, with over 80 yachts hitting the waters off Antigua, but it was the battle between Bella Mente and rival Maxi 72 Proteus that took the spotlight. The yachts dueled up until the very end, with the lead switching hands on several occasions. After over two days at sea, Bella Mente ultimately prevailed, crossing the finish line on Wednesday, February 22 at 4:51 p.m. (AST), ahead of Proteus.

Bella Mente, JV 72 Custom, USA45. Class IRC Z & CSA 1 Hap (Photo Credit: RORC/ELWJ Photography

Bella Mente, JV 72 Custom, USA45. Class IRC Z & CSA 1 Hap
(Photo Credit: RORC/ELWJ Photography)

“This is such an important event for our campaign each year so it was just the best to be able to come back swinging,” said Fauth adding that this year’s RORC Caribbean 600 win was exceptionally sweet for the team, which came to the event last year hoping to defend its 2015 IRC Overall win, but were forced to retire halfway into racing due to keel troubles. “We’re looking forward to the rest of our 2017 season and ultimately the Rolex Maxi 72 World Championships in Sardinia. That is what the whole season is focused on from here.

Bella Mente, JV 72 Custom, USA45. Class IRC Z & CSA 1 (Photo Credit: RORC/ELWJ Photography

Bella Mente, JV 72 Custom, USA45. Class IRC Z & CSA 1
(Photo Credit: RORC/ELWJ Photography

“It was a very hard fought win. Over the course of the race, the team performed 85 sail changes and all but one were executed perfectly. The crew gave a 120 percent and we got a victory out of it – a crew and afterguard-driven victory.”


The Bella Mente Racing Team after winning IRC Overall at the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600 (left) and Owner/Driver Hap Fauth accepting the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy (right)
(Photo Credit Left: RORC/Ted Martin / Photo Credit Right: RORC/ELWJ Photography)

The 600-mile race circumnavigates 11 Caribbean islands, starting its fleet off Fort Charlotte in Antigua and then taking it north up to Barbuda and around Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Eustatius, Saba, St. Barth and St. Martin before heading south for Guadeloupe. From there, the fleet returns to Barbuda and rounds Redonda before finishing back in Antigua.

“Our playbook was pretty extensive for this race with this being our fifth RORC Caribbean 600 racing Bella Mente, however it was based on the trade winds blowing as they normally do this time of year,” said the team’s offshore helmsman Mike Sanderson adding that though the RORC Caribbean 600 racecourse was the same as previous years, the fleet experienced a completely different wind direction, which changed the tactics and dynamic onboard. That, coupled with intense competition with Proteus, made for an extremely tough race. “This year the wind conditions did a 180 in comparison to previous years, which made for an entirely different race. For me, that was the best part of this year’s event. It’s always great to have a new challenge because it means we really have to do our homework to prepare for the race. When we got out there on the course, everything looked so different going around the track even though we were in familiar surroundings.”


Maxi 72s Bella Mente and Proteus battling it out on the racecourse in the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600
(Photo Credit: RORC/ELWJ Photography)

Tactician Terry Hutchinson added, “It was an absolute battle all the way through. Proteus got the better of us in the pre-start and on the first leg up to Barbuda, but we did a good job of keeping it close, and one rain shower later we were bow-to-stern with the Maxi 72. For the next 450 miles we were tied to the hip. Proteus held the lead through to La Désirade (off Guadeloupe), but when we started on the 90-mile leg back to Barbuda, Bella Mente’s upwind speed shined and we were able to slip around Proteus and extend.  From Barbuda to the finish we were constantly looking over our shoulder; our lead never felt big enough and we were preparing for one more parking lot with no breeze on the racecourse ahead. In true Bella Mente form, a couple of slick sail changes at the end of our 53 hours on the water got us across the finish line.”

When asked how he thought the team performed for their first event of the season, Hutchinson responded, “The team fared well, but we have a lot of work to do. The competition this season is very good, and so like in 2016 we need to apply a consistent process to our performance and development, and allow Bella Mente’s number one resource, our people, to perform.”


The Bella Mente Racing Team celebrates dockside in Antigua after their 2017 RORC Caribbean 600 win
(Photo Credit: RORC/ELWJ Photography)

Bella Mente will compete in one more event in the Caribbean, Les Voiles de. St. Barth in April, before the yacht is shipped across the Atlantic to race in Mallorca, Spain for the Palma Vela in May. The team will then relocate to Corfu, Greece for the inaugural Corfu Challenge in July and return to Mallorca for the Copa del Rey MAPFRE later that month. The season culminates with its final and most significant event, the Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship in Porto Cervo, Italy in September.

For more information, visit http://bellamenteracing.com/. Follow Bella Mente Racing on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

 

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

(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.

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

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.

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

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.

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

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.

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

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”.

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

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 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

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

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

Quotes:
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.”

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

(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.

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

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.

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

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.

 

tp52 superseries scarlino ph m ranchi (4)

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.

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

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 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

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

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

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.

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

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!”

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

52 Super Series (Photo by Max Ranchi)

 

36118_0_2_photo_MAXI15cb_26378

Inoui (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Bella Mente, Open Season, H20, Supernikka, Windfall and Inoui division winners
Porto Cervo, 12 September 2015. Eighteen knots of scirocco wind and a rip-roaring race around the islands on the final day of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup & Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship provided the perfect end to a superlative week of competition in Porto Cervo. The 26th edition of the event, which attracted a fleet of 40 yachts ranging from 18 to 66 metres in length, was organized by Yacht Club Costa Smeralda together with title sponsor Rolex and the International Maxi Association.

Hap Fauth's Bella Mente (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente, with a bullet and a third place in today’s two windward-leeward races, was crowned Rolex Maxi 72 World Champion 2015. The American team which boasts Terry Hutchinson on tactics managed to whisk victory from the grasp of Roberto Tomasini Grinover with his Robertissima III by just one point. Dieter Schön’s Momo claimed third place in her debut on the waters of the Costa Smeralda.

 

Maxi 72's at start (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Maxi 72’s at start (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

“It was just fantastic,” enthused a delighted Hap Fauth, “The level of competition was so high and everyone had fun. We had a great time and the organization and hospitality was excellent.”
At the conclusion of a coastal course of approximately 30 nautical miles Marco Vogele’s 33-metre Inoui was able to celebrate her victory over Viriella and Hetairos respectively in the Supermaxi division. Newly elected IMA President Thomas Bscher was also celebrating in the Wally division as his Open Season rounded off a week of near-perfect results with a second place in today’s race to claimed overall victory in the Wally division. After a fierce battle for second place throughout the week, Magic Carpet Cubed, owned by Sir Lindsay Owen Jones, took the silver prize with J One in third place on equal points.

 

Windfall (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Windfall (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

The record-breaking 100-foot Comanche, owned by Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark, gave spectacular performances throughout the week and word is she will be joined by several more pure racing machines for the next edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup.

(Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

(Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

In the Maxi division, which together with the Mini Maxis completed a slightly shorter coastal course, The Southern Wind yacht Windfall, owned by Michael Cotter claimed the Rolex prize and timepiece. Following an event-long leadership battle, Masimiliano Florio’s Grande Orazio Pioneer Investments had to settle for second place, just one point behind. The Swan 77 Tugela rounded off the podium finishers.
Thanks to a victory in today’s race Riccardo di Michele’s H2O managed to beat Shirlaf on countback as both yachts finished with the same score. Third place in the Mini Maxi RC/SOT division went to Wallyño.

The Mini Maxi Racing Division saw Roberto Lacorte’s 2015-launched Supernikka perform consistently well throughout the week to take first place overall ahead of Britain’s Spectre and Maximilian Klink’s Caro.
“It may seem redundant to say that this was a wonderful event – the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is always a highlight of our sporting calendar – however this 26th edition of the regatta was truly exceptional.” Commented YCCS Commodore Riccardo Bonadeo “The fleet, the owners and the crews were all of an incredibly high standard and mother nature stepped in to provide almost perfect conditions.”

WALLY 77 J ONE, WALLY 94 GALMA AND 100FT COMANCHE (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

WALLY 77 J ONE, WALLY 94 GALMA AND 100FT COMANCHE (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Looking forward to the next Maxi event Bonadeo continued “The conclusion of a perfect event seems the perfect time to invite you all, if you haven’t already done so, to enrol for the very first edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Caribbean Cup taking place in April 2016 at our Caribbean home in Virgin Gorda where we are lucky enough to have another beautiful regatta course and constant trade winds.”
The YCCS calendar in the Mediterranean continues with the Sailing Champions League final which will see teams from across Europe and beyond competing on J70 boats from 18th to 20th September.

See all the results HERE

Wallys and Comanche (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Wallys and Comanche (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

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)

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.

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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)

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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)