Vesper and Azzurra tied at the top

Published on May 21st, 2014

Photo by: Martinez Studio

Capri, Italy (May 21, 2014) – After two days of windward-leeward races the first BARCLAYS 52 SUPER SERIES  regatta of the European season has fallen very much in line with predictions that it would be an open event with no one boat able to dominate in the challenging conditions. Four races found four different winners, including Jim Swartz’s American crew on Vesper and Alberto Rommers’ Azzurra who both excelled in the light air.

While winning races is important, so too is the hard grind of gaining points from a deep position. In a fleet of nine 52s from seven nations the charismatic Italian tactician Vasco Vascotto of Azzurra was pleased to convert a last place fleet position to a seventh, which later ensured a tie with the American boat Vesper.

In moving the course area and axis slightly further offshore into the channel, the race committee tempered some of the left-side advantage which had prevailed on the first day. Gavin Brady appeared to read this transition nicely for Vesper and they popped out of the pack as leaders midway up the first beat before building a lead of just over 100 meters by the first downwind. Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing edged out Michele Galli’s B2 on the finish line to regain the second place they had at Mark 1.

The second race was sailed in the lightest breeze of the event thus far, hovering at five knots. Azzurra helm Guillermo Parada working nicely with Vascotto to gain an early advantage with a steady speed build off the starting line which continued through to the finish. Recognizing local pressure up the left side first, Tony Rey and the Provezza crew squeezed ahead of Tom Slingsby on Gladiator at the final turn to finish second.

A coastal race is schedule Thursday for the BARCLAYS 52 SUPER SERIES fleet.

Overall standings after 4 races

1. Vesper, USA, (Jim Swartz USA) (5,2,1,6) 14pt
2. Azzurra, ITA, (Alberto Roemmers ARG) (3,3,7,1) 14pts
3. Quantum Racing, USA, (Doug De Vos USA) (4,1,6,4) 15pts
4. Rán Racing, SWE, (Niklas Zennström SWE) (2,8,2,5) 17pts
5. Phoenix, BRA, (Eduardo de Souza Ramos BRA) (1,7,3,8) 19pts
6. Provezza 7, TUR, (Ergin Imre TUR) (6,4,8,2) 20pts
7. Gladiator, GBR, (Tony Langley GBR) (9,6,5,3) 23pts
8. Paprec, FRA, (Jean Luc Petithugenin FRA) (7,5,9,7) 28pts
9. B2, ITA, (Michele Galli ITA) (8,9,4,9) 30pts


Gavin Brady (NZL) tactician Vesper (USA)
“The fleet are getting used to the conditions and the current here is a consideration, it has a bigger effect than we all thought. The current is wrapping around the island and it obviously changes at high and low tide with quite a dramatic change. It kind of sneaks up on you. We are out in the middle, but there are quite defined current lines. In the second race it had a big effect there was more wind on the right but more tide out there and we went out and paid the price. It is light but there are a lot of passing lanes. Getting the win is really important for the team, coming from Miami at the US 52 SUPER SERIES we did not feel like we sailed to our potential and I think like today when you go out there and have a good race, everyone does their job to the best of their abilities, we all walk away feeling like we can compete at this level. And that is really important, something we feel we can build on. And we are really looking forwards to the coastal race tomorrow, some straight line sailing a real test for the trimmers, the navigators and the tacticians, it will be a real boatspeed day.”

Guillermo Parada (ARG) skipper-helm Azzurra (ITA):
“We stuck to our plan which is to look at the race course, study the line, pick which side we want to do and play our game. I think that we were a little bit unlucky in the first race. We started at the left of the fleet and then ran into a hole with no wind. We had very limited chances to come back but we stayed calm and were able to pick up two places. In the second race we were a bit more cautious and picked a spot a bit more to the right of the fleet, had a clean start and let the boat speed do the work for us. We’re happy because we’re doing well in the light breezes and so far we are in the mix of the regatta. There’s still a long way to go but we have good sensations.”

Vasco Vascotto (ITA) tactician Azzurra (ITA)
“Light conditions, for our boat as everyone knows, it is not fantastic but I think we have made some nice steps forwards in terms of speed upwind and downwind.” The tactician from Trieste explained, “ We feel we can compete and that is the best news. If you are not sailing fast it is a little more difficult. The new sailors on board are making a very good job. In the first race we just sailed into a hole and we could not get back. It is very difficult if there is a boat like Quantum Racing which is tacking on you two or three times. But I felt they make a little mistake because I feel if they sailed their own race they could make more points rather than watching us. We are happy.”

Steve Hayles (GBR) navigator Rán Racing (SWE)
“It was another tricky day with nothing really over ten knots. We were a bit up and down, the first race was good, the second we were lying third and then lost a couple of boats going up the second beat. It is very, very close and it is already proving a high scoring regatta like we thought it would be, we actually scored well today, we were disappointed with the second race. The breeze had been up to its maximum and was fading which was as per the forecast and the left hand side of the course was very strong yesterday and it was again in the second race then. But up until then there had been many more opportunities on the right. It looked light on the left, under the land in the second race, but two boats got in there and around the top and then there were very few opportunities after that. It is so important to get off the start line, we had a one way race track on the first day and today was more open. Today threw in a completely different look. It is actually really interesting racing. It is keeping the afterguards busy and thinking and it is all about knowing what is happening weather-wise. I think the race committee are doing a great job here, today they moved it just enough to make the left not quite so dominant. It was just a little lighter on the left this time but so too it was important that the left was a big part of it at the top of the beat. It made it such an interesting day.”

Tom Slingsby (AUS) tactician Gladiator (GBR)
“Yesterday, Day 1, we just did not get off the line well and on a one way, left hand track we were fighting to get there and never quite made it. It was better today, we are getting there slowly, we are going in the right direction. It takes time for a tactician to get on board into a team, to learn the team and the owner, with Tony I am just learning how he likes to sail, but we are learning but hopefully better tomorrow again and better the next day. We need to get better starts. We are getting into nice positions but it is getting that last acceleration right, we seem to be right there, beside the boats that win but just not getting acceleration. But it is a little bit better today and our results are better every time. The second race the breeze was a bit flicky and it was not a one way track and so we were able to get a nice right-hander and we were in the fleet, with the top guys and from there we did well, we were in second but just lose one place. It is tough, I knew it would be tough, but I definitely think you will see us right up there.”


Rolex Capri Sailing Week – May 20-24 – Capri, Italy
TP52 World Championship – June 10-14 – Porto Cervo, Italy
Copa del Rey – August 4-9 – Palma, Spain
Royal Cup Marina Ibiza – September 17-21 – Ibiza, Spain

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