Experience leads field at 52 SUPER SERIES
Published on June 9th, 2015
Porto Cervo, Italy (June 9, 2015) – While different boats won both of the first two races of Sardinia’s Settimana Delle Boche, the second regatta of the 2015 52 SUPER SERIES, as much as glittering race wins may contribute, it was the ability to grind back through the fleet from poor early positions which define the top two positions after the first day of racing on the Costa Smeralda.
At the top of the rank are two seasoned teams, with Azzurra leading Quantum Racing but only on countback, as both sharing the same seven points aggregate after two windward leewards in 5-8kts on NE’ly breeze.
Azzurra’s share of the regatta’s best points tally is as much due to their fight back to convert an eighth to a sixth in the second race as it is to their convincing, gun to gun victory in the opening contest. Equally for Quantum Racing, converting fourth to third in the first race and a sixth to fourth in the second heat showed the real regatta winning DNA of the 2014 52 SUPER SERIES champions.
The light NE’ly breeze proved difficult to read. When usually it is the surrounding topography which influences the wind in this easterly end of ‘Bomb Alley’, today a big cloud formation over the adjacent island of Corsica, to the north, proved to have a big effect on the wind, more so on the second race when a corresponding swing to the left gave a good early gain to those who seized on this trend earliest.
But it was Azzurra, the emblematic home team which proudly flies the flag of the YCSS who are looking to repeat their Settimana Delle Boche regatta win of 2013, which made the strongest start. Tactician Vasco Vascotto and the crew – with Alberto Roemmers Jr sharing the driving duties with Guillermo Parada – made a great opening to the first race, working the initial right hand wind shift to perfection and were able to lead around the first windward mark.
When the breeze rotated on the second beat they were able to strengthen their lead ahead of Jean-Luc Petithugeunin’s French team on Paprec which scored their best result of the season in second. They stayed focussed and calm when Quantum Racing put them under increasing pressure down the final run, but held on for second.
The second race saw a complete volte face. The boats which were last and second last in first race were among the pacesetters early on. Bronenosec, Vladmir Liubomirov’s Russian flagged team were a disappointing ninth in the first race, compounding a poor start with a desperate second beat when they ended up on the wrong side of the right side wind shift. But in the second start they, along with Tony Langley’s Gladiator were able to use the left shift rotation first as it came across the course.
Gladiator lead around the top mark first time up but gybe set along with the next three boats while Bronenosec bore away, found better pressure in the early part of the run and then a better angle to come back to lead Langley and his crew through the leeward gate. So it was a good recovery for Bronenosec after Race 1, while Gladiator’s third added to sixth in the first race sees them third overall.
“The first race was easy enough to win after an excellent start,” observed Vasco Vascotto (ITA), tactician on Azzurra. “We controlled it from the beginning to the end, but the second saw us recover positions from the back of the fleet and that wasn’t easy. We got a good start, but the breeze shifted suddenly to the left and that put us in a bad spot. Recovering places when there is really only one course to follow isn’t easy, but we were able to limit the damage. I took a tactical risk in the last downwind leg and didn’t really gain from it. In the future I’ll have to be more careful. One first and one sixth place finish work out to a good average and for now we’re tied for the lead with Quantum.”
Terry Hutchinson, who was not with Quantum Racing for the first regatta, brought the team quickly to form, aided by owner/driver Doug DeVos who had not steered a TP52 for 18 months and took the helm of his new 2015 boat in his first real ‘series’ race.
“The goal today was to come away with eight points or less on the day and so we achieved that,” commented Terry Hutchinson (USA), tactician on Quantum Racing. “First race we had a good start, second race we had the spot we wanted and then the breeze stayed a little bit further left than we were expecting. But we did nice work clawing our way through the fleet, that is kind of indicative of how we are going in the lighter stuff. We did not lose the regatta today. The first days are a little bit more about surviving so that when you get to the business end of the event then you have an opportunity.”
After two races it remains incredibly close only seven points separating first from ninth and three points between first and sixth. Racing continues to June 13.
Day One Standings (2 races)
1. Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (1,6) 7pts
2. Quantum Racing, USA (Doug De Vos USA) (3,4) 7pts
3. Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (6,3) 9pts
4. Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (9,1) 10pts
5. Sled, USA (Takashi Okura JPN) (8,2) 10pts
6. Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (5,5) 10pts
7. Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithugeunin FRA) (2,9) 11pts
8. Alegre, GBR (Andres Soriano USA) (4,8) 12pts
9. Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (7,7) 14pts
The 52 SUPER SERIES 2015 is a series of five European regattas
Ford Vignale Valencia Sailing Week, May 19th – 23rd, Valencia
Settimana delle Bocche, June 9th – 13th, Porto Cervo
52 World Championship Puerto Portals 2015, July 14th – 18th, Mallorca
34 Copa del Rey Mapfre, August 4th – 8th, Mallorca
Cascais Cup, September 16th – 20th, Cascais
Report by class media.