Azzurra Perfect at 52 SUPER SERIES Cascais
Published on October 11th, 2016
Cascais, Portugal (October 11, 2016) – Quantum Racing may be inching their way inexorably towards the 2016 52 SUPER SERIES title, making steady progress towards their end game today with a fourth and a second today, but the 2015 champions Azzurra are in no way giving up without a fight.
Their “gaucho spirit” is alive and kicking as the Roemmers’ family team made the best possible start to the season’s finale – the EGNOS 52 SUPER SERIES Cascais Cup – winning both opening races. They led at each and every mark in the gentle Southerly breezes today to build a four point lead over second-placed Quantum Racing who has Doug DeVos steering.
After a modest start to the season when Quantum Racing came out of the blocks fast, Azzurra’s hard work in late July and August now seems to be rewarded. Their two bullets today mean they have won five of the last six races sailed on the 52 SUPER SERIES, now visibly having the speed and height to capitalise on Vasco Vascotto’s astute tactics. This contrasts sharply with the early regattas when, as skipper Guilermo Parada admitted today, they were being forced into taking big risks to try and win races or hold on to Quantum Racing.
“We made a lot of changes all the way through the boat trying to find more speed, everywhere. We found some issues we had and we are addressing them,” Parada explained on the dock in Marina de Cascais, Portugal. “We are happy with the way the boat is going now and if we continue like this then we will be able to finish strong this season and set a good baseline for next season.”
Azzurra led off the pin end of the start line of Race 1 and were in better wind pressure early, able to lead Takashi Okura’s Sled around the top mark with Ergin Imre’s Provezza in third. There were few passing chances around the course and that was the order across the finish line. Quantum Racing were pressing hard on Provezza’s stern at the finish line.
Azzurra started off the windward end of the line in the second race, which was contested in six to 10 knots of breeze. Quantum Racing did well at the top of the first beat and came around second.
A big shift to the right at the top of the second beat offered a lifeline to Rán Racing, rising to third across the finish line. Gladiator, calling on Ian Walker’s long experience of Cascais – where he lived and trained with Abu Dhabi Volvo Ocean Race Team – went hard left down the last run and pulled up to fifth.
In the battle for third overall for the season it was a good day for Provezza. Their three, four for the day not only sees them third overall at the regatta but has closed Rán’s lead to just two points.
Day One Standings (2 races)
1. Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (1,1) 2pts
2. Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (4,2) 6pts
3. Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (3,4) 7pts
4. Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) (2,6) 8pts
5. Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (7,3) 10pts
6. Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (6,5) 11pts
7. Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (5,7) 12pts
8. Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (8,8) 16pts
9. Phoenix, USA (Richard Cohen USA) (9,9) 18pts
10. Alegre, GBR (Andrés Soriano USA) (10,10) 20pts
Guillermo Parada (ARG) skipper-helm Azzurra (ITA):
“Finally winning five of the last six races of the season gives is a good indication that we are in a good place and going well. But we know this will not last forever but it is certainly a good way to start the last regatta of the season.
In Palma we worked really, really hard and in a way sacrificed a little of the result at that regatta to try different things. We made lots of changes every day, before and after every race. Sometimes at ten minutes before the start we were trying things. We put apart the results a little there and Copa del Rey we discovered a lot of things too. We put these things all together and were more competitive in Menorca and hopefully we can carry this on for now and for the future.
The biggest gain is we can hold lanes upwind and change modes. Downwind we never felt we had a problem. Upwind we found we only had one mode and could not hold lanes. In this kind of fleet that was too expensive. So we had to take too many risks and mostly they did not work.”
Tony Rey (USA) tactician Provezza (TUR):
“This team was a tactician’s dream today. They made it easy for me. The race course made it hard for me. It was very challenging but to come away with a three and a four today, two ‘keepers’ is great, because we were not fourth in the second race early on. But we had a good comeback and managed to hold on to it. So it was a good day. This is a tricky place with current, breeze and clouds all coming into play. You overthought or underthought it and we came in about right. The key was wind pressure today. In the end it was pressure number one, shift was number two and current number three.”
The EGNOS 52 SUPER SERIES Cascais Cup will take place from 11-15 October, with races starting at 13:30 CEST every day.
2016 52 SUPER SERIES Calendar
52 SUPER SERIES Scarlino Cup
Scarlino, YCS, May 25 – 29.
Settimana delle Bocche
Porto Cervo, YCCS, June 28 – July 2
52 SUPER SERIES Portals Sailing Week
Puerto Portals, CRPP, July 25 – 29
TP52 World Championship
Mahon, CMM, September 14 – 18
52 SUPER SERIES Cascais Cup
Cascais, CNC, October 11 – 15.
Source: 52 Super Series