Sled sledding at 52 Super Series
Published on July 26th, 2017
Puerto Portals, Spain (July 26, 2017) – Takashi Okura’s Sled hauled themselves up to second place overall at Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week after winning both races on the Bay of Palma today.
A pair of precision first leg laylines in a lifting breeze coupled to good starts proved the key as they completed a pair of wins, leading at every mark, a feat which has eluded them since 2014 when they won two races on the last day of the US Championship in Miami.
Mr Okura’s crew, led by tactician Hamish Pepper, strategist Cameron Dunn and navigator Andrea Visintini had a slightly rocky start to this fifth regatta of the six event 52 SUPER SERIES, sailing 8,3,8 from the first three races, lying eighth of nine. But in the even, tightly matched fleet their red letter day promotes them to second overall – only two points behind Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing – and tied with third placed Quantum Racing.
Don Cowie, the Sled mainsheet trimmer smiled: “It’s a good day for us considering we were bouncing about near the back of the fleet earlier on, it is good for the team. We have been working hard this season, making small changes and seem to have good speed now. But credit to Mr Okura who got us a good starts today and the afterguard really got the laylines right.”
Cameron Dunn, strategist, added: “We’ve had a tough season, there’s no hiding from that but we’ve been working very hard to improve every day and get faster. It takes time. We had a good plan for the beats, the boat felt like it was going really nicely upwind. We put it in the right places and the boat did its thing and we didn’t make any mistakes. Even in that last race it seemed like the whole fleet was coming into us hard on the last run. It was a really big team effort—Mr. Okura drove the boat really nicely, the team set the boat up beautifully and I think Hamish and myself and Andrea in the back of the boat put the boat in the right places so it was a pretty nice combination!”
The breeze was more right than the usual sea breeze direction, between 225 and 240 degrees today, from 10-13kts but it was very hard to read and use the lanes of strongest pressure. The trend was for the right side of the course to pay.
The fleet was so tight in the peloton that any small errors were costly. Rán Racing’s could not sustain the same level of consistency as their 1,2,2 opening. They dropped places at the leeward gate in the first race to finish eighth. Following up with a sixth place they saw their five point cushion trimmed to just two. At the half way point of the regatta only six points separates the top seven boats.
With the breeze lifting on the right side of the upwind in the first race Sled showed the way, Provezza and Bronenosec overstanding slightly. Gladiator came in from the early left to round second with Provezza third and Rán fourth. Azzurra, the circuit leaders were closed out from the committee boat end cluster and had to take two penalties. Sled held out to win with Platoon making a nice gain down the first run to takes second with Provezza third.
In the pursuit of a more settled, even breeze the course area was moved slightly west and inshore. Sled led the charge at the top mark from Bronenosec who broke right from the committee boat. 2016 champions Quantum Racing rounded third and sailed a good final run to steal second, netting seven points for the day to challenge for second place overall.
Michele Ivaldi, who joins Quantum Racing as their strategist, was pleased to get two good scores: “It was really difficult out there, you had moments where you just had to try to salvage what’s around you. I think Terry and the boys did a really good job just keeping composed and chipping away and try to get good results. The second race especially was really good job and really hard, but in the first one we had moments we were struggling, but at the end was good.”
The challenge, as ever, is to keep the high level of consistency. Rán Racing struggled slightly today, now the pressure is on Sled to repeat.
Cameron Dunn explained: “We’ve just got to do the same things we’ve been doing, no different. We’ve been debriefing well, have got good speed meetings in the morning, look at the weather. You’ve just got to try to have the same mentality. If you look at the way Rán has been sailing since Porto Cervo and starting here—a little bit of momentum can carry on nicely it just gives everyone a little bit of confidence and at this level it’s tiny little differences that add up to a meaningful difference.”
Standings after five races
1. Rán Racing (Niklas Zennström, SWE), (1,2,2,8,6) 19 pts.
2. Sled (Takashi Okura, USA), (8,3,8,1,1) 21 pts.
3. Quantum Racing (Doug DeVos, USA), (4,4,6,5,2) 21 pts.
4. Platoon (Harm Müller-Spreer, GER), (5,9,3,2,3) 22 pts.
5. Provezza (Ergin Imre, TUR) (6,1,7,3,5) 22 pts.
6. Azzurra (Familia Roemmers, ITA/ARG), (3,6,1,7,7) 24 pts.
7. Bronenosec (Vladimir Liubomirov, RUS), (7,5,5,4,4) 25 pts.
8. Gladiator (Tony Langley, GBR) (9,7,4,6,9) 35 pts.
9. Alegre (Andrés Soriano GBR/USA) (2,8,9,9,8) 36 pts.
Live TV begins July 26. Shows start 15-minutes before racing, and can be enjoyed via the 52 SUPER SERIES homepage – www.52SUPERSERIES.com – or via the app.
Overall Standings 52 SUPER SERIES (4 events)
1. Azzurra (Familia Roemmers, ITA/ARG), 146 pts.
2. Platoon (GER, Harm Müller-Spreer), 147 pts.
3. Quantum Racing (Doug DeVos, USA), 152 pts.
4. Provezza (Ergin Imre, TUR) 180.3 pts.
5. Rán Racing (Niklas Zennström, SWE), 186 pts.
6. Bronenosec (Vladimir Liubomirov, RUS), 200 pts.
7. Gladiator (Tony Langley, GBR) 219.6 pts.
8. Sled (Takashi Okura, USA), 226 pts.
9. Alegre (Andrés Soriano GBR/USA), 255.5 pts.
10. Sorcha (Peter Harrison, GBR), 316 pts.
11. Paprec (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin, FRA) 354 pts.
Race Schedule for the 2017 52 SUPER SERIES
Quantum Key West Race Week, January 16– 20.
52 SUPER SERIES Miami Royal Cup, March 6 – 11.
TP52 World Championship SCARLINO 2017, Scarlino, May 15 – 20.
Porto Cervo 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week, June 20 – 25.
Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week, July 23 – 28.
Menorca 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week, September 18 – 23.
Source: 52 Super Series