Grand Prix Sailing

Perfect 21st birthday for Team Tilt skipper

 

GC32 La reserva de Sotogrande Cup Sotogrande 2016. Image licensed to Jesus Renedo

Photo c Jesus Renedo / GC32 Racing Tour

 

 

GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup

 

 

Sébastien Schneiter celebrated his 21st birthday in the best way possible, the Team Tilt skipper winning two of the three races held at the GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup.

The westerly Levante breeze was expected to blow at about 10 to 11 knots for day three of the regatta, but the long white cloud hanging over the Rock of Gibraltar signified that there might be less. Even with just five or six knots the GC32s were still able to get on the foils as they launched off the start line of the first race.

Realteam took the early lead but skipper Jérôme Clerc couldn’t keep the more experienced crew of Norauto at bay.  It was only a matter of seconds before Adam Minoprio foiled past the Swiss crew and into the lead. Even Norauto looked vulnerable however, as Armin Strom took their turn at the front before Minoprio regained the initiative just before the finish, Flavio Marazzi holding on for second ahead of Team Tilt not far behind in third.

Two boats jumped the gun in the next start, Armin Strom and Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco ordered to slow down and take their penalty by the umpires while the fleet sailed past. Trouble was, Malizia failed to slow down in time before the first turning mark and was black flag disqualified, forced to watch from the sidelines as the rest of the fleet sailed on. After a poor start, Schneiter weaved his way through the pack and took the lead before the finish, winning his first race of the regatta.

Norauto had held the early lead but uncharacteristically was unable to keep the other boats at bay, being passed not just by Team Tilt but two other Swiss crews, Realteam and Armin Strom taking 2nd and 3rd respectively.

In the third and final race of the afternoon, Team Tilt pushed the start line hard and was rewarded with an early lead around the first mark of Race 12. These were the kind of conditions where anything could happen, and Team Engie did briefly seize the lead from Team Tilt at the bottom of the course. But not for long. Schneiter went in shore for what looked like better breeze and Norauto was on a charge too. Engie looked slow out on the seaward side of the course. This time it was Minoprio who was breathing down Schneiter’s neck, but the 21-year-old  birthday boy kept his nerve and won his second race of the day.

While Norauto’s lead remains fairly secure on 24 points, Team Tilt’s scores of 3,1,1 have given the Swiss a useful advantage over their rivals, with 40 points to Team Engie’s 50 points in third overall. Engie skipper Seb Rogues can’t afford any slip-ups however, as Realteam, Armin Strom and Malizia are all within four points of the podium as they head into the final day in Sotogrande.

The forecast for the final day’s racing is 10 to 11 knots from the west, which promises a thrilling showdown for the GC32s in Sotogrande. Sunday’s racing begins at 1300 hrs CET.

 

www.gc32racingtour.com

 

 

Four points separate top seven

 

 

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RC44 Cascais Cup

 

 

Two days to go of fleet racing at the RC44 Cascais Cup and, incredibly, just four points separate the top seven boats across this nine-strong fleet. Yesterday there were 12 points between first and seventh.

After an hour long postponement ashore, conditions came good with sun, a steady 12-18 knots and a shallow swell rolling in from the Atlantic. Unfortunately the stable conditions didn’t help fleet separation and in the race two, the nine boats arrived at the top mark within five boat lengths. This clearly defying the laws of physics, penalties were landing on boats like confetti.

Igor Lah’s Team Ceeref, which scored two wins and a last yesterday, continued its scoreline of extremes. After winning the first race, the Slovenia team finished last in the second having come off the worst from the top mark elbowing, awarded two penalties.

Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec Sailing Team and Chris Bake’s Team Aqua also received penalties coming into the top mark, Aqua picking up a second on the run when their spinnaker touched Peninsula Petroleum or more accurately smothered their tactician – the umpires able to identify a Vasco Vascotto-shaped indentation in the Team Aqua kite, still gesticulating wildly.

Stand-out boat was Artemis Racing, which posted a 4-1-2 with owner Torbjörn Törnqvist taking over the helm this morning. From being in last place, 15 points off the lead yesterday, the Swedish RC44 is now just four points from first, albeit still sixth.

“What can I say? It really was a good day…” said a beaming Törnqvist. “It was down to a few small things on board and the communication, which worked with lots of feedback. Conditions weren’t that difficult – the wind was very steady, with few wind shifts, so you could work with the speed. During the course of the day I think we learned how to sail the boat a bit quicker.”

While conditions helped compress the scoreboard today, Törnqvist also believed it was down to the sheer competitiveness of the RC44 fleet.

“Anyone can win and it is getting closer and closer – there are just metres difference between boats now.” Törnqvist singled out the Russian team, BlackWater, new to the RC44 circuit this year. “There are so many good boats and the slightest mistake is very costly in this fleet.”

Having elevated themselves from an uncharacteristic last place, Artemis Racing’s Italian tactician Francesco Bruni was looking relieved.

“We made some small adjustments on the boat and today our speed was better, whereas yesterday we were struggling. And today I was starting better and making better strategy. But it is always easier when your boat is faster!”

Like yesterday, the fleet was continually hunting the right side of the course, and a small beneficial shift close to the shore.

Bruni described their race two victory:

“We had a good start and were furthest right on the first beat. We did a good job on the approach to the mark. We had a little incident with Ceeref but luckily there was no collision and there was a penalty on them. Then we stretched from there.”

Often in RC44 races, the leader extends, but in the third and final race, Artemis Racing and Bronenosec Sailing Team remained locked in their own personal fight for the lead from start to finish. “We thought we had them on a couple of occasions, but we couldn’t quite make the jump,” admitted Bruni.

Sadly Bronenosec’s first race win here in Cascais, followed two eighth placed finishes earlier today. Tactician Michele Ivaldi explained:

“In the first race we made a couple of mistakes – we went right, but too early on for it to pay. In the second we had a good start, but we just got forced to the left and we got sandwiched, spat out the back. Then there was a massive pile up at the top mark”

The short break after race two was enough for the Russian team to regroup. For the final race they came out fighting, won the right and just escaped Artemis’ clutches on the final run.

The top three teams overall were among today’s highest scorers. For example, John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum remains overall leader but it could so easily have been so different had the Gibraltar-based team not hooked a lobster pot in the final race. As a result they end the day just a point clear of Team Ceeref  and Bronenosec.

With two days to go, the RC44 Cascais Cup is showing a closeness across the fleet never previously see at this stage of an RC44 regatta.

 

Racing continues at 1200 noon local time. Follow live at www.rc44.com

 

 

RC44 – Cascais Cup (after 6 races)

1 Peninsula Petroleum 2 4 1 3 6 9 1pp 26pts

2 Team Ceeref 1 1 9 1 9 6 27pts

3 Bronenosec Sailing Team 4 2 4 8 8 1 27pts

4 Team Nika 8 8 3 2 4 3 28 pts

5 BlackWater Sailing Team 7 3 6 7 2 4 29pts

6 Artemis Racing 9 7 7 4 1 2 30pts

7 Team Aqua 3 5 2 6 7 7 30pts

8 Artemis Racing Youth 6 6 8 5 5 5 35pts

9 Charisma 5 9 5 9 3 8 2pp 41pts

 

 

Owner/Drivers show the Pros how it’s done

 

GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup

 

 

Lighter winds on day two of the GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup opened the door of opportunity, and the two owner/drivers in the fleet wasted no time in seizing their advantage.

It was an afternoon of soft southerly breeze blowing from the northern tip of Africa a few miles across the Strait of Gibraltar. The 4 to 6 knots of wind made the reaching start more critical than usual, although in the final of the four races held today, the two owner/drivers took very different approaches. One group was fighting hard for the windward end of the start line near the committee boat, and Pierre Casiraghi was locked in a match race with Armin Strom as he steered Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco aggressively every time Flavio Marazzi tried to gain the windward advantage.

Meanwhile Mamma Aiuto! was battling for a good gap at the congested leeward end of the start line, but skipper Naofumi Kamei pulled the trigger at just the right time as he steered the Japanese boat into an early lead around the first turning mark. Kamei held his nerve and led for most of the race but when the Japanese chose the more popular right-hand side of the final windward leg, Casiraghi fancied his chances out to the left, for reasons that one of Malizia’s professional crew explained:

“We thought there was a tide line out on the left,” said America’s Cup veteran Alister Richardson. “It seemed to be pushing us up on that side of the course.” Whatever it was, it pushed Malizia just ahead of Mamma Aiuto! in a close cross before the final turning mark and Casiraghi looked understandably happy to have won his first race of the event in southern Spain.

 

GC32 La reserva de Sotogrande Cup Sotogrande 2016. Image licensed to Jesus Renedo

Pierre Casiraghi celebrates Malizia’s race win. Photo c Jesus Renedo / GC32 Racing Tour

 

After a tough day in Thursday’s big breeze that resulted in Manuel Weiller being thrown around the front of the boat during a hard deceleration and injuring his knee, the crew of Mamma Aiuto! were much happier on day two, according to Martin Kirketerp.

“After yesterday we said let’s just have a clean day, keep it simple, stay out of trouble, and we ended up with two second places from today’s races,” said the 2008 49er Olympic Champion. “We could have won that final race, but there’s no use crying about that, we’re pretty happy with how the day has gone.”

Early on, it looked like Norauto was going to prove just as dominant as the French crew had on day one, when Adam Minoprio had taken the winner’s gun in all five races. The French won the first two heats of the day but came unstuck when trying to pull an aggressive pre-start move on Team Engie while jostling for position at the leeward end of the line in race eight. Engie moved forward and nailed the start, taking an early lead while Norauto was banished to the back of the class. Engie skipper Sébastien Rogues high-fived his crew as they crossed the finish line in first place, while Norauto could only manage sixth, unable to find a way through the fleet in the lighter breezes.

While Noruato is no longer invincible, the French team are still the most consistent by far, sitting on 17 points at the halfway stage of the competition. Engie’s race win has lifted the team to second overall, although tied for points with Team Tilt who had a less satisfactory day but are still very much in the hunt. In fact there’s very little to choose between five teams right now, with second-placed Engie on 35 points and sixth-placed Armin Strom just six points back on 41 points.

 

GC32 La reserva de Sotogrande Cup Sotogrande 2016. Image licensed to Jesus Renedo

Mamma Aiuto! on the charge in Race 6.  Photo c Jesus Renedo / GC32 Racing Tour

 

Even with her two second places today, Mamma Aiuto! is still last by some way after missing a number of races on day one following the man overboard incident on Thursday. But the Japanese crew can sense real progress after a good outing.

“We are working on a list of things that we have to improve and that we are improving bit by bit every time we go sailing,” said Kirketerp. It is still early days for Mamma Aiuto! and early days in the world of high-speed foiling. Minoprio’s two years of training with Luna Rossa for the America’s Cup is part of the reason for Norauto’s dominance, but today the owner/drivers showed that in the lighter conditions they can mix it with the best of the professional racing world.

On Saturday the breeze looks set to be stronger, around 10 to 12 knots from the east, a direction which could produce some waves after two days of flat-water racing. The GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup is promising to be one of the biggest all-round tests of the whole 2016 season. Saturday’s racing begins at 1300 CET.

 

 

Ceeref displaced by consistent Peninsula Petroleum

 

 

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RC44 Cascais Cup – Fleet Racing

 

It was a day of mixed fortunes for the top teams as fleet racing got underway on day two at the RC44 Cascais Cup. In light to moderate conditions off the Portuguese sailing mecca, three races were held in an 8-10 knot northwesterly and a long but shallow Atlantic swell.

Igor Lah’s Team Ceeref got off to the strongest of starts, comfortably winning the first two races. “We just wanted to be consistent and to avoid any collisions, so it was pretty simple,” claimed the Slovenian skipper.

Ceeref’s British tactician Adrian Stead expanded on this: “In the first race we wanted the pin and to work to the right – which we got. In the second race we wanted the right hand side of the start to go to the right – and we got that as well. It was the kind of course where if you were confident in your laylines you could make nice gains.”

However in the third, as Lah admitted, they were “too greedy…” Shaving the committee boat, they were a second or two early and were immediately called back to restart. Sadly they were subsequently unable to recover adequate ground and came home ninth. “That was a pity. But we know we can do it – we will not make the same mistake,” concluded Lah.

Stead was generally optimistic: “Our goal today was nine points or less, so we missed that but we are still in the frame. The tempo and how we sailed the boat was good – Igor was driving the boat really well and executed exactly what we wanted. It was unfortunate that one of the starts was early.”

 

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Adhering more closely to their ‘consistency pays’ mantra was John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum. A 2-4, followed by a win in the day’s final race, leaves the Gibraltar-based team leading.

“It was very good, great fun,” Bassadone observed. “The boat seems to be going well. Everyone seems pretty relaxed and the racing, as always, is super-tight. It was a good start, but our focus is on trying to be consistent and conservative, but not too conservative – to try and sail like we know how to sail and see where we end up. Obviously there is a very long way to go.”

Peninsula Petroleum’s Italian tactician Vasco Vascotto admitted that they had struggled to find the right upwind mode in the first race. “Everyone was pushing hard to the right and if you got a nice lane you could sail to your target.” In fact the fleet seemed obsessed with the right, land side of the course, both upwind and downwind in the first two races.

“There were plenty of nice women on the beach!” quipped Vascotto. “We know that usually in Cascais the right is strong, due to the little right banana [shift] at the end. We feel very comfortable here – it is one of those places, like Porto Cervo, where you feel at home. You know where you have to go. The problem is…so does everyone else…”

There was a small blemish on Peninsula Petroleum’s scoreline when she was awarded a one point penalty for a marking rounding collision with Nico Poons’ Charisma. She still ends the day two points ahead of Chris Bake’s Team Aqua and Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec Sailing Team, tied in second, with the day’s star performer, Team Ceeref just a point behind them in fourth.

Also starting to show form today was the new Russian RC44 team, BlackWater, which held second for most of race two, before being overhauled by their mighty compatriots, Bronenosec Sailing Team.

“The second race was good. We started well and we had a very nice, first mark rounding when we were second. Basically it was down to the tactician and the helm and the team in this race didn’t make any mistakes. It feels very good when you see most of the fleet behind you. It is a funny feeling – you are happy and a little bit scared, because everyone’s pursuing you…” explained Andreas Savvidis, one of BlackWater’s trio of young owners, who was breathing a small sigh of relief: Whenever BlackWater wins its first ever RC44 race, his co-owners in BlackWater, Alexander Zaytsev and Maxim Merzlikin, have promised to shave his head.

Fleet racing continues on Saturday at 1200 noon local time. Follow live at www.rc44.com

 

 

 

 

Norauto dominates day one in windy Sotogrande

 

 

GC32 La reserva de Sotogrande Cup Sotogrande 2016. Image licensed to Jesus Renedo

 

GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup

 

 

Adam Minoprio steered Noruato to five straight victories on a breezy first day.

The warm Poniente westerly breeze was blowing around 14 knots at the start of the afternoon but later picked up to gusting 20 knots, with the fleet putting a reef in their mainsails after two of the five races. It didn’t matter what configuration the GC32s were racing in, however, Norauto was the master of all situations.

Even when Minoprio pulled the trigger slightly too soon at the start of Race 3, the French team completed its penalty efficiently and was already vying for the lead at the bottom of the first downwind leg.

“The other boats rounded the first turning mark a bit wide and we managed a tighter turn which put us on the inside track before the first gybe,” said Minoprio, whose two years of solid training with Luna Rossa, the now disbanded America’s Cup team, has stood him in good stead for mastering the new science of high-speed hydrofoiling.

Team Tilt, with helmsman Sébastien Schneiter recently returned from competing at the Olympic Games in Rio 2016, was looking sharp, coming second in three of the five races. However gear failure led to a retirement from Race 4 which has added expensive points to their score. However the Swiss still hold second place overall on the leaderboard, on equal points with third-placed Team Engie who sailed a great day, completing all races and finishing second in race four.

 

GC32 La reserva de Sotogrande Cup Sotogrande 2016. Image licensed to Jesus Renedo

 

Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco also sailed a very solid day, coming second in the first race and finishing all races, refusing to allow a problem with their mast track defeat them as they limped across the finish line of one race a long way behind the rest of the fleet.

Realteam got better as the day went on, Jérôme Clerc steering the Swiss boat to third place in the final two heats, and sitting in fifth overall. Flavio Marazzi was less happy with his outing on Armin Strom after the boat succumbed to equipment failure that put him out of the second and third races before getting back on the race course to complete the day. Normally Marazzi and his crew – which includes World Match Racing Champion Phil Robertson – love the big breeze so will be seen as a missed opportunity for the Swiss crew.

For Naofumi Kamei, it’s early days at the helm of his GC32 called Mamma Aiuto!, and the strong winds were a big challenge for the team which is still short on training time. The crew is not inexperienced; it includes two 49er stars, former World Champion Javier de la Plaza and 2008 Olympic Champion Martin Kirketerp, but things happen quickly in the GC32 and there is no margin for error as De la Plaza explained:

“We had just got on to the downwind leg in the second race and the boat was riding too high on the foil. We should have been running it lower so that the boat was riding lower to the water.”

The boat leapt out of the water before crashing back down at great speed, the boat rapidly decelerating from 32 knots to a dead stop. Kamei and crewman Manuel Weiller were thrown up in the air, over the top of the crew and past the front beam before they landed in the water. While Kamei escaped without injury, Weiller was taken ashore and to hospital to have an injury to his knee checked over. No major damage, although it looks unlikely Weiller will be part of the race crew for the next three days of the event.

Looking forward to the weekend the breeze looks lighter in Sotogrande which will come as a relief to some, although probably not Norauto who – at a top speed of 37 knots today – looked majestic and very much in command of the challenging conditions of day one. Friday’s racing begins at 1300 CET.

 

www.gc32racingtour.com

 

Artemis Racing joins Team Nika in the match racing top spot

 

 

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RC44 Cascais Cup – Match Racing

 

With a five win-one loss record in the match racing on the RC44 Cascais Cup’s opening day, Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing has pulled up on to the same points as Team Nika, overall leader in the RC44’s match racing championship for 2016.

With joint leaders, the match racing contest that rolls from event to event on the RC44 circuit, could not be closer going into the final event of the season, in Malta in November.

Principal Race Officer, Peter Reggio, set up the match racing course directly south of the Marina de Cascais, rather than heading west towards Cabo Roso and the Atlantic swell for which racing off Cascais is famous. Off downtown Cascais, the breeze started as a 12 knot offshore northerly, but built through the afternoon, shifting significantly throughout each race, often in each leg. Nonetheless seven flights were dispatched in record time, the schedule competed in just three and a half hours.

On Artemis Racing, Sarah Gunderson was sharing helming duties with tactician Francesco Bruni. The one match they dropped was against Igor Lah’s Team Ceeref. This proved their toughest race of the day.

“It was really close and we had a nice tacking duel on the second beat and there were lots of calls and flags, but they were all green,” recounted Bruni. “We were a little disappointed with some of those calls, but we have to accept the umpire decisions and keep racing. So that is what we did and the guys did a fantastic job on the boat and we were really fast all around the course.”

Bronenosec Sailing Team came close to having a similar result to Artemis Racing, but a two point penalty for a start line collision spoiled the day for Vladimir Liubomirov’s team. In its match against Nico Poons’ Charisma, the Russian team was penalised initially after they were successfully hooked by Charisma second before the start. On tacking away Bronenosec’ transom collided with Charisma’s hull and due to the RC44 class’ strict regime on avoiding contact between boats, she was docked two points.

Bronenosec’s most exceptional sailing display came in its first match against Peninsula Petroleum. In this they were leading, but down a penalty (for hitting the weather mark in a gust). Instead of finishing, Bronenosec sailed beyond the line, was able to carry out its turn and returned to finish in front and exhonerated, despite attempts by Peninsula Peninsula Petroleum to prevent this.

Match Racing Championship leader, Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika  won four and lost two. “It was not very easy, honestly speaking,” said Prosikhin. “There was some swell and it made the tacks a bit tricky and sometimes we didn’t accelerate fast enough. Otherwise it was fun racing with big shifts.”

Their usual heavyweight bout with Bronenosec was a disappointing one. Team Nika clearly won the start, however they ended up losing the match, as tactician Ed Baird described it: “The boat behind us [Bronenosec] got some magic breeze and sailed up and around us on the windward leg…”

For Igor Lah’s Team Ceeref it was a day of two halves, as British tactician Adrian Stead explained: “In the first two races, we didn’t execute our spinnaker hoists and drops very well. We were trying to gybe set and we didn’t get it right. We had a little stop to think about it.” 

They pulled out of their second match against Charisma after the drop line on their A3 spinnaker got into the mother of all tangles and spent the next flight (when they were on a bye) regrouping. “Then we came back with four wins out of four. Igor did a great job especially in the race against Artemis.”

“That was extremely exciting in the pre-start,” agreed Lah of that match in which the two boats spent a prolonged period circling.

If Bronenosec is licking its wounds tonight, a man trying to keep his head down is Viktor Filippov, on Black Water. After a good start in the Russian team’s second match against Team Nika, their unfortunate grinder fell out of the boat…for the second time in two days, believed to be an RC44 record.

 

RC44 Cascais Cup – Match race results

Wins and losses

Artemis Racing (SWE44) 5-1

Bronenosec Sailing (RUS 18) 5-1 (-2 penalty points)

Team Nika (RUS 10) 4-2

Team Ceeref (SLO 11) 4-2

Team Aqua (GBR 2041) 3-3

Peninsula Petroleum (GBR 1) 3-3

Charisma (MON 69) 2-4

Blackwater Team (RUS 04) 1-5

Artemis Racing Youth (SWE 4) 1-6

 

www.rc44.com

 

 

Quantum Racing seal the deal

 

52 World Championship 2016

 

52 World Championship in Mahon, Menorca

 

Quantum Racing closed out their fifth TP52 world title with a solid, workmanlike fifth in the last race of the 52 World Championship 2016, their nearest title rivals Azzurra well behind them. Their title victory was marked by an emotional roller coaster of a weekend during which they were pressed hard by the defending champions who composed a hot streak of three back to back wins. Shooting themselves in the foot with a Black Flag Disqualification from the second race Saturday more than doubled the pressure.

After starting the penultimate day of the championship, Saturday, with a lead of 17 points and no race finish worse than third from the six starts, Quantum Racing fell victims to a black flag disqualification from Race 8. With Azzurra’s back to back wins and Quantum’s 13pt penalty included into their scorelines there was then just nine points separating the two going into the final day.

Super Sunday, the world championship finale delivered tension and drama in equal measure. With the unsettled breeze still in the north, and an uncharacteristically big swell Quantum Racing compounded their problems when they found themselves on the wrong side of one big windshift, to the right, on the first beat of today’s first race.

Azzurra read it best and only had to make one short tack to make the first turn. Quantum had to dig deep and managed to battle back to fifth. But within three races their overall lead was cut to just five points.

Under mounting pressure, not least from within a team known as high achieving perfectionists, Quantum Racing did what they had to, marking Azzurra early after the start.

The 2015 defending champions tried a bold move, tacking away to try and put boats between them and Quantum Racing. But after trading two tacks with Gladiator Azzurra dropped positions.

 

52 World Championship 2016

 

From there, despite the vagaries of a faltering, dropping breeze they could consolidate. While Paul Cayard steered Phoenix to a runaway win, a high note to finish their first TP52 class regatta on, Quantum Racing could consolidate. Their second fifth place of the day secured the team owned by Doug DeVos the 2016 world title to add to those won in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2014.

“It was a nerve wracking day.” winning tactician Terry Hutchinson admitted, “You know you have to give credit to Azzurra for continually asking the questions, they reeled off three race wins in a row, I can’t say enough about the effort they did to put the pressure on us for our self imposed mistake.”

Hutchinson, who adds the TP52 world title to the Maxi72 world title he and several of the Quantum team won last week on Bella Mente continued:

“But I continued to think that the measure of the team is going to be how we respond in those situations and it was awesome to see the work that Ed Baird and James Dagg did off the last start in that last race.”

 

52 World Championship 2016

 

Asked what the mood was like in the Quantum camp after the black flag error, when they were so far ahead, Hutchinson responded:

“The de-brief was we win as a team and we lose as a team. Ed felt incredibly disappointed that he had let us down but there is nobody better in the world so it was important to emphasise to the team that we win as a team and we lose as a team. We shot ourselves in the foot yesterday and thats uncharacteristic of Quantum Racing. We made a mistake so sometimes you are just human and I guess how you respond to that is key. It was awesome to see how the team responded today that was the most rewarding part of the day.”

Azzurra finish runners up despite winning five of the ten races. A weighty 10th place in the second race of the series remains a matter of regret, but was not self inflicted. They were pressed wide at the windward mark by an infringement by another boat, their pedestal winch failed on the run and finally they blew up a spinnaker on the run in to the finish.

Menorca delivered a fantastic championship on the water and on shore. On two days the SW’ly breeze gave way to the N’ly Mistral and so providing contrasting, open race courses on the same day. Today’s climax was raced in brisk 12-18kts N’lies with some big shifts. And ashore the friendly ambience and quiet, easygoing charm, contrasts favourably with Palma, Mallorca and Ibiza.

The third step on the podium went to Ergin Imre’s Provezza, just as it did in 2015 in Puerto Portals. They had a tough duel with 2013 world champions Rán Racing during the last race showdown but take third just one point.

 

52 World Championship 2016

 

Guillermo Parada (ARG) skipper-helm Azzurra (ITA):

“It was good that we were able to win the first race of the day and stay in the competition to the final race. In the final race we chose to start on the pin and we did, but the pin was not where it should have been according to my computer and from then on it was an uphill battle. Quantum is very good and they controlled the race even in shifty conditions. Then in the last run the breeze dropped and we tried to gain ground but couldn’t and in the end lost vital points. But it is what it is, in the end you have to be happy with second. I think Quantum deserved to win but we are close, we won five races in this event and are recovering speed, so that’s all good for the future. We want to keep our second place in the Series too and at the same time and keep the wind in our sails. After Cascais the boat has to be shipped to Key West. We have maintenance to do around Christmas and New Years and before we know it we’ll be sailing in the US. So we have to be smart in Cascais, stay in second place and maybe even win and arrive in Key West as well prepared as we can be. We have enjoyed our time here very much and have enjoyed the challenging conditions. Hopefully we’ll race here again next year.”

 

 

Final Standings

1. Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (2,1,1,2,1,3,2,BFG13,5,5) 35pts

2. Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (1,10,7,1,6,7,1,1,1,10) 45pts

3. Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (6,7,3,6,4,1,3,7,10,3) 50pts

4. Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (9,2,2,10,2,2,10,6,2,6) 51pts

5. Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (8,8,9,11,3,4,7,4,8) 65pts

6. Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (5,3,5,7,12,8,4,9,7,7) 67pts

7. Alegre, GBR (Andrés Soriano USA) (7,5,6,8,9,12,6,5,8,2) 68pts

8. Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (4,4,10,4,8,11,9,11,12,4) 77pts

9. Phoenix, USA (Richard Cohen USA) (10,9,11,5,10,10,BFG13,3,6,1) 78pts

10. Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) (11,11,12,3,7,9,8,2,4,12) 79pts

11. Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (3,DNF/13,8,9,5,5,11,10,9,9) 82pts

12. Sorcha GBR (Peter Harrison GBR) (12,6,4,12,11,6,5,8,11,11) 86pts

 

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Only human

 

52 World Championship 2016

 

52 World Championship in Mahón, Menorca.

 

 

While Quantum Racing were effectively excluded from Race 8 of the 52 World Championship for crossing the start line early while a black flag rule was in force, their nearest rivals for the 2016 world title completed a perfect day scoring two first places in very different conditions on the waters off Mahón, Menorca.

Quantum Racing had just restored their overall lead to 18 points when they had finished second behind Azzurra in Race 7, the first race of the day.

Then Quantum fell foul of a black flag disqualification on the second attempt to get Race 8 away. When a general recall was signalled, Quantum Racing was the only team penalised.

 

52 World Championship 2016

 

The race got under way at the third attempt. Azzurra won with the regatta leaders forced to sit it out, already tied to the dock in Port Mahón.

After composing an aggregate of only 12 points from seven races, three firsts, three seconds and one third, Quantum Racing more than double that tally because of their 13pts from the BFD. The team launched a protest for redress, believing that the pin end of the line had moved, but it did not proceed to a hearing.

 

52 World Championship 2016

 

So according to the early evening’s provisional standings, Quantum Racing will now go into the final day of the 52 World Championship with a lead of nine points over Azzurra. The 2015 world title holders have now won four races from eight starts and are three points ahead of Ergin Imre’s Provezza, who finished third and seventh.

The first race was sailed in a modest 9-11kts of south westerly breeze. The black flag was enforced after one general recall, Paul Cayard and the crew of Phoenix were disqualified from the second start.

 

52 World Championship 2016

 

Azzurra recognised the gain on the right side of the course and led at the top mark ahead of Sorcha, Provezza, Platoon and Alegre. Quantum Racing rounded sixth. On the shifty, puffy first run, Provezza got up to second by the leeward gate. Steady gains by Quantum Racing got them into position to challenge Provezza at the final gybe to the finish, the regatta leaders completing another sterling comeback to second place. Azzurra crossed the finish line more than 200 metres ahead.

Bronenosec led the second race – Race 8 – until the leeward gate, where they chose the left gate mark (looking upwind), and Azzurra the opposite. Azzurra gained on the beat and led comfortably by the final run. In the big, boisterous seas and NW’ly breeze to 17kts, Sled scored their best result of the regatta so far with a second and Phoenix bounced back after their DSQ to make third.

 

52 World Championship 2016

 

Vasco Vascotto, the Azzurra tactician commented:

“From yesterday we had a debrief about what we were doing wrong in the bigger breeze. We made some big mistakes and improved today, really just getting back to what I would call ‘normal’ in the past. But, really nothing new, nothing different today. The first race was shifty and we made the best call for the right. We had two very good starts and that makes it easier to execute our plan. But we are lucky in a way that for the first time this week, and really probably this season so far, Quantum made a mistake. They are doing such a fantastic job all the way through this season, but it looks like they are human after all!

Quantum are there. If they sail properly, nicely as they are able to sail they will not have a problem. But if they give a chance to us or to other teams we will be there.”

Racing concludes Sunday.

 

 

Provisional Standings after Day 4, Subject to protests)

1 Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (2,1,1,2,1,3,2,BFG13) 25pts

2 Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (1,10,7,1,6,7,1,1) 34pts

3 Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (6,7,3,6,4,1,3,7) 37pts

4 Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (9,2,2,10,2,2,10,6) 43pts

5 Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (5,3,5,7,12,8,4,9) 53pts

6 Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (8,8,9,11,3,4,7,4) 54pts

7 Alegre, GBR (Andy Soriano USA) (7,5,6,8,9,12,6,5) 58pts

8 Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (4,4,10,4,8,11,9,11) 61pts

9 Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) (11,11,12,3,7,9,8,2) 63pts

10 Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (3,DNF/13,8,9,5,5,11,10) 64pts

11 Sorcha GBR (Peter Harrison GBR) (12,6,4,12,11,6,5,8) 64pts

12 Phoenix, USA (Richard Cohen USA) (10,9,11,5,10,10,BFG13,3) 71pts

 

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The Untouchables?

 

52 World Championship 2016

 

52 World Championship in Mahón, Menorca

 

As a team which is much more used to winning Quantum Racing had some tough moments in 2015 when they were overshadowed by Azzurra. But the TP52 class’s most successful team are back on song this season, more so than ever in Menorca, racing at their very, very best.

As the 2016 52 World Championship regatta passed its theoretical mid-point, Doug DeVos’ American-flagged crew already have the title by the scruff of the neck and look firm favourites to run away with another world championship win at Sunday’s prizegiving in Mahón.

After six races Quantum Racing have accumulated only ten points.

Their worst race finish so far is the third place that they gained in Race 6, losing second to Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing because their bow pulpit had failed and the Quantum crew could not fully hike.

 

52 World Championship 2016

 

With Terry Hutchinson calling tactics, Ed Baird steering, and Ian Moore as navigator Quantum took three points from Day 1, three points from Day 2 and now just four more points from today after winning the first race.

In pursuit of the seemingly untouchable Quantum, Rán Racing had one of their best days of the year so far to match Quantum’s daily score with two second places. But it is Ergin Imre’s Provezza which holds second place, separated from Rán on countback only by virtue of a gun to gun win in Race 6, today’s second windward-leeward.

Menorca delivered two great races today. The first was raced in the south-westerly breeze which has prevailed so far. But the NW’ly pushed through for the second race, requiring the course area to be changed, offering a whole new array of tactical choices on a brand new arena.

 

52 World Championship 2016

 

Quantum Racing and Rán Racing broke away early in the first beat of the first race of the day, Race 5 of the series. Quantum Racing started closer to the middle of the line and were able to impose themselves early, while Rán went more to the right, inshore and profited. On the first run Peter Harrison’s Sorcha made a great gain down the offshore side of the leg, jumping up to third. Unfortunately they were penalised for an infringement during a very compact group at the finish, dropping to 11th. Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec made a great recovery to steal third with Provezza fourth.

A big, heading shift on the first downwind forced the first attempt at Race 6 to be abandoned. But the delay, as the course area was moved several miles, was rewarded with an exciting second race where boatspeeds topped 20kts and the head to head drag race off the start line which went on for several minutes was one of the most exciting periods of the season so far.

 

52 World Championship 2016

 

Cognisant of how the new breeze would bend down the race course, Provezza executed their game plan to perfection, hooking into the left lift early to lead all the way around the course, surging away from Quantum Racing at the first kite hoist.

The hard tactical racing was a great chance for consistency for some. The young team on Paprec posted two fifth places and lie eighth overall. Bronenosec halted their miserable run of races here so far with a third and fourth today.

The plan to run a coastal on Saturday has been changed to a schedule requiring two more windward-leewards with a warning signal for the first one at 1200hrs.

 

 

 

Standings after Day 3

1 Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (2,1,1,2,1,3) 10pts

2 Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (6,7,3,6,4,1) 27pts

3 Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (9,2,2,10,2,2) 27pts

4 Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (1,10,7,1,6,7) 32pts

5 Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (5,3,5,7,12,8) 40pts

6 Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (4,4,10,4,8,11) 41pts

7 Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (8,8,9,11,3,4) 43pts

8 Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (3,DNF/13,8,9,5,5) 43pts

9 Alegre, GBR (Andy Soriano USA) (7,5,6,8,9,12) 47pts

10 Sorcha GBR (Peter Harrison GBR) (12,6,4,12,11,6) 51pts

11 Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) (11,11,12,3,7,9) 53pts

12 Phoenix, USA (Richard Cohen USA) (10,9,11,5,10,10) 55pts

 

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Another Level of Excellence

 

52 World Championship 2016

 

52 World Championship in Mahón, Menorca

 

From a difficult, and at times confusing second day of racing at the 52 World Championship 2016 on the beautiful waters off Menorca, Quantum Racing kept up their amazingly high level of consistency to extend their overall lead to 13 points at the top of the high calibre 12-boat fleet.

After four races, three windward leewards and a 17-mile coastal race, the American-flagged team have finished no worse than second, today recording a first and a second. They were by far the lowest scoring team today, second placed Azzurra being next best with an aggregate eight points for the day.

Wind conditions were lighter than Wednesday’s opening two races. The first windward-leeward saw 10-11kts on the start line. The coastal race that followed – essentially one small windward leeward then a longer beat, a seven mile run and a final windward leg to finish at the entrance to Mahón harbour – started in a light 6-9kts and was marked by a period of lighter airs. It finished in beautiful late afternoon sunshine and a more solid 10-11kts on the line.

Quantum Racing read the vagaries of the first beat of the first race best. There was a fine balance between using the starboard tack lift inshore and the stronger pressure offshore and Terry Hutchinson took the Quantum Racing crew faultlessly on this particular high wire beat. They led Niklas Zennström’s Rán at the top mark.

Of the three boats which were called over early on the start line, Azzurra made a special recovery to fourth at the top mark. While Quantum Racing and Rán held solid at the front in first and second, the second beat saw a right shift which Azzurra got on the outside off, losing four hard earned places to cross in seventh. Beneficiaries of the right shift included Provezza which made third and Peter Harrison’s Sorcha which got fourth.

Platoon led early in the 17-mile coastal race but on the longest leg they held too far offshore, looking for extra pressure perhaps. Harm Müller-Spreer’s crew took a big drop for their mistake. While the gains were inshore, very close to the land where the breeze was accelerating and heading nicely, they dropped back to a painful seventh.

The leading battle all the way around the course was really between Azzurra and Quantum Racing. This time the Italian crews’ defences proved impregnable and they crossed the finish line just under 200 metres ahead of Quantum Racing. Tony Langley’s Gladiator were unlucky to lose third to Takashi Okura’s Sled in an upwind drag race to the line, but Gladiator share the same points tally as fourth-placed Provezza, a notable improvement for the British team so far.

In the overall standings, Quantum Racing are 13pts clear at the top of the standings, Azzurra second and Platoon, 5-7 today, lie third.

Quantum Racing’s navigator Ian Moore commented:

“It was hard all the way through the day. But it was exciting all the way through too. In the coastal race it was changing all the time. One minute you were looking good and the next you were in the cheap seats.”

 

Standings after Day 2

1 Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (2,1,1,2) 6pts

2 Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (1,10,7,1) 19pts

3 Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (5,3,5,7) 20pts

4 Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (6,7,3,6) 22pts

5 Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (4,4,10,4) 22pts

6 Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (9,2,2,10) 23pts

7 Alegre, GBR (Andy Soriano USA) (7,5,6,8) 26pts

8 Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (3,DNF/13,8,9) 33pts

9 Sorcha GBR (Peter Harrison GBR) (12,6,4,12) 34pts

10 Phoenix, USA (Richard Cohen USA) (10,9,11,5) 35pts

11 Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (8,8,9,11) 36pts

12 Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) (11,11,12,3)  37pts

 

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