Keelboat Regattas

Onboard with Ed Baird

 

 

Quantum Racing lead the 52 Super Series by only three points over Audi Azzurra with two regattas remaining in the series.

I was invited onboard the American flagged Quantum Racing for the first day of racing on a steamy hot summer day in the bay of Palma. Two races were scheduled and PRO Maria Trojilo forecast 10 – 12 knots of shifting breeze.

As we motored out to the startline, Quantum set up for some upwind practice with Gladiator and Powerplay, The main afterguard with a wealth of experience ranging from Americas Cup wins, world championships and Olympic medals, discussed the sail plan and options for the weather conditions. After checking the line angle and opting for their chosen sail plan the team assessed the options for the first upwind leg. Up the mast goes the wind spotter Tom Burnham with five minutes to go.

Race one started on schedule with 10 – 12 knots of breeze fluctuating in direction with little puffs all around the course. At this stage in the 52 Super Series with points very tight, focus onboard Quantum was on the two nearest rivals on the scoreboard Audi Azzurra and Rán Racing.

 

 

 

Tactician Andy Horton and navigator Juan Vila were keen to start at the pin end of the line and gain access to the left hand side of the racecourse. Skipper and helmsman, the double Americas Cup winner, Ed Baird expertly manouvered the TP52 dancing around the fleet and bouncing off Audi Azzurra to gain the pin end start.

The Swedish flagged Rán skippered by Niklas Zennström and German Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE, skippered by multiple Olympian Jochen Schuemann started at the committee boat end.

Quantum was able to accelerate away in clean air and tack onto port tack to head the fleet towards the first windward mark. Round we go with a 5 boat length lead over Audi Azzurra and ALL4ONE. The spinnaker is set and the afterguard call the wind angles downwind. Ed Baird guides Quantum Racing doing around 9 knots of boat speed as he covers the fleet of 8 teams gybing downwind.

 

 

At the leeward gate Quantum has extended the lead to around 200 meters on Audi Azzurra with Rán making gains.

The second windward/leeward lap is focused on covering the opponents and in particular, Audi Azzurra. As the remainder of the fleet battled for the lower placings the first race was job done for Quantum as she sailed over the finish to win by approximately 1m.

A quick break onboard to replenish liquids and sustenance before the sound signal is fired for race 2. Similar conditions prevailed with a touch more breeze up to 12 knots. This time onboard the tactician/strategists called for a start nearer the committee boat.

Ed Baird duly obliged positioning his boat to the right of the fleet starting with speed. The local breeze was still quite shifty and a number of tacking battles formed on leg one. It was  Rán who had gone left who came out top at the windward mark rounding a boat length ahead of Quantum Racing with Gladiator on our stern.

It became a game of chess as to who would gybe first, in the end the wind caller on Quantum called the gybe and we went first. As the fleet converged on the leeward gate Rán remained in the lead but Gladiator had gained on Quantum Racing rounding alternate gate marks.

However disaster onboard Gladiator as the British boat trawled their spinnaker in the water stalling the boat and losing several places. Meanwhile Audi Azzurra with a highly experienced afterguard of Guillermo Parada and Vasco Vascotto, was able to profit from Gladiators mistake and lay chase.

The decision onboard Quantum Racing was now to concentrate on keeping Audi Azzurra behind rather than attacking Rán. So all the way up the second windward leg Quantum put a cover on the Italians, tack for tack.

At the second windward mark rounding, Rán had around 30 seconds lead over Quantum Racing with Audi Azzurra another 30 seconds back in third. Another flawless spinnaker hoist from a well drilled team and staysails were deployed then furled simultaneously.

The final downwind leg was a game of cover your opponent with Niklas Zennstrom cruising to victory in race two and onboard Quantum Racing it was gybe every time Audi Azzurra does, to keep between them and the finish line.

As we cross the finish line everything was quite calm onboard Quantum, skipper Ed Baird simply smiled and turned to his crew to say, “Nice job guys”.

It was a typically professional fleet sailing display from the Quantum team who now take an early lead in the Royal Cup and extend their overall lead in the championship.

 Royal Cup results after two races

1 Quantum Racing (USA) 3pt
2 Rán (SWE) 4pt
3 Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA) 5pt
4 Audi Sailing Team by ALL4ONE (GER/FRA) 9pt
5 Gladiator (GBR) 12pt
6 Aquila (AUT) 13pt
7 Powerplay (CAY) 13pt
8 Provezza (TUR) 13pt

Fight for Royal Cup reign begins in Palma

Day 1 – 52 Super Series in Palma de Mallorca

 

Defending champions Quantum Racing proved why they are the team to beat in the 52 Super Series after winning a dramatic opening day’s racing in the Royal Cup at Palma, Mallorca where costly crew errors proved just how close the competition is.

Quantum Racing claimed a commanding victory in the opening race and second place in race two to finish on three points on the first day of the four-day regatta to extend their overall lead in the 52 Super Series from three points to five.

Rán Racing are second in the Royal Cup with four points, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team are third with five points, followed by Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One, Gladiator, Aquila, PowerPlay and Provezza.

Quantum skipper and double America’s Cup champion Ed Baird said it was a tough day’s racing that was packed with plenty of wind shifts that came out of no where and put his crew’s recent lessons to the test.

“It was one of those races where the rich get richer, as soon as you were a little bit ahead everything became a little more obvious,’’ Baird said.

“We worked awfully hard all of last year, and this year, at trying to improve every little thing.

“It sounds so basic but the tacks, the gybes, they are better than they were three or four months ago. So are the starts, the straight line speed, the sails, the understanding of the mast and the communications, they’re all improving.”

 

It was a much tougher day’s racing for crews on board newcomer Provezza and British boat Gladiator, who suffered at the hands of errors that placed them second last and last respectively in race two.

Provezza struggled to come back after being recalled for jumping the start and Gladiator dropped from second to last when they lost their spinnaker overboard halfway through the race.

Gladiator skipper Tony Langley said his team’s severe penance for one error was a testament to the caliber of the class.

“It was all in the drop, we lost the string-line system and that was it,” he said. “At this level you cannot afford to make any mistakes.

“You make a small mistake and you’ll get spat out one place or two places, you make a medium mistake and you get spat out the back, but you make a mistake like this and you’re just completing the course for one point.”

Day two of the Royal Cup, hosted by Real Club Náutico de Palma, starts at 1300 local, 1100 UTC. Early predictions have teams expecting between 12 and 18 knots from the south-southwest.

For more details visit: www.52superseries.com

Royal Cup results after two races

1 Quantum Racing (USA) 3pt
2 Rán (SWE) 4pt
3 Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA) 5pt
4 Audi Sailing Team by ALL4ONE (GER/FRA) 9pt
5 Gladiator (GBR) 12pt
6 Aquila (AUT) 13pt
7 Powerplay (CAY) 13pt
8 Provezza (TUR) 13pt

By Jacaranda Marketing

52’s compete for Royal Cup in Palma

52 Super Series Royal Cup in Palma de Mallorca – 10-14 July 2012

Eight boats are lined up alongside the Real Club Nautico de Palma to race on equal terms for an historic sailing trophy, The Royal Cup, at the third regatta for the 52 SuperSeries.

Just as there were two boats new to the 52 SuperSeries circuit in Porto Cervo, Sardinia last month, so the momentum and interest continues to grow as the circuit reaches high summer, and a very popular racing venue, Palma.

And the 52 SuperSeries owners and organisers are pleased to be continually developing initiatives for the long term future of the circuit. In Palma there will be live fleet tracking complemented by audio commentary from the water.

The Royal Cup, or in full, the Royal Cup Challenge Trophy, was donated in 1995 by King Harald of Norway, Pasquale Landolfi, Willi Illbruck and Yannis Costopoulos to be used as a challenge trophy for IMS50 racing, which then was the world’s premier level rating class.

Among the famous boat and owner names inscribed on the massive trophy are: 1995 and 1996 Brava Q8, P. Landolfi in 1995 and 1996, Mean Machine, P. de Ridder in 1996, in 2000 Innovision 7, H. J. Eekhof and in 2001 Brava Q8, P. Landolfi.

“It seems appropriate and in the line of tradition to connect the cup once again to the best level rating racing. At this point in time this is without a doubt 52 racing.” comments Rob Weiland, the 52’s Class Manager.

The cup was created by Bvlgari and has been extensively refurbished by Nicolas Joyero, the company of Nicolas Pomar, who with his brother the driving force behind the Breitling Cup. This company has also created the 52 SuperSeries Trophy which will be unveiled in Palma.

The boats which will be new to the 52 SuperSeries will be the Austrian boat Aquila which was formerly the 2008 build Mutua Madrilena. It has remained in TP52 measurement trim and will be steered by Rene Mangold.

Provezza is a well known name in global sailing circles and now Turkish owner Ergin Imre brings his 52 which was previously the 2008 Vrolijk designed Desafio and then Cristabella. This boat will be steered by Britain’s Nick Rogers who won back to back 470 Olympic silver medals at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games.

Racing can be followed live with radio commentary on Virtual Eye. Visit the 52 Super Series website:  www.52superseries.com