[Source: 52 Super Series] Azzurra suffered on the final run of the first race with a malfunctioning primary winch, losing a potential third race victory to Rán Racing just at the finish line on the final gybe. Quantum Racing kept themselves in contention with a great recovery in an electrifying, breezy, bumpy, second race when they fought back from being over the start line early to cross the finish second behind Gladiator.
The second race showcased the 52’s at their sparkling best. Crews arrived ashore wet, chilly and exhausted after the brisk 22-25kts winds, but after an afternoon of high octane downwind sailing in building swells few had many reasons to grumble.
Rán Racing owner Niklas Zennström was pleased to have stolen their win on the finish line of Race 4: “It was nice to win, but it was also good to pass Azzurra on the finish line after they had done that same thing to us yesterday.” He smiled.
And a win for Gladiator, following up from their third in Race 4, was just the tonic for tactician Chris Larson after an opening day, Thursday, he is keen to forget. Their four points aggregate over Friday’s two races elevates Gladiator to fourth overall.
“ It was just the difference of day.” Larson recalled, “ Unfortunately yesterday everything I did turned to custard. Not much went right. I was actually scared to walk home and allow myself to cross the street as I thought I might get hit by a car. It was one of those days that nothing seemed to work out. We talked about it. I apologised to everyone on the team and said ‘hang in there and I’ll try and make it up and have a better day’ and so we did.”
After five races the three top boats have stepped slightly clear of the chasing pack but correspondingly only three points separates regatta leaders Azzurra from Quantum Racing in third. Their premature start might have left them wondering what might have been, but after lying a slightly distant seventh early on, Quantum Racing’s fightback was nearly total as they were just on the point of challenging Gladiator at the finish line.
Such powers of recovery were not just confined to the American flagged team. In the previous start Rán Racing were less than perfect off the line and had to scrap hard on the first beat and thereafter to get themselves into the position to eclipse Azzurra on the finish line, although the Italian team’s Vasco Vascotto regretted that he did not realise the extent of their damage to the winch and would have altered his final approach to the finish line had he known.
While Rán Racing delivered on their pledge to win races it remains Azzurra who have the upper hand. But a regatta which last year was finally separated in favour of Quantum Racing only on tie break from Azzurra, this 2013 European curtain raiser might still finish up just as close.
52 SUPER SERIES Conde de Godo Trophy, Bareclona,
Ranking after 5 races.
1- Azzurra (ITA), (1-3-1-2-4) 11 points
2- Quantum Racing (USA), (3-1-2-4-4) 12 points
3- Ran (SWE), (2-4-3-1-3) 13 points
4- Gladiator (GBR) (5-7-7-3-1) 23 points
5- Interlodge (USA) (4-2-6-5-6) 23 points
6- Provezza (TUR) (6-5-4-7-7) 29 points
7- Rio (USA) (7-6-5-6-5) 29 points