Archive | 52 Super Series

Coolly сonsistent Rán rise to opening day pressure

Posted on 20 May 2015 by Reporter

[Source: 52 Super Series] With all of the pressure and excitement of opening day of the 2015 52 SUPER SERIES applied it was Niklas Zennström’s Rán crew on their new, recently launched Vrolijk design which rose best to the multiple challenges, posting an impressively consistent second and first to lead Ford Vignale Valencia Sailing Week.

From the biggest and most competitive 52 SUPER SERIES fleet yet assembled, including nine new boats all making their major championship debut and three high level teams new to the circuit, the potent combination of the cool Swedish owner-driver, multi-talented Californian Morgan Larson on tactics and Adam Beashel as strategist proved telling. Their positioning on the race track was consistently strong, their crew work polished to ensure they finish the first, high octane day with a lead of a single point over circuit newcomers Alegre.

Andy Soriano’s British flagged crew made a dream start to their TP52 campaign when they emerged as clear winners of the first windward-leeward contest. Ergin Imre’s brand new Provezza finished second to Rán in the second heat. Added to a modest, just above mid-fleet opening race fifth the Turkish flagged team lie third, four points up on a gaggle of three crews all sharing 11pts. And so two of the top four teams after the first pair of races are newcomers to the 52 SUPER SERIES. Defending champions Quantum Racing lie fifth, sharing the same points tally as Azzurra.

Ford Vignale Valencia Sailing Week 2015

Among this high calibre fleet there are many sailors who spent what to them must seem life half of a lifetime training and racing off Valencia’s Malvarrosa beach during the 32nd America’s Cup years. There is no shortage of in depth ‘local knowledge’ on almost all of the very top TP52s. But it was John Kostecki – who sailed here with BMW Oracle – and Kiwi Kelvin Harrap who was with Emirates Team New Zealand who called the first beat of the first race best, earning the preferred left side of the course in the 11-13kts NE’ly breeze. Their start, towards the pin end of the line, was sharp and owner-driver Soriano had Alegre locked into a good groove early, not easy in the choppy, bumpy conditions. They lead around the windward mark with clear daylight between them and second and third placed Rán and Platoon. That was the order across the finish, the first winning gun of the year going to Alegre.

In third Harm Müller-Spreer would be content to open with a third in his first race back in the class since 2008, but they were then locked out of the start of the second race, caught early at the committee boat end of the line.

Just before the second race start a few spits and spots of rain was maybe a signal that the breeze was becoming more unsettled and changeable. Early in the first windward leg the left looked to be strong again, Quantum Racing – with 23 year old TP52 debutant Dalton DeVos on the helm – were nicely positioned with good speed, working the left flank. But during the top third of the beat the right side came in strong with a noticeable shift. Rán was well placed to benefit, Provezza bouncing back from a less than perfect start to round second – chasing Zennström’s stern hard downwind, while Quantum Racing and Sled, in particular, suddenly found themselves fighting near the back of the pack.

Ford Vignale Valencia Sailing Week 2015

Between the new boats there is no discernible speed difference. The top five represent designers, in order, Vrolijk, Botin, Vrolijk, Vrolijk, Botin. But Zennström cautioned:

“ It’s always a challenge when you have a new design and you don’t know how the boat is going to go. I think we’re quite happy with the boat but there is so little in it that I think that nobody is going to win this regatta or the 52 SUPER SERIES this year just because they have the quicker boat. It is going to be who has the best team and who sails the best.”

Ford Vignale Valencia Sailing Week,
Standings after two races:
Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (2,1) 3pts
Alegre, GBR (Andre Soriano USA) (1,3) 4pts
Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (5,2) 7pts
Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (3,8) 11pts
Quantum Racing, USA (Dalton DeVos USA) (4,7) 11pts
Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (6,5) 11pts
Interlodge, USA (Austin & Gwen Fragoman USA) (10,4) 14pts
Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (8,6) 14pts
Sled, USA (Takashi Okura JPN) (7,11) 18pts
Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (9,10) 19pts
Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (11,9) 20pts
XIO, ITA (Guiseppe Parodi ITA) (12,12) 24pts

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One Week To Ford Vignale Valencia Sailing Week!

Posted on 14 May 2015 by Reporter

[Source: 52 Super Series] Ford VIGNALE Valencia Sailing Week is now one week away. The prestigious regatta, which raises the curtain on the 52 SUPER SERIES 2015, starts on 18th May with the first points of the season on the table. Nine brand new TP52s and three established well known boats will comprise the biggest and most competitive 52 SUPER SERIES regatta yet. The twelve TP52s represent nine different nations. Racing runs through until Saturday 23rd May.

Valencia is a popular venue well known to the TP52 Class, not least from hosting the 2010 TP52 World Championships. The fleet have raced off the Malvarossa Beach many times and it is a challenging race course. Many of the class’s leading contenders spent many days racing and training there when the city was host to the America’s Cup.

Competitors by bow number, then helm, then country:
01 Quantum, Dalton DeVos, USA
02 Azzurra, Guillermo Parada, ITA/ARG
03 RAN, Niklas Zennström, SWE
04 Gladiator, Tony Lamgley, GBR
05 Sled, Tak Okura, USA
06 Interlodge, Austin Fragomen, USA
08 Bronenosec, Vladimir Liubomirov, RUS
09 Provezza, Andy Beadsworth, TUR
10 Paprec, Hugues Destremau, FRA
12 Platoon, Harm Müller Spreer, GER
19 Alegre, Andres Soriano, GBR
23 Xio, Marco Serafino, ITA

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Nine new TP52s getting ready to rumble for the 2015 52 SUPER SERIES

Posted on 07 March 2015 by Reporter

[Source: 52 SUPER SERIES] It could be said that challenge to be fully race ready for the new 52 SUPER SERIES season stepped up a gear when Germany’s Harm Müller Spreer launched his new Vrolijk designed Platoon in Dubai. In Auckland, New Zealand sea trials are presently under way for for the new Provezza. The new Quantum Racing is on the way to the water for the first time, Azzurra are not far behind. Rán Racing, Alegre and others are getting ready to splash.

In total nine shiny new-generation, freshly built boats are expected to take the start line in Valencia in May (18-23rd) for the first of the five regattas which comprise the 2015 52 SUPER SERIES. Up against them will be four existing TP52s which raced during the 2014 season, sporting existing or new team colours, making an expected entry of 12-14 boats.

This level of new build activity confirms the 52 SUPER SERIES as the outstanding grand-prix monohull circuit in the world. The series is bringing together not only a cross section of the best sailors in the world, but it has proven extremely attractive to committed, high level owners. And the trend for 2015 is definitely towards owner driven boats. Of the 14 boats which will race, eleven will be steered by the owner.

The pathways to be race ready and fully competitive on the first day of the 52 SUPER SERIES are well worn for the TP52 class which has seen more than 60 boats built since 2005. To build in the Southern Hemisphere allows earlier sail trials in reliable summer conditions. But it incurs shipping time, and -usually – stress. Building in Europe makes the construction process accessible and allows first sea trials and training to dovetail into the regatta season. This time three boats have been built outside Europe. Launched today (Thursday March 5th) in Auckland is Ergin Imre’s new Vrolijk designed Cookson built Provezza.

Ultimately being ready for the first points race in Valencia is what counts. But at least six of the new boats will refine their settings and crew work at Gaastra Palma Vela regatta (30th April to 3rd May, Palma Mallorca). It is the perfect opportunity to learn the new boats in a full on racing environment, and of course the first chance to measure up against the opposition.

The middle of this month is about to see the majority of the European launches.

Doug DeVos’ 52 SUPER SERIES champions Quantum Racing have their new Botin design going to the water now from Longitude Cero in Burriana, Spain. It is the third Quantum Racing 52 to be built there. After initial sea trials the crew will train out of Palma, Mallorca for the week just before Easter. Doug and Dalton DeVos are expected to play a more active role in their programme this season.
Quantum Racing’s hull sister Alegre is close behind and will be launched off Burriana the week 5-8th April. They will test off Valencia 13th-17th April and then head to Palma for nine or 10 days of training leading into Palma Vela.

Almost simultaneously the new Botin designed Azzurra goes in the water for the first time, being made launch ready at the Valencia Victory Challenge base by the crew and builders King Marine. They will train on Valencian waters from March 18th for one week alongside their sparring partners Phoenix, Eduardo de Souza Ramos’ Brazilian boat which is fully updated to the 2015 rule.

Tony Langley’s Vrolijk designed Gladiator has been overseen by Jason Carrington at Persico and will leave Italy later this month to launch mid April in Valencia. Tuning and crew training will continue in Palma prior to Palma Vela. The team will be ‘very familiar’ with a couple of obvious changes. Slightly ahead of Gladiator’s timeline Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing is completing at Persico and will debut in Valencia at the first 52 SUPER SERIES regatta.

The Russian flagged Gazprom supported Bronenosec is a mould sister to Azzurra and is due to launch early May to be based initially in Valencia out of the ex Victory Challenge base. It will be skippered by Michele Ivaldi (ITA) who sailed with Gladiator and clinched the 2014 title as navigator with Quantum Racing. The boat will be steered by Vladimir Liubomirov (RUS) with Ivaldi as tactician and Cameron Dunn (NZL) strategist.

Of the project which is new to the TP52 class Ivaldi explains: “We are obviously aware of the big challenge that we will have to face by entering such a competitive fleet and we set our goals accordingly. In the 2015 season we will learn to walk, in 2016 we intend to be running like everyone else.”

The only new generation, recently launched TP52s to sail this season so far are Platoon, in Dubai in February and Provezza, presently in Auckland. The Premier Composite Technologies built Platoon is Harm Müller Spreer’s third TP52. After a seven years hiatus the German owner has been drawn back to the class by the high level of racing, excitement and the appeal to the owner-driver. The crew already have six days of preliminary sailing off Dubai with their Vrolijk design under their belts.

Markus Wieser (GER), skipper and tactician, reports:
“We sailed Platoon with perfect conditions, from super light up to 20 knots. perfect for the structure testing. Our first sets of sails looked nice and the graphics too.”

Platoon will go in the water in Valencia early April, ready for the 18-20th April training in Valencia. They will have a second session with MOMO, ahead of Palma Vela. Then before the first 52 SUPER SERIES regatta they will train alongside Sled. Among the crew will be Daniel Fong (NZL), Seb Col (FRA) and Johan Barne (SWE).

In preliminary training and tuning action right now off Auckland is the new Provezza. They have Andy Beadsworth (GBR) steering this season but their core crew remains the same. Cookson’s in Auckland have built two new TP52s for this season, the second one is Takashi Okura’s new Sled, a Botin design.

But will there be an early season advantage resting with the existing boats? Austin Fragomen (USA) has updated Interlodge and it is en route for a busy European season with Andy Horton (USA) and Dean Barker (NZL) sharing tactics and strategy respectively for the owner-driver. Eduardo De Souza Ramos showed well on his debut with the 2014 launched Phoenix. The French crew of Paprec-Recyclage have the former Rán Racing which has been updated through the winter and is due to go on the water for France’s Spi Ouest regatta before being transported to the Med. The championship winning Quantum Racing is in the hands of the crew which raced Hurakan before, now Xio Quantum. And Jim Swartz’s highly optimised Vesper which provided a notable upset in Capri, finishing second last year will come to Europe to join the 52 SUPER SERIES final event in Cascais.

“I expect a very exciting season with every prospect of seeing quite a few different names at the front of the fleet. The key to success in this no discard series as always however is consistency. And so do not think that Quantum Racing will step aside from the top spot too easily.” said Class Manager Rob Weiland.

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Quantum Racing clinch 2014 Barclays 52 SUPER SERIES title

Posted on 21 September 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Barclays 52 Super Series] The American flagged team of Doug DeVos came to Ibiza with a healthy points lead in the four event circuit which attracted 12 TP52s from ten different nations. They remained steadily consistent to close out their second 52 SUPER SERIES championship win in a row with a margin of 15 points over Azzurra and 19 points over Rán Racing.

Quantum Racing, skippered by America’s Cup winner Ed Baird with Terry Hutchinson as tactician also won the US 52 SUPER SERIES in the early Spring and were crowned TP52 World Champions in Sardinia in June.

Their 2014 title win reflects a high level of experience, their crew containing more America’s Cup winners than any other on the Circuit, but their continual drive for perfection was sometimes further spurred by disappointment or frustration. After winning in the USA they only managed third at the first regatta of the Barclays 52 SUPER SERIES in Capri, some six points behind regatta winners Azzurra.

But a comprehensive, soul-baring debrief followed and at the World Championship on Sardinia the next month they started like out like lions and were ultimately unstoppable.

Similarly two days ago, with the season’s championship within touching distance, they faltered on the Coastal Course. They de-briefed and regrouped. Today, when they started the first race in light breezes, there was no mistaking their clarity of focus and purpose, going on to a decisive win. That was the race which put them on the top step of the 2014 podium, out of reach of nearest challengers Azzurra and Rán Racing.

Skipper Baird paid tribute to the team’s skill and fighting spirit: “One of the super strengths of this team is that everyone on this team comes down here every day saying ‘how can I do it better today than yesterday ? ’ When you fight with that kind of mentality on your side, you just never allow yourself to back up, to do your job any less well than before. When you start with great guys, you have that fighting instinct on your side through good and bad it is wonderful.”

Smiling on the Marina Ibiza dockside Hutchinson noted, “Every now and then we had a good thrashing and we had one again the other day on the coastal race. And it was good to bounce back from that in the first race today which we won, and it was good to bounce back from Capri and won the world championship and that started the ball rolling in the right direction again. But everyone here is so very good and we have the ultimate respect for them and so when they beat you you have to take a good look at what they did and what we did. We had a good evaluation after Capri and that helped us for sure.”

“ One of our biggest strengths is that we sail the boat really well in compromised positions. And so when from a tactical point of view when we are not in the best spot then the boat is always going fast through the water.

Azzurra, with Guillermo Parada skipper-helm and Vasco Vascotto as tactician, got the better of Rán Racing here with second overall at the regatta to finish runners up to Quantum Racing on the championship table again. Rán Racing won the final race of the season to squeeze Sled out of third place at the ZENITH Royal Cup Marina Ibiza regatta. The middle of the fleet was much closer than ever before, only four points separating Rán Racing from fourth placed Sled and fifth placed Marc Blees and the Gaastra Pro team.

Vascotto concluded: “I feel very happy. I think that from a sports point of view the team which won deserved to win. I think we need to be happy about that. They did a very, very good job. And they are the dream team in the boat, but they are very good in preparation, speedwise, they are a fantastic benchmark. It is easy for us for us sometimes to try to copy them, what they did to close the gap with them. I think this week we changed a lot of things and we are a lot more competitive.”

Final Standings: 2014 BARCLAYS 52 SUPER SERIES – 2014 Season Overall after 4 Regattas (Top 6)
1. Quantum Racing, USA, (Doug De Vos USA) 81pts
2. Azzurra, ITA, (Alberto Roemmers ARG) 96pts
3. Rán Racing, SWE, (Niklas Zennström SWE) 100pts
4. Phoenix, BRA, (Eduardo de Souza Ramos BRA) 124pts
5. Gladiator, GBR, (Tony Langley GBR) 147pts
6. Provezza 7, TUR, (Ergin Imre TUR) 170pts

Final Standings: ZENITH Royal Cup Marina Ibiza – Overall after 8 races
1. Quantum Racing, USA, (Doug DeVos USA) (1,2,3,2,1,6,1,7) 23pts
2. Azzurra, ITA, (Alberto Roemmers ARG) (3,5,2,1,6,2,4,3) 26pts
3. Rán Racing, SWE, (Niklas Zennström SWE) (2,4,4,4,5,7,7,1) 34pts
4. Sled, USA, (Takashi Okura USA) (4,1,6,3,4,DNF/9,3,6) 36pts
5. Gaastra Pro, NED (Marc Blees NED) (6,6,1,8,2,5,6,4) 38pts
6. Provezza 7, TUR, (Ergin Imre TUR) (7,3,7,6,7,3,5,2) 40pts
7. Gladiator, GBR, (Tony Langley GBR) (5,7,8,5,3,4,8,5) 45pts
8. Phoenix, BRA, (Eduardo de Souza Ramos BRA) (8,8,5,7,8,1,2,8) 47pts

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Quantum Racing doubles overall lead

Posted on 18 September 2014 by Reporter

[Source: 52 Super Seriers] As the ZENITH Royal Cup Marina Ibiza regatta rolls into Friday’s coastal race Quantum Racing have now more than doubled their overall lead in the Barclays 52 Super Series on the difficult, hard to read race tracks off Ibiza Town. 

Light winds wrote the same story again for the second day of racing. Azzurra won the first race of the day to become the fourth different crew to have won in Ibiza at this regatta, but Quantum Racing again proved supreme in the second contest, winning their second race of the week to also increase their leading margin in the regatta, firmly on course now to add to their event wins in Porto Cervo and Palma. 

Quantum Racing’s skipper-helm Ed Baird reported today just how hard it is to read the wind on the race course area, an insight into the difficulties faced by all the tacticians and strategists here: ‘It is difficult to read on the water. On most venues around the world you can see a little more texture on the water which tells you there is more wind there. Here where we see that texture it is often right in the glare of the sun. So you can’t trust it. And there are plenty of times that where it looks lighter is actually where you end up finding the better pressure. It is hot. It is light. You really just need to pay attention to what lane you are in.’ 

Making the right tactical choices is just one element of the mix here, in the marginal, light winds being able to keep the boat powered up and moving at maximum boat speed for the wind strength is also key: 

‘We are right on that point that every sailor understands, that cliff where half a knot more windspeed you are fully hiking, dropping the traveller down just a little bit and starting to be really comfortable. Half a knot less you are leaning in, you are looking for power and trying to keep the boat moving and that is what we are sailing in all day long here. It is challenging and the guys are doing a great job with that.’ 

Quantum Racing’s second and first today is the best scoring aggregate from the two races. But Sled are proving themselves well able to mix it with Azzurra and Rán Racing, posting a third and fourth for the day to lie third overall for the regatta, just one point behind Azzurra. 

Azzurra won the first race of the day. Quantum Racing dropped themselves on to the back foot off the start line when they mistimed their approach to the line, stuck under another boat and downspeed. Terry Hutchinson and the Quantum Racing afterguard fought back well with some solid calls which got them from fourth at the first windward mark to second at the finish. They sailed down inside Sled on the second run to finish just behind Azzurra. Vasco Vascotto recognised the better, lifting pressure on the right side of the first upwind and they were able to lead all the way around the course. 

The second contest was sailed in a slightly brisker wind, but it was the extra pressure and shift down the left, inshore side down the run which really worked. Quantum Racing consolidated their lead by keeping an eye on this and moving left to use it, but Gaastra Pro, with Mark Mendelblatt calling tactics, really reaped a reward rising from sixth to second on the run, holding on the second while Rán Racing and Azzurra dropped to a weighty fifth and sixth place finish respectively. 

Light winds are expected to prevail again for Friday’s coastal race which should be between 20 and 30 miles. 

Standings: ZENITH Royal Cup Marina Ibiza

Overall after five races 

1. Quantum Racing, USA, (Doug De Vos USA) (1,2,3,2,1) 9pts 
2. Azzurra, ITA, (Alberto Roemmers ARG) (3,5,2,1,6) 17pts 
3. Sled, USA, (Takashi Okura JPN) (4,1,6,3,4) 18pts 
4. Rán Racing, SWE, (Niklas Zennström SWE) (2,4,4,4,5) 19pts 
5. Gaastra Pro, NED (Marc Blees NED) (6,6,1,8,2) 23pts 
6. Gladiator, GBR, (Tony Langley GBR) (5,7,8,5,3) 28pts 
7. Provezza 7, TUR, (Ergin Imre TUR) (7,3,7,6,7) 30pts 
8. Phoenix, BRA, (Eduardo de Souza Ramos BRA) (8,8,5,7,8) 36pts 

Standings: 2014 Barclays 52 Super Series

2014 Season after three regattas and five races in Ibiza (Top Six) 

1. Quantum Racing, USA, (Doug De Vos USA) 67pts 
2. Rán Racing, SWE, (Niklas Zennström SWE) 85pts 
3. Azzurra, ITA, (Alberto Roemmers ARG) 87pts 
4. Phoenix, BRA, (Eduardo de Souza Ramos BRA) 113pts 
5. Gladiator, GBR, (Tony Langley GBR) 130pts 
6. Provezza 7, TUR, (Ergin Imre TUR) 160pts 

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Steady Quantum Edge Closer to 2014 title

Posted on 18 September 2014 by Reporter

[Source: 52 Super Series] Steady consistency across the opening three races of the ZENITH Royal Cup MARINA IBIZA sees Quantum Racing ahead of target as they seek to close out their second overall BARCLAYS 52 SUPER SERIES title.

The series leaders scored a 1,2,3 in Ibiza’s light and shifty conditions on a race course area which is laden with very subtle changes in wind direction and pressure. While the crew which is skippered by Ed Baird would definitely like to finish their 2014 season with a third regatta win, that would be the icing on the cake. Their primary goal is simply protecting their overall points cushion – or increasing it – over nearest rivals Azzurra and Rán Racing.

Counting down to Sunday’s prizegiving, purely from that standpoint today was valuable to Quantum Racing. It was only in Race 3 today that they were beaten only once by Azzurra when the Italian flagged team took second behind Gaastra Pro, otherwise their title challengers were increasing their deficit.

Meantime three different crews won races today including race victories for the two teams which are new to the BARCLAYS 52 SUPER SERIES, Takashi Okura’s Sled – which was flown to Europe for this one regatta only – and Marc Blees all star cast on Gaastra Pro. Winds were light and shifty, small changes in pressure and direction proving important to read.

Quantum Racing were on their game, reading the small differences well and staying in step with these changes. And it was as much about their ability to go forwards in the fleet, returning three podium finishes from three starts which will be key this week. Quantum Racing’s tactician was as pleased to have rescued a third from the third race when he felt at one point they were last, as he was with their opening race win:

To get a third out of that was good because there was a time when we were probably last.
That first race we had a plan, executed it and it worked it. In the second race same thing. In the third race we got the start we wanted, we had a discussion about being one more boat up but in these lighter conditions being leeward boat is such an advantage, you get something for it.
It was a little bit of swings and roundabouts.

Hutchinson recalled.

So with their 1,2,3 Quantum Racing lead the ZENITH Royal Cup MARINA IBIZA by four points ahead of Azzurra and Rán Racing.

Quantum Racing won the first race off the start line. They got the start they wanted with the best pace coming away from the gun. Rán Racing did not have the best of starts and went right and were more or less overlapped with Quantum Racing as they rounded the first turn. Downwind Rán Racing got through and lead Quantum Racing through the gate. But Terry Hutchinson read a right hand shift coming in and they jumped back ahead to lead Rán Racing through the finish with Azzurra in third.

With slightly more breeze at the second start Quantum Racing were away cleanly again while Phoenix started early and struggled to get back and re-cross. Azzurra were judged to have fouled Gaastra Pro in a close, early port starboard cross and they had to take a penalty.
Down the first run Sled worked the offshore line and were rewarded with an increase in wind pressure as they closed to the leeward gate, able to ease around Quantum Racing to earn a small lead which they held to the finish.

The wind was fading more by the late afternoon for Race 3 as Gaastra Pro’s tactician Mark Mendelblatt guided them out to make a big gain offshore, arriving at the first windward mark with a good lead over Azzurra. Quantum Racing managed to wriggle up to third which they held to the finish while Rán Racing stole fourth from Phoenix right on the finish line to ensure they finish the day on the same points aggregate as Azzurra.

Standings: ZENITH Royal Cup Marina Ibiza
Overall after 3 races

Quantum Racing, USA, (Doug De Vos USA) (1,2,3) 6pts

Azzurra, ITA, (Alberto Roemmers ARG) (3,5,2) 10pts

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

Sled, USA, (Takachi Okura JPN) (4,1,6) 11pts

Gaastra Pro, NED (Marc Blees NED) (6,6,1) 13pts

Provezza 7, TUR, (Ergin Imre TUR) (7,3,7) 17pts

Gladiator, GBR, (Tony Langley GBR) (5,7,8) 20pts

Phoenix, BRA, (Eduardo de Souza Ramos BRA) (8,8,5) 21pts

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Ray’s Return: ETNZ’s Davies Back to the TP52 on Gladiator in Ibiza

Posted on 16 September 2014 by Reporter

[Source: Barclay's 52 Super Series] Rán Racing won the official practice race today off Ibiza, the final preparation before the start of the ZENITH Royal Cup Marina Ibiza, the finale to the BARCLAYS 52 SUPER SERIES.

In gentle breezes Niklas Zennström’s team made the best of the shifts early in the race and we able to keep a loose cover on Azzurra and Quantum Racing to cross the finish line first after a preliminary contest which surely gives an insight into what racing conditions are expected to be light.
Racing starts in earnest Wednesday when the capricious weak winds are due to continue ahead of potentially an even lighter day Thursday.

ZENITH Royal Cup Marina Ibiza Official practice 16 Sept. Credit: Nico Martinez

ZENITH Royal Cup Marina Ibiza Official practice 16 Sept. Credit: Nico Martinez

Running simultaneously with the Olympic Classes ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander in the north of Spain, there are several key crew changes, some as a result of the clash.
Indeed on Rán Racing Adam Beashel, the ETNZ strategist, is stepping in for double 470 world champion Nic Asher. Santi Lange (ARG) is absent from Phoenix where Andrea Fonseca moves into the tactician role, and on Provezza – which has a new rig – Britain’s Soling Olympian Andy Beadsworth takes over the helm from compatriot Nick Rogers for this regatta.

ZENITH Royal Cup Marina Ibiza Official practice 16 Sept. Credit: Nico Martinez

ZENITH Royal Cup Marina Ibiza Official practice 16 Sept. Credit: Nico Martinez

But possibly the biggest buzz in Ibiza right now surrounds the return of Kiwi Ray Davies to the fleet. The ETNZ tactician has purposely taken time out after their disappointing 34th America’s Cup loss to Oracle Team USA. Ray Davies won the MedCup in 2007 with Peter de Ridder’s all conquering Mean Machine team which had Team New Zealand as its beating heart, as then he won twice in 2009 and 2010 with the full Emirates Team New Zealand crew under skipper Dean Barker. Deeply into sailing smaller boats right now, A Class catamarans and Moths, Davies has not stepped on a big grand prix racing yacht since the Cup – until last week. And here the shoes that he steps into at the back of Gladiator are those of none other than Cup winning strategist Tom Slingsby. A change of afterguard since Palma sees Davies paired up again with navigator Jules Salter, himself a MedCup winner with ETNZ and Mean Machine.

ZENITH Royal Cup Marina Ibiza Official practice 16 Sept. Credit: Nico Martinez

ZENITH Royal Cup Marina Ibiza Official practice 16 Sept. Credit: Nico Martinez

Davies smiles as the years are rolled away and, after today’s practice race, he admits: It is a bit surreal to be back. I have been away for several years. It is fantastic that the 52s have survived, a lot of other classes haven’t. And that the commitment to the BARCLAYS 52 SUPER SERIES is there from the management.

Next year looks amazing. I would love to be doing this next year as long as it fits into our programme. We don’t know what our programme is for sure right now. I think we will end up picking a Series to do outside of the Cup sailing. And we will try and all do that same Series. We have just not decided what that would be. We would not necessarily do it as a crew together, it would be as individuals, but certainly on the same Circuit. Of course we have Pete (Burling) and Blair (Tuke) on the Team now and they have their Olympic year but if there are some regatta that all tie in we can train in New Zealand together and then all be away at the same time then that would be ideal.

In light conditions, a podium place is not beyond the reach of Tony Langley’s Gladiator team. Davies says: The Gladiator team has some really good sailors on board. But we have our work cut out. The boat is a little bit older but in the lighter airs it does perform quite well. But we have a lot of things to work on. It is the first time I have sailed on this team. Of course I have sailed with Jules (Salter who is on Gladiator this week as navigator) on the Mean Machine and Emirates Team New Zealand. And so that is very easy. It was great being back on a boat with him today. The goal for this week is to keep improving like every one is, and to be realistic in what our goals should be. But if we could end up on the podium at the end of the week then we would be over the moon. I had a chat with Tom Slingsby to tell me what he could tell me about the team and he had a lot of positive things to say. The team is still growing and learning in this type of boat and Tony is looking to have a new boat for next year and that will make life a lot easier for him. The goal this week is to learn as many skills in this boat and hopefully get a little bit more speed next year. It looks light this week which is good for this boat, for sure. We have to work on our starting. It has been an issue in the past that Tony has identified. So we have to work on that.

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The Home Straight: The ZENITH Royal Cup Marina Ibiza

Posted on 13 September 2014 by Reporter

[Source: 52 Super Series] The home straight of the 2014 BARCLAYS 52 SUPER SERIES is in sight. The Zenith Royal Cup Marina Ibiza starts Wednesday 17th September and will see eight 52s from eight different nations competing at a less well known venue, one which promises to reveal tricky race tracks with a broad range of different racing conditions expected.

Each of the different teams will arrive in Ibiza this weekend holding slightly different agendas. Quantum Racing, Doug DeVos’ American-flagged crew, who are the 2013 52 SUPER SERIES champions, will be looking to close out the season holding the same position on the circuit leaderboad that they start the Ibiza event in. On top.

Quantum Racing lead the BARCLAYS 52 SUPER SERIES standings – which aggregate all the points from the four constituent regattas in Capri, Sardinia, Palma and Ibiza – by only eight points.

Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing are in second. Eight points is considered to be ‘nothing’ in this white hot fleet. Rán Racing have the talent, the speed and the sheer momentum required to overhaul Quantum Racing and cause an upset. In Palma last month they only lost out winning the Copa del Rey on the last day, proving to be faster in many conditions than the series leaders. It would not be any kind of surprise for Rán Racing to finish their TP52 with a regatta win. Indeed thei last major trophy win was the Royal Cup itself.

If cast iron continuity among the crew, running a solid line up which does not change through the season, is a touchstone of the Rán Racing team, Azzurra – who lie third at 12 points – have varied their trimmers, by necessity. But they will welcome the return of America’s Cup and Med Cup winner Grant Loretz. With the highly successful Kiwi trimming Azzurra won the opening regatta, Rolex Capri Sailing Week. And tacticianVasco Vascotto (ITA) believes that they can return to the top of the podium in Ibiza:

In Palma we suffered some speed problems and part of our skills is to find the right solutions. We analyzed the problems and we think we have identified the reasons. In Ibiza Grant Loretz will be back with us. He’s for sure a very good sailor and makes a difference, but also we won the first stage in Capri with him, so we like to think that he also brings good luck! And we need some luck in terms of wind: last year in June in Ibiza it was too light for us, now in September there is expected to be some to have more wind.

One of the most successful and popular tacticians in the TP52 fleet returns after a significant absence. Emirates Team New Zealand’s Ray Davies – who initially won the Med Cup with Peter de Ridder’s Mean Machine and then twice with Team New Zealand – comes back to the TP52 to sail on Tony Langley’s Gladiator, partnering Volvo Ocean Race and MedCup winning navigator Jules Salter.

And as the crews already contemplate the 2015 season, looking forwards to a significantly heightened level of competition, Takashi Okura has chosen to bring Sled over from the USA to join the BARCLAYS 52 SUPER SERIES for the first time, to learn more before they launch their new boat for 2015. Sled’s tactician, double Olympic medallist Ross MacDonald, notes:

We are really focusing on next year when we will have a new boat, and we really just want to keep moving along in the right direction, to keep learning. Mr Okura wanted to come to Ibiza to check in with the fleet. We will get a few days training before but we just want to be in the mix, that would be great. Next year? Well then we really are running out of excuses. It will be our second year, we will have a brand new boat and everything will be new and off the shelf, so then there will be no excuses.

The racing calendar is rich with opportunities just now and with some sailors coming to Ibiza on the back of two or three weeks straight of intense competition, avoiding or dealing with fatigue might be an issue, when a momentary loss of concentration or focus, could compromise the final result. Rán Racing should arrive in Ibiza after a week off. Others will come straight from two weeks in Sardinia.

Quantum Racing’s tactician Terry Hutchinson says sagely:

A few of us will be coming off of two events leading into Ibiza and so we have to monitor our energy levels. But at this point of the season if we have not reach exhaustion by the end of Ibiza then we are not working hard enough. Maximum effort is required to be successful!

At all times their focus will be looking forwards, not worrying about the opposition might be doing: . Ran and Azzurra are both close and so our continual focus has to be in front of us as if we stop to look and see what is coming they will go right by!

BARCLAYS 52 SUPER SERIES sailors have fond memories of Olympic gold medal winner Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson who was pivotal and popular member of the Team Origin crew, sailing as strategist alongside Iain Percy and Ben Ainslie. The circuit and the regatta will be active and enthusiastic participants in the global event Bart’s Bash which falls on the last day of the Ibiza event.

Racing starts Wednesday with a series of windward-leeward races and one coastal race between then and Sunday night’s glittering prizegiving.

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