Tag Archive | "Quantum Racing"

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Quantum Racing’s double delight in Miami heat

Posted on 10 March 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: 5 Super Series] While Takashi Okura’s crew from Sled celebrated their own two bullets ending to their perfect day off South Beach Miami, Quantum Racing – with Ed Baird steering and Terry Hutchinson calling tactics – twice got the better of their duels with Azzurra. The quiet satisfaction of the victorious American team at a job well done, securing the US title today with a fourth and third in difficult, very shifty conditions contrasted sharply with the deep frustrations of the Azzurra crew.

Twice they had started better and were ahead of Quantum Racing but both times their choices and tactics proved inferior. When Azzurra needed to put points on their rivals in fact they ended up dropping well behind, scoring a sixth and seventh. Having lead the regatta at interim stages the emblematic team from the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda will analyse their learning before starting up in Europe in May Capri when the Barclays 52 SUPER SERIES begins.

Just as Quantum Racing had two reasons to celebrate, so also it was double delight for Okura’s Sled team. Not only did they win both races today but their 2,2,1,1 finale over the last four races, easily the strongest of the fleet, elevated them to third overall in the 52 US Championship, the nine race Miami regatta. They edged out the Interlodge team – which had Dean Barker steering – but only on count back.

After the fleet was held ashore waiting for the breeze to build, the first contest was sailed in only 6 to 8 knots of very patchy, streaky breeze. With just two points separating Quantum Racing and Azzurra before the start, a match racing tussle seemed inevitable. After the requisite circling it was Azzurra which broke way to make the start they wanted towards the inshore end of the line. When they crossed it was Azzurra ahead but on the next pattern of shifts Quantum Racing jumped clear ahead of them.

Sled, with Ross MacDonald calling tactics, jumped off the start line and were able to cross the fleet to the preferred right, offshore side of the upwind leg and were never passed again before collecting their first race win of the US 52 SUPER SERIES. Azzurra faded badly and only by virtue of a last run penalty imposed on Hooligan did they avoid seventh. Quantum Racing finished two boats ahead in fourth, extending their cushion to four points into the final race.

The last race of the US season was marked by a big, big wind shift to the right. Sled were all over it, working the right flank almost alone and so, again, lead all the way around the short, but slow, and exacting final contest. Quantum Racing took third, only one second behind Interlodge as the pair dived for the line side by side.

The American team which is owned by Doug DeVos, current 52 SUPER SERIES champions, Quantum Racing finish the event as well deserved regatta and series champions, equally accomplished across the very fullest range of wind conditions which Miami has offered, from light drift-offs to a stunning mid regatta day of three very hard, physical races in 25kts, gusting to over 30kts. Tactician Terry Hutchinson acknowledged that they have been fast across all the conditions here:

“ I think we are fast here. That was the one thing for this regatta, I felt we were really, really fast. We never felt compromised at any time, speedwise. And that was a real bonus.”

“ Miami at this time of year is always very hard, it is a subtle sea breeze with a lot of fanning pressure under the clouds and how that affects the race course. It is really, really difficult. And I would not pick that as our strong point. And yet we seemed to sail the boat pretty nicely.”

As the North American series concludes owners and crews contemplate the Barclays 52 SUPER SERIES, the four regattas circuit in Europe which starts late May in Capri, Italy.

US 52 SUPER SERIES – TP52 US CHAMPIONSHIP
final standings after nine races
1 Quantum Racing (USA) Doug DeVos (USA) 1,3,2,1,1,4,3,4,3 22pts
2 Azzurra (ITA) Pablo A Roemmers (ARG) 4,1,1,2,2,1,6, 6, 7, 30 pts
3 Sled (USA) Takashi Okura (USA) 6,6,6,5,4,2,2,1,1 33pts
4 Interlodge (USA) Austin and Gwen Fragomen (USA) 3,5,3,3,5,3,7,2,2 33pts
5 Rán Racing (SWE) Niklas Zennström (SWE) 2,7,4,4,3,6,4,5,6 41pts
6 Vesper (USA) Jim Swartz (USA) 5,2,5,6,7,5,5,3, 5 43pts
7 Hooligan (USA) Gunther Buerman (USA) 7,4,7,7,6 8DNF,1,7,4 51pts

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Quantum Racing lead into Super Sunday

Posted on 09 March 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: 52 Super Series] Quantum Racing go into the final day of racing at the 52 US Championship in Miami with a lead of two points after rescuing a valuable third place from what proved to be one of the most tactically testing races yet. They took places down the final fluky run of Saturday’s only contest to establish slender advantage over rivals Azzurra as they contemplate a finale of up to three races Sunday.

A long, hot wait – drifting aimlessly off Miami South Beach for over two and half hours – was rewarded by a very taxing NE’ly breeze of 7 to 9 knots which contained big windshifts, subtle pressure differences and consequently many place changes through the seven boat US 52 SUPER SERIES fleet.

Gunther Buermann’s Hooligan crew proved true to a late night pledge to themselves, that they would win today, seeking ‘redemption’ after a problematic final race Friday. A succession of small mistakes culminated in a gybe in which the running backstay jammed, taking away their aftermost stanchion and dropping three crew into the water.

With Kenny Read calling tactics, aided and abetted by strategist Tony Rey they sailed an accomplished, smart race to win their first race ever on the US 52 SUPER SERIES. Their precise second beat got them through early leaders Sled, and so Taksashi Okura’s crew were – for the second successive occasion – denied their own 52 maiden race win.

“It was redemption for us for sure. Yesterday was quite humbling and we just make a bunch of errors as a group and literally paid for it. We broke the boat, we broke some people, and we decided late last night that ‘we are winning today, we were pissed at how we performed and we all wanted to do something about it. So I give the whole team a lot of credit. It would have been easy to pack it in, and have nothing to play for. But everybody was really into it. My brother Brad got us a great start and that made it a little easier.” Read smiled on the dock at Miami Beach Marina.

Starting the day with a cushion of just one point Azzurra’s game plan looked favourite early in the race, working the left inshore lane where there was more pressure. But unfortunately for them it was the opposite side which played out best. Until the second round they were back in seventh, but they too one place on the last run to keep themselves solidly in contention going into the last day.

“We had a plan to go left, there was plenty of breeze on the left, there was less current and I was very confident in it. It was forecast to go left. There were many reasons to go left. We were very very happy after the start. But that is part of the game, you have to trust in your plan but sometimes it does not work out. But tomorrow is another day.” Noted Vasco Vascotto, Azzurra’s tactician.

It remains close throughout the fleet. Azzurra may be 12 points clear of third placed Interlodge but there are then just two points separating them, Rán Racing in fourth and Sled in fifth.

US 52 SUPER SERIES – TP52 US CHAMPIONSHIP
after seven races
1 Quantum Racing (USA) Doug DeVos (USA) 1,3,2,1,1,4,3 15pts
2 Azzurra (ITA) Pablo A Roemmers (ARG) 4,1,1,2,2,1,6 17pts
3 Interlodge (USA) Austin and Gwen Fragomen (USA) 3,5,3,3,5,3,7 29pts
4 Rán Racing (SWE) Niklas Zennström (SWE) 2,7,4,4,3,6,4 30pts
5 Sled (USA) Takashi Okura (USA) 6,6,6,5,4,2,2 31pts
6 Vesper (USA) Jim Swartz (USA) 5,2,5,6,7,5,5 35pts
7 Hooligan (USA) Gunther Buerman (USA) 7,4,7,7,6 8DNF,1 44pts

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Azzurra masters of the strong breeze in Miami

Posted on 08 March 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: 52 Super Series] It was only when they emerged victorious from a last race photo-finish with Takashi Okura’s Sled judged winners of the last, high speed race of the day that Azzurra stepped clear of the 52 SUPER SERIES champions the Ed Baird steered and skippered Quantum Racing who tallied out with two wins and a fourth today.

The cross offshore W’ly breeze topped 31kts in one prolonged squall, was often up to 25kts and probably averaged 19 or 20kts over the three races. With a nasty chop and wind swell which built down the course, and very shifty, changeable pressure and angles at the top – closest to the shore – it was not just the wind velocity which placed a huge premium on slick, solid boat handling, but there were big gains and losses to be made especially downwind. And there were several big wipeouts. When a stanchion failed on Hooligan in three crew were catapulted into the water, one sustaining a suspected fractured arm.

Quantum Racing won the first two races but their winning guns were hard earned. The first contest featured a thrilling head-to-head between the two leading protagonists all the way up the breezy first beat, head to head only ten metres apart, neither team crew blinking.

Azzurra just had the slightest edge as they closed at the top turn, Quantum Racing tried to get inside them at the buoy and were penalised. They took their turn immediately and were quickly back on the chase.

The second windward mark was all but a replica of the first, except it was Quantum Racing in the lead. Azzurra, hard on their transom, did not quite get the gennaker tack line on fast enough and while they struggled momentarily to bring the boat under control, the American team were able to race away. Azzurra only just held off Interlodge at the finish line.

A big recovery was the key to Quantum Racing’s second win of the day.

They were fifth at the first turn but executed a swift, smooth gybe set which got them straight on to the heels of great gust pattern. By the leeward turn they were – again – bow to bow with Azzurra. The crew from the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda struck out to the left, Quantum stayed right of middle and by the second turn Ed Baird, Terry Hutchinson and the Key West winners were in front. On the thrilling final run Quantum stayed right and extended, whilst Azzurra scraped through for second just ahead of the fast advancing Rán Racing.

For all the world in the third race it looked as if Takashi Okura’s crew on Sled had done enough to earn their first US 52 SUPER SERIES win as they streaked down the final run having lead all the way around the track. But the indefatigable Azzurra team denied them on the line and they had to be content with their second second place of the season.

From a very strong start Ross MacDonald had them into phase with the shifts well, just leading Azzurra at the windward mark. Quantum Racing again found themselves back in the pack.

Azzurra came back at the leaders with a better windshift on the approach to the last turn of the day. That gave them a chance to challenge Sled down the run. Azzurra gybed away earlier, had one better gust, and were only just ahead at the finish gun.

Azzurra go into the penultimate day of racing with a lead of one point over Quantum Racing, Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s Interlodge lies third in the 52 SUPER SERIES regatta 10 points behind.

Miami may have delivered wind well in excess of its usual reputation for light early season winds, but Saturday’s forecast is for a return to ‘normal service’: gentle shifty winds.

US 52 SUPER SERIES – TP52 US CHAMPIONSHIP
after six races
1 Azzurra (ITA) Pablo A Roemmers (ARG) 4,1,1,2,2,1 11pts
2 Quantum Racing (USA) Doug DeVos (USA) 1,3,2,1,1,1 12pts
3 Interlodge (USA) Austin and Gwen Fragomen (USA) 3,5,3,3,5,3 22pts
4 Rán Racing (SWE) Niklas Zennström (SWE) 2,7,4,4,3,6, 26pts
5 Sled (USA) Takashi Okura (USA) 6,6,6,5,4,2 29pts
6 Vesper (USA) Jim Swartz (USA) 5,2,5,6,7,5 30pts
7 Hooligan (USA) Gunther Buerman (USA) 7,4,7,7,6 8DNF 39pts

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Quantum Racing lead in Miami

Posted on 06 March 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: 52 Super Series] In streaky, gentle breezes which only troubled double figures for a short period in the second race, Quantum Racing – with Ed Baird on the helm – proved adept at reading the changeable wind pressure. A pair of solid starts were the foundations for tactician Terry Hutchinson to build from the critical first windshift.

In the first race Rán Racing held the early lead before Quantum Racing were able to roll ahead of them on the first downwind. In the second windward-leeward 52 SUPER SERIES champions were also, again, one of the two boats to reap the benefit of the key first shift. Azzurra just managed to lead around the top mark first whilst Jim Swartz’ Vesper sailed a great run to promote themselves to second.

The Miami race course lived up to its reputation, delivering light, difficult to read breezes which were often accompanied by an awkward, slightly choppy sea. If Quantum Racing came ashore to a sunny afternoon on the docks of Miami Beach Marina with an air of quiet satisfaction, Azzurra’s tactician Vasco Vascotto acknowledged that theirs, too, had been a good opening day but he was kicking himself for a late call on the final downwind of Race 1 which he felt had handed a cheap point away to Interlodge.

That the blue boat which sails under the flag of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda finished the day one point behind the regatta leaders clearly irked Vascotto. But, for certain, their win bolstered confidence on Azzurra, even if their lead evaporated very quickly as they came under pressure from Vesper as their closed the finish line.

Vascotto recalled: “I did not make a good communication on one gybe and on that we lost one point that is important at the end of this day. The second one the plan was to go right and to start to windward. It was a good call and we had the start that we wanted, the speed was OK and so we had a quite good day. That first is important for us. Miami is an unpredictable place. You have to sail with what He gives you….and you need to make quick decisions as the conditions are always changing. Usually I am good at that, but sometimes you make mistakes. You have to be patient when you have a bad result and try to save every point. That is the reason why I am a little disappointed in myself because I lost a point for not communicating when we were in a match against Interlodge.”

Consistency proved frustratingly elusive for Rán Racing which lead the first race and went on to take second, but they found themselves out of phase with the key shifts on the second race to finish seventh, lying fifth overall after the two races.

2014 US 52 SUPER SERIES US CHAMPIONSHIP MIAMI
Standings after two races:
1 Quantum Racing (USA) Doug De Vos 1,3 4pts
2 Azzurra (ITA) Pablo A Roemmers (ARG) 4,1 5pts
3 Vesper (USA) Jim Swartz (USA) 5,2 7pts
4 Interlodge (USA) Austin and Gwen Fragomen (USA) 3, 5 8pts
5 Rán Racing (SWE) Niklas Zennström (SWE) 2,7 9pts
6 Hooligan (USA) Guenther Buerman (USA) 7,4 11pts
7 Sled (USA) Takashi Okura (USA) 6,6 12pts

Quotes:

Terry Hutchinson USA tactician Quantum Racing (USA): “Both races were good. We went out with the objective of coming off the water with six points or less and we came off with four points. So from that regard we are pretty good. First race we had a pretty good race going with Rán Racing. We were able capitalise when they set a little too deep at the top mark first time and we rolled them. It was not a straightforward race. Second race we executed a good start and going out to the right side in a big left hand shift and both boats – us and Azzurra – made nice gains on the group. It was then who beat who to the top mark. They tacked at a really good time for us to make a hard decision and we chose to get to the right hand side of them looking for a right hand shift which materialised but it went a little light and fluffy just for about 50 seconds with them to leeward of us and they might a nice gain. From the top a big right shift and Vesper is going about two knots faster downwind than the whole fleet downwind and so it is going to be tough to keep them behind us if we get into marginal planing conditions. They sailed a quite a good race and you can see the improvements to their boat. Big picture, though? A great day, hats off to our guys on board for managing their way through a difficult day.”

Vasco Vasccotto (ITA) tactician Azzurra (ITA): “The first one was tough and personally I made a mistake, I did not make a good communication on one gybe and on that we lost one point that is important at the end of this day. The second one the plan was to go right and to start to windward. It was a good call and we had the start that we wanted, the speed was OK and so we had a quite good day. That first is important for us.
Miami is an unpredictable place. You have to sail with what He gives you….and you need to make quick decisions as the conditions are always changing.
Usually I am good at that, but sometimes you make mistakes. You have to be patient when you have a bad result and try to save every point. That is the reason why I am a little disappointed in myself because I lost a point for not communicating when we were in a match against Interlodge.
It was a good day but I am sad for having made a mistake which means we could have been better.”

Tony Rae (NZL) runners, grinder Vesper (USA): “It was not good for us in the first race, a lot better in the second. It is such close racing that is one thing doesn’t go your way you are in the pack, making extra tacks. That was the story a bit in the first race, you are dipping a couple of boats and cant quite get your pace up. We struggled a little around some of the marks and then had a little rip in the chute and recovered pretty well. Jim did a pretty good job and it was a good day overall.
We had nice pressure on the run in the second race and it just felt good. We just kept chipping away. Like all these series it is about trying to stay out of trouble and not have too many shockers.
It is interesting because with all the changes it is like a new boat to the regular guys on board, and with all the changes with a new keel and rig, it is a learning curve how the boat feels and weight fore and aft. There is a lot to learn and a lot to gain. That chop is not easy either. On starboard it was pretty lumpy at times and in the light with pressure up and down, it was about keeping the boat powered up and trying to make it feel good for Jim driving, that is a big part of it.”

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Quantum Racing triumphant at the US 52 SUPER SERIES in Key West

Posted on 24 January 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: 52 Super Series] A steady third behind Azzurra and Rán Racing in the muscular 19-24kts NE’ly breeze and bouncy, short seas, ensured DeVos’ crew lift the Key West title by three points ahead of Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing team.

In the strongest breezes of the five day event, the task for Quantum Racing was made easier from the outset when both Sled and Hooligan were called over the start line early. DeVos crew elevated themselves to their strongest possible position as they lead around the top mark and down a fast, exciting downwind but Rán Racing came through at the leeward gate rounding, and were at the front on the second of three beats.

Sailing markedly better in the strong breezes in which they have historically always been at their best, Azzurra sustained their challenge down the second run. Sailing at least as fast and sometimes faster than Rán and Quantum that was a great platform from which to attack Rán Racing.

Working the right early they scored a better shift which saw them go bow to bow with the leaders for a matter of minutes upwind. The power of the right prevailed and by the finish line they had eased ahead to give the Italian flagged team – winners of the final regatta of 2013 – a confidence boost at the end of an event which has been too irregular for them. Strategist Francesco Bruni considers they were slowed badly in the first legs of the race, perhaps with a plastic bag or weed but when they hit their straps they were as fast as any 52 on the water:
“ We made some good calls tactically it was a really nice race to win. We got back to Rán Racing metre by metre, to pass Quantum Racing was good and then the last upwind against Rán Racing the boat was going very well. We managed to keep the right and then just before the last lay line we had a piece of them, using starboard advantage to win the race.”

Tactician on the winning Quantum Racing Terry Hutchinson praised the whole team effort, dedicating their win to the fantastic support of their owner-driver DeVos, a key driving force for the 52 SUPER SERIES. Having come close last year when they lead into the final day only to suffer a costly jib breakdown winning this team doubtless feels sweeter. But Hutchinson pointed out that converting a fourth to a first in the first light winds race of the regatta was as valuable a contribution to their win there as any of the races:
“Early on in the piece we jagged a few.” Hutchinson smiled, “If you say where was the regatta won it was probably won on the first race where we went from fourth to first up the second beat of the race. And today was a different day. Our plan was to stay close to Rán Racing and not give them any opportunities.”

Quantum Racing won the regatta by three points ahead of Rán Racing who in turn were three points up on Azzurra after the ten races.

Of the six boats racing, half the fleet won individual races. The two new teams to the 52 SUPER SERIES, Sled and Hooligan, had their moments of greatness and their really challenging times. But both teams finished with a better handle on their weaknesses and looking forward to the second regatta, in Miami in early March. In this fleet in the strong winds today any small error was heavily punished:
Hooligan’s Tony Rey, tactician and project manager summed up their enthusiasm:
“The results are not what we wanted, but I have just told the guys I have never felt so good about a team and yet finished so poorly. We made the most of the tools we had in the tool box. We managed to hit six crab pots, two in one race. We had a few kite shrimps at the leeward mark. We had a few tough moments but generally we improved enormously over the week. But the key thing is the owner is thrilled and can’t wait to get to Miami to improve the tools in the toolbox and we just can’t wait to get started against the best guys in the world.”

US 52 SUPER SERIES at Quantum Key West
Standings after ten of ten scheduled races:
1. Quantum Racing (USA) Doug DeVos (USA)1,1,1,6,3,4,1,2,1,3 Total 23pts
2. Rán Racing (SWE), Niklas Zennström (SWE) 2,2,3,4,1,2,4,1,5,2 Total 26
3. Azzurra (ITA), Guillermo Parada (ARG) 3,3,2,2,4,1,3,6,4,1 Total 29
4. Interlodge (USA), Austin Fragomen (USA) 4,5,6,1,2,3,2,3,3,4 Total 33
5. Sled (USA), Takashi Okura (USA 5,4,5,5,6,5,6,4,2,5 Total 46
6. Hooligan (USA), Gunther Buerman (USA) 6,6,4,3,5,6,5,5,6,6 Total 53‏

Terry Hutchinson, USA, tactician Quantum Racing, USA, “Conditions were outstanding and the racing was great, everyone is so competitive and I think we won three of the days, Interlodge won a day and Azzurra won a day.  It seemed a lot harder than the scoreline shows. The lobster pot incident really set us back, but beyond that we sailed well and hats off to everyone for the effort they have put in. Today we had some late calls and some really well executed boat handling in the middle and front of the boat, it was a real team effort. We sailed in these respective roles in 2011 and won here. Doug is a competitive guy, he is athletic and he pushes me, he absolutely expects a level as I do too and he knows there no harder critic on me than me, and that keeps everyone working hard on the boat. We keep moving forwards.
Azzurra always go well. And early on in the piece we jagged a few. If you say where was the regatta won it was probably won on the first race where we went from fourth to first up the second beat of the race. Today was a different day. Our plan was to stay close to Rán Racing and not give them any opportunities. We found ourselves in the lead at the top. At the leeward gate we just did not lay into the left hand gate, that is just the way things worked. Azzurra were always right there, it is a very good team and they have been doing this a very long time. They have been doing this for as long as we have and so it is a pretty polished group. I think their week was uncharacteristic for them.

Doug DeVos, USA, owner-driver Quantum Racing, USA: “We have been sailing here for so many years and a lot of times we have not even been close to the leaderboard, we love the event, we love the location and we love the sailing, and so it feels great to come back here and be able to sail with everyone and to do well. And here of course we are not just racing for the regatta but for the 52 SUPER SERIES and so of course every race matters. It feels good to win because it is about the team coming together, all the team put in so much, it is nice to be able to celebrate, but like in life never for too long because the next regatta is just around the corner.”

Niklas Zennstrom owner-driver Rán Racing: “To finish in these conditions when the boats are just flying downwind is just fantastic sailing. We had a great day but Azzurra were just ahead on the finish line, but we went out today just wanting to make sure we sailed the best we could and make sure we had a good result, so to finish with a second is good.  The differences are so small. For us when we look and debrief this regatta it will be the lows which are holding us back. Being OCS, over the start line yesterday and having to go back cost us, and we had another start which was not so good, you need to avoid those lows. We know we can win races, we know we can get the good results, but we need to avoid the lows.

Francesco Bruni, ITA, tactician Azzurra ITA: “The boat was going very well in the second part of the race but we were really struggling in the first upwind, we still don’t know what was happening then, we think we had something around the keel, 10 per cent under performance, very slow. From the first downwind onwards the boat was going very well. We made some good calls tactically it was a really nice race to win. We got back to Rán Racing metre by metre, to pass Quantum Racing was good and then the last upwind against Rán Racing the boat was going very well. We managed to keep the right and then just before the last lay line we had a piece of them, using starboard advantage to win the race. We like the strong breeze and the breeze increased during the race, going from 20kts to 22kts and at times stronger. The windier it is the better this boat goes. Definitely Rán Racing made some changes to the boat. Last year they were super fast downwind and a little bit slower upwind, but this year they have stepped up upwind and downwind are not unbeatable downwind. Today was so much windier, we were on the number four jib and usually downwind Rán Racing were unbeatable in this downwind.

Ross MacDonald, CAN, tactician Sled USA: “We learned a lot and improved every day which may not show on the results board but we feel we are getting more and more competitive as a team and working well. There are a whole bunch of small things to improve, to refine. There is nothing major, a few systems. We will have a few days practice before Miami and we will work on things then.

Tony Rey USA tactician Hooligan USA:  “The results are not what we wanted, but I have just told the guys I have never felt so good about a team and yet finished so poorly. We made the most of the tools we had in the tool box. We managed to hit six crab pots, two in one race. We had a few kite shrimps at the leeward mark. We had a few tough moments but generally we improved enormously over the week. But the key thing is the owner is thrilled and cant wait to get to Miami to improve the tools in the toolbox and we just cant wait to get started against the best guys in the world.
We were over the line early, then recovered, but were slow up the beat with a bag or some weed, but then had a great run and passed Sled on the run. At the leeward mark the kite came most of the way down and in other boats most of the way down would have been fine, but not in a TP52 when you are surfing at fifteen knots. A bit of the kite went in the water, under the boat and we had to send a guy in. That made a bit of a mess, we will rebuild our spinnaker and our egos and move on to Miami.”

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Photo gallery: Fourth day of racing at Quantum Key West 2014

Posted on 24 January 2014 by Valencia Sailing

Quantum Racing regained the overall lead on the penultimate day of Quantum Key West 2014 and with just one scheduled race on Friday, Doug DeVos’ team have all it takes to claim the first event of the 52 Super Series 2014

Fourth day of racing at Quantum Key West 2014. Key West, 23 January 2014. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / 52 Super Series

Fourth day of racing at Quantum Key West 2014. Key West, 23 January 2014. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / 52 Super Series

Fourth day of racing at Quantum Key West 2014. Key West, 23 January 2014. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / 52 Super Series

Fourth day of racing at Quantum Key West 2014. Key West, 23 January 2014. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / 52 Super Series

Fourth day of racing at Quantum Key West 2014. Key West, 23 January 2014. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / 52 Super Series

Fourth day of racing at Quantum Key West 2014. Key West, 23 January 2014. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / 52 Super Series

Fourth day of racing at Quantum Key West 2014. Key West, 23 January 2014. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / 52 Super Series

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Quantum Racing on the threshold of 2014’s first 52 Super Series title

Posted on 24 January 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: 52 Super Series] While Quantum Racing composed a strong penultimate day of the five day series, posting a 1,2,1 from the three races sailed in fantastic conditions, their main title rivals Rán Racing and Azzurra had some difficult moments, not least when they both were over the start line early in the last contest.

Quantum Racing streaked away to a big early lead whilst their challengers lost a lot of time re-starting. And an incident at the first mark of the second race, when they were first and second certainly unsettled the Italian flagged team who gybed away to the left, into very light winds which dropped them to a costly sixth place.

DeVos’ crew, with Terry Hutchinson calling tactics partnered by Ed Baird as strategist, by contrast navigated a smooth, accomplished trio of races, bouncing right back after a high scoring Wednesday. With only one race scheduled Friday Quantum Racing have a lead of four points ahead of the world champions Rán Racing.

Azzurra’s errors leave them vulnerable to the continued advances of Interlodge who continue to impress with their steady, low scoring consistency. Austin Fragomen’s team which were runners-up here last year are just one point from the podium.

In 15-17kts on NNE’ly breeze Quantum Racing benefited from the left shift on the first beat to lead the first race, but Azzurra lead through the leeward gate and appeared to have a controlling position on the American green and black boat on the final leg, but with slightly better speed and a small right shift DeVos crew were able to gently roll over Azzurra to score their fourth win of the regatta.

Interlodge came through on the final stages of the last run to take second in a very close finish which saw four boats overlapped on the line, the close racing enhanced by the short, sharp course which lasted just 44 minutes.

Niklas Zennström’s start to the next race was pin sharp and that was what allowed Rán Racing to only just squeeze around the top mark ahead of Azzurra. The Italian crew launched a protest claiming the Swedish boat had tacked too close and they had been forced into avoiding action. And as they were slowed and rolled by Quantum Racing they gybed way out to the left of the downwind which sailed them into very much lighter breeze, Azzurra rounding the leeward gate a distant and disastrous sixth.

The third race was the most dramatic, even if the wind had eased back to 10-12kts. The three top protagonists were side by side on the line which was biased to the committee boat end. All pushing each other, Quantum Racing was slightly to leeward and ducked in the final two or three seconds, whilst the other two were immediately and clearly signalled over. Both returned, Rán Racing needing a second attempt to exonerate themselves. Finishing fourth and fifth whilst Quantum Racing and Sled took first and second, the 52 SUPER SERIES champions are in a strong position, but as ever their focus is as much on the season long title, and the two regattas US 52 SUPER SERIES title, more than winning constituent regatta titles:

DeVos concluded with a smile: “We are just looking at the whole season and we are just out to keep banging in good results and so that will just be the plan tomorrow.”

Azzurra’s Vascotto acknowledged: “What a day…..what a day. It was a pretty bad day for us. We did not sail well at all today. Unfortunately we did not choose the right sides. We had a forecast for something different. And we push a little to the right all day.”

US 52 SUPER SERIES at Quantum Key West
Standings after nine of ten scheduled races:
1. Quantum Racing (USA) Doug DeVos (USA)1,1,1,6,3,4,1,2,1 Total 20pts
2. Rán Racing (SWE), Niklas Zennström (SWE) 2,2,3,4,1,2,4,1,5 Total 24
3. Azzurra (ITA), Guillermo Parada (ARG)  3,3,2,2,4,1,3,6,4 Total 28
4. Interlodge (USA), Austin Fragomen (USA)  4,5,6,1,2,3,2,3,3 Total 29
5. Sled (USA), Takashi Okura (USA 5,4,5,5,6,5,6,4,2 Total 42
6. Hooligan (USA), Gunther Buerman (USA) 6,6,4,3,5,6,5,5,6 Total 46‏

Quotes:

Ed Baird, USA, strategist, Quantum Racing, USA“Yesterday we felt like we actually sailed pretty well but had one really catastrophic moment when we were in second place when we hooked a lobster pot and that pushed us back into last. Today it went really smoothly and actually Doug is doing a great job driving the boat nicely around the whole race track. At the final start we were not really looking at Azzurra and Rán Racing as rivals but as two boats we wanted to beat off the starting line and we had a pretty strong position on them on the starting line but we were very close to the start line but in fact we had to hold our bow down just a little long to start, they turned up before us, I was worried we might be over, we turned up two seconds later and they were over.  I think they both turned up together because they were keen to just jump us together. They did not want to be thin, on our hip just off the line, by turning early sometimes you can just get that jump on the guys to leeward.
“We are just looking at the whole season and we are just out to keep banging in good results and so that will just be the plan tomorrow.”

Niklas Zennström, SWE, owner-driver Rán Racing, SWE: “Of the three races we had one good one which is not good enough. It is all about being consistent, and unfortunately we were not. We were over the line in the last race which is hard to recover from. We were close to the committee boat and Azzurra were in front of us and covered the transit for our bowman, we were told we were fine but we were not. But you know what, in this fleet there is just no margin on the start line. You need to be one second the right side of the start line in every race. If you are not you are behind. That is the level of competition here. Sometimes you are going to be over. Sometimes you really nail it but sometimes you don’t. But we have been starting well this week, we have improved a lot.
It is shaping up to be an exciting last day, unfortunately only one race, but the only thing we can do is go out there, relax and sail as well as we can.”

Andy Horton, USA, tactician Interlodge, USA: “We are looking to just improve, to make our weaknesses. We had a nice lead on the first beat of the last race but the job just ripped, maybe caught on the spreaders or something. That put us back pretty far but we dug in pretty well and we had the best crew work we have had, the best boat handling, we got a couple of shifts and then pushed right through and were almost second. We have a great group of people who just really want to work together, to learn a lot every day and we can talk candidly to each other. This group has a really good dynamic, talking about what is going to happen next, where we go next. I think the podium is within reach which is great.”

Vasco Vascotto, ITA, tactician Azzurra ITA: “What a day. What a day. It was a pretty bad day for us. We did not sail well at all today. Unfortunately we did not choose the right sides. We had a forecast for something different. And we push a little to the right all day. And we had an incident with Rán Racing in the second race when we were almost leading at the top mark and that gave us a problem, but that gave us a problem because Quantum Racing rolled us and we had to gybe and we ended up with no wind at all. It was frustrating but this is sailing. We had a bad day, and so tomorrow we will be back and try to finish this regatta properly.”

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Photo gallery: Second day of racing at Quantum Key West 2014

Posted on 22 January 2014 by Valencia Sailing

What a difference a day, and a couple of big rain squalls, make. After a slow start on Monday, the six TP52′s had one spectacular race on Tuesday

Second day of racing at Quantum Key West 2014. Key West, 21 January 2014. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / 52 Super Series

Second day of racing at Quantum Key West 2014. Key West, 21 January 2014. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / 52 Super Series

Second day of racing at Quantum Key West 2014. Key West, 21 January 2014. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / 52 Super Series

Second day of racing at Quantum Key West 2014. Key West, 21 January 2014. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / 52 Super Series

Second day of racing at Quantum Key West 2014. Key West, 21 January 2014. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / 52 Super Series

Second day of racing at Quantum Key West 2014. Key West, 21 January 2014. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / 52 Super Series

Second day of racing at Quantum Key West 2014. Key West, 21 January 2014. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / 52 Super Series

Second day of racing at Quantum Key West 2014. Key West, 21 January 2014. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / 52 Super Series

Second day of racing at Quantum Key West 2014. Key West, 21 January 2014. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / 52 Super Series

Second day of racing at Quantum Key West 2014. Key West, 21 January 2014. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / 52 Super Series

Second day of racing at Quantum Key West 2014. Key West, 21 January 2014. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / 52 Super Series

Second day of racing at Quantum Key West 2014. Key West, 21 January 2014. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / 52 Super Series

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