Posted on 24 May 2013 by Valencia Sailing
Posted on 24 May 2013 by Valencia Sailing
Video highlights from the opening day of racing in Barcelona at the Trofeo Conde Godó, first event of the European season of the 52 Super Series:
Posted on 21 May 2013 by Valencia Sailing
[Source: 52 Super Series] “We want to win the European 52 SUPER SERIES.”
That is the stark, keynote objective for the coming months, as stated by Ed Reynolds (USA) director of the Quantum Racing 52 programme, and as the American flagged team complete their final days of training off Barcelona this week in preparation for Thursday’s start to the Trofeo de Vela Conde de Godo, it is clear the highly motivated crew are ready to rise to this challenge.
Two significant changes bolster the team line up. Terry Hutchinson (USA), who skippered Quantum Racing to win the MedCup title in 2008 and lead the crew through until 2011, returns to the line up, this time in the role of tactician.
He will be joined by 1992 Barcelona Olympic gold medallist and America’s Cup winner Jordi Calafat (ESP) who sails as Quantum Racing’s strategist.
Even as experienced and honoured as they both are, integrating the two new afterguard members has been one of the primary goals of the pre-regatta training period. Although of course Baird (USA) and Calafat sailed together as America’s Cup winners with Alinghi, Hutchinson and Baird are new to each other and so have been putting in some racing hours to optimise their partnership.
In mid April Baird and Hutchinson sailed together at the Congressional Cup off Long Beach finishing second. In fact that was Ed Baird’s first monohull match racing event since July 3rd 2007 when he drove Alinghi to win the 32rd America’s Cup against Emirates Team New Zealand on which Hutchinson was tactician.
“This is going to be really fun to be back with the guys on Quantum Racing,” Hutchinson smiles, “I was a little bit involved at the end of the World Championships in Miami when I watched them racing there. There are some very high quality teams as we saw there, like Azzurra and Rán Racing as examples which for the most part have shown they are capable of winning, and so I cannot wait to get out there and get racing in the fleet again.”
“I am looking to just help along the great work that Ed Baird has been doing. We jump started things by doing the Congressional Cup together and that was really good. We were mainly looking at developing our communications, getting to know how Ed likes things to be communicated as things unfold. My impression is that he is very comfortable with the boat and the way things are going, but the biggest challenge will be integrating us into the sailing team. The new appendages on the boat seemed to be working and for us it will be about not upsetting the applecart. This is a great team with a good track record and my role is to help and support where I can, maybe making sure eyes are guided where they should be if I see particular things I think can help.”
“I have the impression from Miami that Ed drives the boat very well, keeping it fast all the time. That may sound simplistic but it is very easy to get bogged down from time to time in this fleet. We worked on our communication and I understand more clearly what he wants, narrowing down 10 or 12 words to two or three words, short quick conversations is the big thing for us.”
Although Quantum Racing have not won a 52 regatta since Sardinia last year, Hutchinson says he does not feel any additional pressure coming back into the team to find a win.
“I always want to win, I always crack the whip to win and want no more or less. The thing that stood out for me in Miami was that at certain times the boat could sail out of bad situations. It looked like the boat is going really well.”
Meanwhile team director Ed Reynolds is delighted with the strength of the afterguard that they have for the four European regattas of the 52 SUPER SERIES :
“I just could not be more excited, I am thrilled with the team we have. There were some conflicts which necessitated changes and so we took advantage of the opportunities to do so. Terry, Ed Baird and Jordi as an afterguard should be fantastic. Jordi grew up in Palma, sailed to a gold medal here in Barcelona and probably has sailed as much as anyone in the fleet has in Ibiza so I am sure he will bring a lot of local knowledge input.” Said Reynolds,
“We are very happy with the changes we made to the boat, boatspeed is just not an issue. After the last few events we feel we have eliminated some more variables, now I will be surprised if we are not going the right way most of the time. We don’t think we have to win regattas to win the 52 SUPER SERIES, but what we want is to show absolutely top level consistency. Now, with this fleet, you have to win races and that is a change and we have changed the mode of the boat to make more sure we can do that.”
Racing starts for the 52 SUPER SERIES in Barcelona from Thursday 23rd May and runs through to Sunday 26th.
Posted on 08 May 2013 by Valencia Sailing
[Source: 52 Super Series] The 40th Conde de Godo regatta sees the return of the 52 SUPER SERIES for the second year. Offering four days of racing, the popular spring time event usually offers a good mix of sailing conditions, often featuring a relatively reliable sea breeze, whilst the many attractions of the Catalan capital city ensure Barcelona remains one of the most popular venues.
Six of the 52’s which raced the US SUPER SERIES in Key West and Miami in January and March are joined Turkey’s Provezza which is owned by Ergin Imre and steered by Britain’s double Olympic silver medallist Nick Rogers with Peter Lester (NZL) as tactician. Provezza (ex Cristabella/Desafio), which raced at the Royal Cup in Mallorca last year, has been updated since they put a toe in the water last season and is now expected to compete at all of the Mediterranean regattas.
From the USA Manouch Moshayedi and his crew of Rio (ex Synergy) and Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s Interlodge both make their first foray into European waters.
Two different teams have won so far this season. Form in the USA suggests that any one of four or five crews have the potential to win a regatta. Whilst it was the current 52 SUPER SERIES champions Azzurra (ITA) which opened with a win at Quantum Key West 2013 in January, at the Gaastra 52 World Championships in Miami it was Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing which won the title. But in the overall series standings to date Azzurra lead by just six points ahead of Rán Racing.
Doug DeVos’ Quantum Racing, the 2011 MedCup champions, lie third overall and welcome the return of former skipper Terry Hutchinson (USA) who will sail the Mediterranean season as tactician with skipper-helm Ed Baird. In preparation for their first 52 regatta together Hutchinson recently joined Baird at the Congressional Cup match racing regatta along with Quantum Racing’s Tom Burnham and Brett Jones.
Up to nine races will be sailed over the four days for the 52’s at the Conde de Godo regatta. The seven boat fleet is likely to be even bigger in early July in Ibiza at the Royal Cup whilst up to ten boats are expected to compete at Palma’s showcase regatta, the Copa del Rey.
“We are especially happy that the American teams have made their effort to join us to compete in Europe and we are sure that they will enjoy the variety of competition and the venues this season.” Concludes Rob Weiland, class manager for the 52’s. “It is pleasing to be able to report that the fleet has actually grown on last season and we are experiencing a period of stability which should allow us to build for next season with some confidence.”
Posted on 09 March 2013 by Valencia Sailing
[Source: 52 Super Series] Rounding off a long day on the sun drenched waters off Miami’s South Beach with their fourth race win from seven starts, Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing lead the Gaastra 52 World Championships by four clear points going in to Saturday, the final racing day.
Competition has been brought forward by one hour to try and ensure three races form a suitable finale, taking full advantage of the forecasted brisk winds. Zennström’s team were, again, the best scorers of the day with their 4,3,1 for the three windward-leeward contests which were sailed directly off South Beach in testing 7-12 knots winds.
With two different breezes fighting for supremacy, one offshore and one closer to the beach, the balance of power changed all the time through the afternoon but Rán Racing’s tactician Adrian Stead – already a past winner of the 52 world title – was on top of the game throughout.
The hallmark of a true world champion is as much their ability to climb through the fleet from a lowly early position and convert it to a useful score as the ability to win races. Rán Racing achieved that in the first race. Sixth at the top mark first time up, they were actually unfortunate to lose third to Quantum Racing in the final stages of the last run.
Rán’s fourth race win of the series came with a text book start which allowed them to gain early control of what proved to be the favoured right side of the course where the wind pressure was strongest.
Stead cautions firmly that there is still potentially 30% of the regatta left. Although they have four points in hand, their job is far from done, especially considering the winds are due to exceed 20kts:
“ We are achieving our goals of being in the top three each day for the day every day and so we go in to tomorrow with a very good chance along with Azzurra and Quantum.”
“ We made a couple of changes to the boat overnight which we are pleased with. I think tomorrow we will see different conditions again, slightly more wind pressure – three more races – that is still 30% of the regatta still to go.”
“ We are all taking our chances. But being able to dig yourselves out is important to convert a fifth to a third, a sixth to a fourth.”
“ If you feel strongly about something in this fleet you have to go for it and go out and win races.”
“We are pleased with how we are sailing. It is the best we have sailed since the Royal Cup last year, so hopefully we can round it off with a good day tomorrow.”
Both of Rán’s main rivals had one weighty score apiece today. Azzurra’s fifth – from the second race – and Quantum Racing’s sixth in the third race allowed Zennström’s team breathing space. Azzurra are four points adrift of Rán, whilst Doug DeVos’ Quantum Racing are now eight points off the lead.
The message from both Azzurra’s skipper Guillermo Parada, and Quantum Racing’s Ed Reynolds is that they need to come out Saturday and sail their own races, look for race wins and not be unnecessarily distracted by other boats.
Parada said: “I think we need to go out tomorrow and win races and forget about the other boats. We need to make points and go for wins.”
“ Our plan tomorrow is to come out and sail our own races. Hopefully we get all three races in. It is do-able. It’s a big, big gesture but I like our group.”
Race wins in this fleet are not exclusive to those lying in the top three overall. Jim Swartz’s experienced Vesper crew won the second race today following on from Tony Langley’s triumph in the first race.
Indeed Langley’s Gladiator looked to be on course for a great day after a third in the next race, but they had to take a penalty in the last heat which resulted in an eighth.
Gaastra 52 World Championships, Results after 7 races.
1 Rán Racing (Zennström, SWE) 17pts (7,1,1,1,4,2,1)
2 Azzurra (Roemmers, ITA) 21 pts (1,2,3,5,2,5,3)
3 Quantum Racing (DeVos, USA) 25pts (3,4,2,3,3,4,6)
4 Gladiator (Langley, GBR) 29pts (2,6,5,4,1,3,8)
5 Vesper (Swartz, USA) 30pts (5,5,7,2,6,1,4)
6 Interlodge (Fragomen, USA) 37pts (4,7,4,7,5,8,2)
7 Gaastra-Pro (Blees, NED) 46pts (6,8,6,8,7,6,5)
8 Rio (Moshayedi, USA) 47pts (8,3,8,6,8,7,7)
Posted on 06 March 2013 by Valencia Sailing
[Source: 52 Super Series] After triumphing with a consistent display in Key West in January, Azzurra seemed to have continued in their winning ways today when they made the strongest opening to the Gaastra 52 World Championships in light and very challenging conditions off Miami Beach.
Azzurra’s effervescent tactician Vasco Vascotto is on something of a winning run, backing up that 52 SUPER SERIES win in Key West with an overall world title win on Pisco Sour in the Soto 40 class the following week in Chile and then a Melges 32 regatta win in the Caribbean.
His form held firm across two very difficult races today, contested in light SE’ly winds which saw big shifts in direction as well as pressure, especially in the second race.
In Race 1 Azzurra, with owner Alberto Roemmers Jr steering, were able to get the better of the close scrap with Tony Langley’s Gladiator on the second beat, holding on to take the first winning gun of the five day regatta. And while Gladiator were clearly the best starters of the day, they were unfortunate to find a big hole in the light breeze early in the second race.
Vascotto was able to engineer an escape route from the same sticky light patch which had snared four unlucky 52’s, only just allowing the Italian flagged team to give chase after Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing which had built an early lead on the right side of the course. Rán Racing went on to win the Race 2 with Azzurra second.
With what is forecast to be the lightest day now completed, Azzurra holds a lead of four points ahead of the three times world champions Quantum Racing. The American crew’s starting was less than perfect today but their talent and determination showed as they ground out a couple of decent scores – 3,4 for the day – to keep themselves in contention. Ed Reynolds, the team’s project manager rounded up their day:
“ We were incredibly average today but we came away with a third and fourth and that keeps us in the hunt. We will be able to get out of this. But it was really scary out there, big holes and puffs, really shifty. Azzurra did a great job today, their starting ability is good but the rest of us were all over the board.”
In the second race Manouch Moshayedi’s Rio team sailed a great beat and were able to round second just ahead of Azzurra and Quantum Racing, but Azzurra’s gybe set into better wind pressure ensured they were able to pass before the leeward gate. Third place for Rio in Race 2 gives the mainly semi-pro and amateur team a fillip at their first 52 World Championships, their second regatta with the boat which was formerly Synergy.
Rán Racing lie third overall but Zennström’s team will be looking to more regular results through subsequent days after they opened with a seventh place before bouncing back with that win in Race 2.
Gaastra 52 World Championships, Results after 2 races
1 Azzurra (ITA) 3 pts (1,2)
2 Quantum Racing (USA) 7pts (3,4)
3 Rán Racing (SWE) 8pts (7,1)
4 Gladiator (GBR) 8pts (2,6)
5 Vesper (USA) 10pts (5,5)
6 Rio (USA) 11pts (8, 3)
7 Interlodge (USA) 11pts (4,7)
8 Gaastra-Pro (NED) 14pts (6,8)
Michele Ivaldi (ITA) navigator Gladiator (GBR): “ It was a really, really tricky day today because the wind was up and down in pressure and with big shifts, more than 45 degrees of shifts and from six knots to 11knots and really, really hard to read on the water. But we had two very good starts and only really in the second race did we miss out on the first pressure in the second race and we could not get back from there. Overall we sailed a nice first race but the good thing on the Gladiator is that we are improving all the time.”
Ed Reynolds (USA) project manager Quantum Racing (USA): “ Today it was very tough conditions but we were incredibly average today but we came away with a third and fourth today, it keeps us in the hunt. We will be able to get out of this. But it was really scary out there, big holes and puffs, really shifty. Azzurra did a great job today, their starting ability is good and the rest of us were all over the board. Coming out of the day with a 3,4 we are fine with that.
I have never seen spread out like that before in this fleet. We rounded the last run with Gladiator maybe five boat lengths ahead and beat them by probably 40 and that was not a skilful thing, that just gets dictated to you by the weather gods.”
Vasco Vascotto (ITA), tactician Azzurra (ITA): “ The key was to stay in phase with the wind shifts today, but it was quite crazy at times. I am really tired after that long day, but we are really happy with our results. We are aware that it could have easily been a lot, lot worse, you could easily have made two sixth places. We are really happy. It was quite good that we understood what the average breeze was and were able to see what was happening on the water. Staying in phase really just means trying to sail the shortest distance on the water and we seemed to be able to do that.
In this light wind it is easy to have a bad result, so we are happy that the lightest day should be behind us. When there is more wind if you are sailing nightly you can have bad results but the sailing is more logical. Now we have a nice risotto tonight, some nice beer tonight and forget as soon as we can the results today because that feeling does not give you the opportunity to think what you can do better.”
Posted on 02 March 2013 by Valencia Sailing
[Source: 52 Super Series] When it comes to the 52 World Championships it is the record of Quantum Racing which is the 52 fleet’s most outstanding. They start next week’s Gaastra 52 World Championships in Miami, Florida as a programme which has won three world titles from the four which have been contested since 2008. The year that they missed out was only on countback.
A slightly unfortunate final day at Quantum Key West 2013 last month suddenly saw Quantum Racing’s chances of opening this season’s account with a victory disappear, but they over the series the team which is skippered by America’s Cup champion Ed Baird proved that they are very much on winning form.
Crucially, in terms of putting in places the building blocks to win their fourth Worlds title, Quantum Racing did a lot of important ground work in Key West last month. Owner Doug DeVos – who steers this week in Miami – put in a solid shift on the helm at the 52 SUPER SERIES regatta and will arrive fully attuned to the boat and ready to race.
Since Key West Quantum Racing has planned modification, changing to a new, lower drag keel fin.
And, looking ahead to the Mediterranean season for the 52 SUPER SERIES, the team reveal that Terry Hutchinson, who skippered the team to win both the MedCup and the worlds in Quantum Racing’s inaugural season, will return as tactician to work alongside Baird onwards from May in Barcelona.
Their worlds titles are important in the history of Quantum Racing and there is a very high determination among the crew to now win on US waters with their owner steering. Among the four team stalwarts who have been with the campaign since it started in 2008, is Rhode Island based Tom Burnham, a central figure in every sense of the words, as the pitman who runs the middle of the boat and orchestrates many of the key moves.
Burnham was part of the key transition of skippers from Hutchinson to Baird and is now looking forwards to working with both this summer. But first, there is a world championships to win. And for the first time the worlds are includes as a points scoring regatta on the 52 SUPER SERIES.
Burnham explains the priority they attach to the GAASTRA 52 World Championships this season:
“ As a team it is ‘the worlds’ so it is a big regatta but we also have to look at it in the context of the overall 52 SUPER SERIES as for the first time the Worlds are part of the ‘tour’ and so every point is going to count. But at the same time it is the worlds and winning the worlds is always the goal. Coming second in the worlds is not really the point, but if for whatever reason we can’t win or don’t win, then saving points is always the target so we can win the 52 SUPER SERIES overall.”
“ The overriding goal is to go out and win the event. And if we do that then that takes care of the other part of it. That is how we approach this event. There have only been four proper TP52 World Championships as an ISAF Class, and on Quantum Racing we have won three and were tied on points in the fourth, so we definitely want to go out and win again. That is the goal.”
Part of the strategy towards winning the worlds has been to make sure that DeVos arrives having had enough helm time, and so Key West in January was important to them:
“ Key West was great to have Doug steering the boat, he does a fantastic job. He is a very good sailor and we are happy when he is with us steering the boat. That is fantastic. Having sailed with us in Key West was great to have him used to steering the boat again – he had not steered a boat in the year prior to Quantum Key West 2013 – and he has also sailed on board at other events but not as helm. We won a World Championships with him as a grinder, and so it is always good to have him as part of the team as helmsman.”
Their new keel fin is not exactly a secret weapon, but the team are confident it will be a positive benefit in what is a very tight fleet:
“ We have a new fin for the World Championships. The boat will be sailed with that for the first time in Miami. It is relatively untested but it is just the fin, not a radical departure from where we were. There are just some small refinements which we hope will make just enough of a difference to be effective. It should just give us some small gains in specific situations. In this class it is all about small gains.”
“ It is now a little bit more small fleet oriented now, so more of a fast forwards mode, a little less drag, nothing radical. Hopefully, in theory according to the information we have, it should be generally quicker around the race track. We maybe give away a very little of our height upwind, but that should just be a very little offset that we give away. We have been pretty strong in our height mode, but with the fleet getting a little smaller it is not as advantageous to have a height mode as it is to have a fast forwards mode.
“ I think we have made steps since Key West, the new keel will make a difference and we have bolstered some of the weaknesses we have talked about before. We have worked on a couple of new sails and recuts since Key West. Those are the technical things and then we work more on the techniques on the training days before the worlds in Miami. Between the sails and the boat we have the tools to win the regatta. We just need to go out and execute it as a team and win this regatta.”
Posted on 26 January 2013 by Valencia Sailing
[Source: 52 Super Series] Given that the final day of Quantum Key West 2103 started with the two top teams Azzurra and Rán Racing tied on points it is appropriate the overall winner emerged after the most dramatic and closest day of racing. Whilst errors and bad luck afflicted several key teams in the brisk breezes delivering a great last day finale, it was Azzurra who kept it tight on board and sailed smart for the 2012 champions to open their 2013 account with the regatta victory.
Azzurra’s Key West Regatta starter was lobster, their second course humble pie but they finished with champagne.
Azzurra’s bad luck or misdemeanours were at the beginning of the week and indeed they may have learned from them. They hooked a lobster pot on Day 1 and had to make penalty turns on Day 2. But the iconic crew from the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda were on blistering form when they won the first race of the day, during which both of their main rivals, Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing and Doug DeVos’ Quantum Racing, both blunted their respective challenges with their own problems.
Whilst Azzurra won the first contest, Race 9 of 10, it was Quantum Racing which was first to struggle. Starting the day with a deficit of just one point on the leading duo’s overall tally, the disappointment was palpable when, only minutes after the start, Quantum Racing’s J2 jib split three metres down from the head. It took the crew some time to retrieve the halyard from the top of the rig. Although they dropped to sixth initially they did managed to recover one place.
Rán Racing were in contention when they dropped their spinnaker in the water at the first leeward mark. They also took several minutes to sort out the mess, slowed to a dead standstill with the sail filled with water. Their resultant sixth place effectively handed the Quantum Key West 2013 title to race winners Azzurra.
“ We knew that the first race was going to be the important one.” Recalled skipper-helm Guillermo Parada: “ At one stage we were a little bit lucky at the first leeward mark because Rán Racing dropped their spinnaker in the water and Quantum Racing had their problem with their jib earlier. That opened the door for us to go all out to win the race rather than trying to control our opposition. So from there on we were really focused on sailing every shift rather than trying to keep control of these two boats. We were able to win the race and they were fifth and sixth. We had already clinched the regatta. But we are always focusing on the season’s standings and so we want to beat Rán Racing and Quantum Racing when we can.”
Quantum Racing’s torn jib left them without the key headsail not only through that race but for Race 10 too, which was contested in 11-15kts, even more in the range of the required sail. Project manager Ed Reynolds responds: “We were flying, launched off the start line. But we had been pushing the J2 jib well above its range but we were just flying. There is a small bleed in the backstay which just loads up the luff of the jib and it just went beyond. We were seriously red lined on that jib, but you just keep trying. A lot of what we do with this programme is to see. We know we are not going to get fired for anything, so we just keep pushing.”
Going into the final race it was a battle for second and third places with Rán Racing and Quantum Racing tied on points and Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s Botin Partners designed Interlodge one point behind.
After a great start Interlodge were quick to exploit the extra pressure and favourable lift on the right side of the course, leading around the windward mark ahead of Azzurra. Their win, the second of the regatta, with Rán Racing third and Quantum Racing taking their second fifth place in a row, ensured that it was Interlodge, 2-1 for the day, which stole second step on the podium at their first ever 52 SUPER SERIES regatta, with Rán Racing third.
Key West’s winds were even better than usual for the first visit of the 52 SUPER SERIES, ensuring that not only were all 10 races sailed but the average wind speed over the five days of racing would certainly be 12 knots or more. That the 52 SUPER SERIES regatta was blessed with fabulous sunshine and warm temperatures are just two more reasons why owners and crews look forward to a return here.
Results, 52 SUPER SERIES at Quantum Key West 2013
Race 9. 1 Azzurra (ITA) 2 Interlodge (USA) 3 Gladiator (GBR) 4 Rio (USA) 5 Quantum Racing (USA) 6 Rán Racing (SWE).
Race 10. 1 Interlodge 2 Azzurra 3Rio4 Rán Racing 5 Quantum Racing 6 Gladiator
Overall after 10 races
1 Azzurra 24pts, 2 Interlodge 29pts 3 Rán Racing 31pts, 4 Quantum Racing 32pts, 5 Gladiator 42pts, 6 Rio52pts