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Ed Baird Adds More Excitement to Alpari Tour Stage in Sweden

Posted on 18 June 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ALPARI World Match Racing Tour] Double America’s Cup winner and three time ISAF Match Racing World Champion – Ed Baird, joins Magnus Holmberg in the line-up for Stena Match Cup Sweden, the second stage of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour.

The event will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year since it was introduced back in 1994 as an annual regatta in Marstrand. In 2000, the event was one of the founding members of the Swedish Match Tour, which then became the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. Since the success of the Tour, the event has been capturing ever larger audiences each year.

This year 14 teams including eight Tour Card Holders will set sail against each other from the 30th July – 5th July in front of thousands of spectators close to shore on the natural sailing amphitheatre that is Marstrand Fijord.

Joachim Aschenbrenner from Denmark and Viktor Ogeman from Sweden have also both secured entries to Stena Match Cup Sweden via the qualifying event, the Volvo Spring Cup that was held last month.

Quantum Racing: Ed Baird (USA) – Skipper, Sean Clarkson (NZL) – Tactician, Tom Burnham (USA) – Pitman, Brett Jones (AUS) – Trimmer, Phil Jameson (NZL) – Bowman. Photo copyright Brandspot / Stena Match Cup Sweden

Johnie Berntsson and his Stena Sailing Team and one of Swedish sailing’s biggest names, Magnus Holmberg have been given wild card invitations to compete in Stena Match Cup Sweden 2014. Now another legendary yachtsman who has made his mark on the event’s history joins Holmberg among the 14 elite teams racing at the regatta.

“It’s a privilege to be included and I’ve always enjoyed racing at Marstrand. The venue is a prefect location for match racing with just enough space for exciting races that are easily watched from the shore”, says Ed Baird who has received the third of four wild cards at the event.

Ed Baird was part of the line-up in the inaugural event at Marstrand in 1994 and has been a frequent guest and competitor in the regatta up until 2005. He has sailed four finals on Marstrand’s sailing stadium but a victory in the event is still missing on his impressive resume.

“We lost to Peter Gilmour in all those finals so I sure hope he won’t be invited this year. Still, it’s such a terrific honour just to get to that stage of any event but to do it in Sweden with so many friends and supporters around is just great”.

Between the two of them, Holmberg and Baird have raced 16 semi-finals, but neither of them have gone all the way to lift the big trophy. Now they will once again be face to face on the starting line in one of the biggest match racing events in the world.

”Magnus is a fantastic opponent and I always enjoy racing against him, he’s very aggressive but also very fair and I respect him for that. But more than that, Magnus has been a big part of making this event what it is and I really appreciate that.”

Magnus Holmberg, who was one of the founders of the event back in 1994, looks forward to racing against Ed Baird – just like old times.

“It’s great that there will be an extra twist when we race each other. Ed is always fast and tactical, he is cool and never gets carried away and you rarely see Ed having a bad day”, says Holmberg.

Ed Baird was a coach for Team New Zealand’s winning America’s Cup team in 1995 and then won sailing’s most sought after trophy as helmsman of Team Alinghi in 2007. Since then he has been competing on the RC44 Championship Tour with which he visited Marstrand last year. The team that will travel with him to Stena Match Cup Sweden comes from the crew he sails with, and recently became World Champion with, in the TP52 class, Tactician Sean Clarkson (NZL), Pitman Tom Burnham (USA), Trimmer Brett Jones (AUS) and Bowman Phil Jameson (NZL). Baird has also entered a handful of match racing events the last couple of years and in 2013 he reached the final of the Congressional Cup in California. Soon he will head for a greatly anticipated return to Stena Match Cup Sweden.

”It’s been a lifetime of preparation in many ways. We hope we can put on a good show this year and if there is any chance to somehow to get to the top of podium, what a magical experience that would be”.

The 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour championship continues with Stage 2 at Stena Match Cup Sweden between 30 June – 5 July. The Alpari World Match Racing Tour is one of five special events sanctioned under the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) including America’s Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race, the Extreme Sailing Series and the PWA World Tour.

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Quantum Racing win AUDI TP52 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP title

Posted on 15 June 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: 52 Super Series] The five day event lost two to very light winds but the five race series – two coastal races and three windward leewards – still felt like a marathon for many of the nine teams from seven different nations.

The waiting on the water was often as mentally taxing as some of the racing, not least today when the fleet drifted around for five hours waiting for a racing breeze to materialise. The hanging around, full of intent, was to no avail as there was no racing today.

Quantum Racing win the title for the fourth time, following up from 2008 in Lanzarote, 2010 in Valencia and 2011, also in Porto Cervo. Tactician Terry Hutchinson grinned: “The bounceback is fuelled as much by anger and rage!” he joked, “But now it is goosebumps time.”

The defending 52 SUPER SERIES champions, who also won the US 52 SUPER SERIES in their native USA earlier this season scored consistently well across the two coastal races and the windward leewards finishing no lower than third. They won the 31 miles coastal race and one windward leeward in their 1,2,2,3,2 scoreline to finish two points up on the fast emerging Brazilian team of Eduardo de Souza Ramos which has Santi Lange as tactician.

The new crew which only came together when the boat was launched in April, won twice on Friday’s windward-leeward course to finish one point ahead of Rán Racing, Niklas Zennström’s 2013 World Champions.

Double Olympian De Souza Ramos won the Owner-Driver award, leading a team which spans the age and experience range including Brazil’s 49er Olympic sailors, Volvo Round the World sailors and crew who have sailed with the owner in his previous Soto 40, Farr 40, Melges 24 and 32

After the pressure of waiting in a transition zone, a calm, no go area where the confluence of the different winds kept the teams starved of breeze and on tenterhooks in the hot sunshine, thunderclouds building overhead just before racing was canned, back on the dock at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, with the beads of sweat still formed on his brow Hutchinson raked his hat back , scratched his head and revealed his relief:

“These are without question the hardest days because you are waiting around, and know the severity of a bad race. The conditions are going to be challenging at best. And so I think that if you give out a game ball so to speak, you would give it to the race committee for their patience and perseverance and seeing the day all the way through. And at the same time through the course of the regatta never really running any marginal races. It was a great contest. And in the end we are just happy – probably more relieved than anything – that we sailed a good regatta. The bounceback after Capri is what we are probably going to be most proud of.”

In the end there was just three points between the top three teams, local favourites Azzurra who won in Capri slumped to a fourth place on their own home waters, carrying two fifths and a weighty seventh. Now they will be looking to match this Quantum Racing bounceback at the third regatta of the BARCLAYS 52 SUPER SERIES, Palma’s jewel in the Mediterranean Copa del Rey in early August.

With their win here and third in Capri, Quantum Racing lead the BARCLAYS 52 SUPER SERIES by three points ahead of Rán Racing who in turn are one point up on Azzurra.

FINAL STANDINGS – Audi TP52 World Championship – Porto Cervo, Italy
Overall after 5 races
1. Quantum Racing, USA, (Doug De Vos USA) (1,2,2,3,2) 10pts
2. Phoenix, BRA, (Eduardo de Souza Ramos BRA) (4,3,3,1,1) 12pts
3. Rán Racing, SWE, (Niklas Zennström SWE) (3,1,1,4,4) 13pts
4. Azzurra, ITA, (Alberto Roemmers ARG) (2,5,7,2,5) 21pts
5. Gladiator, GBR, (Tony Langley GBR) (5,7,4,5,3) 24pts
6. Provezza 7, TUR, (Ergin Imre TUR) (6,4,6,7,DNF) 33pts
7. Paprec Recyclage, FRA, (Jean Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (8,6,5,9,6) 34pts
8. Hurakan, ITA, (Giuseppe Parodi ITA) (7,8,8,6,8) 37pts
9. B2, ITA, (Michele Galli ITA) (9,DNF,9,8,7) 43pts

OVERALL STANDING BARCLAYS 52 SUPER SERIES (after 2 events)
1. Quantum – USA (23 + 10) = 33 points
2. Rán – SWE (24 + 13) = 37 points
3. Azzurra – ITA (17 + 21) = 38 points
4. Phoenix – BRA (30 + 12) = 42 points
5. Gladiator – ENG (34 + 24) = 58 points
6. Provezza – TUR (35 + 33) = 68 points
7. VESPER – USA (21 + 50) = 71 points
8. Paprec – FRA (40 + 34) = 74 points
9. b2 – ITA (46 + 43) = 89 points
10.Hurakan – ITA (60 + 37) = 97 points

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Quantum Racing profit on Friday 13th, Phoenix on the up

Posted on 13 June 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: 52 Super Series] While the Ed Baird skippered 52 SUPER SERIES champions actually extended their overall margin, the world champions, Rán Racing, may rue jumping the start gun for the third race of the day.

It was a close call, down to just one second according to tactician Adrian Stead, but their need to restart cost them time and although they recovered to a useful fourth, Niklas Zennström’s defending world champions find themselves in third, three points adrift with one day of racing left.

If Quantum Racing are back to their potent best, the day really belonged to Eduardo de Souza Ramos crew on Phoenix. They added astute tactics from double Olympic medallist Santi Lange (ARG) to excellent boatspeed from the fleet’s only new 2015 generation Botin design to compose two very good, back to back wins, promoting them to second overall.

Their 3,1,1 for the day allowed them to leapfrog Rán Racing.

Each race was sailed in different conditions, starting gently and finishing up in the 15-17kts of Mistral direction which had been promised on many different forecasts. Indeed the NW’ly threatened to come in several times, scaring off the existing breeze to require delays between each race.

Rán Racing’s Zennström nailed the first start of the day, accelerating away from the premium position on the line, the pin end, which allowed the world champions to earn the preferred left side of the track upwind. They were able to extend slightly to win comfortably over Quantum Racing. The American flagged team were second around the top mark ahead of Phoenix and the order stayed the same to the finish line.

Race 4 of the series and Phoenix were well positioned to tack and take first advantage of the small left shift in the breeze which gave them a small gain. As the breeze moved left the battle to control that side meant two or three boats overstood the layline to the first turn, but Phoenix rounded first ahead of Azzurra with Quantum Racing third and Gladiator fourth.

The Mistral started to come in with a little more force in the final race of the day. The left looked favourite again and in fact Provezza, Ergin Imre’s crew, had more or less gained the advantage when the top two metres of their mast inexplicably dropped off. Phoenix were able to lead around the top mark ahead of Azzurra and Quantum Racing. Terry Hutchinson called a good shift near the bottom of the run and they were able to nick through by the gate, taking second across the line behind the Brazilians.

It was another long, but rewarding day on the water. After two coastal races then three races in a day, Terry Hutchinson remarked wryly:

“When we went out this morning having only done two races over the last three days it felt like we had already sailed a regatta. It was a hard day. I think in so many ways that the last race was a really good confidence builder for us. We got tangled up a little bit after the start but we had a glamour first run, the boat was going really well, probably the best we have gone all season downwind, so that was very encouraging but there you go, some days you are the bug and some days you are the windshield, and we survived Friday the 13th quite well.”

Standings Audi TP52 World Championship – Porto Cervo, Italy – Overall after 5 races
1. Quantum Racing, USA, (Doug De Vos USA) (1,2,2,3,2) 10pts
2. Phoenix, BRA, (Eduardo de Souza Ramos BRA) (4,3,3,1,1) 12pts
3. Rán Racing, SWE, (Niklas Zennström SWE) (3,1,1,4,4) 13pts
4. Azzurra, ITA, (Alberto Roemmers ARG) (2,5,7,2,5) 21pts
5. Gladiator, GBR, (Tony Langley GBR) (5,7,4,5,3) 24pts
6. Provezza 7, TUR, (Ergin Imre TUR) (6,4,6,7,DNF) 33pts
7. Paprec Recyclage, FRA, (Jean Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (8,6,5,9,6) 34pts
8. Hurakan, ITA, (Giuseppe Parodi ITA) (7,8,8,6,8) 37pts
9. B2, ITA, (Michele Galli ITA) (9,DNF,9,8,7) 43pts

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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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