[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