Garbi no show means Quantum Racing win Barcelona title
With no racing today Quantum Racing are crowned winners of the 52 Super Series first regatta, winning on countback from the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team.
It was due to be a Sunday High Noon shootout for the Troefeo Vela Conde de Godo regatta honours in the fierce early summer sunshine off Barcelona, America’s world champions on Quantum Racing duelling with the shoot-from-the hip Italian-Argentine team of the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team.
But the only key cast member visibly absent from the denouement, the scripted finale of the 52 Super Series’s first of four regattas this season, was the Garbi. The usually reliable sea-breeze refused to appear.
After two and half hours of waiting, on edge waiting for the light zephyrs to build to a racing breeze, the race committee had no alternative but to cancel the final race, leaving Quantum Racing as the regatta winners and the leaders of the 52 Super Series as it moves next month to Costa Smeralda for the Audi Sardinia Cup.
With five new crew in their line up, and a couple of modest starts on Day 1 – by the admission of winning skipper-helm Ed Baird – Quantum Racing started Barcelona with obvious room to improve, but finished Saturday with a flourish, trumping the fleet with a pair of aces.
In fact it is only that second win on Saturday which separates them from Audi Azzurra Sailing Team who showed good all-round speed on their new Botin Partners design which is a similar development to Quantum Racing.
Baird and his crew, including new tactician Andy Horton and navigator Spain’s JuanVila had the time and scope to build from Thursday’s low budget starts, but Niklas Zennström’s start to the penultimate race of the regatta cost them their chance to be real title contenders today. But the Swedish owner-driver and his crew leave Spain content that they are only two points off the top duo and have clearly moved up a level since winning the last Audi MedCup regatta here in September last year.
Racing has been consistently tight, especially round the first lap of each race, but the wind shifts and occasional differences in wind pressure delivered plenty of opportunities for gains and losses.
Tony Langley’s Gladiator crew have achieved steady, high level consistency now and are nearly always in the mix, enjoying close racing with Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE who had very little training and no racing coming into this regatta, and a crew which is 70 per cent changed since last year.
June 17, 2012
Quantum Racing at the Double
Ed Baird and the Quantum Racing Team put their renowned match race skills to best effect when they all but closed out regatta leaders Audi Azzurra Sailing Team on the start line of the final race of the Audi Sardinia Cup, and so despatched the home favourites to a difficult fate.
Going on to take a final winning gun by a comfortable margin, the programme which won the 2011 TP52 World Championships on these same Costa Smeralda waters secured their second successive trophy regatta win on the 52 SuperSeries.
The one key move, in the final 20 seconds before the start of the one and only race today, shutting the door at the busy, sought after committee boat end of the start line, was typically assured by multiple world match race and America’s Cup winning Baird and a crew which has been bolstered this season by several of Baird’s past match racing teams, with a view to delivering in just such ‘must win’ situations.
On the very right sided course in a modest sea breeze there was, unfortunately, no way back for the iconic Azzurra team which started the final race with a lead of just one point over Quantum Racing.
Finishing fifth today Azzurra finish second in the regatta, three points behind Quantum Racing, ahead of Gladiator in third, RÁN fourth, Paprec Recyclage fifth and PowerPlay sixth overall. Quantum Racing’s win contributed to Team USA winning the Audi Sardinia Cup, partnered by Iberdrola Soto40.
The French team on Paprec Recyclage, lead to the windward mark today ahead of Quantum, but acceded to the champions on the first downwind. But Stephan Neve and his team took great pleasure in their second place finish, atoning somewhat for their error on the coastal race.
But without doubt the French crew have proven conclusively that the IRC optimised boats with a largely amateur crew – some of whom have sailed together for more than 10 years – can be very competitive in this 52 SuperSeries fleet on a relatively modest budget on the boat which won the 2007 world championships in its launch year. They, and Peter Cunningham’s PowerPlay were always in the mix.
Costa Smeralda has again proven a happy hunting ground for Gladiator, the British flagged crew of Tony Langley. They finished third overall for the regatta, only once scoring in the lower half of the fleet.
Finishing second overall at this Audi Sardinia Cup, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team lie only three points behind the 52 SuperSeries leaders Quantum Racing.
Ed Reynolds (USA) Team director Quantum Racing (USA): “Today was good, over the last couple of years as a team, in situations when they have had to have their best race they have done it. Today was a day when we needed our driver to take control of the race from the very beginning and Ed did an amazing job. Fifteen seconds after the start I was thinking it looked good for us, it would be difficult for Azzurra to get back. It was a little bit of a one sided race track, you don’t want to be in the position Ed put them in, but we’ll take it. Every time we have sailed there you have to hit that right side. To me the hardest thing in sailing is to win the boat when you have to win the boat. It was a tough situation. Everybody wanted, it was pretty impressive, Ed just went in there and took it.
We have won two regattas but we are still almost tied. It is going to be nerve racking all season long. The Azzurra guys are so good. In tight situations there was a couple times this week where we thought they’re done, we’ve got them’ they just got out of it and came back. Today they understood it too, they were fighting for the same spot that Ed was and Ed took control of it and that was the race.
You have Juan Vila, Warwick Fleury, Lorenzo Mazza, Andy, Tommy Burnham who have sailed match racing with Ed before, we kind of configured the team a little bit around that, with some real strengths, knowing that with not so many boats, at some times it could come down to that, if we needed to beat one boat we could do it.”
Simon Fry (GBR), trimmer Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA): “To be polite I’d have to say we are disappointed. I am sure we will debrief it, but the start did not go as we wanted. I am not sure if the geometry was not what we thought, or if there was a little more current pushing us on, from a call of them not being able to shut the door on us, to he could definitely shut the door on us, so then we were on the back foot on a right hand race track. I think possibly you would say we could have tacked under them and then would have been at no risk, an even start, and if you are still in it at the weather mark you can fight on, so maybe a little bit of a risk management lesson. Over the period we have learned a lot about sailing the boat in the light, but now we are going back to Palma, where the boat lives and we have all sailed a lot, so here is hoping!”
Chris Larson (USA), tactician, Gladiator (GBR): “Third overall for us, I think we are all going away pretty happy with what has happened this week. Luckily we have had some light air which has been good for the boat, we did pretty well, we stayed consistent and had good finishes. We had one bad race which was pretty much my fault. But in general, everyone did a really good job, we are coming together more and more as a team as time passes.
I think Tony is getting more and more time on the helm and is getting more confident in the instructions that I am trying to pass along, like sailing narrower ranges with the boat speed and true wind angles in the light winds, he is getting more confident and accustomed to what we are asking him to do and as that happens the boat’s performance increases. It is a good thing. 13-14kts and under that we are competitive.
Ado Stead (GBR) tactician RAN (GBR): “There was no way back today from an OCS today, it was a shame really. We thought we were OK but we were called and there was not way back on a right hand race track.
We are disappointed with the result here, but in terms of the way we are sailing the boat as a group we have made big strides forward in the light. And we have certainly made big steps forwards in conditions which we considered to be our weak spot. So, onwards to Palma. We just need to finesse what we have been working on, and in fact we were probably going the best we have in those conditions yet.
July 14, 2012
Rán Racing claim Royal Cup
Rán Racing claimed the Royal Cup and their first overall victory in the inaugural52 Super Series in a testing day’s racing at Palma, Mallorca on Saturday that victorious skipper Niklas Zennström described as being “as good as it gets”.
Zennstroms’s team surged to victory in a 30-plus northeaster at speeds in excess of 24 knots, finishing second across the line in the final race of the day to clinch the overall win.
World champions Quantum Racing finished second in the cup after they were forced to retire from the first of two races on Saturday, when they broke their headstay ram, headfoil and jib in the near gale force conditions.
The team’s shore crew sent an urgent dispatch of supplies to effect on water repairs between the two races. The crew successfully raced the clock and returned Quantum to the second race, but it just wasn’t their day.
Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One rounded out the Royal Cup’s podium, a result that pleased four-time Olympic medallist and twice America’s Cup winner skipper Jochen Schümann despite having entered the final race with a one-point lead.
Having won the first race today, All4One entered the final race at the top of the leaderboard with a total of 20 points, while both Quantum and Rán were just one point behind on 21.
Each team had crunched the numbers and knew exactly where they needed to place to clinch the coveted Royal Cup Challenge Trophy, but only Rán were able to execute their plan with success.
Zennström said the conditions in Palma Bay were challenging but very rewarding.
“These conditions are fantastic, you’re going downwind doing 24 knots, you’re doing nine knots upwind and still you’re doing boat on boat racing,” he said.
“Crossing the finish line and seeing Quantum ahead of All4One was just awesome, it’s as good as it gets. Quantum are really the class act, beating them today was really, really awesome. They’re hard to beat and that makes winning even sweeter.”
It was more a bittersweet day for Quantum’s crew, having entered the final day’s racing with a six point buffer and a lead they had held since the four day regatta started on Wednesday.
Tactician Andy Horton said the crew knew that their chances of clinging to their lead was compromised the minute they heard a massive “bang” when their headstay ram broke and they saw their jib tear in the opening nine minutes of the day’s first race.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,’’ Horton said. “But this is a great group of guys, there wasn’t anything said, it was just a freak accident. This is tight racing. You have to be good enough to win despite something like this happening.”
There was a surprise of a different kind for the crew on board Audi All4One, who exceeded even their own expectations to score third in the Royal Cup.
Schümann said being the “underdogs” helped his crew race under the radar, uninfluenced by the other teams’ intentions.
“We’re quite happy, finishing third is more than we expected coming here, but that’s what we dreamed of,’’ he said. “This is our first regatta together as a team. We really enjoy racing together and I think when you see the results getting better and better that reflects it.”
Audi Azzurra Sailing Team finished fourth in the Royal Cup, followed by PowerPlay, Gladiator, Provezza and Aquila.
In the overall 52 Super Series Quantum Racing leads with 53.5 points, followed by Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, 59.5, Rán Racing, 69.5, Gladiator, 93, Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One, 111.5, PowerPlay, 121.2, Provezza, 131.5, Aquila, 140.5 and Paprec, 150.5.
The teams are now turning their sights on 31st Copa del Rey where eight 52 teams will have a chance to race their grand prix yachts in a highly competitive event that won’t count towards the 52 Super Series points.
The next 52 Super Series point scoring event is the Valencia Cup, from September 19-22.