Azzurra and Interlodge take day 3 prizes
Top scoring boat across a great two race day for the 52 SUPER SERIES at Quantum Key West Azzurra have edged to the top of the leader board. But just as Quantum Racing and Rán Racing have done before them, their overall lead is only by virtue of tie break.
Azzurra’s two second places in fantastic, puffy, shifty 14-20kts winds accompanied by improving warm sunshine, overturned the previous tie break that they had been in with Rán Racing. After six races of the ten which are scheduled for the 52 SUPER SERIES at this showcase North American regatta, the top duo have a 16pts aggregate, two better than Quantum Racing whose 1,4 for the day could not improve their third place overall.
So three of the six 52 SUPER SERIES teams have now lead the regatta, each time only on tie break, and after Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s Interlodge won Race 6 today, now five different boats have won races. Only Doug DeVos’s Quantum Racing has won two races so far. Rán Racing’s navigator Jules Salter, a past MedCup winning champion with Emirates Team New Zealand came ashore with the prediction that this regatta looks set to go to the final day: “ It is such good racing it is great fun. This regatta is going to be about hanging in there until the last day. I don’t think anyone will be clear until the end of the last day.”
Azzurra’s costly mistakes which has troubled them variously during both of the first two days appeared to be in the past. They started well in both races and just stayed solid and focused, tactician Vasco Vascotto doing an excellent job of keeping the team which are the current 52 SUPER SERIES champions in phase with the shifting breeze and most of the time in the best of the gusty, puffy breeze.
In the first race the blue hulled Azzurra was absolutely alongside Quantum Racing at the first windward mark but as soon as Quantum Racing were able to make a small gain, they very quickly extended with an excellent reading of the breeze downwind by Andy Horton and Ed Baird for Doug DeVos. From there the race leaders’ advantage was mostly in having free rein to sail the shifts and pressure. But the never-say-die attitude which characterizes the Azzurra team spirit was obvious when they made more than 100 metres back to Quantum Racing on the exciting final run, only just running out of race track.
The second race, with the breeze up to 20kts in the puffs, had Interlodge’s signature all over it after they made a beautiful start with good, clean positioning with perfect timing and good speed. That was enough for Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s team to get their bow in front early in the five leg race. With good speed and power upwind especially, they were able to lead all the way around the course, beating Azzurra across the finish by a decent margin, recording their first win of the regatta.
Marty Kullman, Interlodge’s tactician remarked: “ Getting to the first mark first then there were big gains. But we were always under pressure in that second race. The Italians on Azzurra are fast and always fight back hard. You cannot give anything away. The boat is pretty nice and you can see that. We get off the line and then we can hold our lane and go fast. We decided we did not want to start in the favoured spot on the line, if we can get off the line then the boat is going to work for itself and then the boat is going to work for itself.”
After six races there is still only three points separating the top four boats in the fleet, Interlodge’s win leaving them very much in touch with the overall regatta leaders.
Andy Horton, Quantum Racing’s strategist rounded up: “ The level of competition is high and so you need to have everything right. It is an amazing level. Essentially three of the boats are from the same mould, one is a slight variation of that and the others are sped up a little under IRC modifications and so it is anybody’s day out there. It has never been closer for the group. It was awesome today. You can go fast, there were puffs and shifts, I like that. It was just great.”
52 SUPER SERIES at Quantum Key West 2013
Race 5: 1 Quantum Racing (USA), 2 Azzurra (ITA), 3 Rán Racing (SWE), 4 Interlodge (USA), 5 Gladiator (GBR), 6 Rio (USA).
Race 6: 1 Interlodge, 2 Azzurra, 3 Rán Racing, 4 Quantum Racing, 5 Gladiator, 6 Rio
Overall after 6 races: 1 Azzurra 16pts, 2 Rán Racing 16pts, 3 Quantum Racing 18pts, 4 Interlodge 19pts, 5 Gladiator 24pts, 6 Rio 33pts
Guillermo Parada (ARG) skipper-helm Azzurra (ITA): “Forget about the results to start with, it was such a great day for racing. It was warm, it was windy and shifty and so very challenging for all the teams and especially the tacticians. And so I think we did a good job with staying in the leading group in both races. At some stages we were a little out of phase and down to fourth position but we stayed focused in our jobs and we were able to get two second places which gives us the best average for the day. We are happy because we were testing some different sails and set up and so our speed set ups were not what we are used to in these conditions. But we were able to manage it properly.”
Jules Salter (GBR), navigator Rán Racing: “It was a tough old day, very shifty with big changes in pressure again. It was pretty close racing, we had a couple of good downwind legs but perhaps were not so strong upwind. I think the other boats are going really well upwind and when you get hit once, then you get hit again and you lose your lane and then it gets really tough. But it is such good racing it is great fun. This regatta is going to be about hanging in there until the last day. I don’t think anyone will be clear until the last day.”
Andy Horton (USA), strategist Quantum Racing (USA): “We had a great first race. We had a good start, it was really tight because all the boats are tight on speed and we were able to get away a little on the strength of the top left, we took off downwind and won that one. The second race was kind of the opposite. We got into a pack of boats and we were late in behind, but we sailed a couple of shifts and got back into the group but we were not able to get back from there, ending up fourth. It was nice to see Interlodge win that race and see them going away. I think we are really always working on our boat speed and today we made a nice improvement in our boat speed. We changed a few things. We can improve our starting and if we put that together with our boat speed like that first race then we are comfortable. But at this stage it is trying to have it all happen at the same time not like in that second race, a race with great start where you are not fast. It is about putting the pieces together. The level of competition is high and so you need to have everything right. It is an amazing level. Essentially three of the boats are from the same mould, one is a slight variation of that and the others are sped up a little under IRC modifications and so it is anybody’s day out there. It has never been closer for the group. It was awesome today. You can go fast, there were puffs and shifts, I like that. It was great.”
Marty Kullman (USA) tactician Interlodge (USA): “Getting off the start line and getting to the left was our goal. We did that in the first race but the guys to the left of us ended up beating us to the mark. We started in the middle again in the last race there and just really worked hard, we got a couple of good shifts and it really paid off. Getting to the first mark first then, there were big gains. We were always under pressure in that second race. The Italians on Azzurra are fast and always fight back hard. You cannot give anything away. The boat is pretty nice and you can see that. We get off the line and then we can hold our lane and go fast.
We decided we did not want to start in the favoured spot on the line, if we can get off the line then the boat is going to work for itself and then the boat is going to work for itself.”
52 SUPER SERIES 2013 Event Calendar:
Quantum Key West Race Week, Key West, Florida, January 20 – 25, 5 day WL racing, dual scoring IRC & 52 Super Series.
52 World Championship, Miami, Florida, March 5 – 9, 5 day WL racing, TP52s and IRC52s.
Trofeo Conde de Godo, Barcelona, May 23 – 26, 4 day WL racing, IRC52s invited.
Royal Cup, Ibiza, July 2 – 6, 4 day WL & 1 day Coastal, TP52s and IRC52s.
Copa del Rey, Palma, July 29 – August 3, 5 day WL racing & 1 day Coastal, dual scoring IRC & 52 Super Series.
AUDI Week Of The Straits, Porto Cervo, September 10 – 14, 3 day WL & 2 day Coastal, TP52s and IRC52s.