AZZURRA, INTERLODGE, RAN TOP THREE KEY WEST
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 the defending 52 SUPER SERIES champions 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, 6Rio52pts
Guillermo Parada (ARG) skipper-helm Azzurra (ITA): “ We knew that the first race was going to be the important one. 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.”
Kris Matthews (USA), project manager Interlodge (USA). “It is a little bit of a surprise to finish second overall. We limited our mistakes and a few teams had their mistakes in the first race and that opened up an opportunity in Race 2 we got away clean and were able to sail our own race then. We did know what to expect coming into the regatta. We though mid fleet was a goal but we thought it would be hard to match the Rán Racing, Quantum Racing, Azzurra and Gladiator, with their time in the boats. We decided we were doing this regatta five months ago and so we did a lot of sailing last fall and got better.”
Adrian Stead (GBR) tactician Rán Racing (SWE): “For us it was a bit of a disappointing end to the regatta. We were in contention on the first race and unfortunately the drop line snagged and we sailed right over the spinnaker and that was pretty much the end of the race by the time recovered it and so it was a sixth from that one and that kind of gave the series to Azzurra. The second race Interlodge sailed really well. We were fighting for third, trying to keep Quantum Racing behind us as well. We are philosophical. We let ourselves down at the gate not getting the spinnaker down but everyone is pushing the bottom marks pretty hard. This time we did not get away with it. We have come a long way since the beginning of the week. And we are looking to going racing in Miami at the World Championships. We are very positive about where we have got to this week.”
Doug DeVos (USA) owner-driver Quantum Racing (USA): “It was a tough day for us. It started off really well when we had a chance of first place and were ready to go for it and then we blew up our jib and were never able to recover. That was the job we needed even more in the second race. We were sailing a little out wack, after one little thing seems to happen then other things follow and away it goes. The team dealt with well. It happens in sport. You deal with and have to stay positive, looking for opportunities.”
Ed Reynolds (USA) coach, team director Quantum Racing (USA): “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 juts 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. It was the standard J2, we pushed film things a little light but we figure if we are going to try we do it on ourselves. This is an important regatta, it is great sailing but the European 52 SUPER SERIES is what we want.
Chris Larson (USA) tactician Gladiator (GBR): “ The scoreline is pretty indicative of the windstrength for us. The first couple of days were under 13-14kts which plays to our strengths and so we had some good racing then, and after that when it gets to 17-18kts versus the new boats. We had some good races, we got in there and had some decent finishes in some of them. But we were in there in the pack most of the time and today most of the way around the race track we were in it. I think in general where the programme was one year ago at the first regatta we are doing well.”
Manouch Moshayedi (USA) Rio (USA): “ We improved a lot from the beginning of week, our goal was to learn the boat and in the eight days of sailing in total here I think we’ve made great progress. Getting around the top mark in front of the pack has proven that we have the potential to beat these guys, and our eyes have been opened that we have now a very good boat. It was great to end the week on a high note, we are looking forward to Miami, and hope to start of there where we ended here to keep learning and improving.”