Day 4, Three Races Take Rán 4 Points Ahead
Rounding off a long day on the sun drenched waters off Miami’s South Beach with their fourth race win from seven starts, Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing lead the Gaastra 52 World Championships by four clear points going in to Saturday, the final racing day.
Competition has been brought forward by one hour to try and ensure three races form a suitable finale, taking full advantage of the forecasted brisk winds. Zennström’s team were, again, the best scorers of the day with their 4,3,1 for the three windward-leeward contests which were sailed directly off South Beach in testing 7-12 knots winds.
With two different breezes fighting for supremacy, one offshore and one closer to the beach, the balance of power changed all the time through the afternoon but Rán Racing’s tactician Adrian Stead – already a past winner of the 52 world title – was on top of the game throughout.
The hallmark of a true world champion is as much their ability to climb through the fleet from a lowly early position and convert it to a useful score as the ability to win races. Rán Racing achieved that in the first race. Sixth at the top mark first time up, they were actually unfortunate to lose third to Quantum Racing in the final stages of the last run.
Rán’s fourth race win of the series came with a text book start which allowed them to gain early control of what proved to be the favoured right side of the course where the wind pressure was strongest.
Stead cautions firmly that there is still potentially 30% of the regatta left. Although they have four points in hand, their job is far from done, especially considering the winds are due to exceed 20kts:
“ We are achieving our goals of being in the top three each day for the day every day and so we go in to tomorrow with a very good chance along with Azzurra and Quantum.”
“ I think tomorrow we will see different conditions again, slightly more wind pressure – three more races – that is still 30% of the regatta still to go.We are all taking our chances. But being able to dig yourselves out is important to convert a fifth to a third, a sixth to a fourth.”
“ If you feel strongly about something in this fleet you have to go for it and go out and win races.”
“We are pleased with how we are sailing. It is the best we have sailed since the Royal Cup last year, so hopefully we can round it off with a good day tomorrow.”
Both of Rán’s main rivals had one weighty score apiece today. Azzurra’s fifth – from the second race – and Quantum Racing’s sixth in the third race allowed Zennström’s team breathing space. Azzurra are four points adrift of Rán, whilst Doug DeVos’ Quantum Racing are now eight points off the lead.
The message from both Azzurra’s skipper Guillermo Parada, and Quantum Racing’s Ed Reynolds is that they need to come out Saturday and sail their own races, look for race wins and not be unnecessarily distracted by other boats.
Parada said: “I think we need to go out tomorrow and win races and forget about the other boats. We need to make points and go for wins.”
Reynolds: “ Our plan tomorrow is to come out and sail our own races. Hopefully we get all three races in. It is do-able. It’s a big, big gesture but I like our group.”
Race wins in this fleet are not exclusive to those lying in the top three overall. Jim Swartz’s experienced Vesper crew won the second race today following on from Tony Langley’s triumph in the first race.
Indeed Langley’s Gladiator looked to be on course for a great day after a third in the next race, but they had to take a penalty in the last heat which resulted in an eighth.
Gaastra 52 World Championships, Results after 7 races.
1 Rán Racing (Zennström, SWE) 17pts (7,1,1,1,4,2,1)
2 Azzurra (Roemmers, ITA) 21 pts (1,2,3,5,2,5,3)
3 Quantum Racing (DeVos, USA) 25pts (3,4,2,3,3,4,6)
4 Gladiator (Langley, GBR) 29pts (2,6,5,4,1,3,8)
5 Vesper (Swartz, USA) 30pts (5,5,7,2,6,1,4)
6 Interlodge (Fragomen, USA) 37pts (4,7,4,7,5,8,2)
7 Gaastra-Pro (Blees, NED) 46pts (6,8,6,8,7,6,5)
8 Rio (Moshayedi, USA) 47pts (8,3,8,6,8,7,7)
Adrian Stead, GBR, tactician Rán Racing (SWE): “ It was a good three race day for us. There was lots of stuff going on, a bit of current reversal, very shifty, very big holes in breeze. The first race we got ourselves back into it from a sixth or seventh we got the third. Quantum got us on the finish line which was tough, but then we got a 2,1 which was good. Last race we had a good feeling of what we wanted off the line. We got the right, apart from the breeze going light at the end it was good. We are very pleased with the day. We are achieving our goals of being in the top three each day for the day every day and so we go in to tomorrow with a very good chance along with Azzurra and Quantum. But we see Gladiator as very dangerous in the light stuff without the penalty they had they would be in the mix there too. We made a couple of changes to the boat overnight which we are pleased with. I think tomorrow we will see different conditions again, slightly more wind pressure – three more races – that is still 30% of the regatta still to go. We are all taking our chances. But being able to dig yourselves out is important to convert a fifth to a third, a sixth to a fourth. If you feel strongly about something in this fleet you have to go for it and go out and win races. We are pleased with how we are sailing. It is the best we have sailed since the Royal Cup last year, so hopefully we can round it off with a good day tomorrow.”
Guillermo Parada (ARG), skipper Azzurra (ITA): “ It was a tricky day and I think the results show that the positions of the boats are changing in every race. We did not manage to get the results that we would have liked but we are still in second position and we have still three races to go and so we are looking to make it at least as far as we can with Rán. I think we need a little more detailing and have more of plan what we are doing on day like today. Trying to sail looking at the other boats is a little bit difficult and I think we need to go out tomorrow and win races and forget about the other boats. We need to make points and go for wins.”
Ed Reynolds USA, project director Quantum Racing (USA): “This is one of the tougher days we have had. Never say never but kudos to Rán Racing. Overall we don’t think of Rán as a boat which, when it gets lighter, it can just use its speed. They sailed incredibly well. They are all over it. Our plan tomorrow is to come out and sail our own races. Hopefully we get all three races in. It is do-able. It’s a big, big gesture but I like our group. We just seemed to on the outside of every shift on that last race. It was a little a frustrating because we have worked so hard on our downwind speed. Everybody on the boat is ecstatic that we are going so well. We have some of the best sailors in the world but they had a bad day.
There were two completely different breezes and there is a lot of timing in which side is going to come in strong. The left side just seems to suck you in. It looks positive, it looks positive and then it crashes and the right comes in strong up at the top. If you baled of the left hand shift early and could get across the pack before the right hander came in then you were in good shape. Our positioning off the starts did not give us the option to do that. We did not sail well.”