The TP52 World Champion is Quantum Racing!!
Quantum Racing closed out their fifth TP52 world title with a solid, workmanlike fifth in the last race of the 52 World Championship 2016, their nearest title rivals Azzurra well behind them. Their title victory was marked by an emotional roller coaster of a weekend during which they were pressed hard by the defending champions who composed a hot streak of three back to back wins. Shooting themselves in the foot with a Black Flag Disqualification from the second race Saturday more than doubled the pressure.
After starting the penultimate day of the championship, Saturday, with a lead of 17 points and no race finish worse than third from the six starts, Quantum Racing fell victims to a black flag disqualification from Race 8. With Azzurra’s back to back wins and Quantum’s 13pt penalty included into their scorelines there was then just nine points separating the two going into the final day.
Super Sunday, the world championship finale delivered tension and drama in equal measure. With the unsettled breeze still in the north, and an uncharacteristically big swell Quantum Racing compounded their problems when they found themselves on the wrong side of one big windshift, to the right, on the first beat of today’s first race.
Azzurra read it best and only had to make one short tack to make the first turn. Quantum had to dig deep and managed to battle back to fifth. But within three races their overall lead was cut to just five points.
Under mounting pressure, not least from within a team known as high achieving perfectionists, Quantum Racing did what they had to, marking Azzurra early after the start.
The 2015 defending champions tried a bold move, tacking away to try and put boats between them and Quantum Racing. But after trading two tacks with Gladiator Azzurra dropped positions.
From there, despite the vagaries of a faltering, dropping breeze they could consolidate. While Paul Cayard steered Phoenix to a runaway win, a high note to finish their first TP52 class regatta on, Quantum Racing could consolidate. Their second fifth place of the day secured the team owned by Doug DeVos the 2016 world title to add to those won in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2014.
“It was a nerve wracking day.” Winning tactician Terry Hutchinson admitted, “You know you have to give credit to Azzurra for continually asking the questions, they reeled off three race wins in a row, I can’t say enough about the effort they did to put the pressure on us for our self imposed mistake.”
Hutchinson, who adds the TP52 world title to the Maxi72 world title he and several of the Quantum team won last week on Bella Mente continued: “But I continued to think that the measure of the team is going to be how we respond in those situations and it was awesome to see the work that Ed Baird and James Dagg did off the last start in that last race.”
Asked what the mood was like in the Quantum camp after the black flag error, when they were so far ahead, Hutchinson responded: “The de-brief was we win as a team and we lose as a team. Ed felt incredibly disappointed that he had let us down but there is nobody better in the world so it was important to emphasise to the team that we win as a team and we lose as a team. We shot ourselves in the foot yesterday and thats uncharacteristic of Quantum Racing. We made a mistake so sometimes you are just human and I guess how you respond to that is key. It was awesome to see how the team responded today that was the most rewarding part of the day.”
Azzurra finish runners up despite winning five of the ten races. A weighty 10th place in the second race of the series remains a matter of regret, but was not self inflicted. They were pressed wide at the windward mark by an infringement by another boat, their pedestal winch failed on the run and finally they blew up a spinnaker on the run in to the finish.
Menorca delivered a fantastic championship on the water and on shore. On two days the SW’ly breeze gave way to the N’ly Mistral and so providing contrasting, open race courses on the same day. Today’s climax was raced in brisk 12-18kts N’lies with some big shifts. And ashore the friendly ambience and quiet, easygoing charm, contrasts favourably with Palma, Mallorca and Ibiza.
The third step on the podium went to Ergin Imre’s Provezza, just as it did in 2015 in Puerto Portals. They had a tough duel with 2013 world champions Rán Racing during the last race showdown but take third just one point.
Guillermo Parada (ARG) skipper-helm Azzurra (ITA): “It was good that we were able to win the first race of the day and stay in the competition to the final race. In the final race we chose to start on the pin and we did, but the pin was not where it should have been according to my computer and from then on it was an uphill battle. Quantum is very good and they controlled the race even in shifty conditions. Then in the last run the breeze dropped and we tried to gain ground but couldn’t and in the end lost vital points. But it is what it is, in the end you have to be happy with second. I think Quantum deserved to win but we are close, we won five races in this event and are recovering speed, so that’s all good for the future. We want to keep our second place in the Series too and at the same time and keep the wind in our sails. After Cascais the boat has to be shipped to Key West. We have maintenance to do around Christmas and New Years and before we know it we’ll be sailing in the US. So we have to be smart in Cascais, stay in second place and maybe even win and arrive in Key West as well prepared as we can be. We have enjoyed our time here very much and have enjoyed the challenging conditions. Hopefully we’ll race here again next year.”
52 SUPER SERIES – 52 World Championship
1. Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (2,1,1,2,1,3,2,BFG13,5,5) 35pts
2. Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (1,10,7,1,6,7,1,1,1,10) 45pts
3. Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (6,7,3,6,4,1,3,7,10,3) 50pts
4. Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (9,2,2,10,2,2,10,6,2,6) 51pts
5. Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (8,8,9,11,3,4,7,4,8) 65pts
6. Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (5,3,5,7,12,8,4,9,7,7) 67pts
7. Alegre, GBR (Andrés Soriano USA) (7,5,6,8,9,12,6,5,8,2) 68pts
8. Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (4,4,10,4,8,11,9,11,12,4) 77pts
9. Phoenix, USA (Richard Cohen USA) (10,9,11,5,10,10,BFG13,3,6,1) 78pts
10. Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) (11,11,12,3,7,9,8,2,4,12) 79pts
11. Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (3,DNF/13,8,9,5,5,11,10,9,9) 82pts
12. Sorcha GBR (Peter Harrison GBR) (12,6,4,12,11,6,5,8,11,11) 86pts
52 SUPER SERIES – Overall Standings
After 4 regattas:
1. Quantum Racing, 113 pts
2. Azzurra, 180 pts
3. Rán Racing, 191 pts
4. Provezza, 196 pts
5. Platoon, 207 pts
6. Bronenosec Gazprom, 210 pts
7. Alegre, 225 pts
8. Sled, 232 pts.
9. Gladiator, 283 pts
10. XIO Hurakan, 362 pts
11. Paprec Recyclage, 364.2 pts