Perfect Start Copa Del Rey Rán Racing
The challenges came in different forms for some of the top 52’s on the first day of the 32nd Copa del Rey MAPFRE on the Bay of Palma, Mallorca, but it was Niklas Zennström’s crew on Rán Racing which won the one and only race for the Gaastra IRC 52 Class.
The unusual NE’ly wind direction had several navigators and tacticians searching their memory banks to recall the best strategy for what ultimately proved to be an excellent opening contest for Spain’s showcase annual regatta.
While Rán Racing’s tactician Adrian Stead and strategist/trimmer Andy Hemmings read it well, guiding Rán Racing to a very comfortable win, by some two and a half minutes ahead of a tightly matched group, second placed Azzurra started badly after a series of mishaps spiralled to leave them out of sorts, last off the start line.
Azzurra overcame their own pre-race troubles and fight back through the fleet. An engine malfunction and radio problems had left them slightly short of their usual preparation regime.
Ergin Imre’s Provezza lead to the first mark, hung on to second around most of the course and only slipped to fourth, one second behind 52 SUPER SERIES leader Quantum Racing, despite racing with no electronics and with a stand in, late substitute bowman.
“ We were sailing blind, like the old days.” Smiled Provezza’s tactician Tony Rey, “ In spite of that we had a great first round. We lead until we got swallowed up by Rán Racing who were a little better at boat handling at the top. We just tried to keep it close but as it got lighter towards the end we lost to Azzurra but the end result we lost to Azzurra by a few seconds and beat Quantum Racing by a second or two at the most, so it was great racing.”
“We like it when it is shifty and the fact that we had no instruments at all in a sense it makes you better sailors, you have to work harder to be smarter.”
After a disappointing regatta earlier this month in Ibiza, the current world champions Rán Racing were back on form.
They were quick to recognise the stronger wind pressure to the right on the long first upwind, which meant they chased Provezza hard around the windward mark and were able to overhaul them thanks to a slightly better gennaker set.
Provezza maintained second until the last minutes of the final run. As the breeze started to fade Azzurra held to the left, inshore for longer and were able to pip the Turkish flagged team who then lost third to Quantum Racing but one tantalising second.
Rán Racing’s winning navigator Jules Salter explained:
“It was a very different wind direction to normal. In fact I have never sailed here in that direction before. And Ado (Adrian Stead, tactician) was picking his brains to try and remember a time like this from before. But between him and Andy Hemmings they did a very good job in finding us the best breeze and getting us up the track.
Ultimately it was recognising there was a bit more wind pressure on the right and that was about using the windshifts well to get over there. It was quite a long beat, a bit longer than we are used to in the 52 fleet so far this season, so you really had to dig in and be there for the whole of the beat and it came good for us in the end.”
Results, Race 1:
52 SUPER SERIES
1 Rán Racing, SWE, (N Zennström)
2 Azzurra, ITA, (A Roemmers)
3 Quantum Racing, USA, (D DeVos)
4 Provezza, TUR, (E Imre)
5 Interlodge, USA, (A Fragomen)
6 Rio, USA, (M Moshayedi)
7 Gladiator, GBR, (T Langley)
8 Aquila, AUT, (Aquila Sailing Team)
9 Paprec, FRA, (Jean Luc Petithugenin)