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03-07-2014, 09:43 AM
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March 6th, 2014

Weather wins in Miami, Azzurra take the lead
A second race win in succession, gained from the only race of the day, sees Azzurra top the leaderboard at the 52 US Championships in Miami, now leading Quantum Racing on countback.

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Although three windward leeward contests were scheduled Thursday on the strength of a favourable forecast for 13-18kts S’ly winds, the race committee made the prudent decision to send the fleet ashore on notification that an expected weather front had accelerated and was due to bring very strong, dangerous thunder squalls with the possibility of tornados.

Following on from their race win Wednesday afternoon in lighter breezes, Azzurra were on impressive form. Racing more in their preferred wind range, the team which is skippered by Guillermo Parada (ARG) made the start that they wanted, at the committee boat end of the line and were then able to work the favoured right side of the course.

Azzurra lead around the top, windward mark with a slight margin over the IRC optimised pair Interlodge and Vesper with Quantum Racing, always a threat, in fourth.
Azzurra had built themselves a comfortable lead by the leeward gate and were able to keep control of the main group.

Believing that the breeze had moved as far right as it would, Quantum Racing broke and took their chances left of middle on the second upwind – erring away from the leaders’ track – and were rewarded with a favourable approach to the final turn, gaining to second place.


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A swift gybe set on to a sustained gust from the top mark saw a great recovery from Rán Racing. Sixth at the final turn, they were within centimetres of catching third placed Interlodge on the line.

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Confidence is a key strength for the Azzurra team and with two good wins back to back, the Roemmers’ family team which races for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda are on song here, certainly in their preferred conditions today.

“It would have been good to race three races today but there is also an element that some of our guys hold a belief that you are only ever as good as your last race, but certainly we sailed well today. Everything was nicely controlled and we had the sense that we were always working to our game plan.” Recalled Azzurra’s trimmer Simon Fry.
Parada, Azzurra’s skipper added: “It was a beautiful race, under beautiful conditions to sail a TP52, planing downwind at 18 knots. Our crew work was very good, Francesco (Bruni, starting helmsman) had an excellent start, Vasco made very good tactical calls and the boat was fast. It’s pity we couldn't continue due to the tornado warning. At least, we took the lead of the championship, with a good outlook for the rest of the week. The feeling is positive and we are optimistic we can keep on performing this way.”

2014 US 52 SUPER SERIES
US CHAMPIONSHIP MIAMI

Standings after three races:

52 Class:
1 Azzurra (ITA) Pablo A Roemmers (ARG) 4,1,1 6pts
2 Quantum Racing (USA) Doug De Vos (USA) 1,3,2 6pts
3 Interlodge (USA) Austin and Gwen Fragomen (USA) 3, 5,2 11pts
4 Vesper (USA) Jim Swartz (USA) 5,2,5 12pts
5 Rán Racing (SWE) Niklas Zennström (SWE) 2,7,3 13pts
6 Hooligan (USA) Gunther Buerman (USA) 7,4,7 18pts
7 Sled (USA) Takashi Okura (USA) 6,6,6 18pts

IRC 52 Class:
1 Azzurra 4,1,1 6pts
2 Quantum Racing 1,3,2 6pts
3 Rán Racing 2,7,3 12pts
4 Vesper 5,2,5 12pts
5 Interlodge (USA) 3, 5,4 12pts
6 Hooligan 7,4,7 18pts
7 Sled (USA) 6,6,6 18pts


Ed Reynolds (USA) project manager Quantum Racing (USA): “We got a little bit tangled up with Hooligan on the start line and ended up in the opposite direction to what we wanted to but still came out OK in the pack. Downwind the gybe set worked but the IRC boats are pretty quick downwind, especially in the uprange pressure. Second beat was just epic. I was nervous but the breeze came on for them and so coming out with a second place was pretty good.”
On relative boat speeds today:
“ I think you can see that the boats with the bigger prod and a little more sail area are quick downwind in that. We always felt we had a little something extra when it is below 12kts, when it is above that then Rán Racing and Azzurra seem more comfortable.”
“ It is pretty tight at the top just like every single event seems to be. Azzurra have been our rivals since the days of Matador and our guys have the utmost respect for them. Anytime they can get lit up, they are great sailors, well prepared, everything about them is good.”

Juan Vila (ESP) navigator Quantum Racing (USA), on the choice to go left on the second beat which gained them two places: “We left the (leeward) mark with a nice righty but we wanted to take our chances to take some boats, and it did not look bad to stay on starboard for a while and then we just waited for the breeze to come back left. We had a good lift then that got us a back to the fleet, so that was a good shift.
Terry and I had a long chat about it and with the breeze so far right at the bottom mark we did think it would come back left. And I worked. The races are open and there are so many good boats now with good speeds, all are well sailed.
It is always interesting here, every day is looking like different conditions. Today it was S’ly tomorrow will be N’ly and then NE’ly with some breeze.”

Simon Fry (GBR) trimmer Azzurra (ITA): “We had a very good race. We started at the boat, duking it out with Quantum Racing and it was an even start really, we were good off the line and it was pretty much us and Quantum until the IRC duo started to make their presence felt and then it was ‘do we race against Quantum or just focus on getting away at the top mark?’ And we just sneaked ahead of Interlodge and Vesper and on the first run we sailed pretty well building a lead to defend.
It was very cool at the back of the boat, there were no fractious voices.
On confidence in a team: “I think it is interesting. We have had a discussion about momentum in sport. Some people were saying it doesn’t exist. But then for some of our crew you are only as good as your last race.”




52 SUPER SERIES 2014 Event Calendar:
Quantum Key West Race Week, Key West, Florida, January 20 - 24
52 US Championship, Miami, Florida, March 5 - 9
Rolex Capri Sailing Week, Capri, Italy, May 20 - 24
TP 52 World Championship, Porto Cervo, Italy, June 10 - 14
Copa del Rey, Palma, Spain, August 4 - 9
Royal Cup Marina Ibiza, Ibiza, Spain, September 17 - 21

PD Staff
03-07-2014, 10:26 PM
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Miami, FL (March 7, 2014) – After some of the breeziest, most challenging conditions of recent TP 52 regattas in either Europe or the USA, Azzurra’s scoreline for the day of two second places and a win takes the Italian flagged team back into the overall lead of the 52 US Championship off Miami Beach, but their margin is still tight, only one single point ahead of Quantum Racing.

It was only when they emerged victorious from a last race photo-finish with Takashi Okura’s Sled judged winners of the last, high speed race of the day that Azzurra stepped clear of the 52 SUPER SERIES champions the Ed Baird steered and skippered Quantum Racing who tallied out with two wins and a fourth today.




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All images © MartinezStudio/52 SuperSeries


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The cross offshore W’ly breeze topped 31kts in one prolonged squall, was often up to 25kts and probably averaged 19 or 20kts over the three races. With a nasty chop and wind swell which built down the course, and very shifty, changeable pressure and angles at the top – closest to the shore – it was not just the wind velocity which placed a huge premium on slick, solid boat handling, but there were big gains and losses to be made especially downwind. And there were several big wipeouts. When a stanchion failed on Hooligan in three crew were catapulted into the water, one sustaining a suspected fractured arm.

Quantum Racing won the first two races but their winning guns were hard earned. The first contest featured a thrilling head-to-head between the two leading protagonists all the way up the breezy first beat, head to head only ten metres apart, neither team crew blinking.
Azzurra just had the slightest edge as they closed at the top turn, Quantum Racing tried to get inside them at the buoy and were penalised. They took their turn immediately and were quickly back on the chase.




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The second windward mark was all but a replica of the first, except it was Quantum Racing in the lead. Azzurra, hard on their transom, did not quite get the gennaker tack line on fast enough and while they struggled momentarily to bring the boat under control, the American team were able to race away. Azzurra only just held off Interlodge at the finish line.
A big recovery was the key to Quantum Racing’s second win of the day.

They were fifth at the first turn but executed a swift, smooth gybe set which got them straight on to the heels of great gust pattern. By the leeward turn they were – again – bow to bow with Azzurra. The crew from the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda struck out to the left, Quantum stayed right of middle and by the second turn Ed Baird, Terry Hutchinson and the Key West winners were in front. On the thrilling final run Quantum stayed right and extended, whilst Azzurra scraped through for second just ahead of the fast advancing Rán Racing.

For all the world in the third race it looked as if Takashi Okura’s crew on Sled had done enough to earn their first US 52 SUPER SERIES win as they streaked down the final run having lead all the way around the track. But the indefatigable Azzurra team denied them on the line and they had to be content with their second second place of the season.
From a very strong start Ross MacDonald had them into phase with the shifts well, just leading Azzurra at the windward mark. Quantum Racing again found themselves back in the pack.



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Azzurra came back at the leaders with a better windshift on the approach to the last turn of the day. That gave them a chance to challenge Sled down the run. Azzurra gybed away earlier, had one better gust, and were only just ahead at the finish gun.
Azzurra go into the penultimate day of racing with a lead of one point over Quantum Racing, Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s Interlodge lies third in the 52 SUPER SERIES regatta 10 points behind.

Miami may have delivered wind well in excess of its usual reputation for light early season winds, but Saturday’s forecast is for a return to ‘normal service’: gentle shifty winds.

US 52 SUPER SERIES
TP52 US CHAMPIONSHIP
after six races
1 Azzurra (ITA) Pablo A Roemmers (ARG) 4,1,1,2,2,1 11pts
2 Quantum Racing (USA) Doug DeVos (USA) 1,3,2,1,1,1 12pts
3 Interlodge (USA) Austin and Gwen Fragomen (USA) 3,5,3,3,5,3 22pts
4 Rán Racing (SWE) Niklas Zennström (SWE) 2,7,4,4,3,6, 26pts
5 Sled (USA) Takashi Okura (USA) 6,6,6,5,4,2 29pts
6 Vesper (USA) Jim Swartz (USA) 5,2,5,6,7,5 30pts
7 Hooligan (USA) Gunther Buerman (USA) 7,4,7,7,6 8DNF 39pts

IRC
1 Azzurra 4,1,1,2,2,1 11pts
2 Quantum Racing 1,3,2,1,1,4 12pts
3 Rán Racing 2,7,3,4,2,6 24pts
4 Interlodge 3,5,4,3,6,3 24pts
5 Sled 6,6,6,5,4,2 29pts
6 Vesper 5,2,5,6,7,5 30pts
7 Hooligan 7,4,7,7,5,8DNF 38pts

Vasco Vascotto (ITA) tactician Azzurra (ITA): “We are very happy with the results. Still we made a couple of mistakes and so we have to sort them out in our debriefing, but at the end with two second places today and one first we cannot be unhappy and leading with a point ahead of Quantum Racing. Tomorrow will be very light, very difficult and very shifty and so it is good to finish well in that strong breeze today.
I think that Ceccho (Francesco Bruni) got us some good starts, the boat is fast like that and that makes it easier for me. We did those little mistakes in manoeuvres and we have to sort them out because this sport is about learning every single day.
And in fact the level is so high now you can be very proud after a day like this.”

Terry Hutchinson (USA) tactician Quantum Racing (USA): “ We come out with a 1,1,4 and if you had said at the first top mark of each of these races that that was how it was going to end up then you would have to have been happy. But we have high expectations of ourselves and so the fourth was a bit of a disappointment. Azzurra came after us in the pre-start – they are going to do that which is fine – we had a good first beat but ended up fifth, 100 metres behind at the top mark and then we were fourth, and then up the second beat we did not take one left shift and that cost us a lot of distance. But there are five races to go, we are down by one point so we are looking at five more tough ones.
The strength of the team is that when we don’t do things well tactically the boat handling helps us out, it is nice to have that in your bag. We had 31kts as the top windspeed and we were trucking along at 24 to 25kts. All things considered you can’t be too disappointed, but I am with that last race. And I will be until 1159hrs tonight and then….it’s gone!”
Marco Constant (USA) trimmer Hooligan (USA): “We have a running backstay system from the old Team New Zealand that is a bit complicated. In releasing the old runner during a gybe, a clutch has to be released in order to the runner tail to run free. In the third race we were gybing away from Azzurra, when this clutch did not open, the main filled, and we did a high-speed broach that was really violent. Three guys got washed out the back overboard. The umpires picked them up, and one was transferred to hospital straight away with injuries to his arm.”

Gavin Brady (NZL) tactician Vesper (USA): “This was one of those days you don’t easily forget. You needed good skills all around to survive, and good seamanship not to break anything. Besides a halyard and a retrieval line, we broke not one but two tiller extensions, making it hard for Jim to steer the boat in those conditions. It got really scary when we saw Hooligan wipe out in the last race and I was really afraid we were going to hit the guys who were in the water, since we were on the edge of control ourselves. This was a tough day.”

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