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Monday, August 17, 2015

Leaders Are At Halfway Point - Rolex Fastnet Race Update

The leading yachts at the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race have reached the halfway point of the 603-nm race and the front-running multihulls has rounded the race’s emblematic turning point - the Fastnet rock.
SPINDRIFT 2 rounding the Fastnet Rock Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
At 17:00 CEST the Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard-skippered Spindrift 2 leads the fleet having opened up a 17-nm advantage over her nearest rival on the water, Phaedo 3. Spindrift 2, travelling at around 24 knots, rounded the Fastnet rock with gusto at 16:49 BST. The likelihood is the 130-ft trimaran will continue its recent dominance of multihull line honours at the Rolex Fastnet. Spindrift has 250-nm to run to the finish in Plymouth and may finish late tomorrow morning.
Comanche Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
Following a slow start yesterday lunchtime from Cowes, the leading monohulls are also making good progress. The tussle between American Maxis Rambler and Comanche is proving intriguing. As Spindrift rounded the Fastnet rock, 88-ft Rambler was some 3-nm ahead of the 100-ft Comanche and 100-nm from rounding the rock.
Leopard Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
The heavier Leopard – two-time line honours winner – is some 25-nm further behind. Performing impressively is the newly-launched Maxi 72 MOMO (CAY) keeping up pace with Mike Slade’s British Maxi having passed the Isles of Scilly and begun their charge to the Fastnet.
Rambler Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
Although the leading boats have gathered speed, the monohull race record set in 2011 by Abu Dhabi of 1 day, 18 hours and 39 minutes will not be threatened.
The Needles Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
The bulk of the record-breaking 356-strong international fleet are currently passing Plymouth having negotiated just over 130-nm of the race. Since yesterday’s start the vast majority of boats has endured a frustrating first 24 hours of moving slowly or gently parking and floating, conditions are expected to improve in the coming days allowing them to stay in contention for overall victory on IRC handicap.
Sorcha Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
One of the pre-race favourites which will sadly not trouble this year’s leaderboard is Bryon Ehrhart’s 63-ft Lucky which went aground on exiting the Solent yesterday. A simple reminder that the course has plenty of traps for the unwary.

Regatta News

Saturday, August 8, 2015

What The Sailors Said - 52 Super Series, Copa del Rey - Final Day

Terry Hutchinson, USA, Tactician Quantum Racing USA:
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
“That was by far the hardest Copa del Rey that we have won. It is a rewarding day and a rewarding win. I think the guys were a bit down after the day we went 6,9. The first thing I said this morning when I got on the boat was I didn’t want the penalty which we incurred to be the deciding factor in our regatta. 
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
"And I think probably one of the things which helped us the most was the fact that it became a one race day and there were four boats which could win the regatta. At that point we just had to execute our plan and trust that in the process of racing the boat well that we would be right. 
And we were.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
"Ado was confident in the right had side. We had two definitive moments in the race. The first one was lane conviction that the right was going to be favoured as the breeze was oscillating back and forth, that we extend for a minute on starboard and we always want to be the first boat going right. And Ado just encouraged patience. Once got the thumbs up from Ado that he was happy, we tacked an off we went. 
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
"That was it. It was a matter of executing the manouvres and sailing smart. 
As much as the DeVos family have given us over the eight years, what an awesome, awesome day for Quantum Racing. To do it with our imspirational leader Doug and his son Dalton doing the first two days of the regatta, you would say we did not do it the easy way. And yet it is by far the most rewarding.”
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
Harm Müller-Spreer GER Platoon: 
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
“Their choice was the right side of the course, ours was the left and theirs worked out. Today was tricky. The first third of the upwind looked good for us, we could see no one underneath us. But then slowly the right side gained. And from then we just had to defend our third place. Azzurra came close they were going forwards and backwards and we had to keep Bronenosec behind us.”
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
Vasco Vascotto ITA Tactician Azzurra: 
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
“Obviously it was just one race and unfortunately their four boats and somebody would win from the right, somebody would win from the left. We wanted to started on the pin, that is my favourite call but it did not play out this time. It is also true that we started the event with a lead of 34 points on the circuit standings and we finish it with 35 so if we are crying today to finish second and have gained another point in the overall standings, I think our life would be nightmare.”

Guillermo Parada ARG Skipper-Helm Azzurra: 

Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
“It is a little bit disappointing to lose the lead on the final day after leading for the week. But thew objective of the week is to consolidate our lead on the circuit and we have done that. We did our best to win the Copa del Rey. And today some days you win some days you lose. We went into the final day of Porto Cervo trailing Quantum Racing by two points and came out winners by three. This time we went to the water leading by one and came back trailing by three. That is the way life is. You make your choices and you live with them. The good thing is we are making our own decisions and in control of our own destiny.”

52 Super Series Media

52 Super Series Media

Quantum Racing Crowned Kings of Copa del Rey

Quantum Racing may have won the premier class at the 34th Copa del Rey Mapfre, TP52s for the third time in a row when they won the final race but tactician Terry Hutchinson considers today’s victory in the fourth regatta of the 52 Super Series their hardest won and by far their most satisfying.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
Victory in the Mediterranean’s showcase regatta was a real family affair this time. Son Dalton DeVos steered the first two days of the regatta before father Doug DeVos took over for the final days.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
“That was by far the hardest Copa del Rey that we have won.” grinned Hutchinson on the dock at the Real Club Nautica de Palma, wiping the sweat from his forehead, “It is a rewarding day and a rewarding win.”
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
“As much as the DeVos family have given us over the eight years, what an awesome, awesome day for Quantum Racing. To do it with our inspirational leader Doug and his son Dalton doing the first two days of the regatta…..you would say we did not do it the easy way. And yet it is by far the most rewarding.”
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
Doug, one of the founding fathers and shareholders of the 52 Super Series, took over the helm on Thursday and made a shaky ninth and fifth, incurring a penalty on the first race, but came back strong thereafter winning today’s on race showdown when all the pressure was on, to seal the regatta title three points clear of Azzurra.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
Quantum Racing’s first regatta win of the 2015 season was clinched by a 5,2,1,1 sequence. Indeed after their nine points aberration the 2014 52 Super Series champions amassed only nine points over the last four races.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
Four boats were in the frame for the Copa del Rey title, Azzurra went afloat with a one point lead ahead of Quantum Racing and Harm Müller-Spreer’s Platoon, with Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec just one more point behind.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
A delay preceded the sea breeze build. And when it came in it was shifty and fitful. A first start was annulled when a 35 degree shift skewed the start line.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
But when the showdown race did get away, the 6-9 knots breeze as far right as it has been all week, at 235 degrees, it was Quantum Racing who executed perfectly. They worked the right side of the course, avoiding the initial light patch to the right of the committee boat and stayed patient to earn the winning dividend, leading all the way around the course.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
Azzurra rounded the top mark in sixth after choosing the pin end, left side option. They then dropped two places on the run and recovered to fifth. The world champions finish runners up to Quantum Racing with Platoon finishing on the third step overeall, the German flagged team’s second podium in succession.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
Once again one of the hallmarks of the Quantum Racing team was their ability to bounce back after a bad day.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
Correspondingly Platoon had a day of two wins during the week but then finished 4,8,10. Azzurra may rue their wrong choice today but they leave Palma having extended their lead on the season long 52 Super Series championship by another point, heading to Cascais in September with 35 points of a margin. Tactician Vasco Vascotto remarked:
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
“It is also true that we started the event with a lead of 34 points on the circuit standings and we finish it with 35 so if we are crying today to finish second and have gained another point in the overall standings, I think our life would be nightmare,” Azzurra's tactician Vasco Vascotto said.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
Final Standings 52 Super Series at 34th Copa del Rey Mapfre, Palma de Mallorca

1. Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (3,4,2,9,5,2,1,1) 27pts
2. Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (1,1,5,3,4,6,5,5) 30pts
3. Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (6,3,3,1,1,4,8,10) 36pts
4. Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (10,5,1,4,2,3,2,11) 38pts
5. Alegre, GBR (Andres Soriano USA) (2,2,6,5,10,9,3,7) 44pts
6.Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) (5,7,8,2,9,5,4,4) 44pts
7. Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (4,11,10,6,11,1,9,6) 58pts
8. Spookie, USA (Steve Benjamin USA) (7,10,4,11,8,10,7,2) 59pts
9. Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (8,9,11,7,3,11,11,3) 63pts
10. Xio/Hurakan, ITA (Guiseppe Parodi ITA) (9,8,7,10,7,8,6,8) 63pts
11. Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (11,6,9,8,6,7,10,9) 66pts

52 Super Series Media

Friday, August 7, 2015

What The Sailors Said - 52 Super Series, Copa del Rey - Day 4

Guillermo Parada, ARG, Skipper-Helm Azzurra (ITA):
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
“It is good to be leading by one point into the last day ahead of a bunch of boats which are very, very packed together. I am looking forwads to an exciting final day and I am hoping we can make it happen again. Today we did not have a very easy day. We had good starts but complicated our position more than we maybe needed to. 
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
"We paid for that but we were able to hang on strong and recover, especially in the second race. We recovered five or six places to be able to recover our lead. I think that if you asked us at the beginning of the week if we would like to be in this position, I am sure everyone would like to be in this position. So we cannot complain. 
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
"
I think we need to take a little bit more risk. I think the boats which are winning are taking a bit more risk. If you have a plan you need t go for it 100 per cent. If you try to cover too many options you come unstuck. You need to go for the win. And that is what we are going to do for tomorrow.”

Ado Stead, GBR, Tactician Quantum Racing (USA): 
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
“We had a better day, boat of the day in fact. We knew the first race would be more open and it was. The breeze was a little lighter to start with than what I think people though there would be. The first race was about finding the best pressure and then defending the left, conscious that the left was better. It was good. 
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
"We took our opportunities and were patient in both races. Yesterday we had a couple of distractions and looked to try and recover too much in the first race. Today we are right back in it.
Both Doug and Dalton are brilliant sailors in their own right but for Doug to come in and find your feet in a very tough ask. 
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
"Yesterday was a day when you had to be metre perfect off the start line because it was such a left hand track. Today there were a few more options and we were able to find lanes. We are looking forward to tomorrow, in with a shout at winning Copa del Rey. And that is always good.”

52 Super Series Media

Quantum Throws Down The Gauntlet at Copa del Rey - Day 4

There was drama aplenty on Friday at the 52 Super Series regatta championship at the 34th Copa del Rey Mapfre where Quantum Racing posted a second and first to keep their dreams of successfully defending the title alive. Harm Müller-Spreer’s German Platoon faltering after a costly penalty in the second race contributed to a weighty eighth place, and world champions Azzurra finished the day with a consistent but modest six and fifth.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
Azzurra lead going into Saturday's showdown by a single point ahead of Platoon and Quantum Racing tied up on the same aggregate, while Russia’s Bronenosec is in fourth only one point behind. The Bay of Palma has seen many close fights decide the TP52 title over the 10 years that the class has been competing at the Mediterranean’s pinnacle summer regatta.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
But for sure the battle of Palma this time will be truly captivating, too close to call. And each of the teams possess such different and exciting talents both individually and as crew units that the way they each respond to the final day pressure will be fundamental to the outcome.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
Azzurra, world champions came into the regatta and seized the early lead but have misfired slightly in recent days, not being able to achieve the same domination that they have run with through back to back wins in Sardinia and at the World Championship with.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
Today’s 2,1 and deficit of just one point off the lead prove Quantum Racing are in the winning groove again even if that is only their second victor’s gun this season.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
After their two wins Thursday, Platoon slipped today. They lost third to Bronenosec in the first race. But after leading around the top mark in the second race, they slid into the middle of the fleet before the contentious penalty which came in a port-starboard crossing with Sled. 
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
Their resulting turns cost them a place but they were unsettled and lost another plce down the final run. The runners up at the world championship need to come out with fresh, clear heads and do what they had been doing so well until today.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
Race six was delayed while the light sea breeze built. It proved to be lighter than expected at just six to nine knots. The race course was much more open and contest was defined much more about seeking out the best wind pressure rather than simply drag racing to the left side of the track upwind. Provezza prevailed from a pin end start, holding off Quantum Racing to win. 
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
A second for Quantum Racing was well won, reading the subtle changes and bands of breeze very well, especially on the first upwind. Azzurra struggled in the traffic coming back to sixth. But with them two places behind Platoon that gave the German flagged crew a tw points lead going into the second race, Quantum Racing and Bronenosec tied on points.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
The Embat sea breeze came in, better late than not at all, building to 13-14 knots to produce an extremely close Race 7, especially as has often been the case, in the middle order where the one sided track makes for especially tight, high octane racing. 
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
Platoon lead at the top turn by virtue of an inside overlap on Quantum Racing, but the left yielded a key gain for Doug DeVos team and they lead, almost bow to bow with Alegre through the gate. Platoon were rolled by Alegre on that run.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
Quantum Racing were able to keep the fleet under wraps going on to win. Bronenosec took second to keep themselves as title contenders, running 1,4,2,3,2 for the last five races. But Platoon may rue their penalty and the resulting eighth.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
And so the title is finely balanced, success will be down to managing risk, whilst all the time keeping an eye on the biggest prize, the Copa del Rey.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
“I think we need to take a little bit more risk. I think the boats which are winning are taking a bit more risk. If you have a plan you need t go for it 100 per cent. If you try to cover too many options you come unstuck. You need to go for the win. And that is what we are going to do for tomorrow,” Azzurra’s skipper Guillermo Parada said.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
52 Super Series at 34th Copa del Rey Mapfre, Palma de Mallorca
, Standings after 7 races.

1. Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (1,1,5,3,4,6,5) 25pts
2. Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (6,3,3,1,1,4,8) 26pts
3. Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (3,4,2,9,5,2,1) 26pts
4. Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (10,5,1,4,2,3,2) 27pts
5. Alegre, GBR (Andres Soriano USA) (2,2,6,5,10,9,3) 37pts
6. Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) (5,7,8,2,9,5,4) 40pts
7. Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (4,11,10,6,11,1,9) 52pts
8. Xio/Hurakan, ITA (Guiseppe Parodi ITA) (9,8,7,10,7,8,6) 55pts
9. Spookie, USA (Steve Benjamin USA) (7,10,4,11,8,10,7) 57pts
10 Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (11,6,9,8,6,7,10) 57pts
11. Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (8,9,11,7,3,11,11) 60pts

52 Super Series Media 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Platoon Proves Invincible at Copa del Rey Mapfre 52 Super Series - Day 3

It was a golden day at the 34th Copa del Rey Mapfre for Germany’s Harm Müller-Spreer with two back to back wins on the Bay of Palma during which no boat crossed the bow of the distinictive ‘armour clad’ Vrolijk designed TP52. This takes them to the top of the regatta standings but only on countback against 52 Super Series circuit leaders Azzurra.
Photo: Martinez Studio/52 Super Series
While others faltered in the brisk seabreezes and sparkling sunshine, the best day’s conditions that the renowned Bay has dealt up at this showcase regatta or even at last month’s world championships, Platoon were unstoppable. They made excellent starts off the the pin end of the line, annexed the preferred left side of the track early, showed great speed upwind and down, to lead at each and every mark. Following up from two third places, the two winning guns today hand Platoon the impetus and tie them with Azzurra who opened with two wins on Day 1 and went 3,4 today.
Photo: Martinez Studio/52 Super Series
In fact Azzurra were only denied a clear one point lead by a matter of a couple of metres. That is how close the racing is. Down the final run Azzurra needed to pass Paprec for third place. At 500 metres from the finish line Azzurra had their noses in front. But the French team surged back and only just pipped Azzurra on the line. So both Platoon and Azzurra finish the day on 14 points.
Photo: Martinez Studio/52 Super Series
A solid 4,2 from the two heats today sees Bronenosec rise to third overall at the expense of both Quantum Racing and Alegre which took a bit of a slide.
Photo: Martinez Studio/52 Super Series
The 2014 champions had to do a penalty on the first race of the day which annulled their hard earned gains to leave them ninth across the finish line, before finishing fifth in the second race. Ths leaves them fourth overal,l two points ahead of Alegre whose 15 points today sees them fifth.
Photo: Martinez Studio/52 Super Series
Platoon had the best start in the first race, shooting momentarily around the pin end boat before accelerating strongly into the left ‘fast lane’ and making the best gains. Racing on the Charlie course, the most easterly and therefore most influenced by the wind bends of Cabo Blanco point to the left, the track was almost entirely one sided.
Photo: Martinez Studio/52 Super Series
Takashi Okura’s Sled came off the windward end of the start line and rounded second behind Platoon with Spookie and Provezza next. But these two faltered on their kite drops at the leeward gate, letting Azzurra through to take second behind Platoon and Sled. Quantum Racing’s start left them struggling in 10th at the top mark. They worked tirelessly to make gains but lost them when they fouled Provezza and were penalised.
Photo: Martinez Studio/52 Super Series
The second race saw Jean Luc Petithuguenin’s Paprec win the pin with a well timed start. They were first to the left but could not hold the pace of Platoon and Bronenosec upwind. The French team held on tenaciously to win that third place, ensuring that ebullient owner Petithugeunin came ashore with a smile as wide as the Champs Elysee. Indeed his pleasure maybe even surpassed that of Müller-Spreer who insists they take each day and each race as it comes.
Photo: Martinez Studio/52 Super Series
“We had a good calls to go left and we had good starts, but the main important thing is that we now have speed and the boat handling is getting better and better. I am really happy. But we don’t think about anything ahead, we just take each race day by day,” Müller-Spreer said.
Photo: Martinez Studio/52 Super Series
52 Super Series at 34th Copa del Rey Mapfre, Palma de Mallorca

1. Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (6,3,3,1,1) 14pts
2. Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (1,1,5,3,4) 14pts
3. Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (10,5,1,4,2) 22pts
4. Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (3,4,2,9,5) 23pts
5. Alegre, GBR (Andres Soriano USA) (2,2,6,5,10) 25pts
6. Sled, USA (Takashi Okura JPN) (5,7,8,2,9) 31pts
7. Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (8,9,11,7,3) 38pts
8. Spookie, USA (Steve Benjamin USA) (7,10,4,11,8) 40pts
9. Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (11,6,9,8,6) 40pts
10. Xio/Hurakan, ITA (Guiseppe Parodi ITA) (9,8,7,10,7) 41pts
11. Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (4,11,10,6,11) 42pts

52 Super Series Media