Sunday, July 22, 2018

Final Day's Dock Talk - Rolex TP52 World Championship - cascais

Dean Barker (NZL) Helm Quantum Racing (USA):
Photo: Max Ranchi / 52 Super Series
On American Magic and the America’s Cup program:
Photo: Max Ranchi 
“Right now, the focus is on the TP52 the 52 Super Series. Any racing that we do together is good racing because you put yourself under pressure and deal with the good and the bad. It’s great to come out of this event with a win, it’s really cool to win a World Champs on this boat with this team, and I think for the future we’ve got a very defined plan of what we want to do.

"It’s nice to do the racing and I find I’m really enjoying it again. Even though we’re three regattas through, two to go, there’s still something like 20 races left, so there’s a lot still to play out between now and the end. Everyone knows Palma is a difficult venue: it’s predictable in some ways, and hard in others, so we need to go there with a good attitude and capitalise as best we can on the racing there, and who knows what Valencia will throw up – it could be anything that time of year! So we need to make sure we go into that event with a chance to still be able to win the season.”

Andy Horton (USA), Alegre (GBR):
Alegre chases hard Photo: Max Ranchi 
“It’s great for us to podium here, we’ve been chipping away every day, and every regatta, and I know I keep saying that, and it’s pretty boring, but honestly, last regatta we were just a couple places out and it’s nice for the processes to work out. We keep tight as a group, and our coach, Fuzz, and our local knowledge guy, Gustavo Lima, told us: ‘you’re going to have some ups, you’re going to go the right way, the wrong way, you’re going to have a bad call on a sail or boat handling problems, but just keep chipping away,’ so we did that and it was great.”

On the new crew onboard:

“We’re learning each other, it’s people that I’ve sailed with a lot and they sailed together on Rán including Jon Gunderson and Andy Hemmings. They’re fitting in really well, and working with Andy [Soriano] well, and he enjoys having them and their personalities. Noel Drennan has shifted from runner to main, and Kevin George our sail designer has gone from kite trimmer to runner. So four position changes, but two guys on the boat, but in different roles.”

On Andy Soriano:

“I hope he’s happy. It’s tough, it’s a physical week, and he did a great job. He must be shattered right now! I’m tired, and I’m 20 years younger than him. He chilled out at the right times and put in everything he had – I guarantee it – on some of those runs, right on the edge, we’d get him on lay line and just sending it! So he must be shattered but hopefully happy.”

Andi Robertson / 52 Super Series Media

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Quantum Racing Crowned Rolex TP52 World Championships Cascais

Ten years after their first world title together in the class formative years of the class in Lanzarote, Quantum Racing today lifted the Rolex TP52 World Championship crown in Cascais, winning a spirited ding-dong battle with rivals Azzurra in the typically muscular Atlantic breezes that the Portuguese hotspot has long since been renowned for.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
With Dean Barker steering and Terry Hutchison leading a concerted, big Quantum team effort, they mastered what proved a challenging, breezy race area, which often favoured the opportunists. With nine boats racing, all brand new this season, and all with an equal chance of winning, there is widespread acknowledgment that Quantum Racing were a step ahead in their execution throughout the five day championship.

Several times o
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Over the course of the nine-race world championship regatta Hutchinson and the Quantum Racing afterguard had deftly and doggedly turned modest positions into premium points scoring top three positions, only to then lose those places to rivals’ runway downwind gambles.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Several times, searing downwind sleigh rides saw gains and losses of hundreds of metres at times, during what proved a thrilling world championship. There was little scope for precision, percentage sailing and over the last five races Quantum Racing sailed 1,5,1,5,1 to Azzurra’s 6,1,5,1,2. The American-flagged team of Doug DeVos won the world title by four points from their Argentine-Italian rivals, whose best result of the season this is.
Azzurra Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Quantum Racing’s Hutchinson revealed that during their pre-season, they identified these World Championships and the attendant expectation of strong breezes as fundamental to how they optimised and set up their newly launched boat: 

Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“We hedged our boat towards this regatta. A lot of little things inside the yacht and in the rig program were hedged towards this event, so it’s nice to see it come to fruition,” an emotional and visibly relieved Hutchinson explained.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
To bear witness to the Quantum Racing’s release, and pleasure, as they crossed the line to clinch the title underlines once again what makes the ultra-competitive Hutchinson tick.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“Of course you’re only as good as your last race, and fortunately for us right now that was a win. But you can’t say enough about the effort that the entire team did. This isn’t an individual win, this is a full team win: the shore guys, our sail program, everything that we’ve done here is with an eye of continually improving,” he said.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“If you had to say as you look across the fleet: Sled is going quite well, Alegre as well, the step up across the fleet compared to last season is quite impressive. It is swings and roundabouts, but there’s some really good teams. I think we coughed up 15 points at the last regatta. You are never too far away from having one like that, and the fleet is good enough that if you make a mistake in a race or two they pounce on you really quickly,” he added.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
For Azzurra, the 2017 52 Super Series champions, and themselves twice world champions, there was the huge satisfaction of not just coming back from two modest finishes in Croatia – fourth and seventh – and proving they have lost nothing of their free-thinking, hard-driving Argentine Gaucho spirit in the big breeze, but they also moved up the 52 Super Series leaderboard to third overall.
Sled Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
An exciting, engaging battle between owner-drivers Andy Soriano and Sled’s Takashi Okura, saw Soriano and Alegre win out, but only on the last day of what was a great duel. Alegre take third in the world championship – their first podium this season with Sled in fourth.

Rolex TP52 World Championship Overall Standings:

1. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (2,1,3,4,1,5,1,5,1) 23 p

2. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto and Pablo Roemmers) (1,2,2,7,6,1,5,1,2) 27 p.

3. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (4,4,5,1,4,7,7,2,3) 37 p.

4. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (8,3,7,2,3,2,3,6,4) 38 p.

5. Luna Rossa (ITA) (Patrizio Bertelli) (10DNF, 6,1,3,5,3,4,7,6) 45 p 

6. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (3,5,6,6,9,8,2,3,8) (2 penalti) 52 p.

7. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (5,9,4,5,7,4,6,8,5) 53 p.

8. Phoenix (RSA) (Hasso/Tina Plattner) (6,7,8,8,2,6,8,4,7) 56 p.

9. Onda (BRA) (Eduardo de Souza Ramos) (7,8,9,9,8,10,10,10,10) 81 p.

Andi Robertson / 52 Super Series Media

What Ray Davies and Philippe Presti Said - Day 4, Rolex TP52 Worlds - Cascais

Ray Davies (NZL), Tactician Sled (USA):
Sled Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“A great day for us with a second and a third, so we’re stoked. Mr. Okura did a great job in very trying conditions, I think he was using all his strength to get the boat around the course today and he got rewarded for working extremely hard. We had an incredible comeback in the second race from last to 3rd, that’s been our race of the regatta, and to do it in 25knots, the team is very pleased… we’re pumped.
Sled Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
"It had been a pretty good trend that the first boat to tack onto port was in the top three, until the last race, when we were the first boat to tack onto port and we were last! So it was a more even racecourse today, big breeze, and the position of the racecourse evened it out a lot.”

On the overall 2018 season:

“We’re very pleased. To be just over halfway and be in 2nd place – it’s better than we expected. We’re still getting better, but we’re very happy with where we’re at. We’ve had some lucky breaks along the way and we know how things can change pretty quickly so we’ll just keep our processes going, good debriefs and we have a fantastic crew so we’re not wishing for anything, just have to keep the momentum going.”

On Quantum Racing:

“There is obviously a nice advantage to the pro driving. Deano is doing a nice job, certainly in these conditions, it’s very challenging. And we’re seeing a very polished team at the top of their game and their putting points on the fleet quite comfortably at the moment.”

Philippe Presti, Coach Luna Rossa:
Luna Rossa Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
How does the team approach a windy regatta differently than a light air one?

To finish first, first you have to finish. That’s one. So you have to take care of all the gear, but also you have to push the boat a little bit harder. It’s more physical, obviously, and looks from afar like a Melges, but you have to realise that a 50-footer is pretty heavy! Today was a good day for us, we could have had a 2nd, but we made a slight mistake, but we are still pushing for the podium and we can make it happen.

Andi Robertson / 52 Super Series Media

No Rest For The Wicked - Rolex TP52 World Championship

Quantum Racing carry a seven-point lead into the final day of the Rolex TP52 World Championship off Cascais, to all intents and purposes a relatively healthy margin, even with the expectation of two breezy last races for a nine-boat fleet.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series, 
But Terry Hutchinson, the US-flagged five-time world champions’ hard-driving leader reaffirms, once again, that no margin can be considered secure, particularly given the strong-breeze, big-wave conditions, and the strength and depth of the competition.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“No lead is comfortable. Never. We need to go out and apply the same focus and determination. We were two points off the lead going into the last race and so the memory is still there of what we need to do and how we need to execute. We don’t need to change our game plan and how we are sailing. The guys have the boat going really well, and so it is a matter of making sure that our boat handling is consistent and we hike like there is no tomorrow,” Hutchison said.
Azzurra Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
With the NW’ly breeze building to gust close to 30 knots, there were big gains and losses made over one of the most exhilarating days of racing for the TP52 class in recent years. Quantum Racing retuned a six-point aggregate for the day, going 5,1 from the racecourse, as did the Roemmers’ family’s Azzurra, sailing 1,5.
Azzurra Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Best scoreline today was that of owner-driver Takashi Okura, and the Sled team, whose 2,3 scoring included the outcome of a spectacular five-place – from eighth to third – 300-metre gain on the first run of the second race.
Sled Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
In the first race, it was Azzurra that exploited the pin end favour to break up the early left and establish a very healthy lead around the first windward mark ahead of Sled. Luna Rossa made consistent gains during the race, rising from fifth to third.

The NW’ly wind was at a brisk 22-23 knots on the start line for the second race. With Quantum Racing’s Dean Barker showing considerable skill and poise to hold onto a very slender lane off the line, sandwiched between Luna Rossa and Platoon, which they then turned into an advantage as the fleet later tacked onto port, and Quantum Racing gained leverage as the leftmost boat. Quantum Racing led Luna Rossa around the top mark with Provezza third.

Platoon, by gybing early and going down the left of the run, made a huge gain to actually lead very narrowly through the leeward gate, making more than 150 metres back on Quantum Racing. 

But Quantum Racing chose the right hand mark, looking upwind, and were able to get to Platoon and punish them with a series of tacks as the pair converged progressively with the starboard tack lay line.

Quantum Racing took the win, their third of this Rolex TP5 World Championship, with Platoon second and Sled just nipping across the finish ahead of the fast charging Luna Rossa. With two races scheduled Saturday, Quantum Racing lead into the final day with a seven-point lead over Azzurra, with Sled in third, 11pts behind the leader, and presently on course for their third consecutive podium at the three regattas so for of the 2018 52 Super Series.

Rolex TP52 World Championship Cascais 2018 Standings:

1. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (2,1,3,4,1,5,1) 17 p

2. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto and Pablo Roemmers) (1,2,2,7,6,1,5) 24 p.

3. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (8,3,7,2,3,2,3) 28 p.

4. Luna Rossa (ITA) (Patrizio Bertelli) (10DNF, 6,1,3,5,3,4) 32 p 

5. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (4,4,5,1,4,7,7) 32 p.

6. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (5,9,4,5,7,4,6) 40 p.

7. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (3,5,6,6,9,8,2) (2 penalti) 41 p.

8. Phoenix (RSA) (Hasso/Tina Plattner) (6,7,8,8,2,6,8) 45 p.

9. Onda (BRA) (Eduardo de Souza Ramos) (7,8,9,9,8,10,10) 61 p.

Andi Robertson / 52 Super Series Media

Thursday, July 19, 2018

What The Sailors Said - Rolex TP52 World Championship - Day 3

Dean Barker (NZL) Helm Quantum Racing (USA):
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“It was a challenging race with a lot going on. It was never over. We started in a lot less breeze than any of the teams expected, I think, and then the long second beat was really technical. And then run back down to the downwind mark, and then even the beat back to the finish. It was never really over. There was never a dull moment.”

Andy Horton (USA) Tactician Alegre:
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“It was anything other than boring. At the top and the bottom of the race course there was less breeze, and in the middle more breeze. There was lots of action along the coastline. I lost count of how many tacks we did.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
"We are disappointed to have lost a couple of boats, but any day we open our eyes and get a fourth place, then we are happy with that for a daily average.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
"We are getting better every day. Identifying our weaknesses was one thing and then working on them is the next thing and so for example, an Indian – which is a type of kite set – we worked on that; take downs, we worked on that; every day we work on something. There is a lot of racing left in this regatta and this season.”

Andi Robertson / 52 Super Series Media

Quantum Racing Win Coastal Race in Cascais - Rolex TP52 World Championship - Day 3

Quantum Racing won the exciting, interesting Coastal Race off Cascais, Portugal, to extend their lead at the Rolex TP52 World Championship to seven points with four scheduled races left to sail.
Quantum Racing Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
While the five-time world title winners delivered an accomplished victory – never far enough ahead of the pack to relax even for a moment – they had to rely on “seat-of-the-pants”, intuitive sailing skills for much of the course.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
After their electronics shut down entirely at the first leeward turn – less than 30-minutes into the three-hours-and-20-minutes 20-nautical-miles course upwind to Cabo Raso followed by a long strategic run and a sting-in-the-tail-finish in the bay at Cascais – helm Dean Barker and the Quantum Racing crew were forced to rely on their natural feel for the boat.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“We lost our instruments at the first bottom mark, and so we sailed virtually the whole race with no instruments. That was interesting. That made life a little more challenging than it needed to be,” said Barker, Quantum Racing's helm,
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“The guys did a great job then just keeping the boat going fast and dealing with a ‘zero information’ situation. It was back to seat of the pants stuff. But it is amazing that because you sail the boat so much you do develop a very good feeling for how it is going. I think we did a good job preserving that little bit of lead we had.”

If the 52 Super Series coastal races have come under fire lately, Cascais actually delivered a course that included between 40 and 45 tacks and gybes over its length, including an engaging passage up the shore closing up to Cabo Raso followed by a long run back in the direction of Lisbon, during which there were gains and losses to be made.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Royal Cup winners Luna Rossa’s rollercoaster world title challenge hit another downwards slope when they snagged a rope on the long upwind and dropped from fifth to ninth. But credit to Vasco Vascotto, Francesco Bruni, Jimmy Spithill and crew who yet again showed their fighting spirit, battling back to fifth.
Alegre Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
While Alegre made another neat start at the port end of the start line, Phoenix and Luna Rossa inshore and poised to head early for the preferred right side of the upwind, it proved to be a more open track early in the upwind because of the lighter breeze. The key was achieving the best layline in the right hand, lifting wind and it was Ian Moore and the Quantum Racing afterguard who seemed to nail it best, leading in to the first top mark ahead of Alegre.
Phoenix Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
With Ed Baird calling tactics for owner-driver Hasso Plattner, Phoenix made good gains on a close, exciting tacking spell up the shore towards the cape, when the gain was to be had in the shore. And so at the top turn of the course, Quantum Racing led Phoenix, which had got the better of the scrapping pair of Sled and Alegre.
Sled Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
On the downwind, Sled found a vein of sustained extra wind-pressure offshore, which allowed them to erode nearly 100 metres of Quantum Racing’s lead. But Phoenix then positioned themselves better, to windward on the upwind to the finish and Plattner’s crew were able to hold on to second, ahead of a photo finish for third, which went Sled’s way by a matter of less than two metres.
Azzurra Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Quantum Racing lead on 11 points after four races. With Alegre fourth today, and Azzurra sixth it is still the 2017 52 Super Series champions that hold second overall, but now tied on points with Andy Soriano’s Alegre, which has so far been pleasingly consistent with 4,4,5,1,4 to ensure this is their best regatta of the season yet, as it is also Azzurra’s.
Platoon and Onda Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Meanwhile, 2017 Rolex TP52 World Champions Platoon are in eighth after finishing ninth, but redemption of sorts is within reach as they are only six points off fifth. For the last two days of racing, the winds are due to build again to produce an enthralling climax to this world championship.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“We are moving back into stronger breeze for the last couple of days and we are looking forward to that as we feel quite comfortable in the breeze. We are trying to keep progressively sailing better and better,” Barker added.

Rolex TP52 World Championship Cascais 2018 Standings:

1. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (2,1,3,4,1) 11 p.

2. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto and Pablo Roemmers) (1,2,2,7,6) 18 p.

3. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (4,4,5,1,4) 18 p.

4. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (8,3,7,2,3) 23 p.

5. Luna Rossa (ITA) (Patrizio Bertelli) (10DNF, 6,1,3,5) 25 p.

6. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (5,9,4,5,7) 30 p.

7. Phoenix (RSA) (Hasso/Tina Plattner) (6,7,8,8,2) 31 p.

8. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (3,5,6,6,9) (2 penalty) 31 p.

9. Onda (BRA) (Eduardo de Souza Ramos) (7,8,9,9,8) 41 p.

Andi Robertson / 52 Super Series Media

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

What The Sailors Said - Day 2 - Rolex TP52 World Championship Cascais 2018

Vasco Vascotto (ITA) tactician Luna Rossa (ITA):
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52SuperSeries
“After yesterday’s disaster, breaking the hydraulics 30 seconds before the first race of the worlds is not the best start, so today was better, definitely. We had some issues with our speed just balancing the mainsail a little better and we are in better shape. It will be tough to recover from here. 
What is important for us though is that we had a tough day like yesterday, and that we come back fighting and have a good day like today, and tomorrow we will be together as a team fighting some more. Our speed today was better, for sure.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52SuperSeries
"On the second race, the beat was longer and so the right was a bit stronger and we got that well. 
Cascais is one of my favourite places. I come here every year and, it is so friendly; like the guy who makes the cappuccino round the corner here, I was here with my mother and father and he wants to meet my father and say hello… that is Cascais.”

Andy Horton (USA) tactician Alegre (GBR):
Photo:Max Ranchi
“We started at the pin and crossed the fleet and got to the right and had a good fight with Luna Rossa. Sled made that gain downwind but we rounded the gate ahead and kept them behind to get the win. Overall we are just chipping away with a couple of boats around us [on the leaderboard], so it’s good just now, we are learning, we are getting better.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52SuperSeries
We had a lobster pot in the first race, coming down a big wave and that hurt, and so now we are here, going better and worrying about a point here and there and rather than ten points here and there.”

Andi Robertson / 52 Super Series Media