Monday, July 1, 2013

52 Super Series Prepares to Party in Ibiza

As a new venue for the 52 Super Series, Ibiza is set to pose plenty of challenges and opportunities for the eight strong fleet competing in this week's Royal Cup. During today's practice race it was two of the older boats in the fleet who dominated the competition in the type of tricky conditions that are expected all week.
Photo: Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
Gladiator, with Chris Larson calling tactics took the lead on the second round went on to win ahead of French boat Paprec, making her 52 regatta season debut. Rán Racing’s coach Thierry Peponnet, an Olympic 470 gold medallist, filled in for owner Niklas Zennström on the helm to take third place after jumping the start and having to climb through the fleet.
Photo: Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
Early leaders Azzurra, the world champions, finished fourth and Barcelona winners Quantum Racing in fifth.
Photo: Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
“In these conditions every team will have some opportunities to win. During this week it will be more a question of keeping one's head than of boat speed,"said Azzurra’s Vasco Vascotto.
Photo: Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
“Looking at the next three or four days it's going to be light, it's going to be hard sailing as we saw today and it is going to be not how you start but how you finish. I’d say it is a venue which will create a lot of opportunities and when you are in the lead you better not to look behind you because that will lead to wrong decisions," Quantum Racing’s tactician Terry Hutchinson said.
Photo: Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
"I think for us in particular we still have a lot of improving to do. It is a solid opportunity for us to get better. In the meantime we have to survive some of the communication mishaps we have. We did good work in overcoming some of these things that happened in Barcelona, but in Barcelona it was windy and we were fast. It is what you see here that will count and so we are good with having good eyes on the boat in Jordi (Calafat), in Juan (Vila) and Ed (Baird, skipper),” he added.
Photo: Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
Daytime temperatures peaked in the high 20’s today but the forecast suggests high 30’s and with the breeze swinging around, long and hot race days are expected under the fierce Balearic sun.
Photo: Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
Quantum Racing’s 1992 Olympic gold medal and America’s Cup winning strategist Jordi Calafat is Balearics born and bred and knows the Ibiza waters, although mainly from cruising.
Photo: Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
“There are two typical directions, easterly and sou 'easterly and sometimes they are fighting one another. But it is an interesting place, a little bit on the light side compared to other events. I don’t know what we will be like. Our boat handling is a big part of our performance, here it will be more loose and open in the light breeze. It will be more difficult for the strategists. It can be two wind directions and so it will be a stressful week for me,” Calafat said.

Quotes:

Thierry Peponnet, FRA, Coach Rán Racing (SWE):
Photo: Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
“It looks like the week will be 10 knots, maybe below that and a bit choppy. The sea is crossed a bit, it does not follow the wind direction and so it will be difficult. You have to trim the sails very differently from one tack to the other, and have the crew trim fore and aft. But it is still sail racing. You have to sail well and get the shifts right.”

Jean-Charles Monnet, FRA, Navigator, Paprec (FRA):
Photo: Xaume Olleros/52 Super Series
“We were quite happy with the speed of the boat, it was interesting today to get the chance to compare with the other competitors. We started on the left side because we saw some shifts on that side, we were happy to go there with Azzurra. We were the two first boats after the start. On the second lap Gladiator went really well upwind, they went to the right hand side. We were happy to finish in second over the line. If the wind stays around 10 - 12 knots this week its good for us but if its higher its more difficult.”

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