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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Quantum Eclipses Rán Racing To Take Lead at 52 Super Series - Quantum Key West - Day 4

Quantum Racing, with team owner Doug DeVos on the helm, now need only a solid final race in the US 52 Super Series at Quantum Key West to clinch the first major regatta title of the 2014 season.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es/52 Super Series
While Quantum Racing composed a strong penultimate day of the five day series, posting a 1,2,1 from the three races sailed in fantastic conditions, their main title rivals Rán Racing and Azzurra had some difficult moments, not least when they both were over the start line early in the last contest.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es/52 Super Series
Quantum Racing streaked away to a big early lead whilst their challengers lost a lot of time re-starting. And an incident at the first mark of the second race, when they were first and second certainly unsettled the Italian flagged team who gybed away to the left, into very light winds which dropped them to a costly sixth place.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es/52 Super Series
DeVos’ crew, with Terry Hutchinson calling tactics partnered by Ed Baird as strategist, by contrast navigated a smooth, accomplished trio of races, bouncing right back after a high scoring Wednesday. With only one race scheduled Friday Quantum Racing have a lead of four points ahead of the world champions Rán Racing.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es/52 Super Series
Azzurra’s errors leave them vulnerable to the continued advances of Interlodge who continue to impress with their steady, low scoring consistency. Austin Fragomen’s team which were runners-up here last year are just one point from the podium.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es/52 Super Series
In 15-17 knots of nor 'north easterly breeze Quantum Racing benefited from the left shift on the first beat to lead the first race, but Azzurra lead through the leeward gate and appeared to have a controlling position on the American boat in the final leg. With slightly better speed and a small right shift, DeVos and crew were able to gently roll over Azzurra to score their fourth win of the regatta.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es/52 Super Series
Interlodge came through on the final stages of the last run to take second in a very close finish which saw four boats overlapped on the line, the close racing enhanced by the short, sharp course which lasted just 44 minutes.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es/52 Super Series
Niklas Zennström’s start to the next race was pin sharp and that was what allowed Rán Racing to only just squeeze around the top mark ahead of Azzurra. The Italian crew launched a protest claiming the Swedish boat had tacked too close and they had been forced into avoiding action. And as they were slowed and rolled by Quantum Racing they gybed way out to the left of the downwind which sailed them into very much lighter breeze, Azzurra rounding the leeward gate a distant and disastrous sixth.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es/52 Super Series
The third race was the most dramatic, even if the wind had eased back to 10-12 knots. The three top protagonists were side by side on the line which was biased to the committee boat end. All pushing each other, Quantum Racing was slightly to leeward and ducked in the final two or three seconds, whilst the other two were immediately and clearly signalled over.
Photo: MartinezStudio.es/52 Super Series
Both returned, Rán Racing needing a second attempt to exonerate themselves. Finishing fourth and fifth whilst Quantum Racing and Sled took first and second, the 52 Super Series champions are in a strong position, but as ever their focus is as much on the season long title, and the two regattas US 52 Super Series title, more than winning constituent regatta titles:
Photo: MartinezStudio.es/52 Super Series
DeVos concluded with a smile: “We are just looking at the whole season and we are just out to keep banging in good results and so that will just be the plan tomorrow.”
Photo: MartinezStudio.es/52 Super Series
Azzurra’s Vascotto acknowledged: “What a day,what a day. It was a pretty bad day for us. We did not sail well at all. Unfortunately we did not choose the right sides. We had a forecast for something different and we pushed a little to the right all day.”
Photo: MartinezStudio.es/52 Super Series
US 52 Super Series at Quantum Key West
Standings after nine of ten scheduled races:

1. Quantum Racing (USA) Doug DeVos (USA)1,1,1,6,3,4,1,2,1 Total 20pts
2. Rán Racing (SWE), Niklas Zennström (SWE) 2,2,3,4,1,2,4,1,5 Total 24
3. Azzurra (ITA), Guillermo Parada (ARG) 3,3,2,2,4,1,3,6,4 Total 28
4. Interlodge (USA), Austin Fragomen (USA) 4,5,6,1,2,3,2,3,3 Total 29
5. Sled (USA), Takashi Okura (USA 5,4,5,5,6,5,6,4,2 Total 42
6. Hooligan (USA), Gunther Buerman (USA) 6,6,4,3,5,6,5,5,6 Total 46‏

52 Super Series Media

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