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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Vesper and Azzurra Tied On Top - Barclays 52 Super Series - Capri -Day 2

After two days of windward-leeward races off Capri, Italy the first Barclays 52 Super Series regatta of the season has fallen very much in line with predictions that this would be a very open event with no one boat able to dominate in the light winds.
Photo: MartinezStudio/52SuperSeries
Four different winners from four starts endorse this view as Jim Swartz’s American crew on Vesper and Alberto Rommers’ Azzurra today added their names to the winners roster so far, both excelling in the challenging gentle airs.
Azzurra Photo: MartinezStudio/52SuperSeries
But while winning races is important in the grand scheme of things, so too is the hard grind of gaining points from a deep position to convert a high score to something less harmful. And in that regard Vasco Vascotto, the charismatic Italian tactician of Azzurra was as pleased to have come back from last place during today’s first race which they converted to a seventh in the fleet of nine 52s from seven different nations.
Photo: MartinezStudio/52SuperSeries
Those two saved points ensure they share the same points tally as Vesper. Indeed it is only on the nominal strength of a better countback that the American boat are credited with the regatta lead.
Photo: MartinezStudio/52SuperSeries
The race committee did an excellent job in moving the course area and axis slightly further offshore into the channel, negating some of the advantage on the left side of the track which had prevailed on Day 1.
Vesper Photo: MartinezStudio/52SuperSeries
Gavin Brady appeared to read that nicely for the Vesper and they popped out of the pack as leaders midway up the first beat before building a lead of just over 100 metres by the first downwind, a seemingly statutory right here afforded to the team which gets in front. Able to sail the pressure and shifts Vesper were well ahead by the leeward gate while Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing pipped Michele Galli’s B2 on the finish line to regain the second place they had at Mark 1.
Photo: MartinezStudio/52SuperSeries
The second race was sailed in the lightest breeze yet, just five knots at times. Azzurra made a great start with skipper-helm Guillermo Parada working nicely with Vascotto on their final speed build which just gave them the early advantage. Tony Rey and the Provezza crew worked well on the left of the second beat, recognising some extra, local pressure which helped them to squeeze just ahead of Gladiator at the final turn. Ergin Imre’s Provezza took second with Gladiator third.
Photo: MartinezStudio/52SuperSeries
Vascotto was not just pleased with their results today, but that the optimisation that they have for Capri’s lighter airs seem to have worked and they are equipped with the speed to compete:
Photo: MartinezStudio/52SuperSeries
“ Light conditions, for our boat as everyone knows, it is not fantastic but I think we have made some nice steps forwards in terms of speed upwind and downwind,” Vascotto said.
Photo: MartinezStudio/52SuperSeries
“We feel we can compete and that is the best news. If you are not sailing fast it is a little more difficult. The new sailors on board are making a very good job. In the first race we just sailed into a hole and we could not get back. It is very difficult if there is a boat like Quantum Racing which is tacking on you two or three times. But I felt they make a little mistake because I feel if they sailed their own race they could make more points rather than watching us. We are happy,” he added.
Photo: MartinezStudio/52SuperSeries
Meanwhile tactician Gavin Brady is taking little store from their share of the best tally on the points table but is more pleased that the Vesper crew are ahead of expectations and have given themselves a healthy confidence boost:
Photo: MartinezStudio/52SuperSeries
“Getting the win is really important for the team, coming from Miami at the US 52 Super Series we did not feel like we sailed to our potential and I think like today when you go out there and have a good race, everyone does their job to the best of their abilities, we all walk away feeling like we can compete at this level. And that is really important, something we feel we can build on.”
Photo: MartinezStudio/52SuperSeries
And for Australia’s Olympic gold medallist and America’s Cup winning strategist Tom Slingsby, if his first day proved a bit of a disappointing baptism of fire, this evening he is happier to see steady upwards progress, finishing third in Race.
Photo: MartinezStudio/52SuperSeries
A coastal race is scheduled on Thursday for the Barclays 52 Super Series fleet.

Standings after four races:

Results: Barclays 52 Super Series - Capri, Italy
Overall after 4 races
1. Vesper, USA, (Jim Swartz USA) (5,2,1,6) 14pts
2. Azzurra, ITA, (Alberto Roemmers ARG) (3,3,7,1) 14pts
3. Quantum Racing, USA, (Doug De Vos USA) (4,1,6,4) 15pts
4. Rán Racing, SWE, (Niklas Zennström SWE) (2,8,2,5) 17pts
5. Phoenix, BRA, (Eduardo de Souza Ramos BRA) (1,7,3,8) 19pts
6. Provezza 7, TUR, (Ergin Imre TUR) (6,4,8,2) 20pts
7. Gladiator, GBR, (Tony Langley GBR) (9,6,5,3) 23pts
8. Paprec, FRA, (Jean Luc Petithugenin FRA) (7,5,9,7) 28pts
9. B2, ITA, (Michele Galli ITA) (8,9,4,9) 30pts

Barclays 52 Super Series Media

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