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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Dockside Banter - 52 Super Series - Scarlino Cup - Day 5

Terry Hutchinson (USA) tactician Quantum Racing (USA):
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
“That last race, well you cannot say too many nice things about the way Alegre have sailed this entire regatta. We are getting better. There is still a lot of stuff for us to do. All the little subtle things that you have to do are there but we have a new challenge as Doug (DeVos) will come and steer the boat for the next two regattas.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
"That is a new afterguard loop then as Ed Baird will sail as strategist and help with the boat speed loop. And so the good thing is we always have areas to work on, to gain. From Palma Vela to here (two weeks ago they won the Palma Vela training regatta) we are night and day better. But in terms of where we have to get to we are only laying the base line.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
"I am still mad about the three points we gave up in the coastal race. I am a hard taskmaster, yes, but that is the expectation. The standard of the fleet is so high. I raced the boat in Copa del Rey and if the standard then was a 10, that now would be a ten. That is how much the fleet has gone on.”
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
Nick Asher (GBR) tactician Alegre (GBR):
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
“We spent a lot of time in Valencia training and we are happy with where we are. But we know this is all about improving now and working hard between events. We have to work hard to stay up there. I have come from Olympic Sailing and so to step into this arena with Rán was a great experience but then joining Alegre has been great. 
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
"To now get a result after the hard work we have all put in over the winter has been satisfying. You have to just make no mistakes. Make a mistake and you are punished. Hard. Quantum Racing are the benchmark in consistency. But we have great team on board."
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
52 Super Series Media

Victory For Quantum Racing in Scarlino - 52 Super Series

Displaying their hallmark high level of consistency at a challenging new venue for the 52 Super Series, Quantum Racing has won the opening regatta of the season – the Scarlino Cup on Tuscany’s Golfo di Follonica. The Ed-Baird-skippered crew finished no worse than fourth over the eight race series to secure the title with a margin of six points over Andy Soriano’s Alegre.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
Quantum Racing won the first race of the regatta in light conditions but closed out the first regatta of the season with a pair of second places gained in a 13-16kts breeze which produced the best race of the event; fast, powerful, tactical, upwind; and quick, exciting downwind rides with plenty of place changing. The second race was lighter, to the point that the left side of the track looking downwind collapsed almost completely.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
The Scarlino champions’ consistency was hard earned. Terry Hutchinson, the winning tactician, acknowledges they have good speed, but their percentage sailing, mostly always on the right side of the risk/reward equation, was fundamental to their success. More often than not they were going forwards in the fleet, taking places even if their top mark rounding first time up was not in the top three.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
They have seamlessly integrated three new team members aboard, all super high calibre. Ian Moore as navigator has sailed many events over the last 18 months on the Maxi Bella Mente with Hutchinson, Rodney Ardern in the pit won the America’s Cup with Baird on the Alinghi crew. He adds an excellent pair of wind spotting and reading eyes. James Dagg moves into a trimming role. But the second and third regattas of the season add a different dimension to the mix as team owner Doug DeVos steps into the hot seat as helm.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
And while Quantum Racing lead from the start of the week there was never any question of them running away with the title. The standard of the 11-boat fleet is very much higher and much, much more even than one year ago when the 2015 season opened in Valencia. Rán Racing, victors then, made sixth overall this week and Azzurra, the world champions, and 52 Super Series champions made a cold start to their title defence finishing fifth overall.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
Indeed the battle for the podium places was every bit as intense as the climax of last year. Harm Müller Spreer’s Platoon went in to the last day four points behind Quantum Racing and two points ahead of Alegre. But dreams of a 1,2 in Italy for the newly formed Quantum powered “Scuderia” – Quantum Racing and Platoon, took a hit when Platoon started the penultimate race badly and could only manage an eighth.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
So too the challenge from Ergin Imre’s Provezza faded. Second overall earlier in the week, winning two races back to back they had a nightmare final day. After battling up to challenge Quantum Racing for second at the windward mark second time up in the first race, they fouled the American flagged team, tacking much too close and had to take a penalty, dropping to a seventh. And in the final race Provezza dropped from second at the windward mark to a distant tenth on the final run when the breeze dropped away. Their 17 points on the last day drops them to eighth overall.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
Andy Soriano’s second overall repeats their dream debut in Valencia one year ago when the Maxi world champion crew seemingly made a great transition to the circuit. But that was their best finish of the season. This time they sailed a very steady, smart regatta with only one lowly eighth as ballast which was counterweighted by two solid thirds on the final day.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
The result is a ringing endorsement for young Nick Asher the past 470 world champion. The 31 year old is the youngest tactician in the fleet and served his apprenticeship as strategist on Rán Racing. But he stepped on to Alegre in the middle of last year and now repays Andy Soriano’s desire to have a younger, open minded tactician in his team.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
52 Super Series  Final standing after 8 races:

1. Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (1,3,4,3,4,4,2,2) 23 pts
2. Alegre, GBR (Andres Soriano USA) (2,5,8,5,2,3,1,3) 29 pts
3. Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (5,2,3,6,5,2,8,4) 35 pts
4. Sled, USA (Takashi Okura JPN) (6,1,9,8,8,1,6,1) 40 pts
5. Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (7,8,6,2,3,5,9,5) 45 pts
6. Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (9,6,2,7,1,9,4,8) 46 pts
7. Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (3,4,7,4,10,8,3,7) 46 pts
8. Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (4,9,1,1,6,10,7,10) 48 pts
9. Xio/Hurakan, ITA (Guiseppe Parodi ITA) (8,7,5,9,7,7,11,9) 63 pts
10. Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (10,10,10,10,11,11,5,6) 73pts
11. Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (11,11,11,11,9,6,10,DNS/12) 81 pts

52 Super Series Media

Saturday, May 28, 2016

What The Sailors Said - 52 Super Series - Scarlino Cup - Day 4

Gerry Mitchell (GBR) mainsail Trimmer Alegre (GBR):
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
“We’re pretty happy with today. It was one of those races where anything can happen. The wind was very strange even when we did race. We expected more breeze than that from our forecast, but you’ve got to go with what you’ve got and we were pretty happy with the result. We’re very happy with our position going into tomorrow. We’re in podium position right now – easily in touch with second.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
"It’s going to be a different day tomorrow I think, so we’ll see what we can do. We were in a similar position last year. We seem to come out of the box pretty well. I think a lot of other boats have been training this year. We trained a lot early on last year. A lot of other guys have been out there with us this year, so we’re pretty happy to be where we are.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
"I think the key to our preparations has been about getting onto the water early enough, looking at all of the new gear early enough. But from here you’ve got to try and improve as the season goes on. We had some changes and things last year, and other people caught up to us a bit after Valencia. We’ll just try to take it one step at a time, and keep on top of the game.”

Markus Wieser (GER) Tactician Platoon (GER):
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
“Sometimes you have to be more lucky than good and that was today to some extent. We got a penalty in the pre start. And we had to do another penalty turn close to the committee boat. We could just get under Paprec and so we could get to the right side which is what we wanted. But we were well back in the fleet. And then we got a nice right shift and got a clear lane. 
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
"We had a lift all the way and got to sixth or seventh but had closed back on the fleet. Everyone gybe set but we went for a bear away set which was the right call because the others were all slowing down. We gained a lot, third at the leeward gate and then we caught Alegre which was perfect because we are very close together on the overall rankings. Second is good for us. Considering how we started the day to end up second is amazing.”
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
Terry Hutchinson (USA) Tactician Quantum Racing (USA):

“The goal for the day was three points a race or less and so we miss that goal by a point but neither did we shoot ourselves in the foot. This venue is proving to be quite challenging. We had a long debrief this morning about the coastal race. Ed and the guys got us such a good start and I gave back three points we did not have to. 
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
"And then you have a day like today which in fact is the same result and you feel so much better about the result because we were a little bit back, we had a nice clearing rack off the start. Rán tacked to leeward of us.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
"Ed and the guys were doing their thing and the boat was going really, really well. It is going way better than last year. We got a little bit tangled at the top with Paprec. It feels a bit like holding serve today but with three races tomorrow I would rather be sitting where we are than where anyone else is.”

52 Super Series Media

Sled Scores A Bullet - 52 Super Series, Scarlino Cup - Day 4

Takashi Okura’s Sled won the only race of the Scarlino Cup today but a second place by Harm Müller Spreer’s Platoon takes the German-flagged team to within four points of regatta leaders Quantum Racing with one day of racing left.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
Ed Baird steered Quantum Racing to another super consistent fourth place on a funky late afternoon race course on which tactician Terry Hutchinson admitted it would have been all too easy to shoot themselves in the foot.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
“I’d rather be sitting where we are than anywhere else,” Hutchinson said.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
Losing a race today because of a sustained period of very light, fickle breezes on the Golfo di Follonica means that a final Super Sunday schedule of three races is targeted.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
The long wait on the water for the breeze to build enough and to settle in  a direction was finally rewarded with a start at 1650hrs. With the breeze more from the west – as it was on Day 1 – the right offered a persistent lift. Sled afterguard Ross Macdonald and Hamish Pepper nailed it and engineered a nice early jump for the white-hulled Botin design. They led all the way around the course.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
The battle for the regatta podium saw Platoon and Provezza start on equal points but Platoon fouled their rivals in the pre-start. The resulting penalty meant Platoon crossed the start 20-seconds after the last boat. But they were quickly back into the fleet. Finding a good lane on the right they rounded sixth at the top mark.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
With the fleet all gybe setting Markus Wieser and Jordi Calafat chose to bear away and go straight, seeing more pressure down the right of the run and the group to their left slowing. By the gate they were already third. On the second beat they got inside Andy Soriano’s Alegre and so completed a remarkable comeback to take second gun.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
Even with a deficit of only four points behind Quantum Racing and two points in hand over Alegre and the regatta podium seemingly in reach, Platoon tactician Wieser says their focus is not on the regatta standings but on the long term goal of steady and consistent scores.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
“We don’t care about the points at all for the regatta. What we want to do is not lose too many points at this time in the season for the overall season championship and so far our overall average is quite stable. We are sailing very well. We are not making too many mistakes. But if we can sail tomorrow like we have sailed so far then it could be a nice event for us,” Wieser said.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
“The goal for the day was three points a race or less and so we miss that goal by a point but neither did we shoot ourselves in the foot. This venue is proving to be quite challenging,“ Hutchinson added.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
Alegre have themselves a small cushion now, six points on Provezza, and might yet repeat the second place they scored on their dream debut in Valencia one year ago.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
”We were in a similar position last year. We seem to come out of the box pretty well. We trained a lot early last year and it paid. This year a lot of guys have been out there training early with us this year and so we’re pretty happy to be where we are,” said Gerry Mitchell, Alegre’s mainsail trimmer.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
52 Super Series- Scarlino Cup
Standings after Day 4, six races:

1. Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (1,3,4,3,4,4) 19 pts
2. Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (5,2,3,6,5,2) 23 pts
3. Alegre, GBR (Andres Soriano USA) (2,5,8,5,2,3) 25 pts
4. Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (4,9,1,1,6,10) 31 pts
5. Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (7,8,6,2,3,5) 31 pts
6. Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) (6,1,9,8,8,1) 33 pts
7. Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (9,6,2,7,1,9) 34 pts
8. Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (3,4,7,4,10,8) 36 pts
9. Xio/Hurakan, ITA (Guiseppe Parodi ITA) (8,7,5,9,7,7) 43 pts
10. Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (11,11,11,11,9,6) 59 pts
11. Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (10,10,10,10,11,11) 62pts
52 Super Series Media

Friday, May 27, 2016

Dock Talk - 52 Super Series, Scarlino Cup - Day 3

Simon Fry (GBR) Trimmer Provezza (TUR):
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
“The pin end boat was suddenly following us upwind about nine knots which was not good for us. We were very lucky that we did not touch the boat itself because that meant we could continue. And at 20 seconds after the start I would have taken anything other than a last and so a sixth represents a good fight back.”
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
Markus Wieser (GER) Tactician Platoon (GER):
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
“We were just over the layline and we lost 200 metres by doing that. From there it was a drag race, there was no way back. The leading boats were in the rich-get-richer scenario. At the top we got close but then got bad air from Bronenosec, and then Alegre, and then Quantum, and suddenly from being nearly second we were fifth again. It was that kind of day.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
"That was our chance. It is a long season, right. You know how close it was at the end of last season. Any point counts. Any point you lose now can be a place lost at the end of the season. I am sure Azzurra and Quantum Racing will be the top boats so it is a battle for the owner-drivers. But we are better organised than last year and we are more stable. 
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
"It is an improvement on last year but also we have room for improvement. It is so close. It is so tough. If you get a clear lane it is good but if you don’t and a boat tacks on you then you have to do two more tacks and that is it. You are out of the game. It is so close.”
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
52 Super Series Media

Bronenosec Claims Coastal Victory in Scarlino - 52 Super Series - Scarlino Cup

Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec crew enhanced their reputation as kinds of the 52 Super Series coastal race discipline when they won the 28-mile uphill downhill passage at the Scarlino Cup on the Golfo di Follonica.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
Since their debut on the circuit one year ago in Valencia, the team have won four of the six coastal races that the fleet has contested. They added the Scarlino win to coastal triumphs in Porto Cervo, Palma and Cascais and even finished runners up in Puerto Portals. Often victory has been theirs because they positioned themselves well enough to pounce on any small opportunity.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
Key to their coastal triumph here was what proved to be a perfect first layline to the counterclockwise turn around the little island of Sparviero off Punta Ala. That allowed the blue-hulled, Russian-flagged team to get their noses in front and after that it was pure plain sailing.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
With a big variation between the breeze at the bottom and top of the six miles windward-leeward loop – essentially from Scarlino to just south of Punta Ala and back – the leaders accelerated down into the building wind and protected on the one-sided beats and that made for a classic rich-get-richer gain.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
“I don’t really know why we do so well on the coastals. It is not like we set up any differently to the windward-leewards days. There is maybe something about the longer courses we enjoy, but we take the same approach. There is no particular magic,”said Michele Ivaldi, Bronenosec's tactician.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
On the left-side favoured track the action was on the pin end of the startline. After two wins yesterday, Ergin Imre’s Provezza looked to have done enough to win the key spot once again – the third time in a row – but unfortunately they hooked the pin boat’s ground tackle. From being launched at the gun in the prime position they had to slow immediately and rid themselves of the rope. Provezza fought back from 11th to sixth which keeps them second overall.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
Quantum Racing made the best start and were quickly in control of the race with a small – but what looked to be significant – lead. But it was the top third of the windward leg which really set the order for the day. Along with Platoon they erred too far into the shore – where the breeze was lighter and more lifted. Further out, Bronenosec, Alegre and Azzurra read it just right, lifting to the layline in better pressure.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
At the slow, sticky turn around the rocky islet that was the order with Quantum fourth and Platoon fifth, a hierarchy which stayed set all the way around the remainder of the passage. At the leeward gate there was always 12-13 knots, when at the top there was as little as four or five knots at times. A final triangle out to a wing mark proved purely processional.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
For Bronenosec it is a welcome improvement on their results over the first two days which included a 9,6,7 as well as a second. And it takes them to fifth on the regatta standings, one point up on 2015 Super Series champions Azzurra who finished third today but are still 11 points behind regatta leaders Quantum Racing. Provezza and Platoon share the same points tally, 21, but with two more days of windward-leewards racing there is still only five points between second and sixth.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
Quantum Racing go into the last two days of windward-leeward racing with a lead of six points – still effectively growing their points margin by one or two points each day – ahead of Platoon and Provezza. Azzurra are now five points off second and seem to have their mojo back and are moving up the leaderboard.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series / Scarlino Cup
52 Super Series – Scarlino Cup
Standings after Day 3, five races sailed:

1. Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (1,3,4,3,4) 15 pts
2. Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (4,9,1,1,6) 21 pts
3. Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (5,2,3,6,5) 21 pts
4. Alegre, GBR (Andres Soriano USA) (2,5,8,5,2) 22 pts
5. Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (9,6,2,7,1) 25 pts
6. Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (7,8,6,2,3) 26 pts
7. Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (3,4,7,4,10) 28 pts
8. Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) (6,1,9,8,8) 32 pts
9. Xio/Hurakan, ITA (Guiseppe Parodi ITA) (8,7,5,9,7) 36 pts
10. Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (10,10,10,10,11) 51pts
11. Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (11,11,11,11,9) 53 pts

52 Super Series Media