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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

52 Super Series Fleet Ready To Rock in Scarlino, Italy

The 2016 52 Super Series kicks off in Scarlino, Tuscany on Wednesday with 11 teams competing in the first event of the the five regatta season  that concludes mid-October in Cascais, Portugal. This is the first time the 52 Super Series has been to Scarlino, hosted by the brand new marina.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series Scarlino Cup
Pre-season preparation and training has been more intense than ever, including a formative week in March in Valencia as well as Gaastra Palma Vela two weeks ago which featured no fewer than nine boats of the 11 which will race here.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series Scarlino Cup
Despite only competing in two events in 2015, Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing has laid down the gauntlet by winning today’s practice race by a very tight margin.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series Scarlino Cup
“Of course we can win here. Last year we won the practice race in Valencia and won the regatta and so we have done the same here and we look forward to carrying on that tradition. With the 52 Super Series, it’s about not having the shockers, the big scores, and just staying consistent. We have a bit of a learning curve being back on the boat, racing in the fleet but the more hours we have on the boat the better we are getting,” Zennström said.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series Scarlino Cup
While today's win boosted Rán's confidence, a sixth place by two-time 52 Super Series champions Quantum Racing showed how much the once dominant team need to improve, despite winning the Gaastra Palma Vela dress rehearsal regatta a fortnight ago.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series Scarlino Cup
“As a team and evaluating my own performance, Palma Vela was a misleading regatta. I feel we have a lot of gain right in front of us. We have a lot of room to grow as a team and I have to get my head back around sailing these boats really well, like the comms and coordination with Ed [Baird, skipper-helm]," said Quantum Racing's Terry Hutchinson.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series Scarlino Cup
"The positive side is there is a lot of improvement to come in front of us. The negative side is you feel it. The teams around us have benefited from the extra five or six days they had in Valencia, the guys around us have done a lot of sailing already and that is noticeable on the water. We have to be very methodical, very pragmatic and keep things simple,” he added.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series Scarlino Cup
While the 2015 champions Azzurra (ITA) had an edge last year there is no evidence they can dominate agin this early in the season. Many of the crews identified the specific technical advantage the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda team had and have replicated that into changes in their sail programme.
Photo: De Sandre/Slam
The common quest is for height and pace off the start line after the gun perhaps at the expense of downwind speed. Any team can win races. Any one of eight crews could win a regatta this season even if the favourites remain Azzurra or Quantum Racing as the most likely challengers for the 2016 title.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series Scarlino Cup
It's expected to be a very tight tussle between Harm Müller Spreer’s German flagged Platoon , Takashi Okura’s Sled, Andy Soriano’s Alegre, Ergin Imre’s Provezza and Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series Scarlino Cup
“It’s going to be a spectacular season. This is what we love to do. I mean, we grumble and complain on a bad day, but we love to do this. I think this season is going to be about turning those tens into sixes, and the nines into fives – that’s going to be the killer. It’s not about winning races, it’s not even about getting seconds. It’s about turning the bad ones into decent ones and then saving the points in the middle of this intense season,”  said Tony Rey,  Provezza’s tactician.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series Scarlino Cup
Lulu Roseman

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