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Monday, January 30, 2017

Witty Smokes Asko Appliances - 18ft Skiffs Australian Championship - Race 4

18ft Skiffs Australian Championship, Race 4
29 January 2017, Sydney Harbour

It was a game of snakes and ladders for the minor podium places today in race four of the 18 Footers Australian Championship in a 9-12knot ESE. Lee Knapton’s Smeg led at the top mark the first time but David Witt’s appliancesonline.com.au came through on the long reach from Shark Island to Robertson Point to take the lead.
Photo: Michael Chittenden
From there they extended their lead and held on to it comfortably while Smeg and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) battled it out for second. Never far behind was Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) and Coopers 62 Rag & Famish (Jack Macartney).
Photo: Michael Chittenden
After the first lap of the course, there was little change. But after the windward return, there was plenty of action at the front of the pack.
Photo: Michael Chittenden
Coopers 62 Rag & Famish and Asko Appliances put the pressure on the race leaders and when appliancesonline.com.au got stuck during a tack at the top mark, they closed the gap. But Witt’s team was able to hang on to take the win after a long reach and work up to the finish line at Clark Island.
Photo: Michael Chittenden
It was a photo finish between Asko Appliances and Coopers 62 Rag & Famish, which saw the red boat take second by one second.
“This is only our third time sailing together so it was like the beginning of the season for us. We made a few changes to the big rig this morning and it definitely felt better. It is a real joy sailing with Pete and Sharko, we are great mates and love sailing together,” Macartney said.

After race four, Smeg holds a narrow lead on seven points with appliancesonline.com.au one point behind in second and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers in third on nine points. Asko Appliances is on 11 points in fourth with Yandoo on 13 points in fifth.

Results are provisional pending protest following today’s race.

Kimberley Wilmot

Sunday, January 22, 2017

De’Longhi Claims Win in Race Two of Australian Championship

18ft Skiffs Australian Championship
Race 2, Sydney Harbour
Photo: Michael Chittenden
Race two of the 18 Footers Australian Championship got away today in a nine knot east-nor-easter. The fleet was eager to get started with a number of boats over the line early. Simon Nearn, Grant Rollerson and Niall Kinch on De’Longhi won the start on the port end of the line and didn’t let up from there.
Photo: Michael Chittenden
At the end of the first of three windward/leewards, De’Longhi had a solid lead over Yandoo (John Winning) and Smeg (Lee Knapton). It wasn’t an easy battle for the minor places with four boats, who were OCS; Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon), Coopers 62 Rag & Famish (Jack Macartney), Triple M (James Ward) and Compass Markets (Keagan York) mixing it up at the front of the pack the entire race.
Photo: Michael Chittenden
While De’Longhi continued to maintain their lead throughout the race, John Winning put the pressure on the leader on the way to the finish. It was almost a photo finish in the end with Winning finishing just nine seconds behind Nearn. Smeg finished a further minute back in third.
Photo: Michael Chittenden
“It was a good call from Rollo on the port end of the line at the start. And a great effort for Niall, he hasn’t been on the boat for seven years. It is a good one for the over 40 seconds,” Nearn said on his win and Winning finishing second.
Photo: Michael Chittenden
“Anytime you do well is always good. These conditions are not ideal, not what I like sailing in but we always seem to do well. It was a beautiful day, great sailing,” Winning said.
The racing was extremely close with the top six boats finishing within just over two minutes of each other. With the JJ Giltinan just over a month away, the battle for the podium is going to be a close one.

Kimberley Wilmot/Australian 18 Footers League

Friday, January 20, 2017

On The Dock - 52 Super Series - Key West - Day 5

Doug DeVos (USA), Owner-Driver, Quantum Racing (USA):
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“It’s just wonderful [to win Key West]. And it’s always because you know there’s such great competition and there are so many great competitors. And you have a chance to sail against the best sailors in the world on this boat, which is an incredible platform. To be able to win in this environment is wonderful, but it’s short-lived because the next regatta you start from zero again.”

Niklas Zennström (SWE), Owner-Driver, Rán Racing (SWE):
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“Such a fantastic week, and this really showed the quality of this fleet, I think it was five boats within two points. There were so many boats that could win and it was just amazing racing. We went into today saying we don’t have the pressure on us because we were kind of two points behind the lead. Of course we said we want to have a great race to have an opportunity to finish on the podium and also keep a low score for the season. Coming out of this one on third place, we’re quite happy.”

Bora Gulari (USA), Strategist, Quantum Racing (USA):
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“Big relief. I felt like I made a difference and that was good. I had a positive contribution. I think the points were close enough that it was basically who-beat-who. It was more not worrying about points, but just having a second race. Second lap we started looking where people were. But it was pretty easy, obviously, once we’d sniffed our way to the front. Every day I go out sailing [in the 52 Super Series fleet] I’m more impressed. Everyone is so good. It’s just incredible.”

Peter Holmberg (USVI), Helmsman, Provezza (TUR):
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“We decided we really wanted to go for the pin, try to win the pin. Unfortunately one other guy also wanted it badly, so it’s high risk. He just did a better job than I did of wiggling the boat, getting it in position and really just left with no speed, nowhere to go. It’s pretty easy to see my mistake. When one guy is turning left, you need to be turning right. If he gets in sync with you, he’ll stay close to you. That’s how it worked out.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
"We were a couple of inches from beating Azzurra at the finish and that would’ve put us second. But honestly, onboard, a lot of positives for the week, so we’re trying to keep our heads up. The boat was great today, fast [in light air], that used to be a weakness. Manoeuvres were all really good. General feeling on board is good. But it’s tough to sniff the win and fall to fourth.”

Harm Müller-Spreer (GER), Skipper, Platoon (GER):
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“[Second place overall] is pretty fine. If somebody would have asked me in advance if I would take a second place overall, I would say yes, definitely yes. I’m not disappointed. We are on a really good track and I can see big potential in this team, this boat. So looking forward.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
"For us the good news is I’m not expecting a season like last year where Quantum is so far ahead of everyone and only a few guys are fighting for second, third and fourth. I think this season is much more open than last year.”

52 Super Series Media

Quantum Racing Crowned Key West Champions - 52 Super Series

Showing the winning hallmark of a crew that are current 52 Super Series champions, and three times holders of the title, Doug DeVos’s Quantum Racing team came back from an uncharacteristic high scoring, mid-regatta, three-race slump, to close out the first regatta title of 2017, triumphing in today’s last race of Quantum Key West Race Week.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Wednesday’s 8,7,9 accumulation of 24 points was immediately counterbalanced by a second and two first places. With DeVos on the helm, Terry Hutchinson calling tactics and newcomer Bora Gulari completing his first regatta as strategist, Quantum Racing today were quickest off the start line in the very light southerly breeze and led at every mark. The circuit title holders stepped well clear of what proved to be an incredible six-sided tussle for the remaining podium places.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
When the final finish guns had sounded, the dust settled and heartbeats dropped closer to normal, Harm Müller-Spreer’s Platoon took second place overall but only on a three way tie-break with Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing. They are credited with third ahead of Ergin Imre’s Provezza.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
All three finished the 10-race curtain raiser regatta locked on the same tally, 49pts, but perhaps the crew feeling the most anguish will be Provezza. They led into the final race by two points but lost out on the start line and rounded the top mark in 11th place and fought back to ninth.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“It’s tough to sniff the win then fall to fourth,” Provezza helmsman Peter Holmberg said.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
As the 52 Super Series starts its sixth season, this popular 30th anniversary Quantum Key West Race Week proves that this TP52 fleet competition has never been closer. Only two points separate second from an excellent seventh-placed debut from Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s new Interlodge.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Provezza may today rue their final start, but during the week most teams had at least one big let down, Interlodge had an 11th when a lifeline gave way, Azzurra unnecessarily locked horns with Paprec. Platoon started poorly in the second race on Thursday. Such episodes may be more memorable for the teams, and observers, but in truth the single points have never been more valuable, harder than ever to gain and easier to shed.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
So each crew will leave Quantum Key West Race Week contemplating similar circuitous discussions, soul searching and debriefing the lost places. But at the same team at least six teams leave the Conch Republic today having empirically validated their belief that they have hardware, performance and personnel to win regattas.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“For us the good news is: I’m not expecting a season like last year where Quantum is so far ahead of everyone and only a few guys are fighting for second, third and fourth. I think this season is much more open than last year,” second-placed owner driver Müller-Spreer said.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
All of the top three boats at this regatta, from the 11-boat fleet that represents seven different nations, are steered by owner-drivers, DeVos, Müller-Spreer, and Zennström.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
The five-day regatta provided a fulsome range of wind conditions, starting out with 17-20 knots of SE’ly breezes for two near identical days Monday and Tuesday. Platoon’s season opened with two wins Monday but they went 6,6 on Tuesday. Because the breezes were forecast to drop, the race officers ran three races Wednesday in 10-11kts, and by Thursday-Friday the fleet were in light wind modes, in 6-8 knots for the last three races.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
After missing out to Azzurra at the last regatta of 2016, this win highlights the fact that Quantum Racing are still considered the benchmark team, but many teams are getting closer and closer, not least the four crews in the Quantum Sails programme. Together, Quantum Racing, Platoon, Gladiator and Interlodge won eight out of ten races.

“What a compression of the fleet throughout the week, and it was anybody’s regatta right up to the last race. Up the first beat we were able to sneak out and get in front and it all worked out for us. What a great regatta,” Doug DeVos said.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Of the intense pressure on the final day, DeVos revealed Hutchison’s watchwords:

“He was saying breathe and calm down. That’s the main thing. Calm down. And sail like we know how. Don’t over think it. Just let it happen. Sail crisp but remember our fundamentals. Don’t try to do too much, sail the way we’re supposed to. That’s why the breathing helps, to calm down and don’t let the moment get too much of us and just sail the boat. And it worked out.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
"Winning here is just wonderful. And it’s always because you know there’s such great competition and there’s so many great competitors. And you have a chance to sail against the best sailors in the world on this boat, which is an incredible platform, and to be able to win in this environment is wonderful, but it’s short-lived, because the next regatta you start from zero again.”
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
It is the second time in the 52 Super Series that Platoon has finished second. In 2015 they only just missed out on the world title; in Mallorca at Puerto Portals. Owner-driver Müller-Spreer smiled:
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“It’s pretty fine. If somebody would’ve asked me in advance if I would take a second place overall, I would say yes, definitely yes. I’m not disappointed. We are on a really good track and I can see big potential in this team, this boat. So looking forward,” owner-driver Müller-Spreer said.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
The southerly breeze was as light as six knots and rarely cracked into the double digits. And there were shifts and holes galore. Quantum Racing avoided pre-start entanglements, starting cleanly on the middle of the line. Skipper Doug DeVos and tactician Terry Hutchinson turned a bit more wind on the left side of the course into a solid lead at the top mark.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Interlodge – who started at the pin, but downspeed after a tense pre-start battle with Provezza – was second, with Bronenosec, Sled and Azzurra also in the top five. Notably absent were leaders Provezza along with contenders Platoon and Rán Racing, all of whom struggled on the first beat.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
While it wasn’t the sort of day to take any lead for granted, Quantum did a solid job of playing defense the rest of the way. By the time the defending champions turned the final mark and headed for the finish, first place in the regatta was a foregone conclusion.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
The real question was who would take the remaining spots on the podium. That place was decided by the slimmest of margins. Harm Müller-Spreer’s Platoon battled throughout the race for a seventh, which was good enough to guarantee them second in the regatta, winning on countback from Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing and Ergin Imgre’s Provezza.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Azzurra and Bronenosec tied for fifth, with the Italian/Argentine team winning that battle. In seventh was Interlodge, who lost a chance on the podium when Bronenosec slipped past on the first run. In all, just two points separated second from seventh.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Results: 52 Super Series Regatta 1 of 6, Quantum Key West Race Week. After 10 races

1. Quantum Racing USA (Doug DeVos, USA), (3,7,4,1,8,7,9,2,1,1) 43pts
2. Platoon GER (Harm Müller-Spreer, GER), (1,1,6,6, 10,2,5,3,8,7) 49 pts.
3. Rán Racing SWE (Niklas Zennström, SWE), (4,6,9,4,3,4,6,1,6,6) 49 pts.
4. Provezza TUR (Ergin Imre, TUR) (8,9,2,2,4,5,2,5,3,9) 49 pts.
5. Azzurra ITA (A & P Roemmers, ITA/ARG), (6,2,3,8,2,6,4,6,5,8) 50 pts.
6. Bronenosec RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov, RUS), (7,4,5,3,7,3,11,4,4,2) 50 pts.
7. Interlodge USA (Austin Fragomen, USA) (5,8,11,5,1,1,8,7,2,3) 51 pts
8. Sled USA (Takashi Okura, USA), (2,5,8,11,6,11,3,9,9,5) 69 pts.
9. Gladiator GBR (Tony Langley, GBR) (10,10,1,9,5,9,7,11,7,11) 80 pts.
10. Alegre (Andrés Soriano GBR/USA) (11,3,7,10,9,10,10,10,10,4) 84 pts.
11. Paprec Recyclage (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin, FRA) (9,11,10,7,11,8,1,8,11,10) 86 pts.

52 Super Series Media

What The Sailors Said - Key West - TP52 Super Series

Doug DeVos (USA), skipper, Quantum Racing (USA):

“This is a great group. They’re all very confident, even after we have a challenge. It’s like well strap it up and go back out, just get back to basics and try to find out way back. But every boat is like that, everyone in the fleet has bad days and good days.”

Terry Hutchinson (USA) Tactician, Quantum Racing (USA):

“Yesterday was a tough day, yet so much of it was self-imposed. We had a great chat yesterday on the way in as a team and I think as I said to the group and in our debrief, really the only person I’ve got to blame is the mirror. It was no more complicated than me getting my stuff together.

"What we did well today was we started well. That. Evolves around a couple of things. We started well, better communication and we had a lot of discussion about trysting your instincts and doing the things that you feel are the right things to do. When it’s really shifty puffy and you’re not certain there’s a fair amount of instinctual things that you just have to do. Talking to our tuning partners it clearly wasn’t obvious so that gave a little bit more confidence to just roll with it.

"Today was a good day. We got two good starts. It was disappointing to give the lead to Rán in Race 1, but we played a bit safe and learned a couple of things with the moding of the boat out of the top mark in that wind condition. All to play for tomorrow.

"We are. I’m still made about yesterday. Everybody on the boat has done a really really good job and we just didn’t make it easy for ourselves yesterday. If we’re not successful we’re going to know way. I guess that’s the best part about it. We won’t be sitting there scratching our heads. Provezza’s done a great job just chipping along and I think it’s us and Azzurra and Platoon tied on 42 and Rán on 43. It’s a pretty good indication of what the racing and the competition is like.

Tony Rey (USA), Tactician, Provezza (TUR):

“We made a few changes, a couple of crew changes a couple of mode changes to the boat, a few sail things. It’s just a lot of refinements. We’re still capable of a disaster like anyone else. But we feel good, we’re sailing the boat well and we’re going better in light air, which we haven’t done in the past. We’re really pleased with it.

"It’s probably the way we’re sailing it. It’s a little bit of technique changes and just learning the boat a little time away and coming back. Having Peter Holmberg here as the helmsman has been a nice jolt of fresh energy. Sometimes that’s what it takes to get guys going.

"The offseason after a disappointing end to 2016] It was a bit of evaluation and to find out how we’re going to come back and play hard in 2017. Ergin is a fantastic patron of our sport and a great sportsman himself. He said I want to keep the guys together, I want to make a few sublte changes and let’s see what we can do. So far so good, but we’ve got another day tomorrow. Let’s see what happens.”

John Kostecki (USA) Tactician, Platoon (USA):

“We didn’t do that great in the second race. We had a poor start and it was tough coming back in the lighter air. All in all it wasn’t the worst day for us. We’re happy to be in it for tomorrow and looking for a good battle. We’re getting better each day. Maybe the results don’t show it, but for sure our attitude on the boat [is improving], we’re learning a lot, and improving each day and getting better.

"It’s been quite good, the four-boat Quantum Racing program. The debrief is quite big and at first I was like “Oh my god, it’s a little overwhelming.” But at the end of the day it’s been quite good because we have information, a lot of good information, from four different boats. The results are showing that the Quantum boats are doing well in this regatta. I think it’s working."

52 Super Series Media 

Provezza Take The Lead in Key West - 52 Super Series - Day 4

Solid, consistent sailing over the nine races sailed so far for the 52 Super Series fleet at Quantum Key West Race Week sees Ergin Imre’s Provezza crew go into the one race final day showdown holding a two points cushion over three boats all locked up on the same points tally.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
The Provezza team finished their 2016 season disappointed. As one of the key contenders for third overall on the end-of-season podium, their challenge faltered at the final hurdle when they went 9,9,9 from the last three races at the EGNOS Cup in Cascais last October.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
The short off season was put to the best possible use, the post season debrief and analysis resulted in small changes to the crew line up, to their boat, set up, looking to make strengths from their weaknesses.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Biggest change is Peter Holmberg coming in to steer. Since an eighth and ninth from Monday’s opening two races Provezza have yet to win a race at this regatta but their fifth and third today is typical of an assured consistency which sees them with a fighting chance of winning the six event season’s first regatta.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“We made a few changes, a couple of crew changes a couple of mode changes to the boat, a few sail things. It’s just a lot of small refinements. We’re still capable of a disaster like anyone else. But we feel good, we’re sailing the boat well and we’re going better in light air, which we haven’t done in the past," Tactician and Project Manager Tony Rey explained.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
"We’re really pleased with it. It’s probably the way we’re sailing it. It’s a little bit of technique changes and just learning the boat as well as a little time away and now coming back. Having Peter Holmberg here as the helmsman has been a nice jolt of fresh energy. Sometimes that’s what it takes to get guys going,” he added.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Two races were sailed in light SE’ly breezes today. After a three race 24pt ‘black Wednesday’ which ballasted their Key West title hopes heavily downwards, Quantum Racing fought back with a 2,1 today to earn a share of the three way tie with Azzurra and Platoon, all two points behind Provezza. And Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing are only one point behind them. Five boats go into the Friday finale within three points of the lead.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Quantum Racing’s Terry Hutchinson had typically spoken about taking a hard look in the mirror, reviewing mistakes and then wiping the slate clean and coming out today ready to compete. In fact the champions Quantum Racing returned to doing the basics well, making the best two starts of the day to vault from sixth place nine points off the lead into that three way tie. Hutchinson may have sought to shoulder the blame for a lot of Wednesday’s heavy points tally but owner-driver Doug DeVos reaffirmed his team’s cornerstone belief:
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“It’s all about team. We win together and we struggle together. We had a little delay in the morning so we spent a little time thinking about what we could do to improve in each and every area of the boat. As we came in this afternoon we said, ‘Hey we did all those things, we made those little improvements and it showed,” DeVos said.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Breezes for the one race showdown are expected to be slightly steadier, perhaps up to 10-11kts, but the team which emerges with the Key West title will take huge satisfaction from winning the most open, competitive and closely fought regatta for many years on the 52 SUPER SERIES.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Looking to atone for the previous days trio of poor results, Quantum Racing took the mid-line position and started on time and at pace. The defending champions, along with Rán Racing, worked the left side and turned that into a lead at the first mark. The two teams traded blows the rest of the way with Rán Racing getting the better of the battle and winning. Quantum Racing took a satisfying second with Platoon working back into third.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
For the second time in two races, Quantum Racing was strong off the line and worked the left side on the first beat to round the first mark with a slim margin over Azzurra and Interlodge. With the fleet relatively close through the first leeward mark it was the third leg of the race the was decisive as the fickle breeze proved very hard to predict. The lead boats once again worked the left side—something of a theme in this event—but the breeze went hard to the right halfway up the beat. 
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
By working the center of the course, Quantum Racing was able to take advantage of the right shift and extended away. Interlodge survived for second but Azzurra, which was in a position to take advantage a difficult race for Platoon, struggled to recover and found itself fighting for the middle positions on the final run. Provezza, used the right side to move up the ladder at a crucial time in the regatta and finish fourth.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
52 Super Series - 2017 Quantum Key West Race Week - Standings after nine of 10 races

1. Provezza (TUR) Ergin Imre (TUR) (8,9,2,2,4,5,2,5,3) 40pts.
2. Quantum Racing (USA) Doug DeVos (USA) (3,7,4,1,8,7,9,2,1) 42pts.
3. Platoon (GER) Harm Müller-Spreer (GER) (1,1,6,6, 10,2,5,3,8) 42pts.
4. Azzurra (ITA) A & P Roemmers (ITA/ARG) (6,2,3,8,2,6,4,6,5) 42pts.
5. Rán Racing (SWE) Niklas Zennström (SWE) (4,6,9,4,3,4,6,1,6) 43pts.
6. Interlodge (USA) Austin Fragomen (USA) (5,8,11,5,1,1,8,7,2) 48pts
7. Bronenosec (RUS) Vladimir Liubomirov (RUS) (7,4,5,3,7,3,11,4,4) 48pts.
8. Sled (USA) Takashi Okura (USA) (2,5,8,11,6,11,3,9,9) 64pts.
9. Gladiator (GBR) Tony Langley (GBR) (10,10,1,9,5,9,7,11,7) 69pts.
10. Paprec Recyclage (FRA) Jean-Luc Petithuguenin (FRA) (9,11,10,7,11,8,1,8,11) 76pts.
11. Alegre (GBR) Andrés Soriano (GBR/USA) (11,3,7,10,9,10,10,10,10) 80pts.

52 Super Series Media