Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Chutzpah Wins Overall - Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race

Bruce Taylor’s Victorian 40-footer called Chutzpah has been officially declared the IRC overall winner of the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race after a 15-hour wait for the only challenger still on the course to drop out of contention.
Photo: Andrea Francolini
“They say I look very fetching in Bridesmaid gear; we’ve looked to be in the money so many times, but being the bride is far better, far more satisfactory,” said Taylor in reference to the numerous times he has finished runner-up in a major offshore event over the near four decades he’s been ocean racing.
Photo: Supplied by Chutzpah
Taylor’s doggedness is well-known in sailing circles. He’s had seven attempts at the Gold Coast Race and 38 attempts at the pinnacle Rolex Sydney Hobart with various Chutzpahs and a core team, including Perth-based navigator and longtime mate Kingsley Piesse.
Photo: Nicole Douglas 
The Chutzpah crew recorded their best result of second in the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart and they’ve collected multiple other top five placings and divisional victories between 1986 and this year, but never the prize every sailor wants – the Tattersall Cup for the corrected time winner. The Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Race is Chutzpah’s Rolex Sydney Hobart race warm-up.
Bruce Taylor with CYCA Commodore Paul Billingham Photo: CYCA
“We thought this Gold Coast Race was a great opportunity to try out a couple of new crewmen and a couple of new configurations.  What is pleasing outside the result is you have small boats owned and sailed by Corinthians, and it’s possible to jag a result like this,” Taylor said.
Komatsu Azzurro Photo: Rolex /  Carlo Borlenghi
It was a nail-biting wait to see if Shane Kearns’ Komatsu Azzurro would result in a third Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race overall win from four attempts. This time the weather Gods were on Taylor’s side.

“Despite the original forecast, conditions were better than we hoped and we managed to hold onto boats our size and bigger and make the gains when it was our turn. Foolishly the boys told me what time we had to finish by to beat the boats already in and that wasn’t good for my blood pressure. Then, sitting at Southport from 1.30am this morning to late afternoon watching the tracker and the S&S 34 coming up the coast wasn’t good for my health either,” Taylor added.
At 1830hrs Komatsu Azzurro were sailing in nor’easterlies 13 nautical miles from the finish line off Main Beach, with an ETA of 2130hrs.

Second overall on the IRC scoresheet is Matt Allen’s TP52 Ichi Ban and third is another TP52, Ian Short’s Highfield Caringbah. All but three yachts have finished the opening race of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 2018-19 offshore calendar and results in most divisions are confirmed.

Lisa Ratcliff

Nervous Wait for Chutzpah as Overall Victory Hangs in The Air - Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race

Victorian yachtsman Bruce Taylor’s hopes for a first major offshore handicap victory with his 40-footer Chutzpah from RYCV hang in the balance with the perennial Komatsu Azzurro, Shane Kearns’ two-time Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race overall winner sliding north and meeting its required average speed target with 60 nautical miles to go, as of 0900 hours this morning, Tuesday July 31, 2018.
Chutzpah Supplied by owner
The south-east Queensland forecast is for north-west winds 10 knots becoming north to north-easterly in the afternoon, a scenario that could jeopardise Kearns and his Sparkman & Stephens 34’s three-peat if the winds turn light.
Komatsu Azzurro  Photo: Andrea Francolini
“We are off Lennox Head and the crew is quietly optimistic whereas I’ve been writing my speech since we left the heads on Saturday,” Kearns rang through at 0900hrs.

Only one other boat in the Gold Coast race’s 33-year history has ever won the premier handicap category three times overall – Bruce Staples’ Witchcraft II back in 1989, 1994 and 1995. Azzurro’s wins came in 2015 and 2017.

“We haven’t got there yet though the breeze is going to go north, which should be good for us when we turn the corner at Byron. We think it’s doable though we are worried about losing and winning; we might not be that popular, being the blow-homes. It never happens in the Hobart race though,” he added.

A circumspect Taylor, sailing for the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria, is once again back in a position he knows all too well having scored multiple top five results from 32 Rolex Sydney Hobarts with six different Chutzpahs, but never the main trophy. He also has also competed in at least seven Gold Coast races.

“From our point of view it’s Wild Rose and the Rolex Sydney Hobart in 2014 revisited, when we thought we won it and everyone was being nice to us and then a southerly blew Rose home,” Taylor said from Southport Yacht Club as he and his  crew anxiously follow Komatsu Azzurro’s progress on the Yacht Tracker.

“We were surprised how well we managed to hold onto the others going upwind and in the light and fluky stuff we held on to the other 40-footers. Once it turned to reaching conditions very early Tuesday morning that helped us get away from our main worries. It was nice to do an ocean race with boats all around you, not like the Hobart. We enjoyed seeing them all, but we’d prefer not to see Komatsu,” Taylor said.

Third on IRC overall scores is Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban. Komatsu Azzurro and Chutzpah are first and second on ORCi overall scores and leading PHS is Kevin Whelan’s Reve, a Beneteau 45F5 from the organising club, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Sydney.

Twenty-eight of the original 54 starters have completed the 384 nautical mile northern race and five retired for a variety of reasons, the last of those Warwick Taylor’s Airstream which is returning to Sydney via Port Stephens.

Last in the fleet, the Army Sailing Club’s Jarkan 925 design called Gun Runner, still has 130 nautical miles to sail and is not due into Southport until early on  Thursday August 2.

The official race trophy presentation is scheduled for 10:00am Wednesday August 1 at Southport Yacht Club.

Lisa Ratcliff

Monday, July 30, 2018

Black Jack is Dealt The Right Hand to Take Line Honours - Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race

In a gripping finish to the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, Queensland supermaxi Black Jack match-raced and beat Wild Oats XI to the finish line by just under two minutes over a 384 nautical mile course.
Photo: Michale Jennings Creative
Peter Harburg’s RP100 Black Jack finished at 7:26:20 on Monday July 28 in 6-9 knots of cool north-westerly wind, giving them an elapsed time of 1 day 17 hours 36 minutes 20 seconds and reversing last year’s finish order.
Photo: Nicole Douglass 
When the breeze went light pre-dawn Black Jack made their move. “Every boat is a one trick pony - we are stronger in light airs and we struggle upwind in strong conditions, but we have to be ready to pounce if the light air comes,” said owner Peter Harburg.
Photo: Michale Jennings Creative
Their victory is the first time the Queensland boat has beaten the Oatley family’s Wild Oats XI in an offshore race having faced-off many times over Black Jack’s 13-year program, both in Harburg’s RP66 and now in the 100-footer. Wild Oats XI is a six-time Sydney Gold Coast race line honours winner.
Photo: Nicole Douglass 
“Yesterday when we were going upwind in 20 knots of breeze the guys worked very hard and it paid off today. We didn’t win in the last half-hour, we won yesterday. When you are behind it’s hard to be sitting on the rail in the freezing wind. Everyone had their legs over the side at all times, even when we were 20 miles behind Comanche. That’s when you win races," Harburg added.

“We are going to try and improve our performance upwind before this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart. It doesn’t mean much in the end, every race is different. This boat has won Hobart (as Alfa Romeo in 2009), but so have the other three big boats in this race.”

“It was a great race between the three ‘classic’ maxis and everyone had their moment. You can’t break the cord in the Southport race, it’s one of those races you can’t get far enough away from the opposition to be safe," said Wild Oats XI’s helmsman Chris Links  of the battle behind Comanche between them, InfoTrack and Black Jack.

“In that light stuff with their configuration the cards fell Black Jack’s way. Good on them, it was great to see them have a win. We enjoy sailing against them and there’s a lot more to come in the Brisbane to Keppel race and Hamilton Island Race Week.”

Jim Cooney’s Comanche finished third having led from the 1.50pm Sydney Harbour start on Saturday until the last 15 nautical miles when the wind dropped out and the front four squeezed up. Cooney paid tribute to Black Jack’s owner and skipper for a race well-sailed, and such a tight finish. “We are very happy with Comanche’s performance, particularly in light air,” Cooney added.

Now the battle for handicap begins. Bruce Taylor’s Victorian Caprice 40 Chutzpah is the boat to beat on IRC with two-time previous overall winner Komatsu Azzurro (Shane Kearns) currently second and making excellent time on approach to Coffs Harbour. On progressive ORCi scores the pair are the other way around and in PHS results Michael McDonald’s Stampede is the lead boat.

The next bunch due to finish are the TP52s, led by Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban, and among them Voodoo and Triton.

A fourth yacht retired overnight, the Sydney 38 called The Goat, with an ill crewmember.

Lisa Ratcliff

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Comanche On Track For Line Honours the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race

Day two of the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race has Jim Cooney’s 100ft Comanche is eating up the miles and holding a 10 nautical mile buffer to the nearest challenger, the Oatley family’s Wild Oats XI. Comanche’s ETA to the finish line off Main Beach is between 3:00 am and 9:00 am Monday morning, July 30, 2018.
Jimmy Spithill onboard Comanche Photo: Andrea Francolini 
“We are very happy with Comanche’s performance, especially in the light winds at the start which is an area we have been working on. We are now sailing a little faster than Oats and we think we can hold this lead. The forecast suggests a swing to the NW around 1700hrs which will hopefully take us to the finish. We opened up a lead on the others between 0300 and 0600 this morning" he added.
Comanche Photo: Andrea Francolini 
"We were simply working the shifts and stayed on a favourable port tack out. There was the risk of increasing southerly current as we went east, but the angle advantage was worth it," Cooney said at 1420 hours.There are whales aplenty, mostly at a distance but as I write this we had a breach only 150m astern.”
Photo: Andrea Francolini 
It is Comanche’s first attempt on the 33rd season-opening coastal race north to the Gold Coast. Cooney’s hull-shape is well-matched to the conditions and the team ripe for a line honours triumph, one of the boxes to tick on the way to this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Photo: Supplied
James Spithill, Stan Honey, Kyle Langford, Brad Jackson and Pablo Arrate are some of Cooney’s better-known crew taking on more of Australia’s best who are spread across the three other supermaxis; Peter Harburg’s Black Jack, the Oatley family’s Gold Coast record-holder and defender Wild Oats XI and Christian Beck’s InfoTrack, which made good gains overnight.
Wild Oats XI Photo: Andrea Francolini 
The battle for second is fierce. Black Jack, InfoTrack and Wild Oats XI have all had a turn at second since the 1.50pm start on Saturday and now Wild Oats’ is chasing down Comanche as the front runners continue to maximise northerly winds ahead of a forecast change.
Sail Exchange Photo: David Brogan / SailPix
Handicap leaders at 1400hours on Sunday included Carl Crafoord’s Cookson 12 SailExchange first and Zoe Taylor’s Cookson 12 Grace O’Malley second (IRC and ORCi), and Kevin Whelan’s Beneteau 45 F5 Reve, the PHS leader.
Voodoo Photo: Andrea Francolini 
The RP63 Voodoo updated their social media followers at 1330pm: “A nice start and out of the heads. Between 10 - 20 knots all night on the nose. Special mention to someone who shall remain nameless @couttsylives for leaving our only pot on the dock. Cold stew is the best,”

Two retirements came in the early hours of Sunday morning, Neville Blair’s Beneteau 47.7 Sports Bar due to mainsail damage and the overall winner of the Ponant Sydney Noumea Yacht Race, Seb Bohm’s Smuggler, skippered by Sam Price in the owner’s absence, out of the race with engine problems. At 12:56 hours Ian Creak’s Ausreo crew advised they had hull damage and would make for Port Stephens, the third retirement.

The Macquarie coast forecast for the remainder of Sunday is northerly winds 15-25 knots turning westerly 20-25 knots in the evening and winds reaching up to 30 knots offshore south of Crowdy Head in the late evening.

Lisa Ratcliff

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Light start for 2018 Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race

The first battle in the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race went to Jim Cooney’s Comanche, the imposing black and red supermaxi narrowly leading the Oatley’s same-length Wild Oats XI to Sydney Heads on a mild winter day, closely followed by Peter Harburg’s Black Jack, another 100-footer.
Photo: © Andrea Francolin
Eight knots of NNE breeze thankfully filled in from Watson’s Bay to allow a start 50 minutes after the planned 1pm start of the annual 384 nautical mile challenge, the first test of the 2018-19 calendar of offshore races organised by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Sydney. Three were individually recalled for breaking the start.
Photo: © Andrea Francolin
“We got the side of the harbour we wanted – the western side. It was a nice clean start for everyone. Jimmy Spithill (America’s Cup skipper) took us over the line and I took her through the heads and off the coast. Our routing has us finishing in the early hours of Monday morning, between 2am and 6am. Conditions are not ideal for Comanche; we’d like more breeze,” Cooney said an hour-and-a-half into the race.
Photo: © Andrea Francolin
The fleet is setting up for a cold night sail pushing up the New South Wales Hunter Coast in northerlies which are forecast to dominate until Sunday afternoon, July 29, A 20-25 knot westerly change expected later on Sunday will free up sails and see the wider planing boats such as Comanche and the TP52s accelerate away.
Photo: © Andrea Francolin
Five Australian states are represented in the 54 strong line-up of yachts ranging from 100-foot to the smallest, the Army Sailing Club’s 30-foot Gun Runner, second last out of Sydney Harbour on Saturday July 28.
Photo: © Andrea Francolin
At 1830hrs Sydney time Comanche, Wild Oats XI and Black Jack were within 0.7 of a mile of each other on a similar heading, south of Lake Macquarie entrance and close to shore. Christian Beck’s InfoTrack was also in touch and on its way to being side-by-side with Black Jack and the innermost supermaxi of the lead group two hours later abeam of Newcastle.

Ian Creak’s Beneteau 47.7 Ausreo, second overall in the 2017 Sydney Gold Coast Race, leads the early IRC pointscore from Kym Clarke’s Sydney 47 Fresh and Noel Cornish’s Sydney 47 St Jude.

Lisa Ratcliff

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Final Day's Dock Talk - Rolex TP52 World Championship - cascais

Dean Barker (NZL) Helm Quantum Racing (USA):
Photo: Max Ranchi / 52 Super Series
On American Magic and the America’s Cup program:
Photo: Max Ranchi 
“Right now, the focus is on the TP52 the 52 Super Series. Any racing that we do together is good racing because you put yourself under pressure and deal with the good and the bad. It’s great to come out of this event with a win, it’s really cool to win a World Champs on this boat with this team, and I think for the future we’ve got a very defined plan of what we want to do.

"It’s nice to do the racing and I find I’m really enjoying it again. Even though we’re three regattas through, two to go, there’s still something like 20 races left, so there’s a lot still to play out between now and the end. Everyone knows Palma is a difficult venue: it’s predictable in some ways, and hard in others, so we need to go there with a good attitude and capitalise as best we can on the racing there, and who knows what Valencia will throw up – it could be anything that time of year! So we need to make sure we go into that event with a chance to still be able to win the season.”

Andy Horton (USA), Alegre (GBR):
Alegre chases hard Photo: Max Ranchi 
“It’s great for us to podium here, we’ve been chipping away every day, and every regatta, and I know I keep saying that, and it’s pretty boring, but honestly, last regatta we were just a couple places out and it’s nice for the processes to work out. We keep tight as a group, and our coach, Fuzz, and our local knowledge guy, Gustavo Lima, told us: ‘you’re going to have some ups, you’re going to go the right way, the wrong way, you’re going to have a bad call on a sail or boat handling problems, but just keep chipping away,’ so we did that and it was great.”

On the new crew onboard:

“We’re learning each other, it’s people that I’ve sailed with a lot and they sailed together on Rán including Jon Gunderson and Andy Hemmings. They’re fitting in really well, and working with Andy [Soriano] well, and he enjoys having them and their personalities. Noel Drennan has shifted from runner to main, and Kevin George our sail designer has gone from kite trimmer to runner. So four position changes, but two guys on the boat, but in different roles.”

On Andy Soriano:

“I hope he’s happy. It’s tough, it’s a physical week, and he did a great job. He must be shattered right now! I’m tired, and I’m 20 years younger than him. He chilled out at the right times and put in everything he had – I guarantee it – on some of those runs, right on the edge, we’d get him on lay line and just sending it! So he must be shattered but hopefully happy.”

Andi Robertson / 52 Super Series Media

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Quantum Racing Crowned Rolex TP52 World Championships Cascais

Ten years after their first world title together in the class formative years of the class in Lanzarote, Quantum Racing today lifted the Rolex TP52 World Championship crown in Cascais, winning a spirited ding-dong battle with rivals Azzurra in the typically muscular Atlantic breezes that the Portuguese hotspot has long since been renowned for.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
With Dean Barker steering and Terry Hutchison leading a concerted, big Quantum team effort, they mastered what proved a challenging, breezy race area, which often favoured the opportunists. With nine boats racing, all brand new this season, and all with an equal chance of winning, there is widespread acknowledgment that Quantum Racing were a step ahead in their execution throughout the five day championship.

Several times o
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Over the course of the nine-race world championship regatta Hutchinson and the Quantum Racing afterguard had deftly and doggedly turned modest positions into premium points scoring top three positions, only to then lose those places to rivals’ runway downwind gambles.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Several times, searing downwind sleigh rides saw gains and losses of hundreds of metres at times, during what proved a thrilling world championship. There was little scope for precision, percentage sailing and over the last five races Quantum Racing sailed 1,5,1,5,1 to Azzurra’s 6,1,5,1,2. The American-flagged team of Doug DeVos won the world title by four points from their Argentine-Italian rivals, whose best result of the season this is.
Azzurra Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Quantum Racing’s Hutchinson revealed that during their pre-season, they identified these World Championships and the attendant expectation of strong breezes as fundamental to how they optimised and set up their newly launched boat: 

Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“We hedged our boat towards this regatta. A lot of little things inside the yacht and in the rig program were hedged towards this event, so it’s nice to see it come to fruition,” an emotional and visibly relieved Hutchinson explained.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
To bear witness to the Quantum Racing’s release, and pleasure, as they crossed the line to clinch the title underlines once again what makes the ultra-competitive Hutchinson tick.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“Of course you’re only as good as your last race, and fortunately for us right now that was a win. But you can’t say enough about the effort that the entire team did. This isn’t an individual win, this is a full team win: the shore guys, our sail program, everything that we’ve done here is with an eye of continually improving,” he said.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“If you had to say as you look across the fleet: Sled is going quite well, Alegre as well, the step up across the fleet compared to last season is quite impressive. It is swings and roundabouts, but there’s some really good teams. I think we coughed up 15 points at the last regatta. You are never too far away from having one like that, and the fleet is good enough that if you make a mistake in a race or two they pounce on you really quickly,” he added.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
For Azzurra, the 2017 52 Super Series champions, and themselves twice world champions, there was the huge satisfaction of not just coming back from two modest finishes in Croatia – fourth and seventh – and proving they have lost nothing of their free-thinking, hard-driving Argentine Gaucho spirit in the big breeze, but they also moved up the 52 Super Series leaderboard to third overall.
Sled Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
An exciting, engaging battle between owner-drivers Andy Soriano and Sled’s Takashi Okura, saw Soriano and Alegre win out, but only on the last day of what was a great duel. Alegre take third in the world championship – their first podium this season with Sled in fourth.

Rolex TP52 World Championship Overall Standings:

1. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (2,1,3,4,1,5,1,5,1) 23 p

2. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto and Pablo Roemmers) (1,2,2,7,6,1,5,1,2) 27 p.

3. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (4,4,5,1,4,7,7,2,3) 37 p.

4. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (8,3,7,2,3,2,3,6,4) 38 p.

5. Luna Rossa (ITA) (Patrizio Bertelli) (10DNF, 6,1,3,5,3,4,7,6) 45 p 

6. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (3,5,6,6,9,8,2,3,8) (2 penalti) 52 p.

7. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (5,9,4,5,7,4,6,8,5) 53 p.

8. Phoenix (RSA) (Hasso/Tina Plattner) (6,7,8,8,2,6,8,4,7) 56 p.

9. Onda (BRA) (Eduardo de Souza Ramos) (7,8,9,9,8,10,10,10,10) 81 p.

Andi Robertson / 52 Super Series Media

What Ray Davies and Philippe Presti Said - Day 4, Rolex TP52 Worlds - Cascais

Ray Davies (NZL), Tactician Sled (USA):
Sled Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“A great day for us with a second and a third, so we’re stoked. Mr. Okura did a great job in very trying conditions, I think he was using all his strength to get the boat around the course today and he got rewarded for working extremely hard. We had an incredible comeback in the second race from last to 3rd, that’s been our race of the regatta, and to do it in 25knots, the team is very pleased… we’re pumped.
Sled Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
"It had been a pretty good trend that the first boat to tack onto port was in the top three, until the last race, when we were the first boat to tack onto port and we were last! So it was a more even racecourse today, big breeze, and the position of the racecourse evened it out a lot.”

On the overall 2018 season:

“We’re very pleased. To be just over halfway and be in 2nd place – it’s better than we expected. We’re still getting better, but we’re very happy with where we’re at. We’ve had some lucky breaks along the way and we know how things can change pretty quickly so we’ll just keep our processes going, good debriefs and we have a fantastic crew so we’re not wishing for anything, just have to keep the momentum going.”

On Quantum Racing:

“There is obviously a nice advantage to the pro driving. Deano is doing a nice job, certainly in these conditions, it’s very challenging. And we’re seeing a very polished team at the top of their game and their putting points on the fleet quite comfortably at the moment.”

Philippe Presti, Coach Luna Rossa:
Luna Rossa Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
How does the team approach a windy regatta differently than a light air one?

To finish first, first you have to finish. That’s one. So you have to take care of all the gear, but also you have to push the boat a little bit harder. It’s more physical, obviously, and looks from afar like a Melges, but you have to realise that a 50-footer is pretty heavy! Today was a good day for us, we could have had a 2nd, but we made a slight mistake, but we are still pushing for the podium and we can make it happen.

Andi Robertson / 52 Super Series Media

No Rest For The Wicked - Rolex TP52 World Championship

Quantum Racing carry a seven-point lead into the final day of the Rolex TP52 World Championship off Cascais, to all intents and purposes a relatively healthy margin, even with the expectation of two breezy last races for a nine-boat fleet.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series, 
But Terry Hutchinson, the US-flagged five-time world champions’ hard-driving leader reaffirms, once again, that no margin can be considered secure, particularly given the strong-breeze, big-wave conditions, and the strength and depth of the competition.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“No lead is comfortable. Never. We need to go out and apply the same focus and determination. We were two points off the lead going into the last race and so the memory is still there of what we need to do and how we need to execute. We don’t need to change our game plan and how we are sailing. The guys have the boat going really well, and so it is a matter of making sure that our boat handling is consistent and we hike like there is no tomorrow,” Hutchison said.
Azzurra Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
With the NW’ly breeze building to gust close to 30 knots, there were big gains and losses made over one of the most exhilarating days of racing for the TP52 class in recent years. Quantum Racing retuned a six-point aggregate for the day, going 5,1 from the racecourse, as did the Roemmers’ family’s Azzurra, sailing 1,5.
Azzurra Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Best scoreline today was that of owner-driver Takashi Okura, and the Sled team, whose 2,3 scoring included the outcome of a spectacular five-place – from eighth to third – 300-metre gain on the first run of the second race.
Sled Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
In the first race, it was Azzurra that exploited the pin end favour to break up the early left and establish a very healthy lead around the first windward mark ahead of Sled. Luna Rossa made consistent gains during the race, rising from fifth to third.

The NW’ly wind was at a brisk 22-23 knots on the start line for the second race. With Quantum Racing’s Dean Barker showing considerable skill and poise to hold onto a very slender lane off the line, sandwiched between Luna Rossa and Platoon, which they then turned into an advantage as the fleet later tacked onto port, and Quantum Racing gained leverage as the leftmost boat. Quantum Racing led Luna Rossa around the top mark with Provezza third.

Platoon, by gybing early and going down the left of the run, made a huge gain to actually lead very narrowly through the leeward gate, making more than 150 metres back on Quantum Racing. 

But Quantum Racing chose the right hand mark, looking upwind, and were able to get to Platoon and punish them with a series of tacks as the pair converged progressively with the starboard tack lay line.

Quantum Racing took the win, their third of this Rolex TP5 World Championship, with Platoon second and Sled just nipping across the finish ahead of the fast charging Luna Rossa. With two races scheduled Saturday, Quantum Racing lead into the final day with a seven-point lead over Azzurra, with Sled in third, 11pts behind the leader, and presently on course for their third consecutive podium at the three regattas so for of the 2018 52 Super Series.

Rolex TP52 World Championship Cascais 2018 Standings:

1. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (2,1,3,4,1,5,1) 17 p

2. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto and Pablo Roemmers) (1,2,2,7,6,1,5) 24 p.

3. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (8,3,7,2,3,2,3) 28 p.

4. Luna Rossa (ITA) (Patrizio Bertelli) (10DNF, 6,1,3,5,3,4) 32 p 

5. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (4,4,5,1,4,7,7) 32 p.

6. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (5,9,4,5,7,4,6) 40 p.

7. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (3,5,6,6,9,8,2) (2 penalti) 41 p.

8. Phoenix (RSA) (Hasso/Tina Plattner) (6,7,8,8,2,6,8) 45 p.

9. Onda (BRA) (Eduardo de Souza Ramos) (7,8,9,9,8,10,10) 61 p.

Andi Robertson / 52 Super Series Media

Thursday, July 19, 2018

What The Sailors Said - Rolex TP52 World Championship - Day 3

Dean Barker (NZL) Helm Quantum Racing (USA):
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“It was a challenging race with a lot going on. It was never over. We started in a lot less breeze than any of the teams expected, I think, and then the long second beat was really technical. And then run back down to the downwind mark, and then even the beat back to the finish. It was never really over. There was never a dull moment.”

Andy Horton (USA) Tactician Alegre:
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“It was anything other than boring. At the top and the bottom of the race course there was less breeze, and in the middle more breeze. There was lots of action along the coastline. I lost count of how many tacks we did.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
"We are disappointed to have lost a couple of boats, but any day we open our eyes and get a fourth place, then we are happy with that for a daily average.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
"We are getting better every day. Identifying our weaknesses was one thing and then working on them is the next thing and so for example, an Indian – which is a type of kite set – we worked on that; take downs, we worked on that; every day we work on something. There is a lot of racing left in this regatta and this season.”

Andi Robertson / 52 Super Series Media

Quantum Racing Win Coastal Race in Cascais - Rolex TP52 World Championship - Day 3

Quantum Racing won the exciting, interesting Coastal Race off Cascais, Portugal, to extend their lead at the Rolex TP52 World Championship to seven points with four scheduled races left to sail.
Quantum Racing Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
While the five-time world title winners delivered an accomplished victory – never far enough ahead of the pack to relax even for a moment – they had to rely on “seat-of-the-pants”, intuitive sailing skills for much of the course.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
After their electronics shut down entirely at the first leeward turn – less than 30-minutes into the three-hours-and-20-minutes 20-nautical-miles course upwind to Cabo Raso followed by a long strategic run and a sting-in-the-tail-finish in the bay at Cascais – helm Dean Barker and the Quantum Racing crew were forced to rely on their natural feel for the boat.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“We lost our instruments at the first bottom mark, and so we sailed virtually the whole race with no instruments. That was interesting. That made life a little more challenging than it needed to be,” said Barker, Quantum Racing's helm,
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“The guys did a great job then just keeping the boat going fast and dealing with a ‘zero information’ situation. It was back to seat of the pants stuff. But it is amazing that because you sail the boat so much you do develop a very good feeling for how it is going. I think we did a good job preserving that little bit of lead we had.”

If the 52 Super Series coastal races have come under fire lately, Cascais actually delivered a course that included between 40 and 45 tacks and gybes over its length, including an engaging passage up the shore closing up to Cabo Raso followed by a long run back in the direction of Lisbon, during which there were gains and losses to be made.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Royal Cup winners Luna Rossa’s rollercoaster world title challenge hit another downwards slope when they snagged a rope on the long upwind and dropped from fifth to ninth. But credit to Vasco Vascotto, Francesco Bruni, Jimmy Spithill and crew who yet again showed their fighting spirit, battling back to fifth.
Alegre Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
While Alegre made another neat start at the port end of the start line, Phoenix and Luna Rossa inshore and poised to head early for the preferred right side of the upwind, it proved to be a more open track early in the upwind because of the lighter breeze. The key was achieving the best layline in the right hand, lifting wind and it was Ian Moore and the Quantum Racing afterguard who seemed to nail it best, leading in to the first top mark ahead of Alegre.
Phoenix Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
With Ed Baird calling tactics for owner-driver Hasso Plattner, Phoenix made good gains on a close, exciting tacking spell up the shore towards the cape, when the gain was to be had in the shore. And so at the top turn of the course, Quantum Racing led Phoenix, which had got the better of the scrapping pair of Sled and Alegre.
Sled Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
On the downwind, Sled found a vein of sustained extra wind-pressure offshore, which allowed them to erode nearly 100 metres of Quantum Racing’s lead. But Phoenix then positioned themselves better, to windward on the upwind to the finish and Plattner’s crew were able to hold on to second, ahead of a photo finish for third, which went Sled’s way by a matter of less than two metres.
Azzurra Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Quantum Racing lead on 11 points after four races. With Alegre fourth today, and Azzurra sixth it is still the 2017 52 Super Series champions that hold second overall, but now tied on points with Andy Soriano’s Alegre, which has so far been pleasingly consistent with 4,4,5,1,4 to ensure this is their best regatta of the season yet, as it is also Azzurra’s.
Platoon and Onda Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Meanwhile, 2017 Rolex TP52 World Champions Platoon are in eighth after finishing ninth, but redemption of sorts is within reach as they are only six points off fifth. For the last two days of racing, the winds are due to build again to produce an enthralling climax to this world championship.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“We are moving back into stronger breeze for the last couple of days and we are looking forward to that as we feel quite comfortable in the breeze. We are trying to keep progressively sailing better and better,” Barker added.

Rolex TP52 World Championship Cascais 2018 Standings:

1. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (2,1,3,4,1) 11 p.

2. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto and Pablo Roemmers) (1,2,2,7,6) 18 p.

3. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (4,4,5,1,4) 18 p.

4. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (8,3,7,2,3) 23 p.

5. Luna Rossa (ITA) (Patrizio Bertelli) (10DNF, 6,1,3,5) 25 p.

6. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (5,9,4,5,7) 30 p.

7. Phoenix (RSA) (Hasso/Tina Plattner) (6,7,8,8,2) 31 p.

8. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (3,5,6,6,9) (2 penalty) 31 p.

9. Onda (BRA) (Eduardo de Souza Ramos) (7,8,9,9,8) 41 p.

Andi Robertson / 52 Super Series Media