Saturday, August 25, 2018

WOXI, Hooligan and Hollywood Clean Up at Hamilton Island Race Week

Fifteen divisions, 233 boats and close to 2,000 sailors from Australia, New Zealand and around the world spent Hamilton Island Race Week in the Whitsundays dashing around tropical islands with only saltwater hitting the decks, until the final afternoon rainstorm offshore broke the sunny and dry winter spell.
Photo: Kurt Arrigo
Sou’east tradewinds built to their peak of 25 knots on Monday August 20 and close to that number the following day. Layday on Wednesday was ideal pool and Whitehaven Beach weather with little breeze and cloudless skies, and the second half of the week brought lighter ESE winds between 6-12 knots on average, and just the one shower in the closing hours of Saturday August 25, 2018.
Photo: Kurt Arrigo
The supermaxi battle required an on-water umpire to be brought in on day four of racing, to monitor the pair. The Oatley family’s Wild Oats XI (HIYC) convincingly beat Peter Harburg’s same-length Black Jack (RQYS) in terms of first over the line results; now both crews return home to mull over where a few more seconds-per-mile can be teased out before the December ocean classic, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Hooligan Photo: Kurt Arrigo
A six-day arm-wrestle between the TP52s resulted in Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan (RPAYC) scooping the IRC Division 1 prize from Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban (CYCA), with a day to spare.
Photo: Kurt Arrigo
“We set a plan last year to win Hamilton Island Race Week. We bought a boat from the Roemmers family in Argentina that had won the TP52 Super Series and set a goal. It was an emotional day yesterday; there’s been a bit of argy bargy between us and Ichi Ban. We’ve been match racing all week; I don’t know how many tacks we’ve done this regatta and to ultimately win is pretty exciting,” Blackmore said
Matrix Photo: Kurt Arrigo
Team Hooligan added yet another victory to the owner/skipper’s tally, which includes the arbitrary division win at the first Hamilton Island Race Week way back in 1984.

In between the 100-footers and TP52s, Phil Turner’s RP66 Alive (DSS) finished third overall and banked some crucial time on the water as part of their Sydney Hobart warm-up.

Like Ray Roberts’ Team Hollywood (IRC Div 2 winner, CYCA) and Gerry Hatton’s Bushranger (IRC Div Three Winner, RPAYC), Hooligan elected to sail out the regatta they’d wrapped up on the penultimate day.

IRC Division Four top place went to Graham Furtado’s X41 Matrix from Queensland.

Lisa Ratcliff 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Italians are Nipping at Quantum's Heels - 52 Super Series Sailing Week - Puerto Portals - Day 4

Friday 24th August, Puerto Portals, Spain

The 2017 regatta on the Bay of Palma enjoyed the closest of finishes, this 2018 edition is shaping up for a repeat performance. Though they had their worst day of the regatta so far, returning a sixth and an eighth, Quantum Racing go into the final day of the Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week with a four point lead ahead of long-time adversaries, Azzurra.
Quantum Racing Photo: © Nico Martinez
Breathing down the necks of the Roemmers’ family team, Azzurra, are a posse of three crews: Luna Rossa, Platoon and Phoenix, which are all just one point behind. This regatta was close last year, with just two points separating the top three boats, and it is shaping up to deliver an equally close finish on Saturday on the Bay of Palma.
Azzurra Photo: © Nico Martinez
After a deeply frustrating couple of days, during which they seemed to attract the umpire's red flags like moths to a flame, Harm Müller-Spreer’s Platoon shrugged off their woes and posted a solid pair of third places, the best aggregate of the day, just when they needed it. They were even over the start line early in the first race but recovered very quickly to round the first top mark in third.
Photo: © Nico Martinez
Tactician John Kostekci explained some of the keys to their turnaround:

“We made some big mistakes early in the week, but we’ve actually been sailing well, so we didn’t actually have to change too much. It seems like the boat is going well in the lighter air that we’ve been having the last few days, so we managed to avoid the penalties today and have a good result. Today we sailed well, there were some opportunities out there, especially the first beat of the first race. It was shifty, maybe we had a few breaks here and there but we sailed well also.
Platoon Photo: © Nico Martinez
"The race course is tough and we have Jordi Calafat as our strategist who’s local and lived here his entire life. He says it’s a very unusual week, more like September/October weather that we’re having right now rather than August. So a lot of times he’s just like: ‘I don’t know, let’s just keep our heads out of the boat!’ It’s just one of those weeks.”

It has been tough for the very competitive owner-driver Müller-Spreer, Kostecki explained:
Platoon Photo: © Nico Martinez
“He’s quite upset, but we’re not surpised, the whole team. As a team we’ve been letting him down. We picked it up today, and he’s in good spirits, talking about next season. He’s been in this game forever and he’s a sailor, and I think he realises that we’re sailing against some of the top sailors in the world, so it’s all good.”
Luna Rossa Photo: © Nico Martinez
So too, the Italian America’s Cup team Luna Rossa were slightly more consistent than their Thursday rollercoaster 9,1 when they became the first team to win back-to-back races in these hard-to-read sea breezes. Luna Rossa’s 1,6 today still reflects lost opportunities, according to tactician Vasco Vascotto, but the winners of this season’s Zadar Royal Cup have at least now given themselves a fighting chance of their second regatta title of the season.
Photo: © Nico Martinez
On their race win today, Vascotto commented:

“This has been the first race that we’ve had a very good start and been faster than the other days. That allowed us to prove our performance. We’ve managed to do on the water just what we have said we want in our morning meetings. But in the second race I made a mistake. We will come back for it again tomorrow. Yesterday we had this very unlucky collision with Gladiator and it cost us eleven points. We’ve made plenty of mistakes throughout this week, but here we are, we are still in a place to try and win.”
Phoenix Photo: © Nico Martinez
And just as things didn’t go Quantum Racing’s way today, neither did they for Tina Plattner’s Phoenix. At the very point they could have been closing their deficit on Quantum Racing, they came trailing in last in the first race of the day before a better mid-fleet fifth in the second race.
Quantum Racing Photo: © Nico Martinez
But the odds are still with Quantum Racing, although charismatic owner-driver Doug DeVos emphasised:

“We said coming in: ‘we hurt ourselves today, but we didn’t kill ourselves,’ and that’s exactly what it’s like in this fleet. After a couple of good days, something bad is going to come our way, and this is what it is. We certainly can’t afford to do the same thing again tomorrow. Any mistake that you make, in this fleet gets punished,” 
DeVos said.
Quantum Racing Photo: © Nico Martinez
“It’s still open, and everyone’s still working their hardest. You just have to take a deep breath and try to relax. we’ve been sailing long enough to not get frustrated, but to just take a little time, to take a step back and say: ‘we’re still in first place, we’ve made it a little harder for ourselves, let’s just stay focussed and not try to overreact.’”

Regatta standings after seven races:

1. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (2,4,2,5,2,6,8) 29 p.

2. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto/Pablo Roemmers) (6,5,1,6,4,9,2) 33 p.
3. Luna Rossa (ITA) (Patrizio Bertelli) (7,2,6,9 Penalty 2,1,1,6) 34 p

4. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (1,10,8,2,7,3,3) 34 p.

5. Phoenix (RSA) (Hasso/Tina Plattner) (5,3,4,4,3,10,5) 34 p.

6. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andy Soriano) (3,6,3,8,8,2,9) 39 p.

7. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (8,9,5,1,10,8,1) 42 p.

8. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (4,1,7,10,6,7,10) 45 p.

9. Onda (BRA) (Eduardo de Souza Ramos) (9,8,DNF11,3,9,4,4) 48 p.

10. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (10,7,9,7,5,5,7) 50 p.

Andi Robertson

Tight Action Continues at Hamilton Island Race Week

The business end of Hamilton Island Race Week sees multiple divisions going into the final race on Saturday needing those last points to cement victory while in a couple of divisions the winners are already quietly celebrating.
Team Hollywood Photo: Kurt Arrigo
Ray ‘Hollywood’ Roberts’ Fast 40 Team Hollywood wrapped up IRC division 2 with a race to spare in the 35th edition of the annual six-day series. It’s Roberts’ third divisional win on the trot and he wondered “does that give me the lifetime option to stay at qualia whenever I like – as a reward?”
Photo: Kurt Arrigo
“We had a bit of everything; when it’s not our conditions we hang in there and minimise the damage and when it’s our turn we take advantage,” said tactician David Chapman adding, “Ray’s done a very good job of driving – it’s the toughest job on the boat.”
Ichi Ban and Hooligan Photo: Kurt Arrigo
“I’d like to make a comment about the race organisers. I think they’ve done a fantastic job in sometimes difficult breeze. They’ve given us enjoyable racing and a good test of seamanship due to the current. We made plenty of mistakes judging the tide; it’s really eyes out of the boat stuff, looking for changes on the water and seeing what the others are doing,” Roberts said.
Black Jack and WOXI Photo: Kurt Arrigo
The crew of Gerry Hatton’s Mat 12.45 from Sydney, Bushranger, will rest easy tonight knowing they’ve done enough in IRC division 3 to secure victory.
Morticia Photo: Kurt Arrigo
IRC Division 1’s key trophy is still up for grabs between the two TP52s, just two points separating the duelling Ichi Ban and Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan.
Photo: Kurt Arrigo
Mainsheet on Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban, Volvo Ocean Race sailor Rob Greenhalgh, said on Friday afternoon at a ‘meet the internationals at Race Week’ media opportunity:
Black Jack Photo: Kurt Arrigo
“We were all a bit nervous coming into this regatta, it being inshore racing against Hooligan which isn’t really our strength, but there’s nothing between the boats. It comes down to the basics of sailing; starting well, tacking on the wind shifts and keeping them behind you," said Rob Greenhalgh, mainsheet on Ichi Ban Ichi Ban and Volvo Ocean Race sailor,
Photo: Kurt Arrigo
"It’s been a great place to race boat-on-boat; there’s so much going on and the race is never over. Today we got ahead of Hooligan behind Pine island and then we had an amazing match race for the last hour and the boats were separated by five seconds on corrected time at the finish,” he added.
Wild Oats XI Photo: Kurt Arrigo
The Oatley family’s Wild Oats XI added one more line honours win to its tally of five from six starts, Oats’ tactician Glenn Bourke describing today’s islands race as “tactically exhausting”.


Multihull racing comes in all sizes and shapes at Race Week and remarkably the competition has been very close in 2018.
Photo: Salty Dingo
In the Hamilton Island Multihull Racing division 1 Eric Cook’s imposing Tag 60 Stardust is showing that size counts, even in more benign conditions. “For a big boat that weighs 20 tonnes we do remarkably well in light airs with a very powerful rig and long waterline that allows us to sail deeper than our lighter rivals,” said navigator Ian ‘Condor’ Smith.

In Multihull Racing division second-placed Morticia is working hard to make a late bid for the top spot on the podium, lying only two points behind Stardust. Owner Dale Mitchell, who took the all-black Seacart 30 Morticia to the Caribbean 600 this year, would probably prefer more of the severe conditions they experienced in that race than the continued light airs forecast for Saturday. Morticia not only survived Hurricane Irma ensconced in her container on the island of St Maarten, but the crew managed to finish the race despite the consistent 30-40 knots of wind, one of only four of the 13 multihulls that finished the gruelling ocean crossing.

“We’ve still got some unfinished business, so we’d like to go back again someday,” said Mitchell.

In Hamilton Island Multihull Division 1, the all-female Kiwi crew aboard the Crowther 40 are doing for sailing what the All Blacks are doing in the Bledisloe Cup – winning!

The Crowther 40 Ave Gitana from New Zealand is getting plenty of exposure at Race Week and the admiration is mutual, according to skipper Sharon Ferris-Choat, who has circled the world two-and-a-half times but has never sailed in the Whitsundays. “The sailing here is exceptionally beautiful – and challenging – and the organisation of the event as a whole is absolutely second-to-none.”

Rod White, whose Farrier 8.2 trimaran Agape is in second position in Hamilton Island Multihull Division 1, is hoping that the Kiwis will get distracted by the beautiful island scenery, but is also enjoying the closeness of the racing: “The handicappers often get a bad rap, but it’s their job to keep it close across such different types and sizes of boats and I think they do a really good job at Race Week.”.
Photo: Kurt Arrigo
In the Sailing Instructions there are 40 race courses to cover every combination of wind and tide, but each year PRO Denis Thompson finds that some permutation of conditions still requires a new course or two. And so it was today, with Courses 41 and 42 added to the list for the IRC, Multihull Racing and Hamilton Island Division 1 racing on the Eastern course to cater for an unusual easterly that was set to veer to the ESE. A Dent Passage start and finish had the remainder of the fleet on various courses that headed west and south using Pentecost, Cole and Pine islands as rounding marks.
Photo: Kurt Arrigo
The forecast for the final day of racing on Saturday August 25 is the slight chance of a shower with winds E-NE at 8-14 knots. Traditionally the Lindeman Island race completes the on-water program before crews attend the awards ceremony at the Hamilton Island Convention Centre.

Results for all divisions

Lisa Ratcliff and Crosbie Lorimer

Thursday, August 23, 2018

What The Tacticians Said - 52 Super Series - Puerto Portals - Day 3

Vasco Vascotto (ITA), Tactician Luna Rossa (ITA):
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week
“I feel that we are all stupid except the one who is doing just 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd. They are smarter than us! We are making so many mistakes this season, something that is not acceptable. But unfortunately that is what we are doing. So we need to analyse, be smart, go to our meetings, or maybe don’t do meetings. 
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week
"Maybe just go for a gin and tonic.Maybe that is the way to solve some problems sometimes. It’s a pity because I felt that today we had a little better speed, we analysed properly what was wrong yesterday, but we feel like sometimes we are so close to the perfection, but then it just disappears.”

Ray Davies (NZL), Tactician Sled (USA):
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week
“I think it’s a bit of the nature of the conditions out there. I think it’s quite hard to pick a side and get it correct. Even part way up the first beat of the last race it was looking like our side was going okay and then it all changed. and that was the same way in the first race, it wasn’t looking so special and then it all came good for us. It’s pretty hard, and the key is to be consistent and I guess we’re not exactly doing that. But I guess when you average out our day it was middle of the pack.”

On the race course:
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week
"It’s been quite tricky. This time of year the water is really warm here, it’s like 26 degrees, so the wind lifts off it. So it’s not the standard Palma conditions we see earlier in the year with a really nice consistent sea breeze. Now it comes in and then lifts and disappears, it comes and goes, it’s quite a dynamic type of breeze this time of year. And we’re seeing that it takes a while for the wind to get going, then eventually when it does we still haven’t seen a good solid breeze yet, it’s just sort of coming and going.

Andi Robertson

Quantum Racing and Phoenix Play the Palma Game - 52 Super Series - Puerto Portals - Day 3

Thursday 23rd August, Puerto Portals, Spain

It may have looked like a relatively straightforward summer sea breeze on the Bay of Palma, but today’s two races contested by the ten TP52s at the Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week proved particularly hard to read.

Photo: © Nico Martinez / Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week
The fact that is was difficult to retain a high level of consistency across both races is perhaps best illustrated in today’s results of the usually super consistent Sled, who won the first race, but finished 10th in the second, and in those of the Italian America’s Cup challengers Luna Rossa, who came back from a weighty ninth in the first race to win the second race.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week
Over the two races, of which take the regatta past its midpoint, the best were the circuit leaders Doug DeVos’s Quantum Racing, and Tina Plattner’s Phoenix. Both scored an aggregate seven points over Races 4 and 5, and so lie first and second on the event leaderboard.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week
Although the Bay of Palma has a reputation for usually being very regular and almost boringly predictable due to its reliable sea breeze, today – once again – it was very “unlike Palma”. 

The sea breeze came in to 12 knots at the peak in the second race. It was patchy, streaky, and there were changes in wind pressure from one side of the course to the other, which clearly made it difficult for the tacticians. 
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week
The explanation given by many is that the super hot temperatures have warmed up the sea so much in recent week that the air over the warmer water is not drawn in with the same force as the land heats up, the temperature differential being less pronounced.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week
“The regatta may be halfway over, but it is Saturday’s final result that counts. Our thing is to try and keep it simple and not over complicate things. It is not typical Palma Bay right now. It is about keeping your options and working very hard to start consistently, maybe not exactly where we want to be, but close enough to execute our plan on the first beat,” explained Terry Hutchinson, tactician on Quantum Racing. 

Photo: © Nico Martinez / Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week
“I think the breeze is very unstable. There are big changes in pressure, for which there are no rhyme or reason to. You sail to them, and they evaporate. And that makes it very, very difficult,” he added.
Sled Photo: © Nico Martinez / Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week
“I think it is very tricky this time of year because the water is really warm. It has been so hot and that is really affecting the sea breeze,” explained Ray Davies, tactician on Sled, which lies eighth overall,
Phoenix Photo: © Nico Martinez / Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week
Meanwhile, Tina Plattner, Ed Baird, and the Phoenix team have been quietly replicating the form they showed in Zadar when they nearly won the Royal Cup, pipped only by Luna Rossa on the last day. Tactician Ed Baird has done an fine job of keeping out of trouble and managing the risk-reward equation, whilst clearly having a fast, well set up boat.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week
Baird summarised:

“We’re very happy to be in the position we are. Certainly a lot has changed here from Zadar, and the fleet has a couple more regatas under its belt. This is only Tina’s second event and its great to see her doing so well. So far, the key has been staying out of trouble. There has been a number of boats that have, for whatever reason, made choices or gotten into situations that could’ve made trouble, and its hard to get back out. The challenge is staying out of trouble, we’ve been really trying to get off the line clean, and we’ve had two good starts, and two not-so-good, and then another average one.

Tommy Burnham has been looking around the race course, and talking about the next breeze situation, and its not the normal Palma deal where you have to just go into one corner, and I think that by being able to have a little more open course it gives us more options.”

Of helm Tina Plattner who is still just at her second ever 52 Super Series regatta, he said:

“Tina is doing great. She is really going to be a great competitor in the sport as the years go by. She told us at the early part of the season that she hoped that in five years she would be able to compete at this level and that would give her another five years before she got too old! I told her, ‘its not going to take that long and you’re very far from being too old’. She’s doing great, I think she’ll be pretty strong in five years. She’s having a lot of fun.”

Quantum Racing lead by four points ahead of Phoenix, with Azzurra third, three points behind Phoenix.

Regatta standings after five races

1. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (2,4,2,5,2) 15 p.
2. Phoenix (RSA) (Hasso/Tina Plattner) (5,3,4,4,3) 19 p.
3. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto Roemmers) (6,5,1,6,4) 22 p.
4. Luna Rossa (ITA) (Patrizio Bertelli) (7,2,6,9 Penalty 2,1) 27 p.
5. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (1,10,8,2,7) 28 p.
6. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (4,1,7,10,6) 28 p.
7. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andy Soriano) (3,6,3,8,8) 28 p.
8. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (8,9,5,1,10) 33 p.
9. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (10,7,9,7,5) 38 p.
10. Onda (BRA) (Eduardo de Souza Ramos) (8,9,DNF11,2,9) 40 p.

Andi Robertson

Black Jack Racks Up A Win - Hamilton Island Race Week - Day 4

Winds returned to light northerlies at Hamilton Island Race Week on day four of the six-day on-water program in the Whitsunday Islands of North Queensland, Australia.
Black Jack Photo: Kurt Arrigo
A new windward/leeward course around Yandala and Edwards Islands to the north-east of Hamilton Island befitted Peter Harburg’s Queensland 100-footer Black Jack. They took a first line honours win off Wild Oats XI from four starts, despite potentially handicapping themselves out with an individual recall at the start.
Photo: Kurt Arrigo
Black Jack’s stumble in Turtle Bay became their winning move when the credentialled crew of Tom Addis, Iain Percy (UK), Anthony Nossiter, Billy Merrington and skipper Mark Bradford, among others high-level sailors, opted for a different tack to the main bunch.
Photo: Kurt Arrigo
Harburg’s super-maxi headed offshore where the breeze incrementally built to a top-end 8 knots out of the north and they moved into first in the fleet, followed to the finish by Phil Turner’s RP66 Alive.
In race two the Oatley family’s Wild Oats XI evened the day’s score. 
Photo: Kurt Arrigo
“We cleaned them up nicely at the start, they managed to swing and tack off on port and we ended up in battle with the 50-footers and had to duck Alive,” Bradford said.
Photo: Kurt Arrigo
For the second island windward/leeward start the breeze marginally increased to 10 knots and combined with flatwater offshore conditions all IRC divisions completed their courses by late afternoon before the motor back to Hamilton Island harbour at dusk.
Photo: Kurt Arrigo
Dutch navigator Wouter Verbraak and Will Tiller driving Alive picked up their best result in race four, beating Wild Oats XI over the line and placing second to Marcus Blackmore’s TP52 Hooligan on corrected time.

“Alive’s day was fantastic – we had a great first race and found ourselves in between the two 100-footers at the top mark. The TP52s have still got the upper hand on us," said Alive’s trim coach Mike Mottle.

Two handicap wins on Thursday August 23 has Marcus Blackmore’s TP52 Hooligan now in front of Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban by two points.

IRC Division 2 

Ray Roberts’ Fast 40 Team Hollywood is edging away from its key challengers, Darryl Hodgkinson’s Carkeek 40 Victoire and fellow Sydneysider About Time, Julian Farren-Price’s Cookson 50.

IRC Division 3

Upwind and downwind in 10 knots of breeze is when Gerry Hatton’s Mat 12.45 Bushranger, with retired boat builder John McConaghy and owner Gerry Hatton sharing the driving, comes into its own.

“Bushranger is set up for those conditions; it was just right for us. Everything came together just nicely for us with a couple of good starts and getting the shifts right. Hopefully we get another windward/leeward tomorrow; we’ve got to put enough in the bank for the Lindeman Island Race, which might not suit us,”  said tactician Michael Fountain.

IRC Division 4

Graham Furtado’s Queensland X41 The Matrix is the IRC division 4 series leader.

“Racing’s been tight; it’s hard trying to beat the 47.7s around the track and we look forward to tight racing for the next couple of days. Whatever it’s going to be weather-wise will be. The regatta is still between Eagle Rock and us, and Popeyes is still in with a chance,” said navigator Ben Davis.

The forecast for the penultimate day of racing on Friday August 24 is partly cloudy with light winds at first, tending E-NE at 6-12knots during the afternoon.

Results for all divisions

HIRW Media

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Quantum Racing Dominate on the Bay of Palma - Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week - Day 2

Wednesday 22nd August, Puerto Portals

The Bay of Palma served up a typical Pandora’s Box of sea breeze delights for the first three races of the Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week
Although the general trend was for the gains to be made on the right side of the upwinds on the three windward-leeward races contested, it was never that straightforward. Small gains and losses were made all the way through each race. 

Photo: © Nico Martinez / Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week
Three different teams won races today: Platoon, Provezza and Azzurra, but it is the 2018 circuit leaders Quantum Racing that top the regatta leaderboard. After a second, fourth and a second, the crew, which is led by owner-driver Doug DeVos is four points ahead of a logjam of four boats that all accumulated 12 points over today’s first three races of this, the fourth regatta of the five that constitute the 2018 52 Super Series.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week
Quantum Racing were on typically consistent form, their predatory instincts prevailing right to the finish line of each of the three races. At no point did they lead a race today but they were always going forwards, taking places and twice they pipped Alegre in the closing stages to steal second places from under the noses of Andy Soriano’s crew.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week
Platoon won the first race conclusively, Harm Müller-Spreer’s German team seeming to atone for a disappointing showing in Cascais. But in the following race they had to take not one, but two penalties on consecutive rounds for crosses with Alegre.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week
“We need to take the good things from the first race, learn from what we did wrong in the second and third races and keep strong. We thought the first cross was an easy one, port-starboard, but the jury thought otherwise, but you just have to take that as it comes. And then the second time we were judged to have tacked too close to them. It is what it is. These were 50:50 calls, but it is down to the umpires, but we need to not take those kind of risks and learn,” Victor Marino from the Platoon crew said.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week
Provezza, popular winners here in 2017, were back on top form for the second race, tactician Tony Rey (USA) and navigator Nacho Postigo reading the streaky, split breeze to perfection. They led out to the early right, into the better pressure and shift to be first around the windward mark with Luna Rossa second. On the second upwind the two leaders traded tacks, but it was Provezza that went on to win with Luna Rossa second and Tina Plattner’s Phoenix taking third.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week
And in the third race it was all about Azzurra. Santi Lange recognised an early dividend off the pin as the breeze stayed in the left this time and they were able to lead the fleet around the first turn. They were the only crew of the ten racing to gybe set and that seemed to net a significant gain. But that was largely annulled on the next upwind when the right came back and Alegre almost got back on terms. But it was Azzurra’s win with Quantum Racing coming in with the speed to the finish line to, again, pinch a good second and with that the overall lead.
Photo: © Nico Martinez / Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week
“It was a long, intense day really but great, great racing. It is very shifty, very puffy and I think our guys read it well. Finding the pressure and the angles in to the finish was key for us and our guys did a great job at that,” said Doug DeVos owner-driver of Quantum Racing.

Regatta standings after three races:

1. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (2,4,2) 8 p.

2. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (4,1,7) 12 p.

3. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto Roemmers) (6,5,1) 12 p.
4. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (3,6,3) 12 p.

5. Phoenix (RSA) (Hasso/Tina Plattner) (5,3,4) 12 p.

6. Luna Rossa (ITA) (Patrizio Bertelli) (7,2,6) 15 p.

7. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (1,10,8) 19 p.

8. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (8,9,5) 22 p.

9. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (10,7,9) 26 p.

10. Onda (BRA) (Eduardo de Souza Ramos) (8,9,DNF11) 28 p.

Andi Robertson