A Tight Fit at the Top, One Point Separates Top Three in Menorca
Thursday, May 23, 2019 8:33 PM
On an uncompromising, very much one-sided race course off Mahón, Quantum Racing proved the top scoring boat at the Menorca 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week to take the overall lead at the first circuit regatta of 2019 by one single point.
After missing Day 2’s scheduled races due to the lack of breeze, the third day was a gift with the bright spring sunshine and 10-15 knots of breeze. But with the race area located to the east of the entrance to Mahón’s expansive natural harbour – one of the world’s biggest – the topography upwind created a natural deflection in the wind, creating a one-sided course that placed a gilt-edged premium on starting perfectly and getting to the right as smartly as possible.
Regatta leaders Azzurra had made a dream start to their season. A second and a win on the first day was smartly followed by another victory in the first of today’s three races. A textbook start on the signal boat end of the line, a swift tack to the right and the team from the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda led all the way around the course, extending their lead to eight points at the top of the 11-boat fleet.
But, as is nearly always the case, when there is such pressure on one side of the course and off the line, it is close to impossible to repeat the same plan time and again. Azzurra were held up by Sled at the start of the next race and their strategy was compromised. Provezza got away to lead while Azzurra rounded fifth dropping places on each subsequent leg to finish seventh. A mainsheet winch problem just before the start of Race 5, the third contest of the day, left Azzurra flat footed and nearly last off the line. The dream, 2,1,1, was rudely awoken to a harsh 17pts reality, just as perennial rivals Quantum Racing hit their straps for a glamour 4,2,1 today.
Guillermo Parada, the Azzurra skipper-helm grimaced:
“It is the third day of racing, we are almost tied on points and it is like starting all over again! But tomorrow we will be back fighting. That is our style. If we thought we were going to have a comfortable week… no way?”
Quantum Racing started well each race but lost places again in the first heat of the day, leaving Alegre and Provezza to gybe away to the left of the run and gain in better wind pressure. But thereafter the new team line up were firing on all cylinders, extending on the third race to be almost 300 metres ahead on the one sided, follow my leader course.
Provezza, Ergin Imre’s Turkish-flagged team show considerable podium potential, their 12pts for the day’s diet of three races, sees them tied on points with Azzurra, also just one point behind the regatta leaders. The new afterguard on Provezza, John Cutler steering with Kiwi compatriot Hamish Pepper, appear to have gelled with unflappable navigator Nacho Postigo and their Judel/Vrolijk design – which was updated through the winter – is proving quick enough.
Cameron Appleton, tactician on Quantum Racing commented:
“We made it hard on ourselves on the first race but after that it went well. There is a big geographical shift and the right was strong. We fought hard and we had really good strategy all day. Ed was able to execute really well and the rest was the guys just really working really hard and sailing the boat really well. The starts are a tricky part of the race especially when there is really only one place to start and Ed did a good job in races two and three.”
Menorca 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week
Regatta standings after Day 3
1. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (8,5,4,2,1) 20 p.
2. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto/Pablo Roemmers) (2,1,1,7,10) 21 p.
3. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (6,3,3,1,8) 21 p.
4. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (5,2,6,3,7) 23 p.
5. Bronenosec (RUS) (Vladimir Liubomirov) (1,7,8,10,2) 28 p.
6. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (4,11,2,5,6) 28 p.
7. Phoenix 11 (RSA) (Hasso Plattner) (3,10,11,6,5) 35 p.
8. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (9,8,5,9,4) 35 p.
9. Phoenix 12 (RSA) (Tina Plattner) (7,4,7,8,9) 35 p.
10. Team Vision Future (FRA) (Jean Jacques Chaubard) (10,6,9,4,11) 40 p.
11. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (11,9,10,11,3) 44 p.
Racing at the Menorca 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week starts on Tuesday 21st May and finishes on Saturday 25th May. The boats can be tracked online or via the 52 SUPER SERIES app with live commentary and expert analysis throughout each race. Shows start 15 minutes before racing is due to begin.