The Valencia Cup has now concluded and at the end, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team glided serenely across the finish line of the one final race of the season in a gentle sea breeze and perfect September sunshine to secure the overall 52 Super Series title.
Day four of Audi Valencia Cup of 52 Superseries on September 22, 2012 at Marina Real Juan Carlos I, Puerto de Valencia, in Valencia, Spain
When they started Race 8 of the Audi Valencia Cup, all that the team which races under the flag of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda had to do was simply cross that last finish line in any place to ensure the season-long title was theirs.
In so doing they also won the Audi Valencia Cup, counting five first places, a second, third and fifth. Their only regatta win of the four this season, Barcelona, Sardinia, Palma and Valencia, was achieved by a margin of seven points ahead of Jochen Schuemann’s Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One.
Niklas Zennström, the newly elected president of the TP52 class, steered Rán to a win this final contest of the season. With Quantum Racing finishing third, that was enough to give Zennström’s crew third step on the Audi Valencia Cup podium, and also third overall for the season.
The celebrations may have started early for the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, having virtually wrapped up the title yesterday, but after seven years of trying the emotions and jubilation overflowed on the dock in front of the emblematic Veles e Vents building.
'We are very proud.' Grinned tactician Vasco Vascotto, ' It was a huge challenge, the standard is so high and so we are happy for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, for the Roemmers family (boat owners), for everybody involved it is such an important result.'
'But we need to start working tomorrow again, because I am sure that next year it will be harder and the teams will be ready to beat us. This is still a sport and so we have to always think not only how we won this year, but also how we lost in the past.'
Simon Fry, the British trimmer on board the winning Audi Azzurra Sailing team summarised: 'I think the team has really endorsed the ‘leave nothing to chance’ philosophy. I think we have just been a little more diligent. I think the boat preparation has been excellent. And I think that on top of that we had the human element of a really, really steely focus. It was ‘the time has come, we have to deliver’. We have had the hardware in the past and failed to deliver. So there was a bit of personal pressure on, and a bit of peer pressure, this was the year we had to deliver.'
For Quantum Racing, the American flagged team which won the class title in 2008 and 20011, letting the 52 Super Series slip from their grasp at the last regatta is a bitter pill to swallow, but skipper Ed Baird stated they will learn from the experience: ' Every race is a practice race for the next one. You have to learn from every mistake you have made and add it to your bank of knowledge for the next. And we certainly have learned a lot this week.'
The 52 Super Series concluded its inaugural season with three different boats winning regattas, Quantum Racing, Rán and Audi Azzurra Sailing Team. The programme for next season’s 52 Super Series is already in place, starting in January in Key West.
VALENCIA, SPAIN. 2012. Day three of Audi Valencia Cup of 52 Superseries on September 21, 2012 at Marina Real Juan Carlos I, Puerto de Valencia, in Valencia, Spain (photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries)
Audi Valencia Cup:
1 Audi Azzurra Sailing Team 15pts
2 Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One 22pts
3 Rán 25pts
4 Quantum Racing 26pts
5 Gladiator 32pts
52 Super Series final results:
1 Audi Azzurra Sailing Team ITA 74.5pts
2 Quantum Racing USA 79.5pts
3 Rán Racing SWE 94.5pts
4 Gladiator GBR 125pts
5 Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One GER 132.5 pts
2013 Calendar - US 52 Super Series
Quantum Key West Race Week: January 20-25th
52 World Championships, Miami, March 5-9th
52 Super Series:
Trofeo Conde de Godo, Barcelona, May 23-26th
Royal Cup, Ibiza, July 2-6th
Copa del Rey, Palma Mallorca, July 29th – Aug 3rd
Audi Week of the Straits, Porto Cervo, Sardinia September 10-14th
Vasco Vascotto, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team: 'We are very proud. It was a huge challenge, the standard is so high and so we are happy for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, for the Roemmers family, for everybody it is an important result. And we need to start working tomorrow again, because I am sure that next year it will be harder and the teams will be ready to beat us. This is still a sport and so we have to always think not only how we won this year, but also how we lost in the past. It means a lot to me. This is part of my heart. We are still a young team in the sailing circles and we want to win more together. I have won other things but this is important to win because the team have been trying so hard for so long.'
Ed Baird, Quantum Racing: 'Obviously we are disappointed. We never want to drop boats, we never want to do that. We are still learning and trying our hardest and I have full faith in the group here. One of the things that has gone on all week, is that despite how frustrating it has been to make decisions that seemed like they were the ones, and then have them go wrong, the group was always very positive and always fighting. I appreciate that from a team.
Adrian Stead, Rán Racing: 'We sailed the boat really well, we changed gears really well in the conditions. I think it was shifty enough and puffy enough that as long as you could be under the right breeze at the right time for longest, that gave you the speed and the advantage. We have come a long way. We have improved. We were weak in the light stuff and have improved there.'
Stephane Kandler, Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One: 'We are very happy with our season, we started late and with only little means. So we are quite happy to get two podiums over the season and won the Copa del Rey. So we are pleased to have done the season. Congratulations for the season to Azzurra who did a great job.'
Tony Langley, owner-driver Gladiator: 'It has been a good season for us. I am quite happy with the way things have gone and with the progress we have made. We had better results in Porto Cervo but we have been sailing the boat quite well. The other guys are coming after us now. We were tacked on three times today. We are doing things fairly right now.'
'Today we had good start, a bad shift, and then we were back in it again. And in the end we finish by taking a scalp off a team with a few gold medals between them and that’s great, that’s quite something.'
'We are packing everything up now and heading to the US for the first events of next season. We are already really looking forwards to Key West and Miami.'
52 Super Series website