The Royal Cup, being held in Palma, Mallorca at the Real Club Náutico, got underway today with the practice race. Sailing's elite including Olympic medallists, America’s Cup winners and world champions are among the crews preparing to compete in the third regatta of the 52 Super Series which starts at 1100 UTC tomorrow, 11th July 2012.
Fleet of 52 Super Series in action during day one and Practice Race of Royal Cup of 52 Super Series 2012
Audi Azzurra Sailing Team are hoping an artillery of new sails will help to reel in the 52 Super Series leaders Quantum Racing when the four-day Royal Cup starts in Palma, Mallorca on July 11.
Azzurra skipper Guillermo Parada said there was plenty of pressure on his team to step-up in the third regatta in the world’s premier inshore monohull series, with just three points separating Azzurra and Quantum with two regattas to go.
'This could be the turning point in the series,’’ Parada said. 'If Quantum manage to get more points on us it’s going to be hard for us to get them back in with only one regatta, come the Valencia Cup in September.'
Parada said his team will hit the start line with three new sails tailor made for the moderate conditions in Palma Bay and also a change in the crew, with Mariano Parada replacing tactician Francesco Bruni, who has America’s Cup commitments.
'The crew change may look big on paper, but it’s not,’’ Parada said. 'As for the sails, we hope they will be give us a boost.'
PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN. 2012. Quantum Racing and Gladiator in action during day one and Practice Race of Royal Cup of 52 Superseries on10 july, 2012 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain (photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries)
Quantum Racing are no easy target. The defending champions have won seven of the 14 races in the series to date and only failed to finish on the podium twice.
Double America’s Cup winner Quantum skipper Ed Baird said his team are aiming to harness their winning momentum heading into Wednesday’s Royal Cup.
'The group right now are meshing well, there’s good information flow,' Baird said.
'We had our ups and downs in the last event and with one day to go we were behind, but the guys took that in their stride and it worked out. They are really fighting to improve each and every day.'
Rán Racing skipper Niklas Zennström said his team, who are third in the overall 52 Super Series, have their work cut out for them to chase down Quantum and Azzurra.
But Zennström reckons the predicted consistent winds in Palma Bay will play to his team’s advantage.
'We are third place and we have a chance to come from behind and challenge, but I also know when we race against Quantum and Azzurra they don’t cut us any slack,’’ he said.
'It will be intense, it’s very close racing. If you miss a shift, if you have a bad tack, a bad gybe, you will fall behind. But this is our second year racing our boat and our training sessions have been going well, things are looking good.'
Two new comers will join the fleet, Austrian team Aquila, helmed by Rene Mangold, and Turkish team Provezza, owned by Ergin Imre and steered by double Olympic silver medallist Nick Rogers, from England.
Quantum leads the overall 52 Super Series on 29.5 points, followed by Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, 32.5, Rán Racing, 46.5, Gladiator, 49, Paprec, 78.5, PowerPlay, 80 and Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE, 87.5.
The Royal Cup starts on Wednesday with the first race set to start at 1300 local, 1100 UTC. A maximum of three races will be contested. Racing can be followed live with radio commentary and Virtual Eye.
52 Super Series website