With owner Doug DeVos on the helm, Quantum Racing took the overall lead after placing first and fourth in the opening heats of the 52 Super Series at Quantum Key West 2013.
Quantum Racing crew members in action during day one at the Quantum Key West Race Week on January 21st 2013 in Key West, Florida, USA.
Quantum Racing, with owner Doug DeVos on the helm, emerge from the first day of the new 52 Super Series season with the overall lead at Quantum Key West 2013 thanks to a well executed victory in the second of two windward-leeward races sailed for the six boat 52 class.
They were never passed at any point during the second race, leading from the first windward turn of the five legs contest to the finish, to partner their win to a modest fourth place which they rescued from what had looked earlier like a pretty lackluster Race 1. Skipper Ed Baird commented:
'I am very excited for Doug DeVos, he is always asking us what he can do better. We are trying to ask the same questions of ourselves, but I think that is the light weather day and it will be different from here on. We will see how it goes. But it was a beautiful day on the water.'
If their fourth and first places reflect something of an up and down opening day for the team which finished second overall on the 2012 52 Super Series and are twice past MedCup and World Champions, in fact it was the defending champions Azzurra whose results proved more extreme.
The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda team lead by skipper-helm Guillermo Parada looked to have seamlessly returned to winning ways when they nailed a perfect start and chose the favored left side of the upwind leg first. At the windward mark they lead Tony Langley’s Gladiator and stayed ahead to take the first winning gun of the season.
But in the second race Azzurra mistimed their starting move when they tried to tack underneath and slow Quantum Racing. They ended up squeezed between Quantum Racing and Rio and so were forced away. But it was within meters of the windward mark that their problems really started. Azzurra were nearly halted. when they hooked a lobster pot line. It took two attempts with a crewman, David Vera, going off the bow and all the way under the boat to clear the offending line. Even so it was slickly undertaken, reflecting a contingency they had practiced as a team only a few days ago. Azurra dropped to sixth, losing between four and five hundred meters. They were unable to improve from there, but still finish their first day with a share of third place overall.
KEY WEST, FLORIDA - JAN 2013: David Vera of Azzurra gets helped by his team mates after fixing a problem with the boat during day one at the Quantum Key West Race Week on January 21st 2013 in Key West, Florida, USA. Photo by Xaume Olleros / 52 Super Series
Vascotto recalled: 'We lost about 400 meters to everybody and from there is was very difficult to come back. This is the way of class, sometimes you win sometimes you lose. But tonight we have risotto with lobster, very good, very Italian.'
The first race was just perfect though, good crew work, good wind shifts, Guillermo drove the boat very well and so overall we know that we have the possibility to win races. But we need to stay away from trouble, to start clean, away from lobster pots, stay away from crazy stuff and we are confident tomorrow we make a better job.'
While Quantum Racing’s first and fourth ensures they lead only on tiebreak, Tony Langley’s Gladiator team sailed a very astute and smooth opening day. With Chris Larson calling tactics, Gladiator were impressive in the way they stayed out of trouble, but equally they were nicely placed to take every opportunity which came their way. When there threatened to be a little mix up at the first mark of the second race with Interlodge and Azzurra opening the door slightly, Gladiator was smartly into third place which they held to the finish.
Langley may pay tribute to new trimmer Ross Halcrow and a new keel as part of their renewed competitive edge, but the owner-driver did a nice job of keeping the boat moving in the slightly streaky, six to nine knots of NW’ly breezes.
As ever there is nothing much separating the fleet after two races. Quantum Racing and Gladiator share he same five points aggregate whilst three boats Azzurra, RÁN and Interlodge, all have seven points. After a light winds pair of opening races, breezes at Quantum Key West 2013 are expected to build for Tuesday and Wednesday.
KEY WEST, FLORIDA - JAN 2013: Gladiator in action during day one at the Quantum Key West Race Week on January 21st 2013 in Key West, Florida, USA. Photo by Xaume Olleros / 52 Super Series
52 Super Series. Quantum Key West 2013:
4. Quantum Racing
5. RÁN Racing
1. Quantum Racing
2. RÁN Racing
Overall after two races
1. Quantum Racing (5 points)
2. Gladiator (6 points)
3. Azzurra (7 points)
4. RÁN Racing (7 points)
5. Interlodge (7 points)
6. Rio (11 points)
52 Super Series