by Paco Tormo
Ran, Day 2 of TP52 Superseries on May 25, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain
After two great races in sparkling Garbi seabreeze conditions off Barcelona it is Niklas Zennström’s Rán team which leads the Trofeo de Vela Conde de Godo, part of the 52SuperSeries, but only on countback from the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team.
After five races not only do the top two boats share the same 9pts aggregate, but the new Azzurra and the boat which finished the 2011 season on a high by winning the TP52’s Conde de Godo regatta here, actually have identical score lines – two wins apiece, two second places and a third.
Quantum Racing, skippered and helmed by Ed Baird, nailed the first race after a well timed start and were able to extend comfortably, winning their first 52 Super Series race, but Rán added their second win of the regatta when their small downwind speed edge and sharp tactics – staying further offshore for extra breeze on the first run helped them again as the breeze peaked around 20kts.
Quantum Racing the current Audi MedCup Circuit and World Champions, now with four ex Alinghi America’s Cup winners on board – Baird, Juan Vila, Warwick Fleury and trimmer Lorenzo Mazza- scored best of the 52 Super Series fleet today, They came back from their modest 3,3,3 opening day to sail to a 1,2 which leaves them three points behind the regatta leaders aggregate.
After racing Ed Reynolds, director of the Quantum Racing Team, observed that their team are improving – but so are their rivals. As ever it will be the team which hits their best level earliest which can build themselves a season winning cushion.
'We are still leaving a lot of boat lengths on the race course. But we are getting better but integrating is not easy. One of the things perhaps the sport does not get the credit is deserves is the team sport it is, and the nuances of the decision making, and the expectation and timing of how each manoeuvre is pulled. There are challenges with the new crew. They are all incredibly talented, but integrating to the level where they can click off, I have never been a level of sailing like this where you pay so dearly for every metre you lose on the race course.'
Audi Azzurra Sailing Team were not able to dominate quite the way they did over the first two races of the season yesterday, but their second and third ensures they share the top tally so far, along with Rán.
Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE started for the first time this season and proved competitive in the fresher breeze, trading a fourth and fifth with Gladiator.
All through this season the 52’s will race carrying a memorial tribute to John Cook, the popular owner-skipper of Cristabella who passed away in late April. Each boat will have a small sticker ‘John Cook, Cristabella’ placed adjacent to the guest’s position at the back of the boat.
Juan Vila (ESP) Navigator Quantum Racing (USA): 'It was much better than yesterday. We had two good starts on the line and went the way we wanted and that helps. First race worked out well. Second race we went round the top mark in first place, but Rán did a good job on the first run.'
'There was not much difference from yesterday to be honest. But that metre extra on the beat makes the difference. That was getting out of the starts and doing the first upwinds well. Then when you are first boat on the upwind, you can control and extend.'
'It is an amazing fleet. It is really, really great with these boats, it comes down to a few mistakes. Doing a few things well makes a difference.'
Adrian Stead (GBR) tactician Rán: 'We are really pleased. We had an opportunity to get through but were really well. third in the end. But I think the four boats finished within ten seconds of each other on the line – with a Wally in there too which made things interesting. The breeze built for the second race and we had our first go with our Code 3.5 jib and that worked. That is something Quantum had last year. It works well for us. We sailed a good run when we got offshore, finding more pressure where we could let the boat do the work. So we are really pleased to be leading the 52 Super Series after today.'
Vasco Vascotto (ITA) tactician Audi Azzurra Sailing Team. 'Compared to yesterday we made some mistakes in all areas, and so you pay. But it is quite clear that when Quantum are ahead of us they try to slow us much as they can. And that will be the game from now until the end of the season. Rán is a little more clear of that, nobody is watching for them right now, but later on we will need to pay attention because they are quick, especially downwind, and they are sailing well. They have good sailors on board and that is why they are leading. It is long season.'
52 Super Series, Trofeo de Vela Conde de Godo Day 2 After 5 Races:
1 Rán (SWE) 2,2,1,3,1 9pts,
2 Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA), 1,1,2,2,3 9pts
3 Quantum Racing (USA) 3,3,3,1,2 12 pts
4 Gladiator (GBR) 4,4,4,4,5 12pts
5 Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE (GER/FRA) DNC, DNC, DNC, 5,4 18pts