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Sail-World.com : 52 Super Series ready for action at Key West Race Week
52 Super Series ready for action at Key West Race Week

'Azzurra Sailing Team - 2012 Audi Sardinia Cup'    © Alessandro Spiga/YCCS    Click Here to view large photo

The curtain will raise on the new 2013 '52 Super Series' at the Quantum Key West 2013 regatta (January 20-25) where six IRC/TP 52’s from both sides of the Atlantic, including the 2012 52 Super Series champions Azzurra (ITA) and past MedCup champions Quantum Racing (USA), will embark on an exciting new season which will take the fleet to Miami, Barcelona, Ibiza, Palma and Costa Smeralda.

The formula for 2013 extends the successful pattern established last year in Europe. The circuit is owned and driven by the team owners who collectively set the agenda for the season. This year is very much about consolidation and continuing stability for the class and the Circuit, realising a firm platform for future growth. The owners’ collective desire is again to sail at enjoyable, top class venues – mostly at established regattas – but this is the first time that the 52 Super Series has broadened its horizons to embrace the 52’s which are based in the USA.

'Overall we are pretty happy with the entries. Given the reputation and popularity of Key West we can be sure that we are looking forward to a good week of racing. It will be interesting to see how the US boats fare against the Med boats. My feeling is that it might be quite even. Being honest we might have expected more US boats to join us here, but what is very encouraging for us is that we will have more at Miami in March for the 52 World Championships, and some of the American boats have already indicated that they will join us for some of the ‘must do’ regattas in Europe. That was one of the objectives of bringing the 52 Super Series to the USA for the first time, so to have American boats coming to race in Europe is good news,' Remarks Rob Weiland, the 52’s Class Manager and co-organiser of the 52 Super Series.

The fleet in Key West will be composed of three American 52’s and three European 52’s. Owner Doug DeVos will be back on the helm of Quantum Racing with Ed Baird as skipper. Quantum Racing dominated the 52 Class at the Quantum Key West 2012 regatta last year winning six out of the ten races sailed and never finishing worse than second.

After narrowly losing out on the 2012 '52 Super Series' title the Quantum Racing crew, led by America’s Cup champion Ed Baird, will be looking to build a strong early season foundation on waters the crew know well. The afterguard consisting of tactician Andy Horton (USA), skipper Ed Baird (USA) and navigator Juan Vila (ESP) remains unchanged from 2012.

There is a little change to the set up or the crew of the championship-winning Azzurra which races in the colours of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, 30 years after the first Azzurra team went to Newport to represent the YCCS at the America’s Cup.

Azzurra Sailing Team - 2012 Audi Sardinia Cup -  © Alessandro Spiga/YCCS  

Skipper-helm Guillermo Parada (ARG) will steer the boat in Key West with Vasco Vascotto on tactics. But the winning partnership between Vascotto and Francesco Bruni is unlikely to continue for the whole 2013 season as Bruni has ongoing America’s Cup commitments.

Class President Niklas Zennström (SWE) is no stranger to success at Key West, having won the Mini-Maxi class there last year. RÁN finished third overall in the 52 Super Series in a season which included an exciting win at the Royal Regatta in Palma, Mallorca. The passionate owner-driver will be looking to step higher on the podium this season. Volvo Ocean Race winning navigator Jules Salter (GBR) joins the crew for Key West.

And Tony Langley, the British owner-driver of Gladiator, is looking to improve the overall consistency through the season. After two podium finishes in 2012, it is an elusive regatta win which is one of the targets for the Gladiator team. They have a new hollow fin on their keel, allowing a little more draft and righting moment. Chris Larsen (USA) continues his sterling work as tactician. Ross Halcrow (NZL) joins the programme as trimmer and Anthony Nossiter (AUS) will serve as a grinder.

Newcomers to the 52 Super Series, but not to Quantum Key West Race Week are the Botin Partners IRC-optimised Interlodge of Austin and Gwen Fragomen and the 2011 Botin Partners TP52 Rio of Manouch Moshayedi. Both Austin Fragomen and Manouch Moshayedi are committed owner-drivers who enjoy their sailing with mainly amateur crews.

Rio was formerly the Botin Partners-designed Synergy. Italian navigator Francesco Mongelli who sailed on the boat during its MedCup years remains on board and has sailed at Key West with the Synergy team in the past.

Quantum Key West 2013 -  The Quantum Key West 2013  
Manouch Moshayedi, whose team just took delivery of their new boat in November, their second successive TP52, explains: 'We have raced together as a crew for two years now and I think we now have a very good, cohesive crew. We have six pros on board and nine amateurs who are friends. We have only had the boat for one and a half months and have not done anything major at all to her. We will arrive a couple of days in advance for training.'

'We are looking forwards to racing on the 52 Super Series. Our crew are certainly not sailing 200 days a year like the top pros, but I hope we can match up with them in some races and hold our own.'

Racing at Quantum Key West regatta for the 52 Super Series runs Monday to Friday with an itinerary of windward-leeward races scheduled. There is a trophy awarded to the overall winner of the US 52 Super Series which combines scores from Quantum Key West regatta and the 52 World Championships (Miami 5-9 March).

Event Director Peter Craig from Premiere Racing says the 52’s add tremendous value to the event.

'Having the four teams come from Europe to join the US teams in the 52 Class this year is a great endorsement of the high-profile international calibre of this event. To have the world’s best sailors from this class come and rub elbows with club racers really adds value to the event. We are thrilled that the teams that joined us here last year saw just how great the racing can be and have chosen to make us the start of their Super Series this year.'

52 Super Series 2013 Event Calendar:

- Quantum Key West Race Week, Key West, Florida, January 20 – 25, 5 day WL racing, dual scoring IRC and 52 Super Series.

- 52 World Championship, Miami, Florida, March 5 - 9, 5 day WL racing, TP52s and IRC52s.

- Trofeo Conde de Godo, Barcelona, May 23 - 26, 4 day WL racing, IRC52s invited.

- Royal Cup, Ibiza, July 2 - 6, 4 day WL and one day Coastal, TP52s and IRC52s.

- Copa del Rey, Palma, July 29 - August 3, 6 day WL racing, dual scoring IRC and 52 Super Series.

- Audi Week Of The Straits, Porto Cervo, September 10 – 14, 3 day WL and 2 day Coastal, TP52s and IRC52s.

52 Super Series website


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6:15 PM Wed 9 Jan 2013GMT


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