Key West Race Week has seen a number of tight finishes over the years, but the current neck-to-neck battle between Azzurra and Ran Racing is simply exceptional. After four days of racing, the top two boats remain in a deadlock on 21 points each while Quantum Racing still within striking distance on 22 points.
52 Super Series fleet in action during day four at the Quantum Key West Race Week
After two more great races for the 52 Super Series at Quantum Key West 2013, the top two boats Azzurra and Rán Racing still remain tied on the same points aggregate. Alberto Roemmers’ Azzurra team which flies the colors of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda still just hold the edge overall but on the strength of countback, having now won three races.
Azzurra in action during day four at the Quantum Key West Race Week
In the same type of puffy, shifty offshore breeze of 13-18kts which also produced challenging racing Wednesday, Thursday’s notable improvement in the conditions was merely that the sun shone longer and stronger. Azzurra paired an outstanding win in Race 7 with a fourth place from Race 8 that allowed the iconic team which holds the 52 Super Series title to keep Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing only just in check going into Friday’s final two scheduled races.
In turn the Zennström crew kept the pressure on Azzurra with their second place in the first race and then they got the better of the champions in a straight head to head match race up the final beat for third and fourth in Race 8.
Rán Racing in action during day four at the Quantum Key West Race Week
For the Azzurra team everything clicked perfectly in that first race, better than at any stage yet this season – according to tactician Vasco Vascotto - and they were able to work the shifts and the gusty breeze to maximum advantage. At one point they were over 200 meters ahead of the second placed Rán Racing, in part attributable to a great first run when they turned a 40 meter lead at the first top mark to at least 120 meters by the downwind turn. Doug DeVos’ Quantum Racing held themselves in the hunt for the overall title with third in this race but they still went into Race 8 with a four points deficit on Azzurra.
Quantum Racing knew they needed a high caliber result to give themselves a chance of still being title contenders Friday. That they started well from close to the pin end of the start line and lead at the first windward mark seemed to have set them up for their third win of the series. But Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s Interlodge sailed a great first beat to round second and were then able to pass Quantum on the second run. But Andy Horton and Ed Baird read the extra pressure and left shift best on the final beat and were able to get out there, Quantum Racing easing past Interlodge. This last upwind saw some of the most exciting upwind racing so far, with Quantum Racing containing Interlodge by a boat length in their duel and Rán Racing going toe to toe in an exciting battle against Azzurra.
Quantum Racing in action during day four at the Quantum Key West Race Week
Going in to the final pair of races of this first regatta of the 2013 52 Super Series season, only one point separates the top three teams. Azzurra and Rán Racing share 21 points with Quantum Racing on 22 points.
52 Super Series at Quantum Key West 2013 Results
1 Azzurra (ITA)
2 Rán Racing (SWE)
3 Quantum Racing (USA)
4 Gladiator (GBR), 5 Interlodge (USA)
6 Rio (USA)
1 Quantum Racing
3 Rán Racing
Overall after 8 races
1 Azzurra 21pts
2 Rán Racing 21pts
3 Quantum Racing 22pts
4 Interlodge 26pts
5 Gladiator 33pts
6 Rio 39 pts.
52 Super Series 2013