'Defending 52 Super Series champ Azzura stands second behind Ran Racing after two days of racing at Key West Race Week 2013'
Xaume Oller/52 Super Series
52 Super Series champion Azzurra remains in striking distance to defend their title after two days of racing, though they have to deal first some tight competition being presented by Sweden’s Ran Racing.
A bullet and a fourth in today's two races bring Azzurra to second place on the overall leaderboard, a mere two points behind Mr Skype's Ran that jumped to the top.
The 52 Super Series offered an exciting show today, second day of Key West Race Week. With a northerly breeze that went from 13 knots in the morning to 16 in the afternoon, the TP52 fleet saw a number of twists where Azzurra was quite often the protagonist. In race 3, first of the day, Azzurra had a good start and took the early lead in the first beat, battling it out with Ran down the first run.
At the bottom gate, the Swedes, slightly ahead, hesitated in their gybe and Azzurra, to leeward, touched their adversaries without causing any significant damage. They were forced however to do two penalty turns and fall at the back of the pack. The crew though showed its character and managed to close in on the fleet during the beat and then overtake two boats, Quantum and Rio, crossing the finish line in fourth place.
Azzurra had a good start in the second race as well but, because of the shifty breeze, it found itself, momentarily, on the less favored left side. Still, they came back swiftly on the right-hand side of the course and approached the weather mark on port tack. Ran was on starboard tack with a slight advantage but tacked too close to Azzurra's bow. The subsequent penalty turn left the door open for Azzurra that stretched its lead in the run, controlled the rest of the race and scored a bullet. The TP52 class rookie Rio managed to control Quantum that came from behind to a third place. At the same time, Gladiator that was hot on Azzurra's heels in the first beat, finished last. Games the breeze in Key West plays!
Without the error in race 3, Azzurra would have been easily in command, but being a mere two points behind the leader and fully aware of one's abilities is more than a valid argument to smile.
Quotes of the day
Guillermo Parada, skipper: 'Although we missed some opportunities, the day ended with a victory, so I'm happy. Over the following three days of racing we can only improve, it's the first event of the season and we still have a few things to polish up but we are still second-placed overall, just two points behind the leader.'
Vasco Vascotto, tactician: 'Today's error, as well as yesterday's, was unforced and we definitely have to avoid similar ones; we are sailing well, with excellent starts and we are aware we aren't the masters of our results, whether they are positive or negative.'
52 Super Series
by Giuliano Luzzatto
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4:07 AM Wed 23 Jan 2013GMT
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