Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

52 Super Series US Championship – Practice race overall

by 52 Super Series on 5 Mar 2014
52 Super Series 2014 Martinez Studio/52 Super Series
52 Super Series US Championship is being held in Miami, Florida, from 5th to 9th March 2014. Reigning 52 Super Series champions Quantum Racing may have had the upper hand in Key West in January when they won the first regatta of the US 52 Super Series but today’s official practice race prior to Wednesday’s start of the Miami regatta highlighted that this second event may be open for the taking.

Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing crew read the light, shifty breezes best off Miami’s South Beach Tuesday, on the waters where they secured the 52 World Championship title last year, winning the practice contest with Azzurra a good second. In a sense it reprised the finish order of the last race of the 2013 regatta here, augering well for Rán Racing perhaps?


But Jim Swartz’s highly fancied Vesper crew were very much in the mix before they chose to leave the course at the leeward gate, whilst champions Quantum Racing found themselves on the back foot early in the race.

After flying in last night to take the helm of Interlodge, Dean Barker admitted on the dock after the race to feeling slightly rusty, hardly surprising considering the double MedCup championship winning skipper-helm reckons this was his first monohull race in the best part of four years.

Having raced with the TP52s from 2006 to 2010, including early years finishing runner up on Warpath, Barker was visibly excited about getting back on the 52 regatta race course.

'I felt a bit rusty.' Barker smiled, ' I think it is the first monohull racing I have done since 2010. It is good, nice to do some racing and some upwind starts for example which is a little bit of a novelty these days.

'It is hard to turn down an opportunity to do some good racing like this. The racing absolutely is the appeal. I have been following this circuit and how it has been developing and going. I think some of the best sailing we did was in 09 and 10. It was great fun and so it is nice to be back out there and mix it up a little bit.'

Winds for the first few days are expected to be light and the race course area offers a whole different group of challenges. As Quantum Racing’s Terry Hutchinson noted on Monday, Miami is a venue which does not often favour the risk averse, percentage afterguards. A frontal system Thursday is expected to yield stronger breezes.


Vesper’s tactician Gavin Brady is very much a fan of Miami: ' Typically here you have bigger waves for the wind strength because of the Gulf Stream and so it is a little bit more expensive here in Miami to do the extra tack, especially in the start where you can be caught slow.'

'That is one of the cool things about Miami. It is different. I think the key thing here is getting the lanes early. I find this class really interesting because you can really push the boats like a small keelboat, but they still weigh 7.3 tonnes and so you actually have to get lanes, and sail them somewhat like a small maxi boat, but then at the corners you can treat them like a sportboat and so you have to jump between these modes, especially here in Miami.'

Rán Racing narrowly won here last year, usurping Azzurra on the last race. Project manager and main trimmer Tim Powell considers they are in shape to win again here, but need improve their consistency.

'I think that every boat on its day is capable of winning and last year we had a fantastic week. I think we all know we are capable of being right up there.

I think from our point of view we need to keep the consistency going. In Key West we had a couple of bad results, one bad day. Here we need to look at the risk, gain and rewards. And that is very difficult here today in these kind of conditions.'

Their biggest change since last season is bringing on board double 470 world champion Nic Asher as strategist, a choice which might work well for them in Miami’s light, streaky and shifty winds.

'It (having a strategist to concentrate on the wind changes and big picture) does allow Ado to concentrate more on the tactical side of things and Nic and Steve Hayles can be a little more eyes out of the boat in terms of what we are expecting wind wise. Nic is great, a young guy learning lots and lots, but he is a world class sailor in his own right. We spoke about the need to have a strategist person and we looked around for the right person we thought we needed.

He is a very talented sailor and has won two 470 world titles. What we felt, from Ibiza, is that we were missing out on a very good, natural sailor who can look up the course and see the wind. When you sail big boats a bit too long then maybe you lose that skill a little.' Racing starts Wednesday with two or three races scheduled, first warning signal at 1230hrs local time.

Gavin Brady (NZL) tactician Vesper (USA): 'You can never have enough time out there practising against these guys, the Super Series is probably the highest level in the world, and so every minute you are out there with them is beneficial for the programme.

You never really know in the practice race who is using what, who is using good sails, who is trying something new. We were using pretty good race sails. The Vesper has always been a great TP52 which has been around for a long time now but she is still very competitive.

I think the key thing here is getting the lanes early. I find this class really interesting because you can really push the boats like a small keelboat they still weigh 7.3 tonnes and you actually have to get lanes, and sail them somewhat like a small maxi boat, but at the corners you can treat them like a sportboat and so you have to jump between these modes, especially here in Miami.

Typically here you have bigger waves for the wind strength because of the Gulf Stream and so it is a little bit more expensive here in Miami to do the extra tack, especially in the start where you can be caught slow. That is one of the cool things about Miami is it is different.

This year we have a new mast and boom. For sure things have moved on. We are really happy with Hall Spars and we have just been upgrading the boat. And Jim (Swartz) the owner still enjoys the process too, although the hull is older, the equipment and hardware is all new.

We have not been in Europe for a long time. The last time was with the STP65 and that seems like an age ago. I think we are all looking forwards to going to Capri, it will be a good event. Jim has some commitments when the worlds are on, and the North East (of the USA) is a big thing for him. It’s a yacht from Edgartown (Martha’s Vineyard) and you really want to spend the summer months there. So we are only doing the one event in Europe but are looking forwards to it.'

Tim Powell (GBR) mainsheet and project manager Rán Racing (SWE): 'We had got some good shifts at the top end of the first beat and that kind of got us a bit of a jump. And then we could hold on down to the bottom mark and then made a big extension on the second beat.

It is so changeable here and I think the forecast is for a bit of everything and so it should make for a pretty interesting week. We obviously did well here last year and want to repeat that here. I think that every boat on its day is capable of winning and last year we had a fantastic week. I think we all know we are capable of being right up there.

I think from our point of view we need to keep the consistency going. In Key West we had a couple of bad results, one bad day. Here we need to look at the risk, gain and rewards. And that is very difficult here today in these kind of conditions.

It does allow Ado to concentrate more on the tactical side of things and Nic and Steve Hayles can be a little more eyes out of the boat in terms of what we are expecting wind wise. Nic is great, young guy learning lots and lots, but he is a world class sailor. We spoke about the need to have a strategist person and we looked around for the person we thought we needed. He is a very talented sailor and has won two 470 world titles. What we felt, from Ibiza, is that we were missing out on a very good, natural sailor who can look up the course and see the wind. When you sail big boats a bit too long then maybe you lose that skill a little.'

Dean Barker (NZL) helm Interlodge (USA): 'I felt a bit rusty. I think it is the first monohull racing I have done since 2010. It is good, nice to some racing and some upwind starts for example which is a little bit of a novelty these days.

I got a call from Kris and I just had to tidy up a few things at home but it is hard to turn down an opportunity to do some good racing like this. The racing absolutely is the appeal. I have been following this circuit and how it has been developing and going. I think some of the best sailing we did was in 09 and 10. It was great fun and so it is nice to be back out there and mix it up a little bit.

I sailed with Dave Armitage, with Zach (Hurst) who was with us at Team New Zealand in 2004, I raced against Andy (Horton) a fair bit in the TP52s and know Andy Escourt from the RC44s but it is nice to be here and to sail with a different group of people but at the moment I am just trying to find my own way around! Your timing and starting takes time to get back, and obviously you are racing against guys who have never stopped and obviously the standard is very very high amongst the top guys. If the breeze stays light then I think all the boats are about the same speed.

You don’t want to have your best race in the practice race but we have some room to improve, but we are just getting to know each other and the boat. I am looking forwards to being out there racing. Rán and Azzurra had a pretty good race today. I sailed here a little in the Farr 40s but don’t really know the conditions that well. There is a lot going on out there.

It has been great at home. We are waiting to hear what the (America’s Cup) Protocol brings and that is supposedly mid March and so only ten days away, whether or not we see that will remain to be seen. It is very hard to know what will happen.'

52 Super Series 2014 Event Calendar:

• Quantum Key West Race Week, Key West, Florida, January 20 - 24
• 52 US Championship, Miami, Florida, March 5 - 9
• Rolex Capri Sailing Week, Capri, Italy, May 20 - 24
• TP 52 World Championship, Porto Cervo, Italy, June 10 - 14
• Copa del Rey, Palma, Spain, August 4 - 9
• Royal Cup Marina Ibiza, Ibiza, Spain, September 17 - 21

Related Articles

Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted on 28 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Thou doth protest too much, me thinks
And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen about now. At any rate, it is simply an adaptation of Lady Gertrude’s original line. We merely seek to use it as a way to demonstrate that when there is a lot of brouhaha going on, the smoke screen ultimately ends up as a lovely, colourful flag as to the real intent behind it.
Posted on 18 Apr
An interview with Jake Beattie about the 2016 Race to Alaska
In 2014, Jake Beattie and a few friends envisioned the Race to Alaska. Now, it’s time this wild race’s second edition. In 2014, Jake Beattie-the executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Washington, and a few friends hatched the bold idea of a human-powered race to Ketchikan, Alaska, took flight. They decided that their human-powered race would start in Port Townsend, Washington and run to Ketchikan, by way of the inside passage between Vancouver Island and British Columbia.
Posted on 14 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Go fast girls - 49er FX sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt
Paris Henken and Helena Scutt will be representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics, which will be their first Olympiad. American’s Paris Henken (20) and Helena Scutt (23) recently won a berth to represent the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the high-performance 49er FX skiff, a goal that the team has been working on for almost three years. While this is their first Games, writing them off as Olympic newbies would require ignoring their recent results and their strong teamwork.
Posted on 13 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
T Clewring One DesignNaiad/Oracle SupplierKilwell - 1