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Southern Spars

Azzurra ready for the Quantum Key West Race Week

by Azzurra on 11 Jan
Azzurra ready for the Quantum Key West Race Week - 52 Super Series Azzurra http://www.azzurra.it
The boat flying the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s burgee is in Florida getting ready for the Key West Race Week that will be held from January 16th to 20th and is the first event in the 2017 52 Super Series.

Everything is set for the start of the 52 Super Series’ 2017 season. This year the series will include two events held in the US, one in Key West and a second in Miami, and will continue with four more events raced in the Med.

The first event, the Quantum Key West Race Week, will showcase the TP52 Class within a broader range of yachts racing. This is the thirtieth edition of this classic American regatta, and this year there will be over 100 boats racing in Florida’s warm waters. Key West is an island that is the southernmost point of Florida, and has become famous over the years for being one of the favourite spots of personalities such as Ernest Hemmingway and Harry Truman.

On January 15th the fleet of fifteen TP52s will have their practice race. Racing for championship points will begin on the 16th when the 52 Super Series, one of the most competitive and prestigious monohull racing events, officially gets underway. One of the peculiarities of the Super Series is that every race counts for points, there is no eliminating a poor score. Poor performance in any race of the six events in the Series can cost dearly at the end of the season.

Azzurra placed second in last year’s Series, behind Quantum Racing that had an excellent season. While Quantum was in a class of her own at the beginning of the past season, Azzurra caught up towards the end with a long series of race wins (9 out of the last 18 races) and an overall event win at the final event in the Series, the Cascais Cup held in Portugal. Azzurra’s 2016 season was characterized by fine tuning of the yacht’s set up that only paid off towards the end of the Series; one can only hope that the hard work will pay off right from the start of 2017.

There are notable new sailors on Azzurra’s team: the old salt Ciccio Celon and the youngster Klaus Lange. Claudio Celon, better known as Ciccio, grew up on the shores of Lake Garda and has raced in three Olympics and a VOR. He has also competed in four America’s Cups, winning one aboard Alinghi. Aboard Azzurra he will be headsails trimmer. “I will be racing with old friends aboard Azzurra,” Celon said, “and that’s the best way to begin a new season. As an Italian it’s very special to race on this team. Azzurra has made Italian sailing history and I’m very proud to be sailing aboard a boat named Azzurra that races in the most competitive and professional circuit on the water today.”

Lange placed seventh at the Rio Olympics racing on a 49er with his brother Yago. 'This year I will be sailing in the TP52 series on top of training for the upcoming Olympics 2020 in Tokyo,” he said. “I'm proud to be part of the Azzurra team, and it’s a great opportunity to keep learning and grow as a sportsman. I know that at 21 years old I'll be the youngest member of the team, but I don't think about it, I just want to have fun and learn from these guys that are top sailors. No doubt, I'm now part of an important team and I need to stay on my toes.' The Lange brothers are the sons of the Argentinian sailor Santiago Lange, who has frequently raced in the 52 Super Series and was a gold medallist at the Rio Olympics winning aboard a Nacra 17 catamaran just a year after fighting off a lung tumour. Santi Lange raced with Cecilia Carranza and their coach was Cole Parada, strategist and trimmer aboard Azzurra.

Riccardo Bonadeo, YCCS Commodore, had these words: “Azzurra’s new season is getting under way on the other side of the Atlantic and we are proud to have her flying our burgee in the 52 Super Series. On top of bidding the usual fair winds to her team, I’d like to thank our club members and Azzurra’s owners, the Roemmers family. And in conclusion I’d like to welcome two new members to the team: Ciccio Celon, an old friend that I have known since the Amer Sport One and Nautor’s VOR bid under the YCCS burgee, and the rising star Klaus Lange, after his excellent performance at the Rio Olympics.”

Guillermo Parada, skipper and helmsman, had these words: “We made good progress in the second half of the past season and hopefully we can use the four or five days before we start racing in Key West to test our new sails. We were a lot closer to Quantum Racing, for us the benchmark team, by the end of last season. If we can start this season with good boat speed, our tactician Vasco Vascotto can do his job better and hopefully we can carry on like we did towards the end of the past season. We are looking to win this season and will do all that we can to get top results.”
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