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Gaastra 52 World Championship - Thrilling showdown on final day

by Giuliano Luzzatto on 10 Mar 2013
Day five of the Gaastra World Championship of 52 Super Series on March 9th, 2013 in Miami, USA. Xaume Olleros / 52 Super Series
Gaastra 52 World Championship final day got under way in Miami, Florida, on Saturday March 9th. Azzurra clearly takes the 52 US Super Series circuit and nearly tasted victory at the Worlds but a broach in the last run of the last race allowed Ran to overtake and win by just one point.

The Gaastra 52 World Championship will be remembered for its twists and turns. Going into the last day of racing, Ran was leading by four points over Azzurra. In the first race of the day, the Italian boat didn’t manage to do better than a fourth while the Swedes led from the start but handed victory to Vesper after a photo finish.

The second race sees a complete reversal: Azzurra, trailing by six points, leads from start to finish while Ran throws away its advantage with a seventh place.

The third race of the day, last of the Championship, was the decisive one: Azzurra and Ran were tied on equal points but the Swedes were holding the tie-breaking advantage of more partial victories. Azzurra’s strategy was to cover Ran and keep her at her stern. It was a match race between the two boats from the onset with Azzurra having the easier task of squeezing Ran out at the pin end of the starting line even with the cost of not starting on time. The two boats kept battling it out and came back from the bottom of the fleet. In the first beat, Azzurra managed to put two boats in between but Ran proved to be very fast downwind. While Quantum led the race, Azzurra approached the last weather mark with a two-boatlength advantage over Ran. They were virtual world champions but in sailing, it’s not over until you cross the finish line. Azzurra broached due to a technical problem with their enormous gennaker, Ran overtook them and grabbed the TP52 World champion title.

The fleet will now be shipped to Barcelona for the first event of the 52 Super Series in the Mediterranean. The start of the regatta in the Catalan city, the Trofeo Conde de Godo, is set for May 23rd.

Quotes of the day
Alberto Roemmers, owner and helmsman: 'We were very, very close after the second race and the tie with Ran. We had a very good first beat but they caught up with us in the first run thanks to a very nice puff they had. We were tight together at the bottom gate and in the last beat we marked them closely. We had a small technical issue, we broached and we had a small disagreement with the umpires there as we thought we had the right. Ran deserved their win. They sailed very well throughout the world championship. As I said, we were very close and the overall assessment in very positive. We have nothing to complain about and I’m very happy with the crew, their work and their team spirit.'

Riccardo Bonadeo, Commodore of Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, who watched the final day of racing together with the club’s General Secretary Jan Pachner: 'Azzurra won the U.S. Super Series that also includes the Key West regatta and was a breath away from repeating it in the TP52 Worlds. Obviously, we nearly tasted our double victory when a broach deprived us of that pleasure. The fact remains that it was a beautiful and hard-fought World Championship and Ran deserved their win. That’s racing, you don’t always win, but the important thing is to have built a solid and successful group, just as Azzurra was thirty years ago when she made Italy fall in love with sailing.'

Guillermo Parada, skipper: 'We were so close, despite not having a very good week. I think that just the fact we are fighting for a world championship in the last race of a week that wasn’t favorable is a good thing. Obviously, Ran sailed very well and deserved their victory. Congratulations to them, they are the merited champions. In what regards ourselves, the American season comes to a successful end as we win the US Super Series with a good point advantage for the rest of the season. We are happy knowing there is still room for improvement'.

Tomislav Basic, strategist: 'The championship was fantastic and it was great to be here in Miami. It’s great to be part of a team such as Azzurra, especially when you have the opportunity to fight for a world champion title. The last race was going to decide the world championship and our plan was for me to match race Ran in the pre start. I’m a match racer so I was in my natural environment. Niklas Zennström was at the helm of Ran and for sure they don’t have as much practice. That’s why we had a better start but Ran gained really a lot in the first downwind. We had such a nice lead in the first beat, they then caught up in the first run and in the second beat we were still in the lead but by a couple of boatlengths, even less. In the last run we were really unlucky and got a very strong puff after the hoist. We broached, we lost control of the boat and that changed the entire race.'

Gaastra 52 World Championships, Results after 10 races
1 Rán Racing (Zennström, SWE) 32pts (7,1,1,1,4,2,1,7,6)
2 Azzurra (Roemmers, ITA) 33 pts (1,2,3,5,2,5,3,4,1,7)
3 Quantum Racing (DeVos, USA) 34pts (3,4,2,3,3,4,6,3,5,1)
4 Vesper (Swartz, USA) 39pts (5,5,7,2,6,1,4,1,4,4)
5 Gladiator (Langley, GBR) 43pts (2,6,5,4,1,3,8,6,3,5)
6 Interlodge (Fragomen, USA) 49pts (4,7,4,7,5,8,2,8,2,2)
7 Rio (Moshayedi, USA) 61pts (8,3,8,6,8,7,7,5,6,3)
8 Gaastra-Pro (Blees, NED) 69pts (6,8,6,8,7,6,5,7,8,8)

US 52 Super Series final after Quantum Key West 2013 and Gaastra 52 World Championships
1 Azzurra 57pts
2 Rán Racing 63 pts
3 Quantum Racing 66pts
4 Interlodge 78pts
5 Gladiator 85pts
6 Rio 112 pts

52 Super Series – 2013 Racing Schedule
20 - 25 January – Quantum Key West Race Week
5 - 9 March - Gaastra 52 World Championship, Miami
23- 26 May - 40th Trofeo Conde de Godo, RCNB, Barcelona
3 - 6 July - Royal Cup, Ibiza
29 July - 3 August - Copa del Rey, RCNP, Palma de Mallorca
10-14 September – Audi Week of the Straits, YCCS, Porto Cervo

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