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Key West 2013 - 52 Super Series - Italians deliver at right time

by Giuliano Luzzatto on 26 Jan 2013
Azzurra wins the first leg of the 52 Super Series 2013 © Jesus Renedo http://www.sailingstock.com
Key West Race Week 2013 has seen a neck-to-neck battle between Azzurra and Ran Racing over the first four days of racing until the crew of the Italian boat picked things up at the right time. Azzurra TP52 bagged the first leg of 52 Super Series after collecting 24 points while Interlodge nabbed second place with 29 points. Ran Racing collapsed on the final day, taking the third spot on the podium.

Azzurra TP52 wins once again on American waters thirty years after her debut in Newport, RI. It was in 1983 when Italians fell in love with sailing and that blue boat that matched the color of the sea. It seems today that history wants to repeat itself.

Azzurra, the modern and technologically-advanced Transpac 52 that flies the colors of Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, won with great authority in Key West the first stage of the 52 Super Series, the most important worldwide professional sailing circuit on monohulls, whose 2012 title already holds.

This morning and with two races to go for the conclusion of the event, Azzurra was at the top of the leaderboard, tied on points with Ran and with a mere one-point advantage over Quantum. Key West lived up to its promise once again and offered a perfect race course with blue skies and 15 knots of wind.

Azzurra's crew reached perfection as well in the first race and scored a victory that would guarantee the overall event, save any unfortunate withdrawal in the last race. Since the winner of the 52 Super Series is decided based on the scores of each single race and not the number of events won, Azzurra hit the starting line in the second race determined to further extend its lead over its opponents. Azzurra's second place in the race, behind Interlodge and ahead of Rio, both Americans, now stretches its advantage over Ran and Quantum, its direct opponents, to 7 and 8 points respectively.

Zennström and De Voos, owners of the two boats that had a negative day, personally congratulated Roemmers, Azzura's owner, showing the true sport spirit of the 52 Super Series. The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda congratulates its member owner of Azzurra and the entire crew for a result that is in continuity with the victory in 2012.

Pablo Roemmers, owner of Azzurra: 'This is undoubtedly a memorable day. The leaderboard was extremely tight going into the day, we were tied with Ran on equal points but we had one victory more and we were one point ahead of Quantum but they had more victories. As a result, everything was up for grabs in this final day. In the first race we sailed very well, we had a very good start, while Quantum had problems with their jib and Ran struggled with a spinnaker drop. The last race was a very hard-fought race and we finished second. We extended our overall lead and set our sight on Miami. We are very happy with the boat and the crew and I'm very pleased to have come to Key West. It was an extremely-well organized event and this is one of the best venues to hold a regatta.'

Guillermo Parada, skipper: 'I'm, obviously, very happy. Our job got a bit easier when Ran and Quantum ran into trouble in the first race. We just had to focus on finishing the race without having to worry about our strongest adversaries this year. In the second race we had to stay focused and try to get as many points as we could towards the overall championship. We had won the regatta but every race is part of the season and the more points we can get the more relaxed we can be in the future. We are happy, this was a good start and we are satisfied to see the work we did in December was worth it. However, we are aware it's just the beginning and we still have a long way ahead of us.'

Paul Westlake, mainsail trimmer: 'I feel fantastic! It was an awesome day. We went into today with two races to go, tied with Ran and Quantum on our heels. In the first race we knew we had all the preparation done, speed was good and then Quantum and Ran had issues, gave us a break and we never looked back .We stretched our lead and realizing the regatta was over was important because it was also important for the season and the US Super Series. In the second race Interlodge did well in those conditions but we kept our cool and finished with a second. We had a one-two in the final day to win the event and this couldn't get any better.'

Vasco Vascotto, tactician: 'When you win you celebrate, when you lose you must concentrate on the future in order to improve. This week we did our job well but not all the time: we have also thrown away, uselessly, many points and this should teach us a lesson, as our opponents will not always give us room to recover. Fortunately, in the decisive day we sailed better than the others and this allowed us to win. For sure, we showed we knew how to keep our calm and concentrate more than the rest during the most stressful moments. We keep demonstrating we are a tight-knit and solid team in which our two most recent additions (Tomislav Basic and Nicola Pilastro) have contributed to our victory.'

Overall after 10 races:
1 Azzurra 24pts
2 Interlodge 29pts
3 Rán Racing 31pts
4 Quantum Racing 32pts
5 Gladiator 42pts
6 Rio 52 Super Series 2013
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