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Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week - Day 4

by 52 Super Series 24 Aug 2018 11:51 PDT 21-25 August 2018

The 2017 regatta on the Bay of Palma enjoyed the closest of finishes, this 2018 edition is shaping up for a repeat performance. Though they had their worst day of the regatta so far, returning a sixth and an eighth, Quantum Racing go into the final day of the Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week with a lead of four points ahead of long-time adversaries, Azzurra.

Breathing down the necks of the Roemmers' family team, Azzurra, are a posse of three crews: Luna Rossa, Platoon and Phoenix, which are all just one point behind. This regatta was close last year, two points separating the top three boats, and it is shaping up to deliver an equally close finish on Saturday on the Bay of Palma.

After a deeply frustrating couple of days, during which they seemed to attract umpires' red flags like moths to a flame, Harm Müller-Spreer's Platoon shrugged off their troubles and posted a really solid pair of third places, the best aggregate of the day, just when they needed it. They were even over the start line early in the first race but recovered very quickly to round the first top mark in third.

Tactician John Kostekci explained some of the keys to their turnaround:

"We made some big mistakes early in the week, but we've actually been sailing well, so we didn't actually have to change too much. It seems like the boat is going well in the lighter air that we've been having the last few days, so we managed to avoid the penalties today and have a good result. Today we sailed well, there were some opportunities out there, especially the first beat of the first race. It was shifty, maybe we had a few breaks here and there but we sailed well also. The race course is tough and we have Jordi Calafat as our strategist who's local and lived here his entire life. He says it's a very unusual week, more like September/October weather that we're having right now rather than August. So a lot of times he's just like: 'I don't know, let's just keep our heads out of the boat!' It's just one of those weeks."

It has been tough for the very competitive owner-driver Müller-Spreer, Kostecki revealing:

"He's quite upset, but we're not surprised, the whole team. As a team we've been letting him down. We picked it up today, and he's in good spirits, talking about next season. He's been in this game forever and he's a sailor, and I think he realises that we're sailing against some of the top sailors in the world, so it's all good."

So too, the Italian America's Cup team Luna Rossa were slightly more consistent than their Thursday rollercoaster 9,1 when they became the first team to win back-to-back races in these hard-to-read sea breezes. Luna Rossa's 1,6 today still reflects lost opportunities, according to tactician Vasco Vascotto, but the winners of this season's Zadar Royal Cup have at least now given themselves a fighting chance of their second regatta title of the season.

On their race win today, Vascotto commented:

"This has been the first race that we've had a very good start and been faster than the other days. That allowed us to prove our performance. We've managed to do on the water just what we have said we want in our morning meetings. But in the second race I made a mistake. We will come back for it again tomorrow. Yesterday we had this very unlucky collision with Gladiator and it cost us eleven points. We've made plenty of mistakes throughout this week, but here we are, we are still in a place to try and win."

And just as things didn't go Quantum Racing's way today, neither did they for Tina Plattner's Phoenix. At the very point they could have been closing their deficit on Quantum Racing, they came trailing in last in the first race of the day before a better mid-fleet fifth in the second race.

But the odds are still with Quantum Racing, although charismatic owner-driver Doug DeVos emphasised:

"We said coming in: 'we hurt ourselves today, but we didn't kill ourselves,' and that's exactly what it's like in this fleet. After a good couple of days, something bad is going to come our way, and this is what it is. We certainly can't afford to do the same thing again tomorrow. Any mistake that you make, the fleet gets punished." DeVos adds: "It's still open, and everyone's still working their hardest. You just have to take a deep breath and try to relax, we've been sailing long enough to not get frustrated, but to just take a little time, to take a step back and say: 'we're still in first place, we've made it a little harder for ourselves, but let's just stay focussed and not try to overreact.'"

Regatta Standings after Day 4: (seven races)

1. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (2,4,2,5,2,6,8) 29pts
2. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto/Pablo Roemmers) (6,5,1,6,4,9,2) 33pts
3. Luna Rossa (ITA) (Patrizio Bertelli) (7,2,6,9 Penalty 2,1,1,6) 34pts
4. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (1,10,8,2,7,3,3) 34pts
5. Phoenix (RSA) (Hasso/Tina Plattner) (5,3,4,4,3,10,5) 34pts
6. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andy Soriano) (3,6,3,8,8,2,9) 39pts
7. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (8,9,5,1,10,8,1) 42pts
8. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (4,1,7,10,6,7,10) 45pts
9. Onda (BRA) (Eduardo de Souza Ramos) (9,8,DNF11,3,9,4,4) 48pts
10. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (10,7,9,7,5,5,7) 50pts

For full results, visit:

To watch the race again, visit

State-of-the-art boat tracking technology will allow 52 SUPER SERIES fans to follow their favourite teams at the Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week. Streaming is available via the 52 SUPER SERIES App, and is paired with expert commentary both on and off the water. All shows start 15-minutes before racing is due to start.

Azzurra moves up to second place (from Azzurra)

The boat flying the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s burgee has moved up to second place at the Puerto Portals 52 Super Series and is four points behind the leader, Quantum. Three teams - Luna Rossa, Platoon and Phoenix - are just one point behind Azzurra. Tomorrow is the final day of racing and with a scoreboard like this anything can happen.

The breeze in Palma Bay was light and variable at 8-11 knots, but the two races run today were suspenseful and full of surprises. The fleet was so tightly packed that even the smallest mistake could cost valuable points. Azzurra found that out after getting a penalty at the first mark and dropping back from third to last place, then recovering slightly to finish in ninth place in a race won by Luna Rossa.

The day’s second and final race opened with a duel at the start between Azzurra and Quantum. The boat flying the YCCS burgee broke off and tacked right just as the wind changed with her. Azzurra was second at the mark but was very close to the first team, Sled. Sled went on to win the race followed by Azzurra and Platoon.

Teams had their ups and downs and Quantum, who finished sixth and eighth in today’s two races, has a smaller margin for her lead. Tomorrow the final two races at this event are scheduled starting at 1 PM CEST. Seeing as there are five teams in the range of just five points, as far as podium finishes go, anything can happen. Conditions are expected to be similar to today’s with the chance that a small weather front may bring more unstable conditions.

Skipper Guillermo Parada summed up the situation: “Too bad that we missed a huge opportunity in the first race. The breeze was shifty and we were approaching the mark in third or fourth place. We got a penalty and ended up at the back of the fleet and even though we fought back hard we only managed to recover one position, really close behind Provezza and Sled. After that we decided to take a risk in the following race. We were almost first at the mark but Sled was a bit ahead. So we defended our second place and saved the day. We’re just four points behind Quantum and there are three teams that are just one point behind us. We have to stay calm and give it our all tomorrow.”

Santiago Lange, tactician: “To tell you the truth we sailed really well today. The penalty we got is because of a problem we had with the mainsheet traveller that jammed downwind and we couldn’t manoeuvre after Gladiator luffed up. We really paid for it, otherwise today would have been fantastic. Tomorrow we really have to be careful, any little thing can make the difference between being on or missing the podium, but that’s the fun part about sailing in a circuit that’s this competitive. We have to stay calm and sail at the top of our game.”

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