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16th Sail Racing PalmaVela: Overall - Quantum Racing win TP52 Class

by TP52 Media 12 May 12:14 PDT 8-12 May 2019
TP52 races 7 and 8 at the 16th Sail Racing PalmaVela © Max Ranchi /

With just over one week before the TP52 class starts racing on nearby Menorca for the first points races of the 2019 52 SUPER SERIES, the 16th Sail Racing PalmaVela has been an intense, no compromise warm-up for the highly competitive, very evenly matched fleet of 10 boats.

Quantum Racing, the 2018 circuit champions, have made five changes to their title-winning line-up but proved they are adapting fast and are in much better shape to defend the five regatta series than some might have expected.

With America's Cup winner Ed Baird back in the skipper-helm role they never finished worse than a couple of fifths to win by six points ahead of Harm Müller-Spreer's Platoon. The German-flagged team struggled with an ill-timed port tack approach to the top mark in the second race, which resulted in a seventh.

Platoon also had to make a penalty earlier in the event, resulting in a ninth in Race 3. Both errors might be down to pressing the risk factor harder in what is seen by all as a valuable training regatta.

Azzurra, the Roemmers family's TP52 which races for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, finished third overall executing the strongest second half of the podium placed teams, sailing 1,2,3,2 from the last four of the eight races sailed.

Winning skipper-helm Ed Baird was delighted to register the first regatta win of the season but was more pleased that the Quantum Racing team have improved their crew work and executions with each race:

"We made some mistakes here and there but I am excited that everyone on the team is working so hard. It is different with new guys on board. It is about learning communication, timing, just understanding how the person next to you operates is so important during races that are won by a few metres here and there.

I told the guys before the start of sailing today 'sure we are going to try and win the regatta, that is what we would to like have happen, but to me the success of the week has been to improve with each race. That is not necessarily improving the result each race, but that we improved how we operated and that is the greatest feeling."

"It is so exciting that a class like this which has been around for a while now is still relevant, we can go out and have these amazing races and all come back having had such a good time."

But the clearest indications emerging from the four-day regatta during which the ten boat TP52 fleet contested eight windward-leeward races are that any one of the top five or six teams here could harbour realistic hopes of winning in Menorca.

Azzurra started modestly but finished strong and confident. Takashi Okura's Sled delivered a very strong scoreline, two firsts, two seconds and two fourths, but misses a day of racing due to a crew illness that required a medevac before the start of racing on Day 2.

The 2019 52 SUPER SERIES season is due to start shortly. Racing at the Menorca 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week starts on Tuesday 21st May and finishes on Saturday 25th May. The boats can be tracked online or via the 52 SUPER SERIES app with live commentary and expert analysis throughout each race.

Final results after 8 races:

1. Quantum USA (5,4,1,4,4,5,1,3) 27 p.
2. Platoon GER (3,3,9,2,6,1,2,7) 33 p.
3. Azzurra ARG/ITA (6,6,5,8,1,2,3,2) 33 p.
4. Sled USA (1,2,11,11,2,4,4,1) 36 p.
5. Alegre GBR (4,7,3,3,7,3,6,4) 37 p.
6. Phoenix RSA (1,7,4,1,8,6,3,5,8) 40 p.
7. Bronenosec RUS (5,8,2,6,3,8,8,6) 46 p.
8. Provezza TUR (9,2,8,7,5,9,9,9) 58 p.
9. Gladiator ENG (9,8,7,9,10,7,7,5) 62 p.
10.Team Vision Future FRA (10,10,6,5.9.10,10,11) 71 p.

Azzurra is on the podium at PalmaVela by Giuliano Luzzatto

The final day of racing at the 16th edition of PalmaVela was intense, with the battle for the podium open until the end of the final race. At 12.20 the TP52s began their seventh race in breeze from the southwest at nine knots that built quickly to 16. The wind fluctuated and wasn't easy to read because a north westerly gradient encountered thermal breeze from the south west over the course of the race. In the first race Azzurra along with Quantum, Platoon and Phoenix, went straight to the right. It was the better side in the end, but the fact that the rest of the fleet was sailing on the left shows just how hard it was to make tactical decisions given the conditions. Quantum rounded the mark first followed by Platoon and Azzurra who were neck to neck as they were in the final score too. The three teams held on to these positions right to the end. At this point Azzurra was virtually on the podium because Phoenix, who yesterday was in third place and ahead of Azzurra by just one point, was passed right before the finish by Sled. Her fifth place finish in this race bumped her off the lower step of the podium.

The final race in this event began in winds that had rotated west and built to 18 knots with gusts at 22. With Quantum almost sure to place first, Azzurra wanted to defend her third place overall by attacking Platoon and holding off Phoenix. Her team sailed especially well in this race manouvering perfectly in stronger winds and making the right tactical and strategic decisions even though the conditions were not easy to read. She even managed to recover a position along the second beat finishing second behind Sled and ahead of Quantum, who placed third. Overall, Azzurra was tied for second place with Platoon with both teams at 33 points. As if this weren't enough, the two teams were also tied for the same number of first and second place finishes. In the end, Platoon edged out Azzurra for second place because her team had more third place finishes: two compared to Azzurra's one.

"I'm very proud of this team," said Riccardo Bonadeo, YCCS Commodore. "You see the quality of real champions when the going is tough. We finished third overall, but tied for points with a high profile team like Platoon. I can't remember ever having to go back as far as the number of third place finishes to decide a team's position overall. Congratulations to the entire team Azzurra!"

Guillermo Parada, skipper: "Yesterday I said we were going to fight for the podium and we did. I'm glad to end this event with positive results and we're looking forward to Mahon where we have to make sure that we start like we ended here: sailing with consistently good results. We were happy with the boat speed, any problems were down to us not sailing as well as we should, so I'm glad we have worked that out and I'm looking forward to the upcoming season."

Santiago Lange, tactician: "We ended this event on a good note. It was a long winter and we paid the price for not sailing more, but now we're back in top form. For sure it's going to be a tight fleet in the Super Series and we'll have to sail very well. We need to make sure that we learn from the mistakes that we made at the beginning of this event and I'm glad that we were able to compete here because we needed it as a warm up."

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