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North Sails 3Di 60 - 728x90

Puerto Sherry 52 Super Series Royal Cup - Day 1

by 52 Super Series 18 Jun 12:38 PDT 17-22 June 2019

The Bay of Cadiz served up a challenging light, hard-to-read seabreeze for the first day of the Puerto Sherry 52 SUPER SERIES Royal Cup, but Ergin Imre's Provezza team proved to be the most adept at deciphering a race arena, which is entirely new to the circuit and lead overall after a first and fourth place.

In fact, the left side of the course and the pin end of the start line offered an early advantage in both races. With Hamish Pepper calling tactics for helm John Cutler working with navigator Nacho Postigo, Provezza started nicely and were never challenged in the first race. A copy-paste strategy worked for Azzurra in the second race, which they won comfortably and these are the top two teams in the pursuit of the historic Royal Cup.

In both races the fleet split either side of the track. Provezza and the new Bronenosec led at the top mark of the first race, which was sailed in about eight knots of wind, both emerging from the favoured left.

But, proving that there was no dominant feature, and the wind was moving all the time, Andy Horton and Kelvin Harrap recognised a nice shift and change of pressure at the leeward gate. Hooking in to the right shift they got themselves up from third to second.

Azzurra, fifth in the first race dominated the second race from half way up the beat, while Alegre proved unable to add a second result. They were over the start line at the gun and had to re-cross and could only finish eighth.

It was not such a good day for some of the big guns. Defending 2018 champions Quantum Racing made an unconvincing start with a pair of seventh places, which sees them finish their first day uncharacteristically on the bottom of the standings. And Platoon, winners in Mahón, could only make sixth in the second race and lie mid-fleet, fourth.

"It was a really tough race course today. You cannot see the wind on the water, but the breeze is changing all the time at the top of the mast, going to the right and the left, but you cannot see it on the water," explained Provezza helm Cutler. "So you are coming up and down a lot and you cannot predict it. It is an odd thing. The tactician seems to be always saying we are too fast or too slow, too high or too low. And I am saying 'we are trying our best here.' It has been a real trial for us all, we have been struggling. It has probably our toughest day's sailing this year. We are going well. We keep it light. We tell a few stories along the way!"

Azzurra nearly match the strong start they made last month in Mahón, Menorca, and lie just one point behind the leaders. Skipper-helm Guillermo Parada said:
"On a day like today even if you had a decent lead, things were tight and changing quickly so you couldn't relax for a minute. We stayed calm and we kept pushing all the way. In unstable conditions like today's, the race course is full of opportunities, and tomorrow should be similar so we have to keep pushing all the time."

Regatta Standings after Day 1:

1. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (1,4) 5pts
2. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto / Pablo Roemmers) (5,1) 6pts
3. Bronenosec (RUS) (Vladimir Liubomirov) (4,3) 7pts
4. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (3,6) 9pts
5. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (8,2) 10pts
6. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (2,8) 10pts
7. Phoenix 11 (RSA) (Tina / Hasso Plattner) (6,5) 11pts
8. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (7,7) 14pts

For full results, visit bit.ly/2IoHoHo

Azzurra wins the second race at the Puerto Sherry 52 Super Series (from Giuliano Luzzatto)

With first and fifth places finishes today, the team flying the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda's burgee is off to a good start at the Puerto Sherry 52 Super Series, the second event in the most competitive monohull circuit in professional sailing.

Azzurra is off to a good start in second place behind Provezza after the first day of racing in the Atlantic waters off Cadiz along Spain's southern coast. The Race Committee had to postpone the start until 3 PM in light and shifty winds from the southwest that, from 7/8 knots early on, gradually built to 11 knots towards the end of the second race.

Azzurra got a bullet in the second race where she dominated right from the start after going for and getting the pin, by far the better side of the course and lengthening her lead over her closest rivals, Sled and Bronenosec. She ended the day's first race in fifth place, but the only team that sailed better than she did was Provezza, who placed first and fourth today.

The first race was hard fought with several changes in position due to shifty and unstable breeze that was very hard to read. Azzurra got a good start at the centre of the line and, showing just how hard it was to chose the best tack in today's conditions, the fleet split right after the start: four teams including Azzurra continued straight and four tacked to port. Third for most of the first beat, Azzurra was passed by Alegre approaching the mark. Over the run Azzurra gained ground, rounding the gate side by side with Alegre but on opposite tacks. Along the following beat Azzurra tried to recover positions by sailing to the right of the course and at first it looked good. Unfortunately approaching the mark Platoon, sailing on the left, managed to edge in and Azzurra couldn't do a thing about it as her skipper, Guillermo Parada explains: "I think it's an OK beginning for us. The first race we got the start we wanted and we had the chance to be third at the top mark, but Alegre got a better lane and passed us which was a shame because that changed our race. Then in the beat we were in control of fourth position, but Provezza overstood the lay line by four or five lengths and that let Platoon pass us. It was a bit of a shame, but we didn't make any mistakes and finished fifth."

"In the second race we wanted to start on the pin and we got it and the left was the better side. We were in command, but on a day like today even if you had a decent lead things were tight and changing quickly so you couldn't relax for a minute. We stayed calm and we kept pushing all the way to the end so we had a good day. We're second overall, one point behind the leader Provezza so it's a good beginning and hopefully we can keep improving. In unstable conditions like today's the race course is full of opportunities and tomorrow should be similar so we have to keep pushing all the time."

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