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Odzala Discovery Camps 52 Super Series V&A Waterfront Cape Town regatta - Overall

by 52 Super Series 6 Mar 2020 16:52 PST 2-6 March 2020

With no racing possible on the final day of the Odzala Discovery Camps 52 Super Series V&A Waterfront Cape Town regatta, the 2019 circuit champions Azzurra lift the first series title of the 2020 season.

Racing in South Africa for the first time ever represented something of a voyage of discovery for the 52 Super Series owners and crews, but the 10 teams from eight nations were rewarded with good racing in a variety of wind conditions, including a visit from the strong Cape Doctor wind, all set against the spectacular backdrop of Table Mountain and the Lion's Head, whilst embracing the lively, colourful, friendly welcome at the city's V&A Waterfront.

Victory for Azzurra was underpinned by a dream debut for new tactician Michele Paoletti, the Italian-Argentine team actually winning their first series regatta since September 2017. After finishing runners up at four of last year's five regattas, the Azzurra team were delighted to prove they can win regattas as well as secure the season long championship, which they have won four times.

"This is something we have talked about a lot. It is a relief to know we can still do it and be consistent over the last couple of events. To win the season without winning an event is great, but the feeling of winning here is really enjoyable. We dedicate it to one of our crew members Ale Colla who could not join us here. He has a health issue that he is dealing with and I am sure he will be back for the next event here in Cape Town, so the win is for him and also for Pedro Rossi who did a great job replacing him."

"It is always good to start on the right foot. We worked really, really hard thinking of ways to improve our boatspeed. It is hard to get more and more [boatspeed] after so many years, but we achieved something and have the speed. And when you have speed it lets you race in a different way. So thanks and congratulations to Michele who is new to the team but has done a fantastic job and I think this will help him with confidence going into the next regatta."

And second overall was a dream result too, ahead of hopes and expectations for Hasso Plattner's local Phoenix 11 crew, tied on points with Quantum Racing, also four-times circuit champions. Plattner's team, which includes Peter Holmberg and Andy Horton in afterguard, which relied on local knowledge from Paul Willcox, Shane Elliot and Shaun Pammenter, lead until halfway through the second day before they were compromised by a series of small technical breakdowns.

Hasso Plattner, top owner driver for the event smiled broadly:

"It was a great regatta. I especially enjoyed yesterday, which was good for Cape Town and for the fleet. We had fun. We made it a little bit tight when we lost our spinnaker in the fifth race. Second is great. We did pretty well. We like to sail short tacking along the waterfront. We are up to that. It has been a great week, a great regatta and things played out very well."

Horton added:

"It was a great week for us when everything really came together. It all clicked. We had no major breakdowns and did not make any big mistakes. We did a bit of two-boat testing and training down here, which helped us; it helped me learn the race course because I had not been here and did not even know what it looked like, and so that gave me ten days. And Hasso, top owner driver tying with a team like Quantum Racing is great."

Quantum Racing's navigator Michele Ivaldi concluded:

"It was an eventful event with a lot going on in the boat with the newcomers on the boat - me - having brought some different points of view. We have to improve on our communication and some systems, we had a couple of hiccups in a couple of races but we finish on a high note, we had some good racing. There are some regrets about points left on the table but that is also indicative of the level of the fleet."

Overall Regatta Standings:

1. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto/Pablo Roemmers) (4,2,2,2,5,2,7) 24pts
2. Phoenix 11 (RSA) (Hasso Plattner) (1,3,1,7,8,7,4) 31pts
3. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (5,8,4,5,1,6,2) 31pts
4. Bronenosec (RUS) (Vladimir Liubomirov) (2,10,7,1,6,8,1) 35pts
5. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (3,4,RDG6,RDG5.5, RDG5.5, RDG5.5, RDG5.5) 35pts
6. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (9,7,8,3,2,1,6) 36pts
7. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (7,1,DNF11+2,4,3,3,9) 40pts
8. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (6,6,3,8,9,4,5) 41pts
9. Phoenix 12 (RSA) (Tina Plattner) (8,5,5,9,7,5,3) 42pts
10. Paprec (FRA) (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin) (10,9,6,6,4,9,8) 52pts

The 2020 52 Super Series is a best of 6 events trophy:

1. Odzala Discovery Camps 52 Super Series V&A Waterfront - Cape Town - March 2-6, Cape Town, South Africa
2. Rolex TP52 World Championship Cape Town 2020 - March 31-4 April, Cape Town, South Africa
3. Royal Cup 52 Super Series Scarlino 2020 - May 12-16, Tuscany, Italy
4. Audi 52 Super Series Porto Cervo & TP52 20th Anniversary - June 17-21, Sardinia, Italy
5. 52 Super Series Valencia Sailing Week - July 18-22, Valencia, Spain
6. Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week - September 15-19, Mallorca, Spain

Azzurra wins the first event in the 52 Super Series 2020 in Cape Town (from Giuliano Luzzatto, Azzurra)

The boat flying the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda's burgee, defending champion in the most competitive keel boat racing circuit, has won the first event in the 52 Super Series 2020, the Odazla Discovery Camp 52 Super Series V&A Waterfront.

Weather conditions in Table Bay were not on the racing fleet's side: after yesterday's strong winds today it was dead calm. At 14:40 local time the Race Committee raised the AP over A flags, cancelling racing due to a lack of wind and ending the event. As the fleet headed back to port the overall results remained the same as yesterday's with Azzurra in the lead with a handy seven point margin over Phoenix 11 and Quantum who were tied for second place and came in second and third respectively.

Azzurra has been the star of the week with consistent placements in the various races. The work done on the boat over the winter has given the hoped for results and the new tactician Michele Paoletti has become an integral and important part of the crew playing an important role in achieving this victory.

Even though Azzurra won the 52 Super Series 2019 overall, she hasn't won an event since September 2017 in Mahon, Menorca. The 52 Super Series rules see the season's victory coming from the sum of all points won during the single events with no discards: more than winning the events, it's important to have good scores overall. Azzurra's latest win at an event was at PalmaVela in 2018, but this event is not specifically a part of the 52 Super Series racing calendar.

The next event in this highly competitive Class will be the Rolex TP52 World Championship. Also held in Cape Town from March 31st to April 4th, it will count both as an event in the 52 Super Series and as the World Championship for the TP52 Class.

Riccardo Bonadeo, Commodore of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, had these words: "There couldn't have been a better start to the season. This year is Azzurra's tenth anniversary racing in the TP52 Class, and it has been a wonderful collaboration thanks to our club members the Roemmers family. Popping champagne right from the first event in the season gives us an even greater push to sail our best. We know that this season has only just begun, but in the last few days Azzurra and her team have shown that they can sail consistently and handle unexpected situations with pragmatic calm. That's the mentality that gets results both in single events and in the season overall. A round of applause to Azzurra's team and to the Roemmers family from all of us at the YCCS."

Guillermo Parada, skipper: "We are very happy today. The decisions that we made and the work that we did over the winter are giving the results we had hoped for, we have better boat speed and thanks to that we can sail a little more conservatively. I think that conservative sailing has been fundamental for winning this event and I'm happy because it has been a great debut for Michele in his role as our new tactician. There was a lot of pressure on him and it wasn't easy; this result is going to get him some respect from our adversaries and will give him the confidence he needs aboard. We want to dedicate this win to our team member Alejandro Colla who couldn't be here with us because he had an operation yesterday. The surgery went well and we're expecting him back for the World Championship at the end of the month. A special thank you goes to the boat Captain Pedro Rossi for taking Alejandro's place and substituting him so well."

Michele Paoletti, tactician: "This win is the icing on the cake of an excellent week with consistent placements, but we're keeping our eye on the season's victory overall. If we keep on scoring consistently high without worrying about winning single events we can defend our title successfully. Still, this win is something to celebrate, especially for me it has been a real pleasure earned by starting each day focused and concentrated. No racing today made winning easier, but it's always a pleasure to compete."

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