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52 Super Series Scarlino Sailing Week - Day 1

by 52 Super Series 31 May 01:59 PDT 30 May - 3 June 2023

The Quantum Racing powered by American Magic team may have missed tactician John Kostecki - who had to step aside at the last second at the weekend with a medical issue - but they still managed to compose a solid opening day to the 52 Super Series Scarlino Sailing Week and lead on countback from Takashi Okura's Sled.

After an intense pair of light sea-breeze races on the Gulf of Follonica both teams share the same six points aggregate after winning a race apiece. The 2021 champions Sled and defending circuit champions Quantum reprise a particular rivalry which prevailed here in Tuscany last September, albeit one which was played out in much stronger breezes and with both teams featuring different afterguards.

Last year Sled led after Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4 but faltered on the last day scoring a 5,7 to lose the Scarlino title to Quantum Racing on the last day. Ironically their winning Italian navigator Michele Ivaldi is now with Sled, sailing as strategist supporting fellow Italian navigator Andrea Visintini as navigator and Murray Jones, tactician.

In a light, 7-9kts SW'ly sea breeze they won the first race after eking out a good margin from the first downwind onwards. The Whitcrafts' Thai team on Vayu led at the first top mark ahead of the French on Paprec with Sled third. Harm Müller's Spreer Platoon and Andy Soriano's Alegre had shown great promise on the upwind, but both ended up slowed, too close to the windward mark and ended up with expensive penalties.

Sled took the lead through the leeward gate and moved further ahead on successive legs whilst Jean Luc Petithugeunin's Paprec took second place, Vayu third and Phoenix - on an upwards trajectory after a disappointing Saint-Tropez - crossed fourth.

The breeze had built slightly for the second race. Phoenix made the best start and led around the top mark ahead of Quantum Racing who stayed out to the right of the downwind and were able to find more wind pressure to pass Phoenix on the run. Saint-Tropez winners Provezza gained places on each leg to cross second behind Race 2 winners Quantum.

Victor Diaz de Leon, Quantum's tactician summarised: "John Kostecki is such a huge asset on our team and missing him was hard today. We were lucky to have Peter Cowell come on, he works normally on our electronics, and so he took on the navigators role and worked with Sean Clarkson as strategist, so I am in as tactician now. So it is going to be a long week but we are going to chip away. The guys sailed the boat fast round the course. We got out of some tough situations I put us in. We think we are going well, we try to sail clean and stay out of trouble and get off the start line. After Saint-Tropez it is clear that we have to keep working on our starting."

Michele Ivaldi spoke about now having Quantum Racing, the team he won the Rolex TP52 World Championship with and the 2022 circuit with, as head to head rivals here, "I think we can win against them. It will be hard, they are a very good team, we are strong as well and we have a chance. Here it does feel awkward looking at Quantum here from the outside, but the team took a different direction but luckily I found a great team here, I am lucky to be accepted by this team and we have so much potential."

He said, before recalling, "Today, we started well on the first race and had a very good race, on the second we did not start so well and we made an unforced error at the gate of the second race where we lost a couple of places, but coming off the water with a one and a five today we are very happy."

Racing on Wednesday is now scheduled for a midday warning signal.

52 Super Series Scarlino Sailing Week - Provisional standings

2- SLED (USA), Takashi Okura, 1+5 = 6
3- PHOENIX (RSA), Hasso and Tina Plattner, 4+3 = 7
4- PROVEZZA (TUR), Ergin Imre, 6+2 = 8
5- VÂYU (THA), Whitcraft Family, 3+6 = 9
6- PLATOON (GER), Harm Müller Spreer, 7+4 = 11
7- PAPREC (FRA), Jean Luc Petithuguenin, 2+10 = 12
8- INTERLODGE (USA), Austin and Gwen Fragomen, 8+8 = 16
9- ALEGRE (GBR), Andy Soriano, 10+7 = 17
10- GLADIATOR (GBR), Tony Langley, 9+9 = 18
11- ALPHA+ (HKG), Shawn and Tina Kang, 11+11 = 22

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