Key West, 22nd of January 2013
Rán Racing step clear at the top at Quantum Key West
On the strength of a first place and a second on Tuesday at Quantum Key West 2013, Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing team stepped clear of the 52 SUPER SERIES pack with a lead of two points over defending 2012 52 SUPER SERIES champions Azzurra. Ironically neither of the top two boats sailed an error free day, both making penalty turns in successive races.
Racing conditions were close to perfect. The assembled 52 SUPER SERIES teams would always like more breeze – and look set to get have that wish satisfied Wednesday – but the 12-16kts of northerly winds for Races 3 and 4 of the ten race regatta carried plenty of shifts in direction and changes in pressure to challenge the afterguard members and ensure there were always options for gains and losses.
With Adrian Stead calling tactics for owner-helm Zennström, Rán Racing proved to be most consistent in the quest to use the shifts and changes to best effect. Azzurra’s coach Rod Davis summarised the challenge:
“There were some reasonably big shifts, especially going back and forth in the first race. So the quest was to try and stay in phase with the shifts and still keep tabs on the whole fleet. It was a little bit complicated that way.”
In the first race of the day Rán Racing took the lead at the bottom end of the first run, whilst early leaders Azzurra had to take a two turns penalty as they left the leeward gate for fouling Rán on the approach to the gate. Azzurra’s resulting 720 proved a high tariff initially as they dropped to sixth, but the Italian flagged series champions managed to recover to fourth by the finish.
After a modest start to the second race, during which the breeze built to 16kts in the puffs, Rán Racing were first to push to the right side of the course and were able to very quickly build a strong lead ahead of Azzurra, nearly 60 metres clear half way up the second beat. But Vasco Vascotto hooked into a 30 degree shift with Azzurra which came in so quickly that Rán Racing could not get across to it and the blue hulled boat was able to lead at the second top mark. On a tight approach to the final windward mark Rán Racing judged themselves to have fouled Azzurra and, being safe, they chose to take a penalty. But, holding on to second, their results 3 points aggregate – sets them up as overall regatta leaders.
Rán’s tactician Adrian Stead is loving the 52 SUPER SERIES racing at Quantum Key West:
“ There is nothing in it right through the fleet. All credit to the guys on Rio. We know Synergy was always a very good boat and the guys are doing a good job in getting the boat up to speed and are sailing well, and the Interlodge guys have had a year in their boat and definitely have some pace. And Gladiator much stronger, stuff with the extra righting moment and so good for them, and Doug DeVos is doing a great job jumping into Quantum Racing and driving the boat. It is lovely. It is great racing. All six biats are in it, and you make a mistake and are suddenly sixth.”
Azzurra’s fourth in the first race could so easily have been better. Tactician Vasco Vascotto was less concerned about the big errors they have made than the fact he feels they have just not been sailing as well as they can as a team:
“We are lucky to be in the position we are because we have not sailed very well. So we are happy to be where we are. It gives us the opportunity to go out tomorrow and fight for something important. We can sail better, we made mistakes around the course and we need to sail a better level if we want to win. There are plenty of mistakes. The result is about how you sail the boat and if we carry on sailing the way we have been then we will not win the event.”
A disappointing sixth place in the second race of the day saw Tony Langley’s Gladiator slide from second overall to lie fourth, but still only four points separate the top five boats after four races.
Results, 52 SUPER SERIES at Quantum Key West 2013
1 Rán Racing (SWE), 2 Interlodge (USA), 3 Gladiator (GBR), 4 Azzurra (ITA), 5 Quantum Racing (USA), 6 Rio (USA)
1 Azzurra, 2 Rán Racing, 3 Quantum Racing, 4 Rio, 5 Interlodge, 6 Gladiator.
Standings after 4 races, no discards:
1 Rán Racing 10pts, 2 Azzurra 12pts, 3 Quantum Racing 13pts, 4 Gladiator 14pts, 5 Interlodge 14pts, 6 Rio 22pts
Niklas Zennström (SWE), owner-driver Rán Racing (SWE): “It was pretty good for us overall. We were leading the second race as well but infringed Azzurra at the second top mark and we lost out taking a penalty. Conditions were very streaky with quite big shifts, in the second race we had a bad start but broke out to the right so we could take the shifts which the rest of the fleet did not.
We had a very comfortable lead in the second race ahead of Azzurra and we tacked in front of them, but they got a 20 or 30 degrees wind shift which we did not get. But that is the way it goes. We got it on the first beat and them on the second.
Our objective for the day was to get four points or less for the day.
We sailed the boat well and had a good start in the first race, and overall I think we played the wind shifts well. We made good manoeuvres. I think with this fleet now at six boats you want to make sure you have good lane, but we were just a little bit late on the second race start.”
Rod Davis (NZL) coach Azzurra (ITA), “There were some reasonably big shifts, especially going back and forth in the first race. So the quest was to try and stay in phase with the shifts and still keep tabs on the whole fleet. It was a little bit complicated that way.
We fouled Rán Racing at the leeward gate and so had to do circles there and that put us deep in the ball game. We are really just not sailing very consistently. We are making big, big mistakes which are costing us lots of places. We need to eliminate from the game. I am not sure about how we actually do that, but we will talk it through tonight.”
Marty Kullman (USA) tactician Interlodge (USA): “We wanted to focus on getting good starts and getting through the leeward gates in good shape and we had an OK start in the second race, a good gate rounding first time down in the first race and that put is in a good position to get second. We need to get a little more comfort in pushing at te start and being a little more aggressive. The second start we were able to do that a little more.
I set the goals for the team and today they were starts, leeward gates and not catching any crab traps. We accomplished the main goals even though the result of the second race does not quite show it.
Today was a great day of racing. One little mistake and a boat goes by you. You come in to the windward mark and you have to duck three or four boats of six and so you go from first to fifth, sixth to second. It is great racing, like one design, close and competitive. Even today the boats are alive at 13-14 kts, tomorrow we will see up to 20kts or more. We have had a few regattas in strong winds and so we will focus again on the gates. We are confident in our upwinds and downwind and so that will still be our goals.”
Adrian Stead (GBR) tactician Rán Racing (SWE): “It was a pretty tricky day. The breeze was moving around between about 350 degrees and 015 or 020, so 30 degrees of shift and probably two knots of pressure difference. The first legs were always a bit easier to see before the traffic took effect, but the by the second and third legs once it had been chopped up by the Farr 40’s and the Swan 42’s were not so easy to read. We set ourselves a goal of four points for the day and got three. We could have had two wins but on the second beat of Race 4 we did not quite stay in phase and the others were really. The right came in so quickly at the top of that second beat that they had us pinned very quickly we just had to wait for something to get us across. We were probably only two metres off crossing them and leading around in first place but we felt we had infringed Azzurra four or five lengths from the top mark, and so although they did not protest we took a turn. I felt we were definitely too close and so we did a turn for that.”
There is nothing in it right through the fleet. All credit to the guys on Rio. We know Synergy was always a very good boat and the guys are doing a good job in getting the boat up to speed and are sailing well, and the Interlodge guys have had a year in their boat and definitely have some pace. And Gladiator much stronger, stuff with the extra righting moment and so good for them, and Doug DeVos is doing a great job jumping into Quantum Racing and driving the boat. It is lovely. It is great racing. All six biats are in it, and you make a mistake and are suddenly sixth.”
52 SUPER SERIES 2013 Event Calendar:
Quantum Key West Race Week, Key West, Florida, January 20 – 25, 5 day WL racing, dual scoring IRC & 52 Super Series.
52 World Championship, Miami, Florida, March 5 – 9, 5 day WL racing, TP52s and IRC52s.
Trofeo Conde de Godo, Barcelona, May 23 – 26, 4 day WL racing, IRC52s invited.
Royal Cup, Ibiza, July 2 – 6, 4 day WL & 1 day Coastal, TP52s and IRC52s.
Copa del Rey, Palma, July 29 – August 3, 6 day WL racing, dual scoring IRC & 52 Super Series.
AUDI Week Of The Straits, Porto Cervo, September 10 – 14, 3 day WL & 2 day Coastal, TP52s and IRC52s.