The Provezza team finished their 2016 season disappointed. As one of the key contenders for third overall on the end-of-season podium, their challenge faltered at the final hurdle when they went 9,9,9 from the last three races at the EGNOS Cup in Cascais last October.
The short off season was put to the best possible use, the post season debrief and analysis resulted in small changes to the crew line up, to their boat, set up, looking to make strengths from their weaknesses.
Biggest change is Peter Holmberg coming in to steer. Since an eighth and ninth from Monday’s opening two races Provezza have yet to win a race at this regatta but their fifth and third today is typical of an assured consistency which sees them with a fighting chance of winning the six event season’s first regatta.
“We made a few changes, a couple of crew changes a couple of mode changes to the boat, a few sail things. It’s just a lot of small refinements.” Tactician and project manager Tony Rey explains, adding with a smile, “We’re still capable of a disaster like anyone else. But we feel good, we’re sailing the boat well and we’re going better in light air, which we haven’t done in the past. We’re really pleased with it. It’s probably the way we’re sailing it. It’s a little bit of technique changes and just learning the boat as well as a little time away and now coming back. Having Peter Holmberg here as the helmsman has been a nice jolt of fresh energy. Sometimes that’s what it takes to get guys going.”
Two races were sailed in light SE’ly breezes today. After a three race 24pt ‘black Wednesday’ which ballasted their Key West title hopes heavily downwards, Quantum Racing fought back with a 2,1 today to earn a share of the three way tie with Azzurra and Platoon, all two points behind Provezza. And Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing are only one point behind them. Five boats go into the Friday finale within three points of the lead.
Quantum Racing’s Terry Hutchinson had typically spoken about taking a hard look in the mirror, reviewing mistakes and then wiping the slate clean and coming out today ready to compete. In fact the champions Quantum Racing returned to doing the basics well, making the best two starts of the day to vault from sixth place nine points off the lead into that three way tie. Hutchinson may have sought to shoulder the blame for a lot of Wednesday’s heavy points tally but owner-driver Doug DeVos reaffirmed his team’s cornerstone belief:
“It’s all about team. We win together and we struggle together. We had a little delay in the morning so we spent a little time thinking about what we could do to improve in each and every area of the boat. As we came in this afternoon we said, ‘Hey we did all those things, we made those little improvements and it showed.”
Breezes for the one race showdown are expected to be slightly steadier, perhaps up to 10-11kts, but the team which emerges with the Key West title will take huge satisfaction from winning the most open, competitive and closely fought regatta for many years on the 52 SUPER SERIES.
Race 8: Rán Racing Jumps into the Fray With a Big Win Looking to atone for the previous days trio of poor results, Quantum Racing took the mid-line position and started on time and at pace. The defending champions, along with Rán Racing, worked the left side and turned that into a lead at the first mark. The two teams traded blows the rest of the way with Rán Racing getting the better of the battle and winning. Quantum Racing took a satisfying second with Platoon working back into third.
Race 9: Quantum Racing Imposes Its Will On the Fleet For the second time in two races, Quantum Racing was strong off the line and worked the left side on the first beat to round the first mark with a slim margin over Azzurra and Interlodge. With the fleet relatively close through the first leeward mark it was the third leg of the race the was decisive as the fickle breeze proved very hard to predict. The lead boats once again worked the left side—something of a theme in this event—but the breeze went hard to the right halfway up the beat. By working the center of the course, Quantum Racing was able to take advantage of the right shift and extended away. Interlodge survived for second but Azzurra, which was in a position to take advantage a difficult race for Platoon, struggled to recover and found itself fighting for the middle positions on the final run. Provezza, used the right side to move up the ladder at a crucial time in the regatta and finish fourth.
52 SUPER SERIES 2017 Quantum Key West Race Week Standings after nine of 10 races. 1. Provezza (TUR) Ergin Imre (TUR) (8,9,2,2,4,5,2,5,3) 40pts. 2. Quantum Racing (USA) Doug DeVos (USA) (3,7,4,1,8,7,9,2,1) 42pts. 3. Platoon (GER) Harm Müller-Spreer (GER) (1,1,6,6, 10,2,5,3,8) 42pts. 4. Azzurra (ITA) A & P Roemmers (ITA/ARG) (6,2,3,8,2,6,4,6,5) 42pts. 5. Rán Racing (SWE) Niklas Zennström (SWE) (4,6,9,4,3,4,6,1,6) 43pts. 6. Interlodge (USA) Austin Fragomen (USA) (5,8,11,5,1,1,8,7,2) 48pts 7. Bronenosec (RUS) Vladimir Liubomirov (RUS) (7,4,5,3,7,3,11,4,4) 48pts. 8. Sled (USA) Takashi Okura (USA) (2,5,8,11,6,11,3,9,9) 64pts. 9. Gladiator (GBR) Tony Langley (GBR) (10,10,1,9,5,9,7,11,7) 69pts. 10. Paprec Recyclage (FRA) Jean-Luc Petithuguenin (FRA) (9,11,10,7,11,8,1,8,11) 76pts. 11. Alegre (GBR) Andrés Soriano (GBR/USA) (11,3,7,10,9,10,10,10,10) 80pts.