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Tight Leaderboard at 52 Super Series

With the day 1 winner coming down to a tiebreaker, the fleet is tight on points going into day 2.

July 25, 2016
52 super series
Quantum Racing takes the tiebreaker against Sled to lead after day 1, but Bronenosec is hot on their heels. Martinez Studio

As Quantum Racing had to fight hard to return their fourth and first place race finishes which ensure they lead the Puerto Portals Sailing Week regatta for the 52 SUPER SERIES it was the notable return to form of Sled and Bronenosec after lacklustre performances in Porto Cervo which stood out on the Bay of Palma today.

Quantum Racing pretty much carried on from where they left off in Sardinia earlier this month, ferociously consistent and proving the value of every point gained on each race course. But, after their ninth and tenth places respectively at the Audi Settimana delle Bocche, Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec and Takashi Okura’s Sled both bounced back with a strong opening day to the third regatta of the five which form the 2016 52 SUPER SERIES.

For both the Sled and the Bronenosec teams there were equally in depth, no holds barred debriefs after Porto Cervo. The conclusions were similar: eliminate unnecessary mistakes, do the basics well and the important self confidence will come back.

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In the case of Bronenosec, the need to start better means Ado Stead is now detailed to focus on the execution of the all-important start with owner-driver Liubomirov while tactician Michele Ivaldi keeps his head clear to focus just on tactics – what the breeze is doing, what the opposition are doing, how the fleet is set up – and making clear decisions.

The back to basics approach worked for Bronenosec, tactician Ivaldi reporting:

“You have to start well. We need to trust our boatspeed. Yes we have some new sails but don’t overcomplicate things. Make clean manoeuvres and stay out of trouble. These are the basics. And there is the positive spiral in a team. When you get self confidence you sail better you get more confident and sail better still. It is a positive spiral in any sport. In a sport where the performance is down to the sum of a lot of individuals then that is very important. We needed that boost and we have it.”

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Sled’s watchwords – as highlighted by coach Rod Davis after Porto Cervo – are staying clear of trouble, and setting up and starting better.

Both teams proved able to deliver on their post Sardinia learnings. Bronenosec went out and won the first race which they paired to a hard-earned fifth to lie third overall. Sled matched a second to a third, and hold second, tied with Quantum Racing on the same five points aggregate.

The Bay of Palma provided typical 10-13kt sea breeze conditions which cooled, only slightly, the high summer temperatures in the water. The wind for the first race was stronger and more settled. The second contest saw some lighter patches develop and proved slightly trickier.

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A first attempt at Race 1 had to be abandoned with Andy Soriano’s Alegre leading. A big cruise ship coming into the Palma terminal split the fleet on the first downwind leg. As usual there are winners and losers in this situation. Soriano’s team had a decent lead and were going fast. On the other hand Tony Langley’s Gladiator were no doubt glad of a second chance after they had torn their A2 kite luff to leech.

Bronenosec were smart out of the trap in Race 1 and were able to execute their game plan to get right early which they did along with Sled. Provezza sailed a strong top third of the beat and only just got around the top mark in second just ahead of Sled with Bronenosec leading.

After splitting to different marks at the leeward gate Sled edged ahead of Provezza but Ergin Imre’s crew with Andy Beadsworth helming and Tony Rey calling tactics held to the left of the last run, closer to the Palma/Palmanova side of the track and were able to take second from Sled. A similar back and forth battle had been going on between Quantum Racing and Platoon.

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Quantum actually stayed well to the right of the run and lost out on pressure for a good few minutes but their choice paid back and they were able to pip Platoon. And, as so often is the case with Quantum Racing, it is the step up from fifth to fourth in that race – as much as their victory in Race 2 – which contributes to their leading the regatta after Day 1.

“That is one you will likely look back on the last day and be glad of. Like we say every place, every point is precious and that was another one gained,” Quantum Racing tactician Terry Hutchinson (USA) confirmed afterwards.

Quantum Racing executed a nice second race start, with great speed and good timing to move clear to the right of the course early in the race. They lead at the top mark first time up with Tony Langley’s Gladiator in good shape in second, making the left work for themselves with a good start and good speed with Sled in third and Alegre fourth.

At the leeward gate Sled and Gladiator split to opposite marks – rounding bow to bow – and Sled were ahead by the second windward mark. Quantum Racing won with a decent lead, Sled took second with Gladiator holding on to a good third place.

Points are close in the middle of the fleet, three points separating fourth from seventh.

52 super series
After an unfortunate collision during the training day, Xio/Hurakan was forced to retire from day one of racing. Martinez Studio

Standings after Day 1

  1. Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (4,1) 5 pts
  2. Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) (3,2) 5 pts
  3. Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (1,5) 6 pts
  4. Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (2,7) 9 pts
  5. Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (6,4) 10 pts
  6. Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (5,6) 11 pts
  7. Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (9,3) 12 pts
  8. Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (7,9) 16 pts
  9. Alegre, GBR (Andres Soriano USA) (8,8) 16 pts
  10. Xio/Hurakan, ITA (Giuseppe Parodi ITA) (DNS/11, DNS/11) 22 pts
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