Azzurra, the 52 Super Series champions of 2015, delivered their best day of this season so far on the Bay of Palma waters where they won the World Championship title and where they built so much of their season-winning points cushion last year.
The team of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda scored two second places from the pair of windward-leeward races which were sailed in relatively steady sea breeze conditions. Super sharp starting was the launch pad for race victories today. Prime position on the pin mark of the start line at the gun was key to the wins of Bronenosec and Provezza.
Azzurra achieved the best balance of risk management at the line up, not pushing too hard for the high stakes big reward position, then, critically showing that they have enough speed to hold their lane of clear air to hold or build on the early gains. On both occasions today Azzurra were second at the first windward mark and then kept it nice and tight to cement their second places.
Platoon, with Markus Wieser and local ace Jordi Calafat combining strengths as tactician and strategist, were nearly as strong today, returning two third places.
The 2016 Puerto Portals Sailing Week leaderboard is surely the tightest yet.
Only five points separating the top six boats. Quantum Racing sailed a fourth and fifth today and so are still leading but still only on countback. Now Azzurra and Quantum Racing are both on 14pts. Today’s race winners Bronenosec and Provezza are both on 15pts, Platoon on 17 and Sled on 19pts. Even behind them there are only three points separating Gladiator, Rán and Alegre.
Bronenosec won the pin in the first race of the day, sailing hard and fast at the pin mark, shooting it very slightly, and were then launched on the upwind leg. They had a comfortable lead at the WW1 turn and were never challenged. Azzurra were second round and managed the fleet behind them well.
But when Bronenosec tried the same start for a second time they were early and closed out by Provezza which already owned the perfect layline runway to the pin mark. Bronenosec had to bail out from their position with seconds to go, looping all the way back round. From there the scope for a comeback was limited and they could only add an eighth to their Race three win.
Provezza had an unstoppable momentum and already looked special half way up the first beat. From the left they crossed the fleet and had a solid lead at the first turn, pursued by Azzurra and Platoon.
In this incredibly closely matched fleet it is so difficult to be as good from one day to the next. More than ever it seems that a bad day is followed by a good day. And vice versa.
Vasco Vascotto (ITA) tactician Azzurra (ITA/ARG):
“Still we are learning every day. We are trying to invent the wheel. And soon I hope we will have a good wheel to be competitive for this season, for the worlds, and for next season. Because here in this fleet when you sleep everyone makes a jump forwards. We are pleased to have a day like this because it means we have made a jump forwards and in the last period we have done something better. I hope we have another good day like this soon.
We are working so hard. I cannot tell you on what. It is very important to maintain the secrets. It is most important that we have more data, to have more ideas to have something better. It is an advantage to the others if I tell you what we have been doing.”
Tony Rey (USA):
“We came away with six points for the day and that is good. We are thrilled. It seems to suit us starting on the pin. But you can tell from the posture of the other tacticians that none of us really knew what side was going to work today. And so it was going to be a bit of a mystery to start with. It really was more of a boatspeed day.
We are really fine tuning on the navigation side. Nacho Postigo really is the wizard of Palma Bay and his layline calls are getting to be super accurate. It is a big help when we line up like that.”
Francesco Bruni (ITA) tactician Rán Racing (SWE):
“Things have not been going very well. We have been struggling with starts which have not been great, and tactical calls which were not perfect. I hope it will get better in the next days. But the speed of the boat is good. It is hard right now being at the bottom. It has not been our best performance for sure.”
52 Super Series – Puerto Portals Sailing Week
Standings after Day two
1 Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (4,1,4,5) 14pts
2 Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (6,4,2,2) 14pts
3 Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (1,5,1,8) 15pts
4 Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (2,7,5,1) 15pts
5 Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (5,6,3,3) 17pts
6 Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) (3,2,8,6) 19pts
7 Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (9,3,7,9) 28pts
8 Alegre, GBR (Andres Soriano USA) (8,8,9,4) 29pts
9 Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (7,9,6,7) 29pts
10 Xio/Hurakan, ITA (Giuseppe Parodi ITA) (DNS, DNS, DNS, DNS) 44pts
by 52 Super Series