From a long and intense three race day on Valencia’s world renowned Malvarrosa Beach race track Andy Soriano’s Alegre crew, newcomers to the 52 Super Series, step clear at the top of the rankings for Ford Vignale Valencia Sailing Week with an eight point lead.
In this white hot grand prix monohull fleet which features nine brand new boats each making their major regatta debut, top line consistency has proven nigh on impossible. With seven races of the event’s 10 scheduled windward-leeward courses now completed, every team has now suffered with at least one close encounter with the back of the pack.
Soriano’s crew – current holders of the Maxi72 world championship title – were the best scoring team Thursday, aggregating 13 points with their 2,9,2. Emphasising just how easy it is to drop down the fleet as a result of the smallest tactical or boat handling error, Rán Racing’s seven points tally after three races was heavily ballasted by their 10,5,7 from today. Niklas Zennström’s crew are now second, eight points behind Alegre.
The Alegre crew lead by tactician John Kostecki supported by strategist Kelvin Harrap, have continued to start very well – fast and well positioned – but they have mostly had the speed to hold their lanes and maintain good, early positions rather than find themselves fighting to climb through the fleet.
In the first race today, the lightest seabreeze yet at 7-9 kts, they lead early on the first beat but only just lost out at the top mark to a fast advancing Azzurra which had hooked into a good vein of lifting wind pressure on their approach to the turn. And in the third contest they stuck to their game plan and lead the pack in pursuit of Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec which became only the second team along with Alegre to have won two races at this regatta.
Azzurra, second overall on last year’s 52 SUPER SERIES, had a better day. They composed their first race win of this regatta when they linked together strong start, speed and tactics. An eighth and a fifth thereafter gave them the second to best tally for the day which takes them to lie just two points off third place.
Takashi Okura’s Sled, regularly knocking on the door of the top positions, cracked it in the next race as the sea breeze built to 12-13kts. They lead around the top mark with Harm Muller-Spreer’s Platoon in second, this top duo eking out a good early lead. Xio and Paprec had a spirited scrap over third and fourth with Jean-Luc Petithuguenin’s French crew taking third from the Italians which races the former Quantum Racing, on the finish line.
The third race went to Bronenosec. After a 9,6 from the first two contests the win for the Russian team vaulted them back to third overall.
With three races left, Thursday may yet prove to be the critical stage of the regatta but with two points only between Bronenosec in third, Sled in fourth and Azzurra in fifth the fight for the podium is still open.
52 Super Series – Ford Vignale Valencia Sailing Week Leaders after 7 races
1st GBR ALEGRE 1 3 1 5 2 9 2 23 pts
2nd SWE RÁN RACING 2 1 2 2 10 5 7 29 pts
3rd RUS BRONENOSEC GAZPROM 8 6 6 1 9 6 1 37 pts
4th USA SLED 7 11 3 3 3 1 11 39 pts
5th ITA AZZURRA 6 5 5 9 1 8 5 39 pts
6th GER PROVEZZA 5 2 7 8 8 7 6 43 pts
7th USA QUANTUM RACING 4 7 8 6 6 11 3 45 pts
8th GER PLATOON 3 8 11 4 7 2 12 47 pts
9th USA INTERLODGE 10 4 4 10 11 12 4 55 pts
10th FRA PAPREC RECYCLAGE 9 10 12 12 4 3 9 59 pts
11th GBR GLADIATOR 11 9 9 7 12 4 10 62 pts
12th ITA XIO HURAKAN 12 12 10 11 5 10 8 68 pts