The TP52 Azzurra and the rest of the fleet competing in the 2017 edition of the 52 Super Series is ready to start the second event on the 2017 calendar, the Miami Royal Cup, raced in the waters off South Beach. Strong winds are predicted for the first two days of the event.
The palm trees along Ocean Drive were whipped by strong easterly winds and the sea was choppy with wave crests at 2mt: risky conditions for the TP52 fleet. The French team aboard Paprec dismasted during a practice session, but Azzurra wisely chose to stay in port even though her team was eager to try her new sails. The new sails, made after the first event in the 2017 Series held in January in Key West, have been modified to improve performance in light winds; they wouldn’t have been useful in a day marked by gusts at 30 knots and more.
“We had to be patient and stay in port,” said tactician Vasco Vascotto. “We would have had fun surfing down the waves but we wouldn’t have learned anything out sailing today and would have exposed Azzurra to unnecessary risks on the day before the start of an important event. The winds from the east and southeast are building up the sea state: the real problem is the waves, even getting out of port is dangerous. Conditions should improve during the week and the wind should let up, we’ll figure out how to best work with our new sails in the few hours we have before daily racing starts.”
Today the practice race was called off because of difficult conditions. The first race is planned for tomorrow March 7th at 3:00 PM (9:00 Pm CET) when conditions should be a bit calmer.
After the first event of the season, the scoreboard currently sees Quantum in the lead by just six points closely followed by a tight group lead by Platoon. Azzurra is just seven points behind Quantum and is tied for points with Bronenosec. Ten of the eleven fleets competing in the Series will be racing as Paprec is going to have to wait for her return to Europe to replace her mast. Gladiator, formerly Interlodge and newly acquired by YCCS member Tony Langley, is a boat to watch being Botin Partners’ latest project. Fans will remember that the same studio designed Azzurra. TP52s aren’t One Designs but race under the Box Rule so they can be designed differently within limits.
Quotes of the day:
Riccardo Bonadeo, Commodore of the YCCS: “I will be following Azzurra and the Miami Royal Cup from our clubhouse in Virgin Gorda, where the first events in the YCCS’s intense 2017 racing calendar, the Rolex Caribbean Swan Cup and the Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta are underway. This year will be an extra special season for us as it marks the 50th anniversary of our foundation by the Prince Aga Khan. Tomorrow we’ll have our 50th Anniversary Regatta in Virgin Gorda. As always, I want to thank the Roemmers family and our team for keeping our sporting symbol, Azzurra, competitive in the most professional race circuit for monohulls today, the 52 Super Series. Thanks for the constant effort and fair winds!”
Guillermo Parada, skipper: “We were definitely are not happy with our result at Key West, so we’re hoping for a strong result here in Miami. In Key West, the first event of the season, practically every team underperformed and the event ended with the entire fleet very close in points. On board Azzurra we’re sailing with the same team, but have some new sails in the hopes that we’ll improve upwind, a bit of a weakness for us. Miami is a different venue in the Atlantic Ocean, with its tide and waves. The first days are predicted as windy, so we’re looking forward to an interesting week.’