The Bay of Palma served up a week of mostly atypical, unsettled and changeable summer sea breeze conditions for the fourth regatta of the 2018 52 SUPER SERIES season, the Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week.
The challenges to the tacticians, helms and speed teams of the ten TP52s were more frustrating than the usual Palma one-sided strategy, even a little random at times. But Quantum Racing proved the most adept in every department, winning their third 52 SUPER SERIES regatta of the four contested so far this season, the first with owner-driver Doug DeVos on the helm.
The season championship leaders not only won in Mallorca, but have extended their 52 SUPER SERIES circuit lead from 19 to 32 points over the nine races sailed.
As is most often the case, the recently crowned world champions Quantum Racing kept their heads best through a final day that was, once again, difficult to read.
Winning navigator Ian Moore grinned, sounding relieved as he admitted:
“It was a tricky old day on the race course! It was a really hard week, nothing went to forecast, none of the normal rules that we know about the Bay of Palma and this regatta applied, and you just had to be heads out of the boat and just react to the conditions. That couldn’t have been more true any day than today, it was 30-40 degree shifts at times, massive pressure differentials left and right. We were just thinking we’re in a great, safe second place and then suddenly you’re in the middle of the fleet and fighting for your life! It was tough, and you just had to just stay a little bit calm and not get too excited and just stick at it and battle away.”
Generally this week, the right of the race course has yielded the most profit, but suddenly in the first race today it was a return to the more usual Palma “left is best”. Quantum Racing did not panic, stuck to their conservative game plan, and still delivered two solid results – a second and fourth – winning the Puerto Portals title by just three points from 2015 regatta winners Azzurra with Platoon in third.
With DeVos steering his second event of the season, Terry Huthchinson as tactician and Dean Barker as strategist, Quantum Racing scored only one big result, an eighth. They did well to stay out of trouble. Conversely, Azzurra will likely rue the costly penalty in Race 6 that dropped them from second to ninth, while Platoon, uncharacteristically, copped three red flag penalties over two back-to-back races and were over the start line at least once.
Luna Rossa, Zadar Royal Cup winners had an up and down week, winning two races, but today annulling their podium challenge when they jumped the start gun. So too the consistency that has been the hallmark of Takashi Okura’s Sled seemed to elude them this week. Luna Rossa finished fifth and Sled seventh.
An emotional Terry Hutchinson, Quantum Racing’s winning tactician smiled:
“I have to give it to everyone on the Quantum Racing for holding our nerve. What a great team day. We had such a challenging day yesterday, so to bounce back in the manner that we did was really solid. The racing’s just getting better and better. How good a job did Doug DeVos do? Coming in cold and giving us two good training days, and so it was awesome to have him back on the boat. But the fleet is getting tighter and tighter, and Azzurra definitely asked the question in that last race and sailed a great regatta.”
Overall it was a more assured, competitive Azzurra who are getting closer to the form they showed last year when they won the circuit title with tactician Vasco Vascotto. Santi Lange is more and more comfortable in his role and making key calls. While the boat is clearly quick, the Olympic champion, who is tactician on Azzurra commented:
“The important thing is that we need to sail better, and today we sailed better, and it was good. It’s hard to take second, but we are building a new team, and we have to be patient, to keep improving. I always measure myself not on the results but how we sail. There are several areas that we need to improve and that motivates me for the future. Now we know what details we have to improve from this week, and then push hard in Valencia. The racing is amazing, the class is really nice, the level is amazing, so we need to be sharp for Valencia, for sure.”
The circuit standings promise a great fight in Valencia next month for second and third on the podium, Azzurra now in second are five points clear of Platoon and Sled, who are both tied on 168 points, with Luna Rossa in fifth now on 175 points.
Ian Moore (GBR/IRL), navigator, Quantum Racing (USA):
On communication on board:
“ It’s pretty strong to be honest. Obviously Dean’s a great helmsman but he fits straight into the strategy role. Some guys can do both and he’s one of those guys. He talks very easily with Terry, and Terry actually uses him as a bit of a crutch really, it’s good. Dean talks a lot about the pressure and the shift, and you can see if Terry’s worried about something he’ll go: ‘Dean, what do you reckon?’ It’s a very easy communication loop, and it seems to work really well.”
Francesco Bruni (ITA), helm, Luna Rossa (ITA):
“Obviously, unfortunately, we didn’t sail very well. First, I started the day with a nice start over the line, really I’m very upset because we had decided we wanted the pin and there was no reason to push the start. But that’s it and now we are here. It’s a very tough moment for the team, but I think we have to take some positives for the week, and I felt we were the fastest boat out there. Obviously that makes it even more painful, but it gives us some perspective looking at Valencia.”
Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week Final Standings
1. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (2,4,2,5,2,6,8,2,4) 35 p.
2. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto/Pablo Roemmers) (6,5,1,6,4,9,2,4,1) 38 p.
3. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (1,10,8,2,7,3,3,3,2) 39 p.
4. Phoenix (RSA) (Hasso/Tina Plattner) (5,3,4,4,3,10,5,5,3) 42 p.
5. Luna Rossa (ITA) (Patrizio Bertelli) (7,2,6,9 Penalty 2,1,1,6,8,7) 49 p
6. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (4,1,7,10,6,7,10,1,6) 52 p.
7. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (8,9,5,1,10,8,1,6,5) 53 p.
8. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andy Soriano) (3,6,3,8,8,2,9,10,8) 57 p.
9. Onda (BRA) (Eduardo de Souza Ramos) (9,8,DNF11,3,9,4,4,7,9) 64 p.
10. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (10,7,9,7,5,5,7,9,10) 69 p.
2018 52 SUPER SERIES Overall Standings After Four Regattas:
1. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) 131 p.
2. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto and Pablo Roemmers) 163 p.
3. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) 168 p.
4. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) 168 p.
5. Luna Rossa (ITA) (Patrizio Bertelli) 175 p
6. Phoenix (RSA) (Hasso/Tina Plattner) 189 p.
7. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andy Soriano) 190 p.
8. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) 215 p.
9. Onda (BRA) (Eduardo de Souza Ramos) 248 p.
10. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) 287 p.