Azzurra on the cusp of Miami Royal Cup win

Azzurra carry a ten point lead into the final day of the Miami Royal Cup and are looking to reprise their last 52 SUPER SERIES regatta title when they won the last event of 2016, the EGNOS Cascais Cup.

In light winds off Miami Beach the emblematic Italian team which is skippered by Guillermo Parada with Vasco Vascotto as tactician won their third race from five starts before posting an eighth and breaking an otherwise impeccable string of first and second places, to lie comfortably ahead of Ergin Imre’s Provezza super consistent Provezza crew.

“If someone offered us the possibility of starting the last day 10 points ahead, for sure we’re going to be very happy to be in our position.” Azzurra’s Parada commented on the dock in the Miami Beach Marina, “We need to keep doing what we are doing and every day we keep working to improve our light air speed, which was our weakness in Key West.”

When three boats were over the start line early, before the gun for Race 6, including champions Quantum Racing, Azzurra quickly capitalised and were in control of the fleet by the first turning mark. By the second circuit they were more than 150 metres ahead while Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec made a worthwhile gain at the top of the second beat and went on to take a second place, their best finish of the event so far.

On the left of the first windward leg of the second race of the day, a trio profited from their sharp starts and benefited together Sled, steered by owner driver Takashi Okura, was strong all the way up the beat and was first at the windward turn, with Tony Langley’s Gladiator second.

Provezza once more underlined their so far unerring ability to stay regular, converting a fifth at the first turn to third across the finish line.

Now Provezza, in second and one point ahead of Platoon, have a chance to atone for a costly flatfooted start on the last day in Key West which left them too much to do to secure the podium place they seemed to have been assured of. A hard lesson has been learned.

Peter Holmberg, Provezza’s helmsman since the start of this season, recalls:

“The mistake on the last day was trying too hard to nail it. Hindsight, we should’ve just had a decent start and kept ourselves with options to maybe have a good result.”

But of their second place standing going into Saturday’s showdown he says:

“I like it like this. We’re not going in leading and defending. We’re hungry and we want to have a good final day. Light air is not our strong point. But I think we’re doing a great job with what we’ve got.”

Holmberg concludes:

“That was our goal coming in here to have good consistent results. Nothing brilliant, but nothing bad. I think the team’s doing a good job.”

Azzurra’s scoreline so far is almost a replica of their winning run in Cascais, where they also had a bogey race just as they did today. Parada, who skippered the team to win the overall title in 2015, continued:

“The second race? As I said earlier in the week glory doesn’t last forever. We still had an OK start. We squeezed Provezza to the right, we went to the right afterwards and we went into a little bit of a hole in the breeze. The boats on the right gained on us and the boats on the left gained on us and we were left there in the middle of nowhere. From there on it was an uphill battle. I think that we lost 2 or 3 points to Platoon and Provezza.”

Lying in fourth overall Quantum Racing are 16 points off the regatta lead but just five points behind third placed Platoon. Tony Langley’s Gladiator crew, with Ed Baird on tactics, hold fifth place, mid fleet. Considering their upheaval and efforts to replace their new boat after being holed on Day 1, Langley, Baird and crew have worked a few small miracles.

Miami Royal Cup
Standings after four of five days, seven races sailed.
1. Azzurra (Roemmers family, ITA/ARG), (2,2,1,1,2,1,8) 17 points.
2. Provezza (Ergin Imre, TUR) (5,3,3,4,4,5,3) 27 p.
3. Platoon (GER, Harm Müller-Spreer), (3,1,8,2,7,3,4) 28 p.
4. Quantum Racing (Doug DeVos, USA), (1,4,6,7,1,9,5) 33 p.
5. Gladiator (Tony Langley, GBR) (7, RDG5.5, RDG5.5, RDG5.5,6,7,2) 38.5 p.
6. Bronenosec (Vladimir Liubomirov, RUS), (10,5,2,6,8,2,7) 40 p.
7. Sled (Takashi Okura, USA), (6, DSQ12,5,9,3,6,1) 42 p.
8. Rán Racing (Niklas Zennström, SWE), (4,8,4,3,10,8,10) 47 p.
9. Sorcha (Peter Harrison, GBR) (9,7,9,8,5,4,6) 48 p
10. Alegre (Andrés Soriano GBR/USA) (8,6,7,5,9,10,9) 54p.
11. Paprec (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin, FRA) (DNC12, DNC12, DNC12, DNC12, DNC12, DNC12, DNC12, DNC12) 84p

– 52 Super Series Media

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