Azzurra prepare to stop the runaway train at 52 Super Series

The chances of Azzurra halting the regatta winning run of 2016 champions Quantum Racing were given a boost today when the team from the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda sailed to a first and second place in modest breezes at the EGNOS 52 SUPER SERIES Cascais Cup, beating their American rivals twice.

Azzurra now lead Quantum Racing into the final day of the last regatta of the season by five points. But their tactician Vasco Vascotto considers that their positive progress, having closed the performance gap on the circuit’s benchmark team is more exciting for him than the prospect of winning their first event of a season, which has so far been dominated by Doug DeVos’s Quantum Racing.

“It’s very nice for us to feel like all the work we’re doing is taking us in the right direction. For me, that’s the most important thing. This is an important event, and Cascais is a wonderful place, but the most important thing for us is to know that with the next season being just around the corner now we know that our benchmark that is Quantum Racing are not too far away and that we’re going in the right direction.

I’m proud of what we are doing, and it looks as if everything is perfect.

No, actually not perfect, just better.”

The race arena for the penultimate day’s racing was moved east, slightly more towards Lisbon city, in the search for stronger pressure. The resulting race course was complex, with a reduction in wind strength towards the top mark and a right hand shift in the top third of the track. Downwind legs gave a growing advantage to the leaders who worked progressively into stronger breeze.

Vascotto proved particularly adept at reading the breeze. On the first run he held Azzurra closer to the shore and rolled down in extra, heading pressure that allowed them to sail round early leaders Sled. Quantum Racing were bounced by Phoenix early in the beat and finished fifth. Provezza’s third to Rán Racing’s ninth saw the two contenders for third overall for the season swap positions, Ergin Imre’s team getting a taste of third overall.

The breeze remained settled and the course marks fixed for the next race. Bronenosec followed the same strategy as worked nicely for Azzurra in the previous heat. As they made their final tack for the windward mark to claim the lead they left Quantum Racing trailing in their dirty air exhaust fumes. Slowed momentarily they were rolled by Azzurra which had the luxury of bringing their bow down very slightly on approach accelerating to second place. Vladimir Liubomirov’s crew took their second win of the regatta to move up to fourth on the event standings. Azzurra’s second earned them one more point going into the final day.

The duel for third overall saw Rán Racing seize back third place when they finished fifth to Provezza’s bogey ninth. Just as there was in Cascais last year, the third place battle goes to the wire, Rán leading Provezza by just two tiny points.

Standings after day 4 (6 races)

1 Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (1,1,2,8,1,2) 15 pts
2 Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (4,2,3,3,5,3) 20 pts
3 Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) (2,6,4,2,2,8) 24 pts
4 Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (8,8,1,4,4,1) 26 pts
5 Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (5,7,7,1,6,7) 33 pts
6 Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (3,4,9,6,3,9) 34 pts
7 Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (7,3,8,5,9,5) 37 pts
8 Phoenix, USA (Richard Cohen USA) (9,9,6,10,7,4) 45 pts
9 Alegre, GBR (Andrés Soriano USA) (10,10,5,7,10,6) 48 pts
10 Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (6,5,10,9,8,10) 48 pts

– 52 Media

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