Quantum Racing had just restored their overall lead to 18 points when they had finished second behind Azzurra in Race 7, the first race of the day.
Then Quantum fell foul of a black flag disqualification on the second attempt to get Race 8 away. When a general recall was signalled, Quantum Racing was the only team penalised.
The race got under way at the third attempt. Azzurra won with the regatta leaders forced to sit it out, already tied to the dock in Port Mahón.
After composing an aggregate of only 12 points from seven races, three firsts, three seconds and one third, Quantum Racing more than double that tally because of their 13pts from the BFD. The team launched a protest for redress, believing that the pin end of the line had moved, but it did not proceed to a hearing.
So according to the early evening’s provisional standings, Quantum Racing will now go into the final day of the 52 World Championship with a lead of nine points over Azzurra. The 2015 world title holders have now won four races from eight starts and are three points ahead of Ergin Imre’s Provezza, who finished third and seventh today.
The first race was sailed in a modest 9-11kts of south westerly breeze. The black flag was enforced after one general recall, Paul Cayard and the crew of Phoenix were disqualified from the second start.
Azzurra recognised the gain on the right side of the course and led at the top mark ahead of Sorcha, Provezza, Platoon and Alegre. Quantum Racing rounded sixth. On the shifty, puffy first run, Provezza got up to second by the leeward gate. Steady gains by Quantum Racing got them into position to challenge Provezza at the final gybe to the finish, the regatta leaders completing another sterling comeback to second place. Azzurra crossed the finish line more than 200 metres ahead.
Bronenosec led the second race – Race 8 – until the leeward gate, where they chose the left gate mark (looking upwind), and Azzurra the opposite. Azzurra gained on the beat and led comfortably by the final run. In the big, boisterous seas and NW’ly breeze to 17kts, Sled scored their best result of the regatta so far with a second and Phoenix bounced back after their DSQ to make third.
Vasco Vascotto, the Azzurra tactician commented:
“From yesterday we had a debrief about what we were doing wrong in the bigger breeze. We made some big mistakes and improved today, really just getting back to what I would call ‘normal’ in the past. But, really nothing new, nothing different today. The first race was shifty and we made the best call for the right. We had two very good starts and that makes it easier to execute our plan. But we are lucky in a way that for the first time this week, and really probably this season so far, Quantum made a mistake. They are doing such a fantastic job all the way through this season, but it looks like they are human after all!
Quantum are there. If they sail properly, nicely as they are able to sail they will not have a problem. But if they give a chance to us or to other teams we will be there.”
52 World Championship – Mahón, Menorca
Provisional Standings after Day 4, eight races sailed (Subject to protests)
1 Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (2,1,1,2,1,3,2,BFG13) 25pts
2 Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (1,10,7,1,6,7,1,1) 34pts
3 Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (6,7,3,6,4,1,3,7) 37pts
4 Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (9,2,2,10,2,2,10,6) 43pts
5 Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (5,3,5,7,12,8,4,9) 53pts
6 Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (8,8,9,11,3,4,7,4) 54pts
7 Alegre, GBR (Andy Soriano USA) (7,5,6,8,9,12,6,5) 58pts
8 Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (4,4,10,4,8,11,9,11) 61pts
9 Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) (11,11,12,3,7,9,8,2) 63pts
10 Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (3,DNF/13,8,9,5,5,11,10) 64pts
11 Sorcha GBR (Peter Harrison GBR) (12,6,4,12,11,6,5,8) 64pts
12 Phoenix, USA (Richard Cohen USA) (10,9,11,5,10,10,BFG13,3) 71pts
– 52 Series Media