Galicia, Spain: Lighter winds prevailed on Galicia’s beautiful Ria de Vigo as the third day of racing at the Abanca 52 Super Series Baiona Sailing Week produced two different race winners and saw Quantum Racing step clear at the top of the leader board.
While Tony Langley’s British flagged Gladiator team, with Paul Goodison on tactics, read the first beat of the first race best – tacking off the signal boat right end of the line and going right – to earn a very comfortable win, victory in the second race for Doug DeVos’ USA crew was added to a third in the first race. This means that the 2018 52 Super Series champions now lead the regatta by two points with two days of racing still to go.
For the second successive day Quantum Racing were the top scoring boat. In contrast it proved a tough day for Phoenix which had led overall going out on the racecourse today. They were on the wrong side of the key shifts on both first beats on a demanding racing arena which did not present many opportunities for significant comebacks. The South African crew drop to third overall.
Quantum’s tactician Terry Hutchinson in particular paid tribute to the team’s strategist, Argentine 470 Olympic medallist Lucas Calabrese and Italian navigator Michele Ivaldi.
“It was a tough day, but I have to give high marks to Lucas and to Michele because it is a minefield out there. We had good dialogue and discussion and Lucas in particular, his eyesight is very, very good and he is a champion up the rig at picking a side. We are fortunate to have him.”
But Hutchinson cautioned: “We are only halfway through, and the Platoon guys sailed a great day too. You just know how quickly these things can turn around in the fleet. We need to keep our heads down and stay focused on the task at hand. To me I think Platoon sailed really well today because they passed boats all the time. They had to contend with us a little bit sailing tactically against them. And they kept asking the questions of us, so they sailed great today.”
This Baiona racecourse, which is protected by small islands to windward which channel and upset the breeze patterns, is really offering a great new challenge for the fleet as the circuit visits this beautiful new venue on the NW corner of the Iberian Peninsula. On the first race the right side paid. The majority then set up for the right on the second start but in time it was the top left that paid enough to see Quantum step out into the lead after taking the pin end bias and making it work.
British owner driver Tony Langley joked that in part their win was down to removing unlucky bananas from all areas of the Gladiator programme but in truth they executed nicely on the start gun in the key position and stuck to their game plan. It is their first race win since Zadar in 2018 but there is clear evidence that this fleet is so much more even, better trained, better coached, better and more closely optimised than ever before.
Double Olympic medallist Xabi Fernandez said of the Gladiator win, “It was a nice win. It was a much better day for us and not just because of the win but the boat was going much better. We had a nice start got to the right and from there it was straightforward. It is so much easier when you are ahead.”
After a 48-hour battle to source and replace a forestay fitting it was pleasing to see Provezza back on the racecourse.
Abanca 52 Super Series Baiona Sailing Week after six races
1 Quantun Racing (USA) Doug DeVos 4,5,1,2,3,1 16pts
2 Platoon (GER) Harm Müller Spreer 5,1,2,4,4,2 18 pts
3 Phoenix (RSA) Hasso & Tina Plattner 1,3,3,1,8,6 22 pts
4 Vayu (THAI) K & D Whitcraft 2,2,8,5,5,7 29 pts
5 Interlodge (USA) Austin & Gwen Fragomen 6,4,4,6,2,9 31 pts
6 Sled (USA) Takashi Okura 3,6,5,7,7,4 32 pts
7 Alegre (GBR) Andy Soriano 9,7,6,3,9,3 37 pts
8 Gladiator (GBR) Tony Langley 7,8,7,8,1,8 39 pts
9 Provezza (TUR) Ergin Imre 8,10,10.10,6,5 49 pts