Sled working a particular magic in Tuscany to extend their lead

The waters of the Golfo di Follonica, Tuscany continue to deliver excellent racing conditions for the Royal Cup 52 SUPER SERIES Scarlino. With winds gusting over 25kts for Race 5 of the ten race series and a slight drop to 12-15 for Race 6, the 2021 52 SUPER SERIES champions Sled, steered by Takashi Okura, eked out a four points lead Thursday in their quest to land the Royal Cup.

Sled’s afterguard of Francesco Bruni, Murray Jones and Andrea Visintini seem to have the best handle on the wind changes on the race areas, once again finding small gains which other teams either miss or are not best positioned to take advantage of. This sixth sense, or particular magice, saw them pull through race leaders Quantum Racing on the final downwind to win Race 5. Complementing this with a third behind Platoon and Phoenix in the second race Sled moved clear of Quantum Racing with whom they had started the day tied.

Royal Cup 52 SUPER SERIES Scarlino
Royal Cup 52 SUPER SERIES Scarlino

Visintini, Sled’s Italian navigator enthused,

“Checco (Bruni) and Murray (Jones) are really doing the magic. They see things that other boats don’t see. And the boat is fast. Mr Okura is doing a great job, especially downwind.”

He adds,

“It was challenging today with the big winds and waves. And in terms the next couple of days the wind will be much the same, hopefully a little more stable as the front goes through tonight and that should be the last one, so some sunshine coming up as well, maybe.”

Their four points takeaway from the day was not the best in the fleet, though. On day three things started to fire for Harm Müller-Spreer’s Platoon and the new line up at the back of the boat which now features Italy’s three times circuit winning tactician Vasco Vascotto. With a second and a first today it was the team’s best day of this five regatta 2022 season which saw them finish sixth in Puerto Portals, Mallorca in July, a venue where they went with higher expectations especially after winning their second Rolex TP52 World Championship title there on the Bay of Palma in August 2019.

But Vascotto cautioned,

“ We are not heroes today just like we were not zeroes yesterday. It takes time to put the pieces in place, good starts, speed, manoeuvres, and tactics and I feel like today was a lot better. The communication is better, we know each other better what I can get from Harm and what he needs from me.”

Their three points aggregate elevates them to fifth overall 12 points off Sled’s lead with up to four races still to sail.

Quantum Racing sailed to a third and a fifth today. They led the first race comfortably and in the second contest were up to third at one point, so maybe finish the day rueing points lost here and there. But in the pursuit of the 2022 52 SUPER SERIES season title, for the second day in a row here, after 34 races now so far this season – and potentially up to 14 left – they finished tied on the exactly the same aggregate points as rivals Phoenix.

Provisional Standings Royal Cup 52 SUPER SERIES Scarlino:

  1. SLED (USA), Takashi Okura, 5+1+3+4+1+3 = 17 pts.
  2. QUANTUM RACING (USA), Doug DeVos, 2+2+4+5+3+5 = 21 pts.
  3. PHOENIX (RSA), Hasso & Tina Plattner, 3+4+7+1+6+2 = 23 pts.
  4. ALEGRE (GBR), Andy Soriano, 7+3+1+3+5+8 = 27 pts.
  5. PLATOON (GER), Harm Müller-Spreer, 4+7+8+7+2+1 = 29 pts.
  6. VAYU (THA), Whitcraft Family, 1+9+5+9+4+6 = 34 pts.
  7. PROVEZZA (TUR), Ergin Imre, 8+5+2+6+7+9 = 37 pts.
  8. INTERLODGE (USA), Austin & Gwen Fragomen, 9+6+6+2+8+7 = 38 pts.
  9. GLADIATOR (GBR), Tony Langley, 6+8+9+8+9+4 = 44 pts.

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