They have led four of this season’s five regattas and twice been within touching distance of overall victory on the last day, but today when they crossed the finish line of the what proved to be the last race of Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week
Ergin Imre’s Provezza team finally closed the deal and won their first ever regatta title in their five years on the 52 SUPER SERIES.
Popular Turkish owner Imre has owned nine different Provezza race boats in more than 30 years of campaigning, dating back to IOR Admiral’s Cuppers and Two Tonners. His win on the Bay of Palma is made all the more special as his team has been so close on two occasions this season.
Provezza led into the final day in Key West in January but botched the start of the first race and dropped from contention. And last month they fleetingly led the final run of the last race which would have given them the title in Porto Cervo until a clip opened and they could not trim their kite on, ceding the title to Rán Racing.
Imre ensured they had their requisite boxes of Turkish Delight on board but had refused to sanction ordering champagne until they were on their on their triumphant way back to the marina.
Their win adds to their team’s family history on the Bay of Palma, winning the Copa del Rey here exactly 20 years ago next week. And it was at the Royal Cup in Palma in 2012, the inaugural year of the series that Imre and his team dipped a toe in the water with their first TP52, the former Cristabella.
Their crew, with Tony Rey calling tactics, America’s Cup winner Peter Holmberg steering from the beginning of this season, and the ‘Wizard of Palma Bay’ Nacho Postigo as navigator has been consistently among the top contenders.
They have won four podium places this season and last. Their family owned Dragon Provezza also recently won the Dragon World Championship sailed by Simon Fry – downwind trimmer on the TP52 former helm Andy Beadsworth and Ali Tezdiker.
“In the beginning, we never hoped that one day we would win a regatta,” said a happy Imre today, “But after building the new boat we decided that we should have the aim of winning a regatta. Now I don’t know what else we can win, maybe we can win another regatta. It would be great to win the circuit, but it’s really tough.”
They led into the final day with a cushion of three points courtesy of a first and a second place from yesterday’s three race day, but in no small way also due to a remarkable recovery in the third contest.
Over the start line early, they were also penalised and so started last up the first beat. But with an incredible fight back Provezza stole fifth on the finish line, showing the hallmarks and tenacity of regatta champions.
Of the emotional rollercoaster which this circuit has been at times for the Provezza team, missing the overall podium on the last day last season by seven points only, tactician Tony Rey said on the dock in the Marina Portals: “I try not to let the highs get too high or the lows get too low, otherwise I’d have heart failure.
“It’s great to enjoy this win, we all deserve it, and I could not be more proud of Ergin Imre. It’s a privilege to get to do what we do and it’s an honour to do it with him. He’s an absolute gentleman and owner. He gives us the tools to be able to do this.
“The important thing is we had the boxes of Turkish Delight on board today and they were good luck so now we’ve decided to have them on board every race from now on.
“It’s been a quirky season trying to go faster all the time, and it’s been a race to the top to see who can get faster–fastest! So we’ve been able to change our processes to improve how we sail the boat in the last month or so.
“We had a minor breakthrough in our rig setup and it’s just little things put together. Peter Holmberg is doing a great job on the start, Simon Fry trimming downwind, moving the weight around on the boat more than we ever have before… it’s just little stuff that’s come together at the right time.”
Underlining once again how this is the most open and most competitive season ever in the five years of the 52 SUPER SERIES, Provezza becomes the fifth different TP52 to win over the five regattas so far this season, joining Quantum Racing which won in Key West, Azzurra in Miami, Platoon at the World Championships in Scarlino and more recently Rán Racing.
Victors in Porto Cervo, they led early in this regatta but finish fifth overall. Quantum Racing finished with a more characteristic pair of wins to take second overall at the Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week, two points behind Provezza and tied on the same tally as Azzurra. The Portals based team take third only on countback and just four points separate the top four boats.
After 44 races over five regattas, Mahón, Menorca next month looks set to host the most competitive season title showdown ever – a three-cornered battle between Azzurra, which holds a slender three-point lead over second-placed Platoon – fourth-placed finisher here – and Quantum Racing, the defending champion, which is six points adrift.
Puerto Portals Final Standings
1. Provezza (Ergin Imre, TUR) (6,1,7,3,5,2,1,5,4) 34 p.
2. Quantum Racing (Doug DeVos, USA), (4,4,6,5,2,5,8,1,1) 36 p.
3. Azzurra (Roemmers Family, ITA/ARG), (3,6,1,7,7,3,5,2,2) 36 p.
4. Platoon (Harm Müller-Spreer, GER), (5,9,3,2,3,4,4,3,5) 38 p.
5. Rán Racing (Niklas Zennström, SWE), (1,2,2,8,6,8,2,7,6) 42 p.
6. Sled (Takashi Okura, USA), (8,3,8,1,1,7,3,6,8) 45 p.
7. Bronenosec (Vladimir Liubomirov, RUS), (7,5,5,4,4,1,9,8,3) 46 p.
8. Gladiator (Tony Langley, GBR) (9,7,4,6,9,6,7,4,9) 61 p.
9. Alegre (Andy Soriano GBR/USA) (2,8,9,9,8,9,6,9,7) 67 p.
Overall Standings after 5 regattas
1. Azzurra 182 p.
2. Platoon 185 p.
3. Quantum Racing 188 p.
4. Provezza 214,3 p.
5. Rán Racing 228 p.
6. Bronenosec 246 p.
7. Sled 271 p.
8. Gladiator 280,6 p.
9. Alegre 322,5 p.
For full results, visit: http://bit.ly/2uZPW1V