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Brisk start to Mapfre PalmaVela

Quantum Racing and Ran tied after the opening day of racing

Thursday April 19th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: Spain

Racing got underway for the big boats at the Mapfre PalmaVela Regatta today with the start of racing for the Maxi, Mini Maxi and TP52 classes.

The 20-25 knots westerly winds and a sizable swell out on the Bay of Palma today proved a little excessive for the first competitive outing of Alberto Roemmers' new Audi Azzurra in the TP52 class. She was beaten in both of today's two races by the 2011 generation boats, the Ed Baird-steered Quantum Racing and Niklas Zennstrom's Rán, each of which won a race and finished second in the other, to end the day tied on points.

Audi Azzurra came home third in both races, while a poor spinnaker drop on Tony Langley's Gladiator in the opening race forced the British crew to abandon that race, leaving them at the bottom of the scoreboard after day one. For Audi Azzurra, the brisk conditions caused a few technical failures on board, but otherwise no signficant problems.

"It was a useful day," said the new Argentinian-Italian boat's strategist, Vasco Vascotto. "We came here exactly for that reason. Today we had a number of failures, something that is absolutely normal for a boat that has been just launched, which we are happy to be able to remedy now and not run the risk to do it later on, during the proper circuit. Having said that, we still need to get the feeling of the new boat, we made more than one error today and one never stops improving."

The leadership is in a similar state in the combined Maxi and Mini Maxi classes, where Sir Peter Ogden's Mini Maxi, Jethou won the opening race and came home second in the second, while Sir Lindsay Owen Jones' Wally 95 Magic Carpet II, on which Jochen Schuemann is calling the shots, scored the opposite result. Dr Johan Killinger's Swan 60 Emma holds third after two third place finishes, while the Swan 82 Alpina had to abandon race one due to a man overboard incident.

Also making its race debut today was the Yacht Club of Saint-Petersburg's Swan 60 Bronenosec, holding fifth overall after two races. Skipper, Tomasso Chieffi, commented:  “The team worked in a very efficient manner today. We are still tweaking the Swan 60 due to it being a new race boat this season and are working to maintain our consistent standard across all wind conditions. Our overall boat speed is similar to that of Swan 60, Emma who are currently in third place overall so we have some good competition over the next couple of days to look forward to and will be aiming to improve upon our results."

Tomorrow the rest of the classes joins in the action with the Soto 40s sailing three windward-leewards having had their practice day today. The J/80s, Dragons and Flying Fifteens also have three races scheduled, while the largest fleets at the Mapfre PalmaVela, in the ORC and Vintage and Classic classes will sail their coastal races.

Video from on board Tony Buckingham's Soto 40 Ngoni...


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