Nico Martinez /

Strong start for Quantum Racing

US team en route to second Barclays 52 Super Series title

Tuesday September 16th 2014, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: Spain

Steady consistency across the opening three races of the Zenith Royal Cup Marina Ibiza saw Quantum Racing ahead of target as the US team seeks to claim its second overall Barclays 52 Super Series title.

The series leader scored a 1,2,3 in Ibiza’s light and shifty conditions on a race course area which is laden with very subtle changes in wind direction and pressure. While the crew which is skippered by Ed Baird would definitely like to finish their 2014 season with a third regatta win, that would be the icing on the cake. Their primary goal is simply protecting their overall points cushion – or increasing it – over nearest rivals Azzurra and Rán Racing.

Counting down to Sunday’s prizegiving, purely from that standpoint today was valuable to Quantum Racing. It was only in race 3 today that the US team was beaten, only once, by Azzurra when the Italian-flagged team took second behind Gaastra Pro. Otherwise the title challenger was increasing its deficit.

Meantime three different crews won races today including race victories for the two teams new to the Barclays 52 Super Series, Takashi Okura’s Sled – which was flown to Europe for this one regatta only – and Marc Blees all-star cast on Gaastra Pro. Winds were light and shifty, small changes in pressure and direction proving important to read.

Quantum Racing was on its game, reading the small differences well and staying in step with these changes. And it was as much about their ability to go forwards in the fleet, returning three podium finishes from three starts which will be key this week.

Quantum Racing’s tactician Terry Hutchinson was as pleased to have rescued a third from the third race when he felt at one point they were last, as he was with their opening race win: “To get a third out of that was good because there was a time when we were probably last. That first race we had a plan, executed it and it worked it. In the second race same thing. In the third race we got the start we wanted, we had a discussion about being one more boat up but in these lighter conditions being leeward boat is such an advantage, you get something for it. It was a little bit of swings and roundabouts.”

So with its 1-2-3 Quantum Racing leads the Zenith Royal Cup Marina Ibiza by four points ahead of Azzurra and Rán Racing.

Quantum Racing won the first race off the start line, the crew getting the start it wanted with the best pace coming away from the gun. Rán Racing did not have the best of starts and went right and was more or less overlapped with Quantum Racing as rounding the first turn. Downwind Rán Racing got through and led Quantum Racing through the gate. But Terry Hutchinson read a right hand shift coming in and jumped back ahead to lead Rán Racing through the finish with Azzurra in third.

With slightly more breeze at the second start, Quantum Racing got away cleanly again while Phoenix started early and struggled to get back and re-cross. Azzurra was judged to have fouled Gaastra Pro in a close, early port starboard cross and had to take a penalty.

Down the first run Sled worked the offshore line and was rewarded with an increase in pressure closing on the leeward gate, able to ease around Quantum Racing to earn a small lead which the Japanese team held to the finish.

The wind was fading more by the late afternoon for Race 3 as Gaastra Pro’s tactician Mark Mendelblatt guided the Dutch team out to make a big gain offshore, arriving at the first windward mark with a good lead over Azzurra. Quantum Racing managed to wriggle up to third which it held to the finish while Rán Racing stole fourth from Phoenix right on the finish line to ensure it finished the day on the same points aggregate as Azzurra.

Marc Blees owner-driver on Gaastra Pro said: “It is a good feeling to win. We deserved it. The first two races were difficult. We were top three and lost out. We were good upwind and not struggling we had the same speed. Downwind it was difficult to keep with them. And so we did a good job in the third race. It is a good feeling for the moment to have won one. I think it is good for the class to have three different boats winning. It shows for sure that the older boats can compete in this class."

Ross MacDonald tactician on Sled said: “We are here just trying to be in the mix. It was nice to get that win in the second race. Everyone is doing a really good job on board. Mr Okura is steering really nicely, getting off the line well which makes it easy for me. We have done four events on the east coast of the USA and a couple of offshore events as well. So I think that has really helped us and we have kept the same team. Everyone is pretty familiar with one another and the boat. It was all on that first run, we had a little more pressure and we just got stronger and stronger as we got nearer the bottom gate and we had a clear exit. That was that.”


1. Quantum Racing, USA, (Doug De Vos USA) (1,2,3) 6pts
2. Azzurra, ITA, (Alberto Roemmers ARG) (3,5,2) 10pts
3. Rán Racing, SWE, (Niklas Zennström SWE) (2,4,4) 10pts
4. Sled, USA, (Takachi Okura JPN) (4,1,6) 11pts
5. Gaastra Pro, NED (Marc Blees NED) (6,6,1) 13pts
6. Provezza 7, TUR, (Ergin Imre TUR) (7,3,7) 17pts
7. Gladiator, GBR, (Tony Langley GBR) (5,7,8) 20pts
8. Phoenix, BRA, (Eduardo de Souza Ramos BRA) (8,8,5) 21pts

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