Nico Martinez / 52 Super Series

Victory for Azzurra on home waters

52 Super Series racing at Settimana delle Bocche concludes with fine result for local team

Saturday June 13th 2015, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: Italy

Winning in the breeze on their own home Costa Smeralda, Sardinia waters, showcasing that heady cocktail of tough Argentinian Gaucho spirit and fiery Italian passion that underpin their never say die team spirit, capped a remarkable Settimana delle Bocche regatta week for Azzurra, the Roemmers family's team, which races for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda.

Skippered by Guillermo Parada with ebullient Italian tactician Vasco Vascotto calling shots and owner Alberto Roemmers Jr sharing helming duties, Azzurra won the final windy race of the Settimana delle Bocche with nearest rivals Quantum Racing in sixth to clinch the second regatta of the 2015 52 Super Series and taking overall circuit lead.

It is the second time in four years that Azzurra has won on its own home turf, adding to its 2013 triumph at this regatta. It avenged the 2014 World Championship win of Quantum Racing on these waters, the teams sitting 2-2 now in terms of Sardinian honours on the 52 Super Series.

Azzurra trailed Quantum Racing by two points when the nine boat TP52 fleet left the dock at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda early this morning, seeking to outrun the 35 knots forecast for the afternoon. Even at that it proved the breeziest and most exciting race of the season, a 25 knots foam up which saw the Azzurra crew keeping tight control, showing off its big winds prowess which has been its passport to success many times.

Even tactician Vascotto, who has raced on the Straits race course many many times over the last 25 years, confirmed today was the first time he had raced in the wind direction 135° on the windward-leeward loop off the Bay of Sardinia. And so it was on what he saw and the water, plus the tidal current advantage on the left of the course, that contributed to their winning choice of the left side of the first upwind.

Spurred perhaps by having lost a photo finish to Quantum Racing by two metres on Friday, Azzurra bolted from the pin end of the line with a perfectly timed start to reap the dividends on the left side of the course, to lead around the top mark. With Quantum Racing in fourth, the championship was in the balance. A stunning first run from Quantum Racing, owner-driver Doug DeVos sailing an accomplished smooth downwind in the fast, 25-28 knots gusty, squally surfing conditions, took the 2014 champions up to second, chasing Azzurra in second, just two boat lengths. 
But after making the wrong call up the first beat, unfortunately the champions got it wrong again on the second. A left shift brought Platoon, Alegre and Gladiator back into the top group. While Azzurra raced away to hold Gladiator off across the finish line, Quantum Racing could only make sixth, leaving the blue-hulled home team as champions by three points.

Adding something of a hollow, but moral extra win, Azzurra was ahead in Race 8 when it had to be called off after the wind almost went off the scale, gusting up to close to 40 knots.

Vascotto, holding an ice cold Sardinian beer, said smiling: 
“It was a tough regatta - the new boats are so competitive. To win in the breeze is a great feeling too. I said yesterday I hoped we would sail like we did yesterday and that is exactly what we did. I think we deserved to win this event.

"It is also true that realised we can do a good job. We have good preparation. The boat is fast. The shore team did an amazing job to prepare the boat and that makes it easier for me as the tactician to do a good job.

"In fact I have never sailed with that true wind direction on that are before. It is new for me and I have sailed here for 25 years. My first regatta here was in 1991. We tried to understand what was best here very quickly. We chose the left because there was half a knot pushing with us in that corner against half a knot of current the other way in the other corner. There was more split breeze, more left on the beginning of the left. It worked and we are happy.

"It is a fantastic result for the club but I am especially happy for the Roemmers family who put so much effort into this class. And to Guillermo Parada, he had a hard time and worked very hard after Valencia and we are rewarded.”

Azzurra’s winning scoreline included three victories on the windward-leeward courses, pipping the 2014 series and world champions Quantum Racing by four points in the regatta standings. Russian team, Bronenosec, won both coastal races and one windward-leeward, but bookended an otherwise impressive set of scores with ninth places in the first and last races. The Russians take third on countback ahead of Ergin Imre’s quietly consistent Provezza team.

Second for Doug DeVos, who had not steered his TP52 for 18 months, since winning Key West in 2014, is an excellent result. He will be back to helm at the Copa del Rey, but Ed Baird will steer for the TP52 World Championship Puerto Portals, Mallorca next month when Valencia champions Rán Racing return to the fleet.

Terry Hutchinson (USA) Quantum Racing’s tactician this week, concluded: ““I actually think we sailed the boat pretty well. When you consider that Doug has not raced a boat in 18 months and we were two points up going in to today, it was always going to be a challenging day.

"In retrospect this is a great result considering the time that Doug has steering the boat. He did such nice work. He is so intense and focused on steering the boat and he allows me to stay on him and we have a great relationship like that. And then you look through our team, seeing how good the team is from front to stern. It is an awesome week of sailing. It is hard to complain

"We have some development to take place in mainsail world that I know they have been working on, there are developments to take place in jib world. I will not be on the boat at the TP52 World Championship, Ed Baird will steer and Ado Stead will do tactics. I will sail at the Copa del Rey when Doug steers. How we finished here exceeded our expectations. I’d have said finishing on the podium then we would have sailed well, and I base that on my time investment sailing the boat, and Doug’s time sailing the boat. We are so fortunate having Warwick Fleury and Brett Jones, Lorenzo Maas and Greg Gendell and so forth and so forth, they make up for a lot of our average mistakes shared between Doug and I. But, there you are, you get a little bit of a taste of the honey…..and you want more and more. It is a dangerous thing. The Azzurra guys sailed well. We jagged a win yesterday but if you think about it in terms of swings and roundabouts…well the fifth we turned into a first did not deserve to be and a first, but I don’t really think we deserved sixth today.

"I am impressed with the evolution that has gone into the sail programme. I know they were just feeling a little behind the eight ball with the boat being late and so on. But there are a couple of things in the configuration that show a lot of promise. But they take a bit of time to evolve. We have been fortunate to have Ed Baird in the coach boat, taking everything in. That just shows us the strength of the team.

"I am making a conscious effort to not do as much sailing, and to do the best job I can with my kids and to be at home. You just know that if you can’t be at 100 per cent, and there is someone like Warwick trimming the mainsail, then you have to be at 100%. You can apply the same logic through the team and so if I can only be 80 per cent. It is not fair on the team. So I will go home, I will do some Wednesday night racing. I will probably mow the lawn. It is my daughter’s birthday Sunday when she turns 14 and I will be home for that.”
Results - 
Settimana Delle Bocche

1. Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (1,6,7,1,2,2,1) 20pts
2. Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (3,4,4,2,3,1,6) 23pts
3. Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (9,1,1,4,1,4,9) 29pts
4. Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (5,5,2,6,5,3,3) 29pts
5. Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA (8,2,6,3,4,5,5) 33pts
6. Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (6,3,5,5,8,7,2) 36pts
7. Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (7,7,3,8,6,8,4) 43pts
8. Alegre, GBR (Andres Soriano USA) (4,8,8,7,7,DNC,7) 51pts
9.  Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (2,9,9,9,9,6,8) 52pts

Overall leaderboard after two regattas

1. Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) 74pts
2. Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) 83pts
3. Sled, USA (Takashi Okura JPN) 86pts
4. Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) 91pts
5. Alegre, GBR (Andres Soriano USA) 99pts
6. Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) 105pts
7. Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) 115pts
8. Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) 118pts
9. Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) 138pts
10. Interlodge, USA (Austin/Gwen Fragoman USA) 149pts
11. Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) 153pts
12. Xio/Hurakan, ITA (Guiseppe Parodi ITA) 173pts
13. Phoenix, BRA, (Eduardo de Souza Ramos BRA) 213pts
14. Vesper, USA (Jim Swartz USA) 213pts

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