Nico Martinez /

Azzurra still looking strong

14 point lead for Italian-Argentine team going into the final day of the TP52 Worlds

Friday July 17th 2015, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: Spain

Carrying a 14 points lead going into the final day of the TP52 World Championship, Azzurra needs only two solid results on Saturday to be sure of collecting the title. But so intense and closely matched is the 12 boats fleet racing in these sea breeze conditions on the Bay of Palma, Mallorca, the outcome is not yet certain, as Azzurra’s skipper-helm Guillermo Parada cautions: “It is not over until it is over.”

Azzurra’s 5,3 for the day held intact the same 14 points margin that she had started Friday with, now having held the overall lead for three days. That they were beaten twice today by the defending champion Quantum Racing’s 4,2, heating up the rivalry which has been on the back burner a bit this regatta, but the American team moved up to second overall having been languishing in ninth overall two days ago. And fiercely superstitious Italian tactician Vasco Vascotto was pleased to ride out Friday 17th (which compares with the Anglo Saxon Friday 13th) with no disasters.

Top performers of the day was Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing. The winner of the Valencia regatta in May bounced back from Thursday’s painful 21 points stinker to pair together a 2,1 and promote itself to fourth overall, two points behind Harm Müller-Spreer’s Platoon which won the first of today’s two windward-leeward races which were both contested in a 8-12 knot sea breeze.

The team which is leading the title charge are resolute that it will change nothing on the final day. Azzurra skipper Parada said they stuck by their ‘blue book’ today, working to their usual, hard wired routines and belief systems that have served so well for them so far, and will stick by their processes too on Saturday.

First race today they did have to recover from 10th at the first top mark to rescue a fifth, even if they were passed by Quantum Racing down the final run relinquishing fourth. And in the second race Azzurra was again passed by the 52 Super Series defending champion battling it out in the wake of Rán Racing over a course which was marked by a big shift in the breeze to the left.

Platoon’s Markus Wieser and Seb Col, along with Morgan Larson and Adam Beashel on Rán Racing, called the first beat of Race 7 best, working the right hand side closest to the land effect which creates a starboard tack lift. Platoon won handily with Rán second and Alegre third.

Key was the choice of the right on the upwind, a decision Rán’s navigator Steve Hayles explained: “We had a long line-up and had a long chat about our history here as a team and we have done a huge amount here and on this occasion it was right. But that does not make us smart. We got plenty wrong yesterday but we were strong on that side, we made a good call.

“It is very subtle. It is not about 20 or 30° shifts it is about three or four degrees here and there and a little more pressure. But we had sailed a long way up there and looked at the computer track and what people thought. But we are not trying to be clever because we got it hopelessly wrong the day before.”

Of their rollercoaster ride 21pts Thursday and three today he said: “We were ninth overall after yesterday. We had doubled our score in just one day. It is very, very tough here, but we know we are a good team, we won the first event and obviously today was fantastic. But we are a good team at bouncing back. The key is not to change too much. The key is to come out and trust yourselves as a team which is good, which has a history and all the work that has gone into making it good.

"For sure everyone will be a bit more upbeat, a bit more chirpy tonight. You can’t change that. It is human nature. Yesterday there was some honesty but really everyone wanted to get to bed and forget about it and start a new day today.”

Meantime as they contemplate what would be their first world title as Azzurra – although many crew won as Matador in 2009, and a world title which would rank as tactician Vasco Vascotto’s 25th major world title, skipper Parada concludes: “We will stick to our rules to go racing just like it was the first day of the regatta, keeping an eye on our closest rivals not just for here but for the season overall. It is a little bit of a cushion but it is not over until it is over.”

Ed Baird, helmsman on Quantum Racing commented: “In essence this is the first regatta I have sailed this year and this is the first event Ado [Stead] and I have sailed together in four years, we are starting to get our rhythm down and understand what each other are saying when we speak. But the whole team is smoothing things out and improving. There is so much that goes on, just little subtleties are important. If there is any hesitation or confusion then other teams can get a jump on you so we need to be absolute, solid, really sure of what we are trying to accomplish. When I am driving you don’t see much of what is going on on the race course. So you have to have a picture painted for you. For the start I have to look at the whole process of what is going around me, how the team is working and the sails are being handled and our angles and what is the other boats and understand where we are in that rhythm. But on the race course my job is really to keep the boat at an efficient boat speed.

If the last day goes like today I will be happy and if it goes like two days ago I won’t be happy.”

Friday the…17th superstition explained: In Italy, some people consider the number 13 to bring good luck, while the number 17 is thought to bring bad luck. The Roman number for 17 is XVII. If you take those same symbols and rearrange them to make the Latin phrase VIXI, it means “I have lived”, which can also be interpreted as “I am dead”...



1. Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG)  (2,7,2,3,2,1,5,3) 25pts
2. Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (3,11,3,9,3,4,4,2) 39pts
3. Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (1,5,6,12,8,3,1,6) 42pts
4. Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (5,4,5,6,11,10,2,1) 44pts
5. Alegre, GBR (Andres Soriano USA) (7,2,7,10,1,6,3,10) 46pts
6. Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (9,3,10,2,5,2,10,5) 46pts
7. Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (11,6,1,1,10,7,6,8) 50pts
8. Sled, USA (Takashi Okura JPN) (6,1,12,7,7,8,7,4) 52pts
9. Phoenix, BRA, (Eduardo de Souza Ramos BRA) (4,12,4,4,4,12,9,9) 58pts
10. Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (DNF/13,10,9,5,6,11,8,11) 73pts
11. Xio/Hurakan, ITA (Guiseppe Parodi ITA) (8,8,8,11,12,9,11,7) 74pts
12. Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (10,9,11,8,9,5,12,12) 76pts

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