Nico Martinez / 52 Super Series

Quantum Racing claims Cascais

But Azzurra celebrates its 2015 52 Super Series victory

Sunday September 20th 2015, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: Portugal

Cascais, Portugal is set to be painted a particular shade of blue tonight with Azzurra crowned the 52 Super Series champion of 2015. The team, which wears the colours of Sardinia’s Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, eclipsed Quantum Racing over the five regattas circuit which started in May in Valencia and finished in typically perfect Portuguese sunshine.

Gilt-edged consistency has been the biggest single factor in the Azzurra title win. Skipper Guillermo Parada points to a pledge made at last summer’s Copa del Rey to make a step change for the 2015 season in order to secure more regular results.

The team has raised its game in every area as evidenced not just by its tally of 12 race wins from 46 starts over the five regattas, while only visiting the basement placings twice over the season, with one ninth in Valencia and the team's biggest wobble – as it clinched the title yesterday – one 10th place.

Key personnel changes which have contributed to Azzurra winning set up have been bringing in Giovanni Cassinari as mainsail trimmer, thereby adding a second sail designer to the team as well as a world class sailor, Kiwi America’s Cup winner Grant Loretz as headsail trimmer – whose Anglo Saxon, steadying influence has been the ‘glue’ which has held the team on winning form according to Parada. Performance coach Marco Capitani has also come on board to develop a much more empirical approach to data collection and analysis. But the core of the team dates back to a bunch of young Argentinian guys which Alberto Roemmers Sr put his faith in more than 20 years ago.

Azzurra only finished off the podium in Valencia where – in fourth – it was still the team which won most races. It won the Settimana delle Boche regatta on home waters in Sardinia, triumphed in the World Championships off Puerto Portals and second in Palma and Cascais.
Its average score over all the season’s races is 3.8 points.

There was no mistaking the crew's joy as they arrived back at the Marina de Cascais. Parada commented with a grin: “It’s been a long way, this is something that we planned many months ago, we have worked very hard and somehow we have over-achieved our target so because winning at home in Porto Cervo and winning the Championship, winning the season with a race to spare, winning the last race of the season, winning Palma Vela, I think it’s been a great season for us and this is something we will remember for a long time. Obviously we have to thank the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda for their support. Having their colours on-board is something we take with a lot of responsibility and a lot of pride. We are also very grateful for the whole Roemmers family and especially to Alberto senior who gave us a group of young Argentinians 20 years ago the chance to be what we are now. And for sure he has changed the history of sailing in Argentina.

“The reality is that we are a complete team, the shore crew are part of our team.They suffer when we have a bad day and they enjoy it when we have a good day so all in all we are very close together.“

Second overall for the season, Quantum Racing has profited from integrating owners Doug and Dalton DeVos into their sailing programme, the father-son duo sharing the helm across three of the five regattas, culminating in a win at Copa del Rey in August. But the 2014 champions drew level with Azzurra today in terms of regatta wins when they added the Cascais Cup title, thanks to a great last two days. They finished with a consistent string of 1,3,2,3 from the final four races of the season to sign off their 2015 with an important morale boosting finale, leaving the new 2015 champions trailing in their wake eight points behind. In effect Azzurra had its highest scoring day of the year as they dropped over the championship winning finishing line Saturday just as Quantum Racing raised their game on cue to win in Cascais.

Tactician Ado Stead commented: “It is great to finish the season with back to back regatta wins. Last couple of regattas we have really shown our true mettle. It was good winning the Copa del Rey and here we have sailed very consistently and ended up with a nice eight point lead at the end. Our goal today was two solid races and we achieved that nicely- a second and a third, a few more points on Azzurra. Last race just taking it easy and making sure we got round and so got a very nice third to win the regatta.”

Talking of their second overall for the season Stead concluded: “We were a little slow out of the blocks, a little late in terms of getting the boat ready and a little behind. It’s all those little things that you’re looking for that hurt you. I think that the strength of a good team is to be able to recognise its weaknesses and work on them and keep plugging away and that’s exactly what Quantum Racing has done this year and I’m incredibly proud of the year, second place, winning the last two regattas. We know that we are in the right place and heading in the right direction.”

The highly charged three cornered fight for third overall on the 52 Super Series podium went the way of Takashi Okura’s Sled. This battle required the last race of the season with Platoon starting with a two points cushion. But with Ross MacDonald on tactics and Hamish Pepper on strategy, they were able to finish fourth to Platoon’s ninth and Bronenosec’s eighth and so secure third overall for the season.

MacDonald summed up: “The podium is huge but more important was the owner-driver category and so it was a double win for us. We never expected to be on the podium but we definitely wanted to be one of the contenders in the owner-driver category so it’s a great result. I have to add that it is a little bit difficult when you are sailing to try and finish in these positions because normally you go to a regatta and you try to win or finish on the podium and here you’re dealing with a lot of math, high numbers. To go eight or ten races on the defense is a little bit difficult.”

And fast and sailing loose with nothing to lose in their one and only appearance at the 52 Super Series with several of the Rán Racing crew on board, proved a successful formula for American visitors, Jim Swartz’s Vesper. It won the first race of the regatta and the first of two today, finishing third overall. So their podium success record is 100% after their European cameo outing in Capri last year saw them second, a great result for the 2007 built ex-Quantum Racing.

Tactician Gavin Brady commented: “We’re very fortunate to be in this position and we just had couple of races out there this week where things sort of went our way. I was having a bit of a laugh with our navigator Steve Hayles on the first race saying even a blind squirrel can find an acorn every now and again and there again we crossed the fleet. That’s been our energy out there this week, we’ve kind of got nothing to lose and we’re enjoying it. It’s great to be here, nice people and great boats so I think that sometimes reflects in your results when you sail loose with nothing to lose so it’s a good thing to remember.”



1. Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (3,3,1,1,4,6,1,3,2,3) 27pts
2. Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (5,2,2,2,1,1,5,10,6,1) 35pts
3. Vesper USA (Jim Swartz USA) (1,6,4,3,10,8,6,2,1,5) 46pts
4. Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (9,4,3,9,2,4,4,1,8,6) 50pts
5. Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (4,5,7,6,3,3,7,5,9,9) 58pts
6. Alegre, GBR (Andres Soriano USA) (12,10,11,4,5,2,3,8,10,2) 67pts
7. Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) (7,8,9,5,11,7,9,6,5,4) 71pts
8. Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (6,9,6,10,7,9,8,7,4,8) 74pts
9. Spookie, USA (Steve Benjamin USA) (2,1,8,8,13,13,12,4,11,7) 80pts
10. Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (8,7,12,12,9,5,2,12,12,11) 90pts
11. Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (10,11,10,7,6,10,11,9,7,10) 91pts
12. Xio/Hurakan, ITA (Guiseppe Parodi ITA) (11,12,5,11,8,11,10,11,3,12) 94pts

2015 52 Super Series results after five regattas, 46 races.

3. Sled 259 pts (1st owner driver) (BOTIN PARTNERS DESIGN/NORTH SAILS)
4. Platoon 262 pts (VROLIJK/NORTH SAILS)
6. Alegre 266 pts
7. Provezza 269 pts
8. Gladiator 386 pts
9. Paprec 396 pts
10. Ran Racing 397 pts
11. Xio 422 pts
12. Spookie 482 pts
13. Vesper 485 pts
14. Interlodge 505 pts
15. Phoenix 510 pts


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