Upsetting the applecart
Gladiator pulled off a major comeback to win her first race at the Royal Cup on Friday, less than 24-hours after a collision forced her retirement, while the Ed Baird-helmed Quantum Racing are primed for the final day’s racing on Saturday with a six point lead.
Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One posted the best results of the day, finishing second in race one and claiming their first victory in race two to edge into third place overall. Despite Quantum finishing third in both races, they remain leaders.
Gladiator’s crew was hopeful that the worst of their luck was behind them as they hit the water to race on the superstitious Friday the 13th, having been forced to retire from racing on Thursday after a damaging collision and suffering a costly spinnaker fumble on the first day of racing on Wednesday.
The team proved that that the third time can be a charm when they crossed the finish of race one in first place, 18 seconds ahead of All4One followed by Quantum Racing, Rán Racing, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, PowerPlay, Provezza and Aquila.
Owner/skipper Tony Langley said scoring the win was a testament to his shore crew’s repair effort and his sailing team’s skills. But the British businessman said there was still work to do. “It’s always nice to get a bullet, but to be happy with the results we’ve got to be consistently in the top half of the fleet, we’re not there yet,’’ he said.
The sea breeze in Palma Bay was proving challenging as it swung 30°, making conditions difficult for even the sharpest of tacticians in the second and final race of the day.
Local Palma sailor and Olympic gold medallist Jordi Calafat (fresh from competing in the Volvo Ocean Race on Telefonica) rose to the challenge, charting a victorious path for his All4One crew to claim their first win at the Royal Cup.
PowerPlay posted their best result of the regatta to finish second, Quantum Racing third, followed by Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, Rán Racing, Provezza, Gladiator and Aquila.
Calafat played down having any assistance from a home-ground advantage. It was more a case of patience and improved teamwork, he said. “I’ve sailed with (skipper) Jochen Schuemann a lot, and now we’re just starting to get our communication back, it’s improving day by day."
The win bumped All4One up to third place overall in the Royal Cup, pushing Audi Azzurra to fourth position.
Looking ahead to the final day’s racing, Quantum navigator Andy Horton said his team would approach it like any other: conservatively: “Consistency is always the goal, we’re pretty conservative as a group,’’ he said. “On a day like today it’s really difficult to do, it’s shifty and puffy so a lot of times you’ll find us playing the standard average, unless something is really obvious, and we’ll continue to do that.”
Horton commended substitute crewman Australian Chris Hosking, who stepped in last minute to replace trimmer Brett Jones after he injured his hand during a manoeuvre yesterday and was transferred mid-race to hospital.
The final day’s racing of the Royal Cup at Palma, Mallorca will start at 1100 local, 0900 UTC. The Royal Cup is the third of four regattas that make up the inaugural 52 Super Series.
1.Quantum Racing 12pts
2. Rán Racing 18pts
3. Audi All4One 19pts
4. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team 24pts
5. Gladiator 30pts
6. PowerPlay 31.4pts
7. Provezza 35pts
8. Aquila 40pts