Victory on the cards after seven years of trying
Seven years of effort since they started out in the TP52 class as the Matador sailing team and the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team - now combined they are poised to reach the perfect conclusion as Alberto Roemmers’ crew set themselves up to lift the inaugural 52 Super Series trophy tomorrow/Saturday in Valencia.
The team which sails under the colours of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda won both races in gentler breezes and big swells on the America’s Cup racing waters off Valencia’s Malvrossa Beach today.
With their nearest title rivals, Quantum Racing, the world champion and winner of the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit, finishing third twice Audi Azzurra Sailing Team has only an outside mathematical possibility that she can be beaten, needing only to start and finish tomorrow’s final race of the 2012 season.
The champions elect crew, skippered by Guillermo Parada which is a mix of Argentinian, Italian, Australian, Spanish and English sailors, has been close to winning the TP52 class’ season long title before. Notably last year they were in contention when their mainsail fell down when they lead the coastal race in Cartagena at the penultimate regatta of the season.
But this time they have sailed immaculately and won five races from seven starts, usually getting the better of the pre-start match race duels with Quantum Racing.
Delighted skipper Parada confirmed they approached this regatta by making sure they had improved in every area of their game. “We know in order to win here you have to have a perfect week so we started preparing this well in advance, we wanted to make sue we were a step better in every single department that we could. We worked on the sails, boat preparation, some work on the tune up of the rig, crew manoeuvres, the starts, work on the video’s analysing, so when we came here we were prepared to do our best, we wanted to have no excuses.
“It’s been our goal, we have been following for a long time and for sure it’s a relief, at some stage we started to question whether we could make it happen. But we know in the depth of our hearts that we had what it takes.”
Ed Reynolds, long time project manager and director of Quantum Racing, was quick to congratulate the winning team, recognising that they had been beaten by a better team which had sailed exceptionally: "They just went and won the series this year, I don’t think we sailed that poorly, we didn’t seem to get anything going when we needed to get it going but they didn’t give us an opportunity to. Maybe our philosophy early in the thing was its just us and them and it didn’t play well into our strategy, we focus on the ﬂeet and to what we do and early on the breeze played out of our strength but today we had no excuses, we just got out sailed. Over the years what made winning this whole thing so sweet is to beat a team of that calibre and I think it had to have been a bitter pill for them over the years to watch us, but it has never been easy, never been anything we’ve run away with, we have been fortunate we have sailed well and these guys deserve everything, they did a great job. But we will be back!!”
Audi Azzurra won the first starting duel after another spirited duel which saw both protagonists using the media and VIP spectator boats to separate from each other.
The blue hulled boat was impaired slightly by the Jochen Schuemann skippered Audi Sailing Team Powered by ALL4ONE in the first minutes as they drag raced upwind.
They tacked to clear their wind and in so doing then took the chance to tack on the face of Quantum Racing. The afterguard of the American boat showed a protest flag but the jury immediately cleared Azzurra, but from there was no chance of Ed Baird’s crew making any impact on Azzurra.
Significantly in the second start of the day Quantum Racing was able to make the start they wanted – their best of the regatta so far – but still was third at the first windward mark, trailing leaders Azzurra and Gladiator in the modest 6-8 knot breeze and big swell.
Audi Azzurra Sailing Team also leads the Audi Valencia Cup regatta by four points, ahead of Audi ALL4ONE, with the 52 Super Series champions elect also on course to also win their first regatta of the season.
Audi Valencia Cup
Standings Audi Valencia Cup after 7 races
1 Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA) 13 pts (1,1,5,1,3,1,1)
2 Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One (FRA/GER) 17pts (2,2,4,3,2,2,2)
3 Quantum Racing (USA) 23pts (5,3,2,2,5,3,3)
4 Rán (SWE) 24pts (4,5,1,5,1,4,4)
5 Gladiator 28pts (3,4,3,4,4,5,5)