52 Super Series victory to Audi Azzurra
At the end Audi Azzurra Sailing Team glided serenely across the finish line of the one final race of the season in a gentle sea breeze and perfect September sunshine off Valencia to secure the overall 52 Super Series title for 2012.
When they started Race 8 of the Audi Valencia Cup, all that the team had to do was simply cross the last finish line in any place to ensure the season-long title was theirs.
In so doing they also won the Audi Valencia Cup, counting five first places, a second, third and fifth. Their only regatta win of the four this season - Barcelona, Sardinia, Palma and finally Valencia - was achieved by a margin of seven points ahead of Jochen Schuemann’s Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One.
Niklas Zennström, the newly elected President of the TP52 class, steered Rán to a win this final contest of the season. With Quantum Racing finishing third, that was enough to give Zennström’s crew the third step on the Audi Valencia Cup podium, and also third overall for the 2012 championship.
The celebrations may have started early for the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, having virtually wrapped up the title yesterday, but after seven years of trying the emotions and jubilation overflowed on the dock in front of Valencia's futuristic Veles e Vents building.
“We are very proud.” Grinned tactician Vasco Vascotto, “ It was a huge challenge, the standard is so high and so we are happy for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, for the Roemmers family (boat owners), for everybody involved it is such an important result. And we need to start working tomorrow again, because I am sure that next year it will be harder and the teams will be ready to beat us. This is still a sport and so we have to always think not only how we won this year, but also how we lost in the past. It means a lot to me. This is part of my heart. We are still a young team in the sailing circles and we want to win more together. I have won other things but this is important to win because the team have been trying so hard for so long.”
Simon Fry, the British trimmer on board the winning Audi Azzurra Sailing team summarised: “I think the team has really endorsed the ‘leave nothing to chance’ philosophy. I think we have just been a little more diligent. I think the boat preparation has been excellent. And I think that on top of that we had the human element of a really, really steely focus. It was ‘the time has come, we have to deliver’. We have had the hardware in the past and failed to deliver. So there was a bit of personal pressure on, and a bit of peer pressure, this was the year we had to deliver.”
For Quantum Racing, the American flagged team which won the class title in 2008 and 2011, letting the 52 Super Series slip from their grasp at the last regatta is a bitter pill to swallow, but skipper Ed Baird stated they will learn from the experience: “Obviously we are disappointed. We never want to drop boats, we never want to do that. We are still learning and trying our hardest and I have full faith in the group here. One of the things that has gone on all week, is that despite how frustrating it has been to make decisions that seemed like they were the ones, and then have them go wrong, the group was always very positive and always fighting. I appreciate that from a team."
Of Rán Racing's third Adrian Stead: “We sailed the boat really well, we changed gears really well in the conditions. I think it was shifty enough and puffy enough that as long as you could be under the right breeze at the right time for longest, that gave you the speed and the advantage. We have come a long way. We have improved. We were weak in the light stuff an have improved there.”
Tony Langley's Gladiator concluded the first 52 Super Series in fourth place overall: “It has been a good season for us. I am quite happy with the way things have gone and with the progress we have made. We had better results in Porto Cervo but we have been sailing the boat quite well. The other guys are coming after us now. We were tacked on three times today. We are doing things fairly right now.”
The 52 Super Series concluded its inaugural season with three different boats winning regattas: Quantum Racing, Rán and Audi Azzurra Sailing Team. The programme for next season’s 52 Super Series is already in place, starting in January in Key West.
Audi Valencia Cup
1 Audi Azzurra Sailing Team 15pts
2 Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One 22pts
3 Rán 25pts
4 Quantum Racing 26pts
5 Gladiator 32pts
52 Super Series 2012 final results
1 Audi Azzurra Sailing Team ITA 74.5pts
2 Quantum Racing USA 79.5pts
3 Rán Racing SWE 94.5pts
4 Gladiator GBR 125pts
5 Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One GER 132.5 pts