52s lining up for Key West
The curtain rises on the 2013 52 Super Series at Quantum Key West 2013 regatta being held over 20-25 January where six IRC/TP 52s from both sides of the Atlantic, including the 2012 52 Super Series champion Azzurra (ITA) and past MedCup champion Quantum Racing (USA), will embark on the new season, taking the fleet to Miami, Barcelona, Ibiza, Palma and Costa Smeralda.
This is the first time that the 52 Super Series has broadened its horizons to embrace the 52s, based in the USA.
“Overall we are pretty happy with the entries," says Rob Weiland, the 52’s Class Manager and co-organiser of the 52 Super Seires. "Given the reputation and popularity of Key West we can be sure that we are looking forward to a good week of racing. It will be interesting to see how the US boats fare against the Med boats. My feeling is that it might be quite even. Being honest we might have expected more US boats to join us here, but what is very encouraging for us is that we will have more at Miami in March for the 52 World Championships, and some of the American boats have already indicated that they will join us for some of the ‘must do’ regattas in Europe. That was one of the objectives of bringing the 52 Super Series to the USA for the first time, so to have American boats coming to race in Europe is good news.”
The fleet in Key West will be composed of three American 52s and three European 52s. Owner Doug DeVos will be back on the helm of Quantum Racing with Ed Baird as skipper. Quantum Racing dominated the 52 Class at the Quantum Key West 2012 regatta last year winning six out of the ten races sailed and never finishing worse than second.
After narrowly losing out on the 2012 52 Super Series title, the Quantum Racing crew is looking to build a strong early season foundation on waters the crew know well. The afterguard remains unchanged from 2012 supplemented by tactician Andy Horton and navigator Juan Vila.
There is a little change to the set up or the crew of the championship-winning Azzurra. Skipper-helm Guillermo Parada (ARG) will steer the boat in Key West with Vasco Vascotto on tactics. But the winning partnership between Vascotto and Francesco Bruni is unlikely to continue for the whole 2013 season as Bruni has ongoing America’s Cup commitments with Luna Rossa.
Class President Niklas Zennström is no stranger to success at Key West, having won the Mini-Maxi class there last year. Rán finished third overall in the 52 Super Series in a season which included a win at the Royal Regatta in Palma, Mallorca. Volvo Ocean Race winning navigator Jules Salter joins the crew for Key West.
Tony Langley, the British owner-driver of Gladiator, is looking to improve the overall consistency through the season. After two podium finishes in 2012, it is an elusive regatta win which is one of the targets for the Gladiator team. Gladiator has a new hollow fin on its keel, allowing a little more draft and righting moment. Chris Larsen (USA) continues his sterling work as tactician. Ross Halcrow (NZL) joins the programme as trimmer and Anthony Nossiter (AUS) will serve as a grinder.
Newcomers to the 52 Super Series, but not to Quantum Key West Race Week are the Botin Partners IRC-optimised Interlodge of Austin and Gwen Fragomen and the 2011 Botin Partners TP52 Rio of Manouch Moshayedi. Both Austin Fragomen and Manouch Moshayedi are committed owner-drivers who enjoy their sailing with mainly amateur crews.
Rio was formerly Synergy. Italian navigator Francesco Mongelli, who sailed on the boat during its MedCup years, remains on board and has sailed at Key West with the Synergy team in the past.
Moshayedi, whose team just took delivery of their new boat in November, their second successive TP52, explains: “We have raced together as a crew for two years now and I think we now have a very good, cohesive crew. We have six pros on board and nine amateurs who are friends. We have only had the boat for one and a half months and have not done anything major at all to her. We will arrive a couple of days in advance for training.”
“We are looking forwards to racing on the 52 Super Series. Our crew are certainly not sailing 200 days a year like the top pros, but I hope we can match up with them in some races and hold our own.”
Racing at Quantum Key West regatta for the 52 Super Series runs Monday to Friday with an itinerary of windward-leeward races scheduled. There is a trophy awarded to the overall winner of the US 52 Super Series which combines scores from Quantum Key West regatta and the 52 World Championships being held in Miami over 5-9 March.
Event Director Peter Craig from Premiere Racing says the 52’s add tremendous value to the event: “Having the four teams come from Europe to join the US teams in the 52 Class this year is a great endorsement of the high-profile international calibre of this event. To have the world’s best sailors from this class come and rub elbows with club racers really adds value to the event. We are thrilled that the teams that joined us here last year saw just how great the racing can be and have chosen to make us the start of their Super Series this year.”
52 Super Series 2013 calendar:
Quantum Key West Race Week, Key West, Florida, 20–25 January, 5 day W-L racing, dual scoring IRC & 52 Super Series.
52 World Championship, Miami, Florida, 5 - 9 March, 5 day W-L racing, TP52s and IRC52s.
Trofeo Conde de Godo, Barcelona, 23-26 May, four day W-L racing, IRC52s invited.
Royal Cup, Ibiza, 2-6 July, four days W-L and 1 day Coastal, TP52s and IRC52s.
Copa del Rey, Palma, 29 July-3 August, six days W-L racing, dual scoring IRC & 52 Super Series.
AUDI Week Of The Straits, Porto Cervo, 10–14 September, three days W-L & two days coastal, TP52s and IRC52s.