Gladiator on fighting form
After a long, hot and frustrating three hour delay waiting for enough breeze to build, it was Tony Langley’s Gladiator which won race 3, the only one of the day, at the 52 Super Series' Royal Cup Marina Ibiza. The win takes Langley’s team to the top of the Ibiza event standings, three points clear of Quantum Racing.
With the southeasterly breeze struggling to make six knots and then dropping away almost entirely by the finish, Langley’s team built their lead at the top of the first beat where they found an extra gear in the very light conditions, rounding with a small margin over Ergin Imre’s Provezza, steered by double Olympic 470 silver medallist Nick Rogers. Provezza lost out at the finish to Manouch Moshayedi’s Rio which took second, their best result of their Mediterranean season so for.
With the breeze threatening to disappear altogether the race officer elected first to shorten the second windward leg to just one mile and then stop the race at the windward mark.
Gladiator started towards the left of the line-up, up alongside Quantum Racing. Langley’s crew was able to lift away from the Barcelona winners to hold the lane they wanted, extending slightly at the top of the first leg when they were visibly the quickest 52 on the water. That said, Langley, is keen to point out that though their boat is fast enough in these conditions, it is now more of an all-round performer than previously: “We were nicely positioned off the start line and had to hold our lane with Quantum Racing for a while to get to where we wanted to be. Once we got our nose in front then we were away. It is fantastic to be leading the regatta, but the outcome of the race could not really have been better for us. The finishing order of the other boats, Rio and Provezza putting points between us and Quantum Racing, Rán Racing and Azzurra.
"Yesterday, in the end we were quite pleased about coming back to make a good result after the penalty. It was tough to sit around for four hours waiting for breeze. Generally we think that the light stuff favours us, but the last race we won was in 25 knots and this one is in five knots. So generally I am quite pleased with how the boat is going uprange and down range.”
Lying third around the track until the final beat, Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing was a victim of a voracious hole in the breeze in the middle of the course and dropped to sixth which leaves her fourth overall, tied on points with Azzurra.
For the American Rio team, their second place finish was welcome, as owner helm Manouch Moshayedi commented: "It was a good day, very shifty, we picked the right shifts and got to the right side of the course, and everyone worked together as a team, so we got it. The downwind and the second beat were good for us, all in all we are very happy. It is extremely important for us as a team to get a good result. At one point we just thought we were destined to be the guys that get beaten up every day. We can win.”
Ed Reynolds, project manager of Quantum Racing said: “It was really hard out there, waiting all day for the wind to fill in. Maria, as always, did an unbelievable job making sure we got as good a race as possible. In those conditions you just don’t know what is going to happen. And so to come out where we did we are more than satisfied to escape today. It was really hard but I don’t think anyone can walk away and say it was unfair or disadvantaged. It was tough sailing.”
Gonzalo Infante, navigator on Provezza added: “The truth is that was a good result for us. We are happy with that and now need to try and get some more. We got to the right early and made a sacrifice at the start to get there, that was where we wanted to be. But we need days like that to get these results, to get above some of the other boats. We are not as quick as some of the others.”
Windward-leeward racing is scheduled to continue Thursday with the coastal race postponed in the meantime.
1 Gladiator, GBR, Tony Langley 7pts (2,4,1)
2 Quantum Racing, USA, Ed Baird 10 pts (1,5,4)
3 Azzurra, ITA, Alberto Roemmers, 12pts (5,2,5)
4 Rán Racing, SWE, Niklas Zennström 12pts (3,3,6)
5 Interlodge, USA, Austin and Gwen Fraogmen, 13 pts (4,1,8)
6 Provezza, TUR, Ergin Imre, 17pts, (6,8,3)
7 Rio, USA Manouch Moshayedi, 17pts, (8,7,2)
8 Paprec, FRA, Jean-Luc Petithuguenin 20pts, (7,6,7)