Quantum Racing extends
Copa del Rey MAPFRE today had a new participant in H.R.H. Prince Felipe of Spain who took over the helm of the Spanish Navy’s IRC 52 Aifos in the Hublot IRC 1 class. This was one of the three fleets that today competed a coastal race, alongside Hublot IRC 0 and Gaastra IRC 52.
Among the 52s, Doug DeVos’ overall leader Quantum Racing moved two more points ahead of Rán Racing at the top of the Super Series leaderboard, their reward for winning a surprisingly challenging, but nevertheless interesting 29 miles coastal race.
In stiflingly Majorcan hot sunshine Quantum Racing's crew remained cool and focused throughout, not least when the fleet compressed during a light airs zone by one of the leeward turns at Illetas. For their hard work and diligence they cashed in a bonus on the long downwind leg from Soll de Mallorca to the finish line off the entrance to the Port de Palma =when the breeze moved nicely left for them and they were able to reach directly for the finish line, even popping the long awaited A3 reaching gennaker, to finish well clear of second placed Azzurra.
The American team skippered by Ed Baird, with Terry Hutchinson as tactician, has retained a score line all in the top three and now lead Rán Racing by three points.
Quantum Racing was able to build progressively from a good, solid start moving to the right early to challenge Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s Interlodge which rounded the first mark – at the top of a conventional opening 2.5 miles windward-leeward – in a close second.
A subsequent bigger windward-leeward circuit saw the 9-12 kts sea breeze holding well, but it was as the leaders erred towards the shore off the fleshpots of Palma Nova and Magaluf that the breeze lifted to allow noticeable gains and losses. And early gains were eroded when the wind eased right down at the downwind turning mark at Illetas.
Azzurra, working more offshore, lost out on the first of the longer beats, along with Rán Racing dropping into the lower half of the fleet. But both stuck to their task and took the shifts and pressure changes well to finish second and third. Interlodge, second around the first circuit, finished fourth with Provezza’s fifth keeping them in close contention for fourth overall, three points behind Rio.
Had the sea breeze remained settled throughout perhaps the race might have proven the soldier’s course, a concern which Azzurra trimmer Simon Fry admit worried him early in the piece: "Half way through the race we would have settled for a second. At the start the day we were pushing hard for the win to close the gap on Quantum Racing, but overall we are pretty happy with second for the day. It was shifty with the pressure up and down and having two or three more boats makes it more interesting. It was funny because after about 25 minutes I was worried this would be a soldier’s course with not many chances to pass, but it was a great course. And the funny thing is that with the allowance for the A3 then Quantum, Rán Racing and ourselves even got the A3s on for the finish.”
The underlying westerly gradient, unusual at this time of year is proving stimulating, according to local ace Jordi Calafat, gold medal winning tactician on Quantum Racing: “All three days of Copa del Rey so far have seen a different wind pattern to what we have seen for I don’t know how long, with this westerly gradient breeze. Even today there was only ever a very, very slight chance that the breeze would go left at the end of the day and it happened. It was a really difficult day. That final shift was one of the less predicted scenarios but we do have the advantage here that the Mini Maxis start ahead of us so we can keep an eye on them. But it was a difficult race because there was the compression on the second run and that made it very tight again in between the fleet.
"In the end the last 20 minutes were comfortable, reaching along. The key was to keep it calm and tight when the compression happened. The normal thing was to extend on the leg up to Andratx because you were going into the stronger breeze and there was a hole at the Illetas mark. We were very scared at the start of the last run in case there was a compression like that last one. Our goal is to get to the last two days with options to win. Your best days have to be at the end. We can always get better but I think we are sailing very solid racing.”
Niklas Zennström, owner-helm Rán Racing gave his take on the day: “It was a long day in very hot sun. But it was an interesting coastal race with a lot of opportunities to pass people and be passed. The course here was pretty fun it was much better than Ibiza, it gives a good mix. The first beat we were not so good but hanging in there in fourth, and then worked our way up and a lot of the time we were third. We had a good fight with Azzurra, Provezza and Rio and ended up third. We lost Azzurra on the last run. But the Copa del Rey is very much one we want to win, we have won it here before. We are in contention and will just continue to chip away. We are close to Quantum Racing, but they continue to sail well. It is going to be hard.”
Results: 52 Super Series at the 32nd Copa del Rey MAPFRE
1 Quantum Racing, USA, (Doug DeVos) (3,2,2,1,1) 9pts
2 Rán Racing, SWE, (Niklas Zennström) (1,1,1,6,3) 12pts
3 Azzurra, ITA, (Alberto Roemmers) (2,4,3,7,2) 18pts
4 Rio, USA, (Manouch Moshayedi) (6,3,5,3,6) 23pts
5 Provezza, TUR, (Ergin Imre) (4,7.5,4,4,5) 24.5pts
6 Interlodge, USA, (Austin Fraogmen) (5,7.5,6.5,5,4) 28pts
7 Gladiator, GBR, (Tony Langley) (7,5,8,2,9) 31pts
8 Paprec, FRA, (Jean Luc Petithugenin) (9,6,6.5,8,8) 37.5pts
9 Aquila, AUT, (Aquila Sailing Team) (8,9,9,9,7) 42pts
In Hublot IRC 0 class, Andres Soriano’s new Mills 72 Mini Maxi Alegre won the coastal race, beating by a minute and a half the American crew on George Sakellaris' Shockwave after more than three hours of racing. With today's results now top three boats are now tied on 12 points, with Alegre tied with Sir Peter Ogden's Jethou and Italian Andrea Rombelli's JV72 Stig.
H.R.H. Prince Felipe and Aifos in Hublot IRC 1 crossed the coastal race's finish line second in real time, although the Spanish navy boat corrected out to sixth on handicap. Italian Michelle Galli's 52 footer B2 won the race and now holds a solid lead overall.
In G.H. Mumm ORC 1 German Christian Plump’s Elena Nova won today's only race, ahead of the Romanian Natalia Brailoiu's Swan 42 Natalia and Jerry Vinkestein's First 47.7 Itaca IX. However, overall the leader remains Rafael Carbonell’s Swan 45 Rats on Fire which finished fourth today, eight points ahead of Axel Rodger’s Grand Soleil 46 R Grupo Clínico Dr. Luis Senís, which finished sixth.
In G.H. Mumm ORC 2, Pedro Campos’ Sinergia 40 Movistar earned his third consecutive victory, strengthening his overall lead in the class. He finished ahead of his two main rivals, Iñaki Castañer’s XP-38 X-Spain and Teo Matheu’s X-37 Airlan-Aermec. The overall results are in the same order.
The podium in the Nespresso Soto 40 class is now shared between Spanish, Chilean and French boats. Today’s races were close but dominated by Jose Maria Torcida’s Vamos Spain, which scored two victories, snatching the overall lead from Mitsubishi Motors, skippered by Juan Rei,dwhich posted a 3-6 today. Third is Benjamin Enon’s Portugese entry Antares.
In the La Caixa X-35 class, Italians Roberto Mazzucato’s Margherita and Alessandro Solerio’s Lelagain both won races today and top the podium in that order. Red Eléctrica de España, skippered by Ignacio Camino, suffered from a sixth place in today's first race and with a 6-2 score todday =has fallen to third place overall. The top three teams are now separated by just four points.
In the Mahou J/80 class, Portugual's Hugo Rocha on Turismo do Algarve remain in a different league. Impressively the 2013 World Champion has won all six races held so far and has a cushion of 11 points over his nearest rival, Carlos Martinez’s Deltastone, which scored a 4-2 today. Martinez’s team and José María Van der Ploeg’s Factor Energía, which lies third after scoring a 5-4 today.
Tomorrow will be the half way stage of Copa del Rey Mapfre. Classes G.H. Mumm ORC 1 and G.H. Mumm ORC 2 are scheduled to sail a coastal race, while the rest of the fleets will race windward/leewards.