Alegre edges ahead
Day four of the Copa del Rey Mapfre saw the fleet complete two windward-leewards for all classes except for the G.H. Mumm ORC 1 and ORC 2, which sailed a coastal race. Racing on the Bay of Palma was held in typical sea breeze conditions.
In the 52 Super Series competition Quantum Racing is looking like they are piecing together a winning campaign. The team's Spanish Strategist, Olympic 470 gold medallist and America’s Cup winner Jordi Calafat, has only won once last year (with Jochen Schuemann on All4ONE) in more than 25 years of trying.
The team, under skipper-helm Ed Baird has now won four races back to back from seven starts, today elevating themselves to be six points clear of Niklas and Catherine Zennström’s Rán Racing which scored a 2,3 for the day.
Ed Reynolds, Project Director of Quantum Racing gave his take on the day: “When you look at the scorecard it certainly might look like it has been easy but it is in fact some of the tightest racing I have seen. The top three boats, well I think everyone expected them to be us, Azzurra and Rán Racing, but I don’t think we have disappointed anyone. Ed (Baird) has done a fantastic job on the starting line. Both starts today were absolutely what we wanted. The boat is going well. I really cant find anything to fault in their sailing today. Our boat speed was so fast today.
"We were in positions today that we have worked on and worked on, like running down and being able to hold off Azzurra, staying ahead of Rán Racing in conditions we have not before, was huge for us today. We have worked hard on our sail shapes and I think the dynamic of the crew has just been brilliant. But it is a long regatta. We never think about individual regattas, we think of the season long championship, but we would love to win Copa del Rey. It is just one of those things you want to win.”
In today's more conventional conditions, pin sharp starting was the key and the Quantum Racing afterguard was on its game with two solid openings which allowed them to gain control of the fleet quickly. Azzurra was slow off the line in the first race after fouling Rán Racing pre-start and could only make a seventh. But the Italian team came back nicely in the second race of the day with a closer second place finish.
Rán Racing’s second and third leaves them ten points clear now of Azzurra while the duel for fourth place remains tight, Ergin Imre’s Provezza now holds fourth thanks to pair of excellent fourth places today – only half a point up on Manouch Moshayedi’s Rio.
“We are really happy with two fourth places today. It is like two first places for us,” said Tony Rey, tactician on Provezza.
Meantime Rán Racing's Andy Hemmings contemplates what they have to do to catch the leaders: ““We need to get past Quantum Racing, they are sailing very well. We won the first three races, they won the next four. I think we need to go away and have a little discussion and decide what we need to do and work out a plan. There are four races left so there is still time. We know our strengths and weaknesses and so I think we maybe need to take our starts to them a little bit more.
"At the moment they are getting really good starts and controlling the fleet more or less from the start. We are not quite there. Everyone knows which way to go, left for obvious reasons. Quantum Racing is slightly faster upwind in these settled conditions. We are slightly faster downwind but it is very difficult to gain control if you are behind downwind.”
1 Quantum Racing, USA, (Doug DeVos) (3,2,2,1,1,1,1) 11pts
2 Rán Racing, SWE, (Niklas Zennström) (1,1,1,6,3,2,3) 17pts
3 Azzurra, ITA, (Alberto Roemmers) (2,4,3,7,2,7,2) 27pts
4 Provezza, TUR, (Ergin Imre) (4,7.5,4,4,5,4,4) 32.5pts
5 Rio, USA, (Manouch Moshayedi) (6,3,5,3,6,3,7) 33pts
6 Interlodge, USA, (Austin Fraogmen) (5,7.5,6.5,5,4,6,5) 39pts
7 Gladiator, GBR, (Tony Langley) (7,5,8,2,9,5,8) 44pts
8 Paprec, FRA, (Jean Luc Petithugenin) (9,6,6.5,8,8,8,6) 51.5pts
9 Aquila, AUT, (Aquila Sailing Team) (8,9,9,9,7,9,9) 60pts
Meanwhile in Hublot IRC 0 Andres Soriano’s new Mills 72 Alegre today finally broke the three-way tie at the top of the Mini Maxi class. Th team scored two bullets today and is for the first time leading its class, followed by Sir Peter Ogden’s Jethou and Italian Alessandro Rombelli’s JV72 Stig (2-3), who remain tied on 17 points.
The Hublot IRC 1 class had two races today. The French crew on Mikael Mergui's GP42 Team Vision Future won the first race, ahead of the class leader Italian Michele Galli's 52 footer B2. But in the second race, it was the former TP52 Aifos skippered by Prince Felipe that won, alebit by only three seconds over the German Marten 49 Speedy. Their first win of the week allows the Spanish Navy’s boat to climb up from fifth to fourth in the overall results.
Both G.H. Mumm ORC fleets sailed a 28 mile coastal race course today. In G.H. Mumm ORC 1, Rafael Carbonell’s Swan 45 Rats on Fire won by less than a minute ahead of the Romanian Swan 42 Natalia after more than three hours of racing. Overall the Spanish boat maintains the lead, now with 13 points ahead of Axel Rodger’s GS46 R Grupo Clínico Dr. Luis Senis, which finished sixth today.
In G.H. Mumm ORC 2, today’s victory went to Ignacio Campos’ GS37 Tanit IV, ahead of Pedro Campos’ Sinergia 40 Movistar and Iñaki Castañer’s XP-38 X-Spain. After six races, Movistar continues to lead overall, five points ahead of X-Spain.
The La Caixa X-35 class saw the Italian teams managing to oust Ignacio Camino’s Spanish boat, Red Eléctrica de España, off the podium and down to fourth following the introduction of the discard. Victories today went to Alessandro Solerio’s Lelagain and Andrea Bruschi’s XSuntleones. Overall Roberto Mazzucato’s Margherita (2-2 today) now leads three points ahead of Lelagain (1-3) and seven over XSuntleones (4-1).
Among the Mahou J/80 class, Hugo Rocha’s Turismo do Algarve unbeaten run continued today, now on eight wins in eight races. In the first race of the day, Giacomo Loro’s Atila enjoyed a momentary lead only to finish second, followed by Marc Patiño’s Opera Season. In the second race, Rocha won again, followed by Carlos Martinez’s Deltastone and Leonardo Armas’ Herbalife. Overall, with a discard, invincible Turismo do Algarve is now 12 points ahead of Deltastone and 17 over José María Van der Ploeg’s Factor Energía.
Finally in the Soto 40s, Luis Martín Cabiedes’ Vamos Spain today scored two fourth places while the Chilean crew on Alegre–Mitsubishi achieved a second and a seventh. Overall the Spanish boat now holds a five points lead over the Chileans, in turn ten ahead of the Portuguese team on Laurent Guerrero's Antares. There are two more days and four races left to define the championship.
However there were two victories today for boats outside of this lead group - the German crew on Hendrik Brandis' Early Bird, in the first race, and Robert Lutener's Cutting Edge.