Azzurra takes the lead
Although three windward-leeward races were scheduled on Thursday on the strength of a favourable forecast for 13-18 knot southerly winds, the race committee made the prudent decision to send the fleet ashore on notification that an expected weather front had accelerated and was due to bring very strong, dangerous thunder squalls with the possibility of tornados.
Following on from their race win on Wednesday afternoon in lighter wind, Azzurra was on impressive form. Racing more in her preferred wind range, the team, skippered by Guillermo Parada, made the start that it wanted at the committee boat end of the line and was then able to work the favoured right side of the course.
Azzurra led around the windward mark with a slight margin over the IRC-optimised pair Interlodge and Vesper with Quantum Racing, always a threat, in fourth. Azzurra had built herself a comfortable lead by the leeward gate and was able to keep control of the main group.
Believing that the breeze had moved as far right as it would, Quantum Racing broke and took her chances left of middle on the second upwind – erring away from the leaders’ track – and was rewarded with a favourable approach to the final turn, gaining second place.
A swift gybe set on to a sustained gust from the top mark saw a great recovery from Rán Racing. Sixth at the final turn, they were within centimetres of catching third placed Interlodge on the line.
Confidence is a key strength for the Azzurra team and with two good wins back to back, the Roemmers’ family team which races for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, is on song here, certainly in its preferred conditions today.
“It would have been good to race three races today but there is also an element that some of our guys hold a belief that you are only ever as good as your last race, but certainly we sailed well today. Everything was nicely controlled and we had the sense that we were always working to our game plan,” recalled Azzurra’s trimmer Simon Fry.
Guillermo Parada, Azzurra’s skipper added: “It was a beautiful race, under beautiful conditions to sail a TP52, planing downwind at 18 knots. Our crew work was very good, Francesco (Bruni, starting helmsman) had an excellent start, Vasco [Vascotto] made very good tactical calls and the boat was fast. It’s pity we couldn't continue due to the tornado warning. At least, we took the lead of the championship, with a good outlook for the rest of the week. The feeling is positive and we are optimistic we can keep on performing this way.”
1 Azzurra (ITA) Pablo A Roemmers (ARG) 4,1,1 6pts
2 Quantum Racing (USA) Doug De Vos (USA) 1,3,2 6pts
3 Interlodge (USA) Austin and Gwen Fragomen (USA) 3, 5,2 11pts
4 Vesper (USA) Jim Swartz (USA) 5,2,5 12pts
5 Rán Racing (SWE) Niklas Zennström (SWE) 2,7,3 13pts
6 Hooligan (USA) Gunther Buerman (USA) 7,4,7 18pts
7 Sled (USA) Takashi Okura (USA) 6,6,6 18pts