(Wednesday 22nd August, Puerto Portals) – After a breezy, spectacular Rolex TP52 World Championship in Cascais last month, the Bay of Palma served up a typical Pandora’s Box of sea breeze delights for the first three races of the Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week.
Although the general trend was for the gains to be made on the right side of the upwinds on the three windward-leeward races contested, it was never that simple and straightforward and there were small gains and losses to be made all the way through each race.
Three different teams won races today: Platoon, Provezza and Azzurra, but it is the 2018 circuit leaders Quantum Racing that top the regatta leaderboard. After a second, fourth and a second, the crew, which is led by owner-driver Doug DeVos is four points ahead of a logjam of four boats that all accumulated 12 points over today’s first three races of this, the fourth regatta of the five that constitute the 2018 52 SUPER SERIES.
Quantum Racing were on typically consistent form, their predatory instincts prevailing right to the finish line of each of the three races. At no point did they lead a race today but they were always going forwards, taking places and twice they pipped Alegre in the closing stages to steal second places from under the noses of Andy Soriano’s crew.
Platoon won the first race conclusively, Harm Müller-Spreer’s German team seeming to atone for a disappointing showing in Cascais. But in the following race they had to take not one, but two penalties on consecutive rounds for crosses with Alegre.
“We need to take the good things from the first race, learn from what we did wrong in the second and third races and keep strong,” Victor Marino from the Platoon crew said. “We thought the first cross was an easy one, port-starboard, but the jury thought otherwise, but you just have to take that as it comes. And then the second time we were judged to have tacked too close to them. It is what it is. These were 50:50 calls, but it is down to the umpires, but we need to not take those kind of risks and learn.”
Provezza, popular winners here in 2017, were back on top form for the second race, tactician Tony Rey (USA) and navigator Nacho Postigo reading the streaky, split breeze to perfection. They led out to the early right, into the better pressure and shift to be first around the windward mark with Luna Rossa second. On the second upwind the two leaders traded tacks, but it was Provezza that went on to win with Luna Rossa second and Tina Plattner’s Phoenix taking third.
And in the third race it was all about Azzurra. Santi Lange recognised an early dividend off the pin as the breeze stayed in the left this time and they were able to lead the fleet around the first turn. They were the only crew of the ten racing to gybe set and that seemed to net a significant gain. But that was largely annulled on the next upwind when the right came back and Alegre almost got back on terms. But it was Azzurra’s win with Quantum Racing coming in with the speed to the finish line to, again, pinch a good second and with that the overall lead.
“It was a long, intense day really but great, great racing. It is very shifty, very puffy and I think our guys read it well. Finding the pressure and the angles in to the finish was key for us and our guys did a great job at that,” smiled Doug DeVos owner-driver of Quantum Racing.
Regatta standings after three races:
1. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (2,4,2) 8 p.
2. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (4,1,7) 12 p.
3. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto Roemmers) (6,5,1) 12 p.
4. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (3,6,3) 12 p.
5. Phoenix (RSA) (Hasso/Tina Plattner) (5,3,4) 12 p.
6. Luna Rossa (ITA) (Patrizio Bertelli) (7,2,6) 15 p.
7. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (1,10,8) 19 p.
8. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (8,9,5) 22 p.
9. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (10,7,9) 26 p.
10. Onda (BRA) (Eduardo de Souza Ramos) (8,9,DNF11) 28 p.