Although it proved to be the best day of the season for Eduardo de Souza Ramos’s Brazilian crew of Onda who – as best boat of the day – sailed to a second, a first and a third from a demanding three-race day at the 52 SUPER SERIES Valencia Sailing Week, regatta leaders Luna Rossa have now stepped three points clear at the head of the event standings and the three-way scrap for the second and third step on the season-long championship podium has become ever closer.
“It was great day for us.” Smiled Robert Scheidt, the proud Onda tactician, “It was great to win a race for Eduardo who has given us such a fantastic opportunity but I was as proud of that third in the third race because we came from behind with a good move at the top mark and we felt we were racing on even terms with the big guys, Quantum Racing and Luna Rossa. So we need to go out and try again tomorrow.”
With just two days of competition left of the five-event 2018 52 SUPER SERIES season, Azzurra compromised their second place position in the championship when they landed a penalty in the third race of the day.
While they dropped to a seventh place finish, the race was won by closest rivals Platoon. Harm Müller-Spreer’s German-flagged team, who finished runners up last year, load more pressure on Azzurra and the podium fight looks set to go to the wire, as it has done for the last three seasons.
Azzurra now have only three points of a cushion over Platoon and eight points on the Valencia regatta leaders Luna Rossa who seem to be replicating the same form that saw them win the Zadar Royal Cup earlier in the season in very similar streaky sea breeze conditions.
Platoon staged a remarkable recovery in the first race. Called over early on the line they had to return and start 11th, but they – once more – showed an almost unerring ability to work their way through the fleet and finished fourth. Even at three points behind Azzurra, Platoon’s tactician John Kostecki, who won the 34th America’s Cup on these waters along with Platoon core crew Dirk de Ridder and Ross Halcrow, insists he will not, and does not like to look at the standings.
“I haven’t looked at the points I probably won’t even look at them until tomorrow, I don’t want to get too wrapped up into it. The good news is I know Harm is probably leading the owner-driver, and I think we probably we still have a shot at the podium overall if we sail really well. We’ll look at it tomorrow night but I’m not much of a points guy because I think it affects you out on the race course. The more and more experienced I get the more and more I don’t look at the points.”
Azzurra’s penalty in the third race came just at the wrong moment, tactician Santi Lange explaining:
“We got a penalty in the last race that we think was unfair, we’ll go back and look at the drone footage to see what happened as we don’t know why the penalty was on us. The rest of the day was tricky. Apart from that we sailed good enough, but with a penalty at the top mark we then turned around a good race. But we still turned around what could have been a very bad race to pass some boats, so we need to keep pushing. It’s all about racing well every single day, you could see today Onda had a really good day, and anyone can be up there, but it’s about starting well and sailing well, and we have to keep focusing on that.”
The championship standings see Azzurra on 179 points, Platoon on 182 points and Luna Rossa now fourth on 187 points.
Meantime Quantum Racing go into the penultimate day of the season with a margin of 27 points. They looked more assured in the third race of the day when they were second, but were sixth twice and lie sixth in the regatta. The streaky, patchy breeze – with difficult to read lanes of pressure – is not suited to the percentage, low risk strategies that have served the champions elect so well this season.
52 SUPER SERIES Valencia Sailing Week
Regatta standings after day 3
1. Luna Rossa (ITA) (Patrizio Bertelli) (6,1,1,3,4) 15 p.
2. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (1,4,4,8,1) 18 p.
3. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto & Pablo Roemmers) (2,3,3,5,7) 20 p.
4. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (4,5,5,4,5) 23 p.
5. Onda (BRA) (Eduardo de Souza Ramos) (10,8,2,1,3) 24 p.
6. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (8,2,6,6,2) 24 p.
7. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (5,10,8,10,6) 39 p.
8. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (9,11+ 2 penalti,7,2,9) 40 p.
9. Phoenix (RSA) (Hasso/Tina Plattner) (3,6,9,12RET+2 penalti, 11) 43 p.
10. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (7,9,11,7,10) 44 p.
11. Paprec (FRA) (Jean Luc Petithuguenin) (11,7,10,9,8) 45 p.
John Kostecki (USA) Platoon (GER):
“It’s tricky out there, we haven’t figured it out and I’m sure nobody else has! There’s not a lot of consistency out there. Robert Scheidt and the Brazilians did really well today though, they had it most figured out today, they sailed really well it was cool.”
Santiago Lange (ARG) Azzurra (ARG/ITA):
“We got a penalty in the last race that we think was unfair, we’ll go back and look at the drone footage to see what happened as we don’t know why the penalty was on us. The rest of the day was tricky, apart from that we sailed good enough, but with a penalty at the top mark we then turned around a good race because we went from what could be a very bad race to pass some boats, so we need to keep pushing.
It’s all about racing well every single day, you could see today Onda had a really good day, and anyone can be up there, but its about starting well and sailing well, and we have to keep focusing on that.”
Dean Barker (NZL) Quantum Racing (USA):
“The focus this week has been to have another good solid event here. It’s tricky conditions, you get penalised for mistakes, so we’re trying to not take any high risk strategies and chip away where we can, but its going to be a hard event. We are just trying to stay away from the edges where we can, there’s some big gains and losses and some of the boats have more to gain then others so they’re probably prepared to take some more risk, and we’re just sailing a good conservative series so far. We know we’ve probably lost a few too many points but there’s still a few races to go so hopefully we can get back into it and have a good result at this event. It’s a case of doing well in this event, if we do well then the season takes care of itself.”
For full results, visit: http://bit.ly/2peRr7t
Racing at the Valencia 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week starts Tuesday and finishes Saturday with the end of season prize-giving on Saturday night. All of the action will be broadcast live at www.52SUPERSERIES.com and via the app throughout the whole regatta on 52 SUPER SERIES TV with live commentary and expert analysis throughout each race. Shows start 15 minutes before racing is due to begin.