After two races in winds which topped 27kts in the gusts Quantum Racing lead the Royal Cup Scarlino 52 SUPER SERIES regatta. With American owner driver Doug DeVos back as helmsman after missing the last event in July in Mallorca, the 2022 World Champions posted two second places in challenging, shifting breezes to finish the day on top of the leaderboard.
While Thailand’s Whitcraft family won the first contest – their victory meaning every team on the circuit has now won at least one race this season – it was Takashi Okura’s 2021 circuit champions Sled which took the winning gun for the second race. They outmanoeuvred Quantum Racing at the top of the second beat to take the lead just before the wind dropped and a 120 degree shift in direction upended the race course.
Even if there were no significant place changes caused by the big rain cloud and its effects, it came at just the wrong time for the Race 1 winning Vayu crew who were starved of wind just as they were trying to get around the final turn. Unfortunately they touched the buoy and the resulting penalty dropped them from a potential fourth to ninth place, to lie fourth overall.
Vayu’s tactician Manu Weiller grimaced, “We were caught by the left shift that made everyone finish the last leg with a genoa. We ended up touching the mark we and we had to take a penalty. We went from fourth to last. The first passed that mark with 20 knots, Alegre must have passed with 15 knots, and when we arrived, ten knots”.
Quantum Racing are back close to their best form and with their two second places to Phoenix’s third and fourth today, the US flagged team are back at the top of the 2022 season’s standings table. After a disappointing fourth in Mallorca in July, 19 points behind winners Phoenix, Quantum Racing’s Olympic bronze medal winning strategist Lucas Calabrese – sailing with Terry Hutchinson as tactician and Michele Ivaldi as navigator – was in a good mood as they docked back at Tuscany’s Marina di Scarlino,
“It is great to have Doug back and to be back to the usual configuration that we have a bit more experience with so we had a good day. Portals was a peculiar event because we did a lot of things well but just made some mistakes.”
“It was a tricky day because offshore there was a strong Mistral which was coming into bay, pulsing in and out and so it was really shifty. Terry. Michele and I, I think, were able to read it quite well. We had a great start to the second race which got us away. The pin was quite favoured and we were able to tack and cross the fleet early and that is a good feeling and it was relatively easy from there.”
Quantum Racing did make a peach of a opening to the second race. Starting close to the pin on a biased line they tacked on to port swiftly and crossed the fleet. After three or four minutes they were already nearly 100 metres ahead of the second placed boat. They looked well set for a race win – as indeed they did at a couple of points in the first race – but the attacking Sled ground them down and got to their left in the shifting breeze and were able to lead around the final turn.
Sled’s New Zealand strategist Murray Jones, who sails alongside the Italian afterguard of Francesco Bruni and navigator Andrea Visintini, is enjoying deciphering a venue which is new to him, and was pleased to win the second race to lie second overall. Jones said,
“The second race especially was challenging with a big rain squall going through which turned the breeze inside out. We were near the front of the fleet and managed to hang on. On the second beat we split to the left of Quantum Racing and that was enough to get us through them. My main job is looking out the boat and picking the breeze as I see it. So it was an interesting day, on the first run for example there was a lot more pressure down the right side looking downwind.”
Breezes are expected to be lighter for the next few days on Scarlino’s Gulf of Follonica.
Provisional Standings Royal Cup 52 SUPER SERIES Scarlino:
1. QUANTUM RACING (USA), Doug DeVos, 2+2 = 4 pts.
2. SLED (USA), Takashi Okura, 5+1 = 6 pts.
3. PHOENIX (RSA), Hasso & Tina Plattner, 3+4 = 7 pts.
4. VAYU (THAI), Whitcraft Family, 1+9 = 10 pts.
5. ALEGRE (GBR), Andy Soriano, 7+3 = 10 pts.
6. PLATOON (GER), Harm Müller-Spreer, 4+7 = 11 pts.
7. PROVEZZA (TUR), Ergin Imre, 8+5 = 13 pts.
8. GLADIATOR (GBR), Tony Langley, 6+8 = 14 pts.
9. INTERLODGE (USA), Austin & Gwen Fragomen, 9+6 = 15 pts.
Source – SUPER SERIES