13th of September, 2016

Breezy Start to 52 World Championship Expected

(Tuesday 13th September, Menorca) – Quantum Racing laid down their marker in Menorca for the 52 World Championship when they won today’s official practice race, leading from the first windward mark to the finish line of a testing windward-leeward track contested in light, shifty, streaky airs. But with Bronenosec just behind them at the finish line, taking a close second and, earlier, the French team on Paprec chivvying them around the first windward turn it is clear that the team that leads this season’s 52 SUPER SERIES will not have it all their own way over the next five days.

If forecasts hold out as expected, then Wednesday – the first racing day – promises a sparkling start to this much anticipated World Championship with winds over 20kts expected on what is expected to be a bumpy, lumpy relatively exposed race arena. If that proves the case then today’s relatively sedate practise test will be a real contrast. It was a test of reading the subtle changes in the gentle breeze, abilities to change gear and keep the boat moving across the streaky, stripy breeze.

Quantum Racing were ahead from midway up the first beat. The most impressive team, other than the circuit leaders, were Bronenosec and they could well prove the dark horse here. Vladimir Liubomirov’s team have proven to be one of the fastest on the water, finishing second overall at Puerto Portals Sailing Week – albeit tied with Azzurra – and today they were the crew which proved most adept at doing what Quantum Racing do best: chipping away, passing boats to earn good, solid finishes. Liubomirov’s team have two past Quantum lieutenants in key decision making roles – former navigator Michele Ivaldi is tactician and project manager and Ado Stead strategist. Stead is the only sailor in the field to have won the TP52 World Championship title as tactician with two different boats, twice with Quantum Racing, in 2010 and 2011, and with with Rán Racing in 2013.

Phoenix, with skipper Paul Cayard steering and Peter Holmberg calling tactics, showed well in the early stages of their first “official” outing on the 52 SUPER SERIES circuit but faded as the practice heat unfolded.

“It is all a bit steep for us.” Cayard said on the dock in Port Mahón, “Our goal was really to join the circuit next year but here we are and we are happy to be here. These guys are fast. I don’t think we are quite up to speed yet. But we have our system set up. We are debriefing every night. We have Steve Calder (North Sails designer) so we are looking to absorb a lot. I’d say a mid-fleet finish would be good for us. That is my expectation but we will see how it goes.”

Defending world champions are Azzurra. They won convincingly last year in Puerto Portals where they sailed faster and smarter than the rest of the fleet. This season the fleet have caught up on the team which represents the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, but small changes to their boat and rig set up finds the team in a bullish mood:

“We have a couple of new sails, we have modified our mainsail and made some more changes to the set up of the boat and so we are confident that our speed will be a step ahead of where we were.”

Skipper-helm Guillermo Parada attests:

“Hopefully we can pull together a good week in terms of the whole package, the start, the speed, tactics, manoeuvres, all the things you need to put together to have a good regatta. Having the world championships here in the middle of the season is a great opportunity. Here we start from scratch with two opportunities. We are here to win the world championships and to see that Quantum Racing does not win the whole season.”

Hosting the 52 World Championship, one of the TP52 Class pinnacle events, represents a significant investment for Mahón and the island of Menorca, seeking to put the beautiful and unique Balearic island on the map as a high class venue for future international sailing events. As it is, the local economical impact of a 52 SUPER SERIES regatta is estimated to be over two million euros, as was highlighted at today’s press conference.

Agustin Zulueta, the CEO of the 52 SUPER SERIES highlights:

“We bring about 400 people from the 12 teams and the organisation. That means for Mahón and Menorca an economic impact of between 2 and 3 million euros for the city and for local suppliers. Our aim is not just the commercial aspect but to bring a good, high quality event to town and to work closely with the clubs and authorities.”

Maite Salord, the president of the Consell de Menorca, said:

“From the Consell we are very clear that this type of race defines us as a premium destination and reflects perfectly with the values ​​we want to project around the world. This is the way we want to continue, to establish Menorca as a unique place in the Mediterranean where tourism, sports and nature all come together, a place of the past, present and future.”

Quotes:
Guillermo Parada (ARG) skipper-helm Azzurra (ITA):

“We are excited. We have a world title to defend and we want to keep it for another 12 months. We have a couple of new sails, we have modified our mainsail and made some more changes to the set up of the boat and so we are confident that we our speed will be a step ahead of where we were. Hopefully we can pull together a good week in terms of the whole package, the start, the speed, tactics, manoeuvres, all the things you need to put together to have a good regatta. Having the world championships here in the middle of the season is a great opportunity. Here we start from scratch with two opportunities. We are here to win the world championships and to see that Quantum Racing does not win the whole season. So I think the chance to start from scratch and aim for the world championship title is extra motivation for us for sure.”

Ed Baird (USA) skipper-helm Quantum Racing (USA):

“Everybody is here to win the world championship and it is so exciting. Menorca has turned on the weather for us with great sailing conditions. The trick here is that the land does not influence the wind so much as it does at other venues we go to. So here every day can be different. It is all about what the weather is doing up above. We love to win any time we can but the world championship is special.”

Paul Cayard (USA) skipper Phoenix (USA):

“It is all a bit steep for us. Our goal was really to join the circuit next year but here we are and we are happy to be here. These guys are fast. I don’t think we are quite up to speed yet. But we have our system set up. We are debriefing every night. We have Steve Calder (North Sails designer) so we are looking to absorb a lot. I’d say a mid-fleet finish would be good for us. That is my expectation but we will see how it goes.”

The 52 World Championship will take place in Mahón, Menorca from 14th-18th September. Racing starts at 12:30 CEST every day, with live coverage on the final three days. You can catch all the action here, on our homepage or via the app. Click the button below to download the race schedule to your calendar, and receive pre-race reminders. Never miss a beat.


2016-09-14 12:30:00
2016-09-14 17:00:00
Europe/Madrid
52 World Championship – Day 1
Watch the races LIVE via state-of-the-art Virtual Eye technology at www.52SUPERSERIES.com/LIVE
Mahón, Menorca
52 SUPER SERIES

2016-09-15 12:30:00
2016-09-15 17:00:00
Europe/Madrid
52 World Championship – Day 2
Watch the races LIVE via state-of-the-art Virtual Eye technology at www.52SUPERSERIES.com/LIVE
Mahón, Menorca
52 SUPER SERIES

2016-09-16 12:30:00
2016-09-16 17:00:00
Europe/Madrid
52 World Championship – Day 3
Watch the races LIVE at www.52SUPERSERIES.com
Mahón, Menorca
52 SUPER SERIES

2016-09-17 12:30:00
2016-09-17 17:00:00
Europe/Madrid
52 World Championship – Day 4
Watch the races LIVE at www.52SUPERSERIES.com
Mahón, Menorca
52 SUPER SERIES

2016-09-18 12:30:00
2016-09-18 17:00:00
Europe/Madrid
52 World Championship – Day 5
Watch the races LIVE at www.52SUPERSERIES.com
Mahón, Menorca
52 SUPER SERIES


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