27th of May, 2016

Coastal Tsars – the Toast of Scarlino

Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec crew enhanced their reputation as the 52 SUPER SERIES’ kings of the coastal race discipline when they won the 28-mile uphill downhill passage at the Scarlino Cup on the Golfo di Follonica.

Since their debut on the circuit one year ago in Valencia – the team have won four of the six coastal races that the fleet has contested. They added the Scarlino win to coastal triumphs in Porto Cervo, Palma and Cascais and even finished runners up in Puerto Portals. Often victory has been theirs because they positioned themselves well enough to pounce on any small opportunity.

Key to their coastal triumph here was what proved to be a perfect first layline to the counterclockwise turn around the little island of Sparviero off Punta Ala. That allowed the blue-hulled, Russian-flagged team to get their noses in front and after that it was pure plain sailing.

With a big variation between the breeze at the bottom and top of the six miles windward-leeward loop – essentially from Scarlino to just south of Punta Ala and back – the leaders accelerated down into the building wind and protected on the one-sided beats and that made for a classic rich-get-richer gain.

Michele Ivaldi, the Bronenosec tactician who is supported this year by Adrian Stead, a sole Briton in the Italian afterguard, says:

“I don’t really know why we do so well on the coastals. It is not like we set up any differently to the windward-leewards days. There is maybe something about the longer courses we enjoy, but we take the same approach. There is no particular magic.”

On the left-side favoured track the action was on the pin end of the startline. After two wins yesterday, Ergin Imre’s Provezza looked to have done enough to win the key spot once again – the third time in a row – but unfortunately they hooked the pin boat’s ground tackle. From being launched at the gun in the prime position they had to slow immediately and rid themselves of the rope. Provezza fought back from 11th to sixth which keeps them second overall.

Quantum Racing made the best start and were quickly in control of the race with a small – but what looked to be significant – lead. But it was the top third of the windward leg which really set the order for the day. Along with Platoon they erred too far into the shore – where the breeze was lighter and more lifted. Further out, Bronenosec, Alegre and Azzurra read it just right, lifting to the layline in better pressure. At the slow, sticky turn around the rocky islet that was the order with Quantum fourth and Platoon fifth, a hierarchy which stayed set all the way around the remainder of the passage. At the leeward gate there was always 12-13kts, when at the top there was as little as four or five knots at times. A final triangle out to a wing mark proved purely processional.

For Bronenosec it is a welcome improvement on their results over the first two days which included a 9,6,7 as well as a second. And it takes them to fifth on the regatta standings, one point up on 2015 SUPER SERIES champions Azzurra who finished third today but are still 11 points behind regatta leaders Quantum Racing. Provezza and Platoon share the same points tally, 21, but with two more days of windward-leewards racing there is still only five points between second and sixth.

Quantum Racing go into the last two days of windward-leeward racing with a lead of six points – still effectively growing their points margin by one or two points each day – ahead of Platoon and Provezza. Azzurra are now five points off second and seem to have their mojo back and are moving up the leaderboard.

52 SUPER SERIES – Scarlino Cup
Standings after Day 3, five races sailed:
1 Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (1,3,4,3,4) 15 pts
2 Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (4,9,1,1,6) 21 pts
3 Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (5,2,3,6,5) 21 pts
4 Alegre, GBR (Andres Soriano USA) (2,5,8,5,2) 22 pts
5 Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (9,6,2,7,1) 25 pts
6 Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (7,8,6,2,3) 26 pts
7 Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (3,4,7,4,10) 28 pts
8 Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) (6,1,9,8,8) 32 pts
9 Xio/Hurakan, ITA (Guiseppe Parodi ITA) (8,7,5,9,7) 36 pts
10 Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (10,10,10,10,11) 51pts
11 Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (11,11,11,11,9) 53 pts

Simon Fry (GBR) trimmer Provezza (TUR):

“The pin end boat was suddenly following us upwind about nine knots which was not good for us. We were very lucky that we did not touch the boat itself because that meant we could continue. And at 20 seconds after the start I would have taken anything other than a last and so a sixth represents a good fight back.”

Markus Wieser (GER) tactician Platoon (GER):

“We were just over the layline and we lost 200 metres by doing that. From there it was a drag race, there was no way back. The leading boats were in the rich-get-richer scenario. At the top we got close but then got bad air from Bronenosec, and then Alegre, and then Quantum, and suddenly from being nearly second we were fifth again. It was that kind of day. That was our chance. It is a long season, right. You know how close it was at the end of last season. Any point counts. Any point you lose now can be a place lost at the end of the season. I am sure Azzurra and Quantum Racing will be the top boats so it is a battle for the owner-drivers. But we are better organised than last year and we are more stable. It is an improvement on last year but also we have room for improvement. It is so close. It is so tough. If you get a clear lane it is good but if you don’t and a boat tacks on you then you have to do two more tacks and that is it. You are out of the game. It is so close.”

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