Déjà vu in Costa Smeralda?
With a pair of victories from the first two races of the Audi Sardinia Cup, Quantum Racing reprised a measure of their world championship winning performance on the same Costa Smeralda waters where they triumphed late last year.
In light breezes it was a difficult day for the 52 Super Series’ tacticians, seeking to avoid the worst of the potholes – holes in the wind – and to try to take account of key changes in pressure and direction.
While the American flagged Quantum Racing built their back to back wins on a couple of really sharp starts, there were opportunities to be seized in both races when they presented themselves, ensuring it was never easy in the tactician’s hot seat.
In the second race the French team on the Paprec Recyclage – a crew which is mainly amateur and includes a primary teacher, doctor and a couple of construction engineers – gave the champions a start when the seized the lead at the leeward gate, but the French lost out significantly on the final run.
Tony Langley’s British boat Gladiator had a strong opening day with Chris Larson calling tactics and Italian navigator Michele Ivaldi on one of his favourite arenas, posting a second in the first race and a third. The British and Italian teams tied on points, but Gladiator lose out countback for the moment to the home favourites on Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, but once again Langley’s crew are enjoying the Costa Smeralda.
The home team’s third in the first windward-leeward was down to a missed opportunity, according to Francesco Bruni, on the next contest it was an opportunity seized with two hands when they very nearly eclipsed Quantum Racing on the finish line as they hooked into a nice final windshift.
But Bruni confirmed that they were looking formore upwind speed in the light to hold on to Quantum Racing.
Through the day the breeze never quite made it into double figures, the remnants of the strong Mistral finally giving way to an E’ly which got as far to the south as expected not built to the sea-breeze intensity which was widely expected.
Friday is due to see up to three windward-leeward races.
It was pretty light and shifty but I think we were going pretty well in these conditions, but we also had two good starts and that really made it a bit easier. We were not really crossed on any of the first beats and the good starts allowed us to get into the best of the pressure. In the second race we found a bit of a hole and Paprec passed us but we ground them back in. The finish of the second race was close, we had the pin end favoured by a big bit and then the wind just started shifting and then it was the boat end by a big bit, and Azzurra just came down in it. The problem in the light air is that you can’t afford to gybe that much and so you are looking at placements seven minutes down the track.” “But I like it here. Sailing with Juan Vila is a pleasure, he is the best in the world and it makes by job easy!
Andy Horton (USA), Tactician Quantum Racing (USA)
In the first race we were pleased to get past PowerPlay, that was a nice feeling. And we were a little surprised to sail so well in the second race. We were quite confident in everything we were trying to do, and had a big mistake on the final run which was my call. The battle with Quantum is really when you see that if we fight with another boat, going low or high, changing gears against them then we are trashed, but in a straight line and when we do our own thing then we are fine. We are disappointed but not surprised that they did that to us, that’s why they are where they are, and most of our guys are here on their holidays. We take a lot of positives though, to be second at the top mark, to overtake Quantum on the run, to stay ahead, that’s our bonus.” “There are no professionals on board, we have a doctor, an engineer, a primary school teacher, someone who is building hospitals, so they are on holiday just looking to see if they can give the big guys a bit of a fright. So no one is disappointed tonight.
Sebastien Destremau (FRA), tactician Paprec Recyclage (FRA)
We are happy with our day, Guillermo did a good job on the starts, except that in the first one Quantum were just a little faster off the line. We were second at the top mark and had a big opportunity to go straight like Gladiator did and could have lead. That was our mistake of the day, and I criticize myself for that, because Gladiator was nearly bow to bow at the bottom of that run. We had an opportunity and did not use it. Second race we had a good start, won the side we wanted but against Quantum we were struggling a little for speed upwind compared with them. We have to analyze the photos and videos and see what is different, that is part of our job before tomorrow. The numbers were OK and the boat was doing what we expected so maybe we have to sail the boat a bit different.
Francesco Bruni (ITA) tactician Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA)
We are happy with the day, it was very light and tricky. We kind of gambled on the right on the first race and that seemed to work for us, but we do like it here, it is good for us. We are very happy with a 2.3 at this level is pretty good.
Tony Langley (GBR) skipper-helm Gladiator (GBR)
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