27th of May, 2012

Garbi no show means Quantum Racing win Barcelona title

With no racing today Quantum Racing are crowned winners of the 52 SUPER SERIES first regatta, winning on countback from the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team.

It was due to be a Sunday High Noon shootout for the Troefeo Vela Conde de Godo regatta honours in the fierce early summer sunshine off Barcelona, America’s world champions on Quantum Racing duelling with the shoot-from-the hip Italian-Argentine team of the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team.

But the only key cast member visibly absent from the denouement, the scripted finale of the 52 Super Series’s first of four regattas this season, was the Garbi. The usually reliable sea-breeze refused to appear.

After two and half hours of waiting, on edge waiting for the light zephyrs to build to a racing breeze, the race committee had no alternative but to cancel the final race, leaving Quantum Racing as the regatta winners and the leaders of the 52 Super Series as it moves next month to Costa Smeralda for the Audi Sardinia Cup.

With five new crew in their line up, and a couple of modest starts on Day 1 – by the admission of winning skipper-helm Ed Baird – Quantum Racing started Barcelona with obvious room to improve, but finished Saturday with a flourish, trumping the fleet with a pair of aces.

In fact it is only that second win on Saturday which separates them from Audi Azzurra Sailing Team who showed good all-round speed on their new Botin Partners design which is a similar development to Quantum Racing.

Baird and his crew, including new tactician Andy Horton and navigator Spain’s JuanVila had the time and scope to build from Thursday’s low budget starts, but Niklas Zennström’s start to the penultimate race of the regatta cost them their chance to be real title contenders today. But the Swedish owner-driver and his crew leave Spain content that they are only two points off the top duo and have clearly moved up a level since winning the last Audi MedCup regatta here in September last year.

Racing has been consistently tight, especially round the first lap of each race, but the wind shifts and occasional differences in wind pressure delivered plenty of opportunities for gains and losses.

Tony Langley’s Gladiator crew have achieved steady, high level consistency now and are nearly always in the mix, enjoying close racing with Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE who had very little training and no racing coming into this regatta, and a crew which is 70 per cent changed since last year.

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Azzurra Quantum Racing Trofeo Conde de Godo