Provezza on top after champagne racing day on the Gulf of Saint-Tropez
After a day on which the Gulf of Saint-Tropez offered up a strengthening sea breeze and beautiful spring sunshine, Ergin Imre’s Turkish flagged Provezza team lead the 52 SUPER SERIES Saint Tropez Sailing Week by one single point ahead of Andy Soriano’s almost equally consistent Alegre. Defending champions Quantum Racing powered by American Magic are up to third on the general classification.
The second race was the windiest yet, the gusty, puffy breeze peaking at just under 20kts finally offering the 11 boat fleet some fast downwind sailing, the TP52s lighting up, ensuring there were useful gains to be made riding the gusts for longer.
The race course continues to offer a regular dividend on the right side of the track looking upwind. That is making the starts extremely tightly contested, often with a compact group fighting tooth and nail for the prime spot at the committee boat, right hand end of the line.
First race, Takash Okura’s 2021 champions Sled were actually shut out in the joust for the boat end and had to circle round swiftly. They may have lost vital seconds but they recovered well and led around the first mark ahead of Provezza.
Sled, with five times America’s Cup winner Murray Jones calling tactics, now this year supported by Italian Michele Ivaldi as strategist, passed Provezza on the second beat and took the win.
And Okura’s past world champions looked to have nailed the first leg of Race 6 too. But they came in too tight on the mark when they tacked inside the line-up of approaching starboard tack boats they were left stranded and starved of wind by the passing fleet. Dropping to an 11th , their day of highs and lows is not unusual in a fleet which is so evenly matched now.
Sled’s strategist Michele Ivaldi mused,
“We could have had two good races. In the first the guys worked really well and we were fast. And we were going well in the second until just one miscommunication and we had to do a penalty and ended up 11th. It could have been first and we ended up last.”
Quantum Racing and Alegre emerged best from that first mark mix up and enjoyed a close tussle, the defending champions scoring their second win from three starts. Their new afterguard – double America’s Cup winner John Kostecki leading 21 year old helm Harry Melge IV and navigator-strategist Victor Diaz de Leon – is getting stronger with each race. Top scoring team over the last three races they are up to third place on the leaderboard.
Provezza navigator Nacho Postigo remarks,
“We are sailing well. The fleet is really, really competitive and we have now seen four different boats winning races. We have been very, very consistent with our starts, we had one early start, but otherwise we are getting off the line well and that gives us options. The boat is going well, we have a new keel fin designed by the Vrolijk team and that helps. But really there is just one point in it and we had to try and keep doing what we have been doing.”
And racing his first ever 52 SUPER SERIES regatta Quantum’s strategist-navigator Victor Diaz de Leon summarises.
“We are very happy but there are so many things to work on to keep getting better. John Kostecki is someone I have always looked up to and I am learning more every day about what he wants from be and when. That is getting better each race.”
52 SUPER SERIES Saint-Tropez Sailing Week after six races
1 Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre) 2,5,4,6,2,6 25pts.
2 Alegre, GBR (Andy Soriano) 4,4,7,4,5,2 26pts.
3 Quantum Racing powered American Magic, USA (Doug DeVos) 6,8,8,1,3,1 27pts
4 Interlodge, USA (Austin e Gwen Fragomen) 1,1,6,8,7,9 32pts
5 Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer) 7,9,1,3,9,4 33 pts
6 Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley) 5,3,3,11,10,3 35pts
7 Sled, USA (Takashi Okura) 8,7,9,2,1,11 38 pts
8 Paprec, FRA (Jean Luc Petithuguenin) 11,6,2,7,6,7 39 pts
9 Văyu, THA (fam. Whitcraft) 10,2,5,10,11,5 43pts
10 Alpha+, HKG (Shawn e Tina Kang) 3,11,10,5,8,10 47pts
11 Phoenix, RSA (Hasso e Tina Plattner) 9,10,11,9,4,8 51 pts
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