No announcement yet.

Green Light In Galicia

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Green Light In Galicia

    The 52 SUPER SERIES fleet warmed up for Tuesday’s start of the 2022 season with three good practice races today on the beautiful r?a de Vigo off Baiona where the world’s leading grand prix monohull circuit is visiting for the very first time in its ten year history.
    As if to underline how open this five-regatta season is likely to be, there were three different race winners, Harm M?ller Spreer’s Platoon, the Plattner family’s Phoenix with Tom Slingsby calling tactics and Ergin Imr?’s Provezza which has Argentinian aces Santi Lange and Cole Parada backing up tactician Hamish Pepper at this regatta.
    The morning rain and low hanging cloud cleared away to leave light to moderate breezes (9-11kts) and flat water which offered near perfect conditions for the final practice session at this challenging new venue, but Quantum Racing’s navigator Michele Ivaldi believes the first three days could see brisk N’ly winds which should challenge all aspects of the crews’ teamwork right from the very first races of the season.

    Ivaldi said after training,
    “The weather will characterised by the Azores High pressure coming towards us and then sliding up towards the Bay of Biscay and so we will have a Northerly gradient going to NE’ly and going to N’ly going to NW’ly gradient, pretty decent strength the next two or three days, so 15-20kts, and then as the high moves north to Biscay it will be lighter for the last two days, a lot lighter with potentially some sea breeze.”

    Platoon’s local hero Victor Mari?o – who grew up racing here – concurs:
    “The first two days of the week will be north-westerly, similar to today but without the early rain. After that it will be quite warm, so the wind will drop and it will be more changeable. But the mouth of the estuary always has good conditions for sailing. I think it's going to be a good week of racing.”

    And while the new racing waters will be a challenge to decipher, all of the crews are loving the beautiful scenery, the clear waters and lush, verdant coastline and stunning beaches on this rugged NW corner of Spain.
    “People don't expect this, they are not used to coming to Spain and seeing such green scenery. Here we have already spent more hours training over these last few days than in the whole of last season, and that's because they enjoy it, they like it, because it's nice to sail in the r?a de Vigo.”

    Said Mari?o.

    And Phoenix’s on-form Tom Slingsby on his first visit to the area is already entranced:
    “This is really one of the most beautiful places I have sailed. It is stunning coastline with big mountains, there are beautiful islands with crystal clear water and beautiful beaches. If we ever got a day off we would go and explore the beaches but that is not the way it works!”

    Slingsby feels he has a bit of a handle on the race area:
    “The race track is definitely challenging and tricky. I think it is really going to be a place of backing your judgment, either the left or right hand side could work. But you really have to dig into that side. There seems to be a little bit of a transition zone in the middle. You have to really work your side and use the geographical shifts either side and if you get caught in the middle then you could be in a bit of trouble.”

    After disappointment in Palma where they narrowly missed out on both titles, Slingsby says they are ready to take up where they left off last November:
    “I think we are in good shape. I think myself and Phoenix feel like we have unfinished business after missing out on the world championships and the season championship, so we are excited to be able to get back out there and get that one or two steps up. I feel like this team’s boat handling and speed has always been pretty good, we have to work on our course management, reduce the mistakes and keep the spinnakers together and we will be in there.”

    The champions, Takashi Okura’s Sled, have their talismanic owner-driver back on the helm and are ready to start their title defence at a venue which was a happy hunting ground for their Italian tactician Francesco Bruni who won the Master de Espa?a de Match Race Internacional here in 2009. Don Cowie, project manager and mainsheet trimmer, says that last season was so close the dice rolled in their favour,
    “I think that being honest we sailed a good season last year but a couple of times we were fortunate to be leading the regattas when it became either too light or too windy, that was the dice rolling in our favour, but it could have rolled the other way and ended up third or fourth just as easily. I think the fleet has got so much depth you would be a pretty arrogant person to go out there and think ‘we are going to finish in the top two,’ But we would like to finish on the podium but most of all just to not have bad regattas, but we are certainly not here puffing our chests out because we are the world champs.”

    Giving it their everything will be the Thailand crew on Vayu who are seeking to simply improve with each regatta. This will be the first full season for the pro-am Whitcraft family crew – which has five family members racing here and two young Thai sailors enjoying their new experience on this high octane grand prix circuit. Vayu have moved to Quantum Sails and while they will have the full back up package it will take some getting used to the new designs and shapes but Vayu – with Olympic silver medallist Nick Rogers on tactics and local pro ace Antonio ‘Neti’ Cuevas Mons adding muscle power and local knowledge – were very much in the mix today.
    “We had good fun races today, were in the mix and had good starts.”

    Co-owner Kevin Whitcraft commented,
    “It was good to be up there. We will see how we go and just want to improve over the season and basically feel like we are constantly getting better. We are with Quantum now and they are helping with data but these are new sails and shapes and so will take some getting used to. We have had some coaching last week in Vigo and will have a coach from Quantum with us this season and are looking to just improving and having in fun in the class and doing all the five events this season. All the Asian events are still cancelled so we have not done any serious sailing at home. We have Neti (Antonio Cuevas Mons) who is local sailing with us here and in Cascais and otherwise we have mostly the same crew as last year.”

    Racing runs Tuesday to Saturday. Follow the live tracking with commentary on the website.

    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  • #2
    Quantum Racing On The Prowl But Phoenix Go Four Points Clear in Galicia

    While Quantum Racing made the best of the great conditions on Galicia’s R?a de Vigo on the second day of the ABANCA 52 SUPER SERIES Baiona Sailin Week scoring a first and a second it is Phoenix which has stretched their overall regatta lead to four clear points.

    Quantum Racing won the first race of the day which was contested in 15-18kts of breeze whilst Phoenix followed up their hard won third place from that first race – coming back from very deep in the fleet on the first upwind of the day – and comfortably won the second race ahead of the Quantum crew.

    Even if there was significantly more wind that the subtle, streaky breeze of Tuesday’s opening races it was no easier to read for the afterguards. There was a big shift to the right on the first upwind of the day which the Fragomens’ team on Interlodge, which has Ed Baird as tactician, read best. Whilst they led at the top mark first time up, both of Day 1’s top performers Phoenix and Vayu were on the wrong side of the shift and were seventh and eighth to round.

    But whilst Terry Hutchinson and the Quantum Racing crew were able to pull back on the second upwind when the wind swung back, so also Tom Slingsby and Cam Dunn the Phoenix afterguard were able to use this shift to get right back into contention. Fourth at the top turn second time up Phoenix nicked a third from Interlodge in the final 300 metres of the run to mark out the kind of solid comeback – from seventh to third - which wins regattas.

    After sharing the Day 1 lead thanks to two second places there might had been something of a cruel return to reality for the Vayu crew, the Whitcrafts’ Thai team which finished eighth in the first race, a solid fifth in the next race sees them holding fourth overall at the end of the second day.
    “It is nice to have a good day after yesterday. But then like one of the guys on the boat said this morning ‘yesterday felt much worse than it really was’ and I kind of agree because we are very critical of ourselves. We are always looking for what we can do better. And today was no different in that respect.”

    Smiled Terry Hutchinson the hard driving Quantum Racing tactician,
    “Man, this race course is awesome. It is challenging. It is hard. You earn your good races and you earn your bad races equally. And so I think it is a great spot to come and race. I came here many, many years ago with John (Kostecki) Rossco (Ross Halcrow, Platoon) and ‘Cheese’ (Dirk De Ridder, Platoon) to train with the illbruck programme out of Vigo and I remember it being beautiful. It is an awesome spot to race.”

    Cameron Dunn, the Kiwi strategist on Phoenix admitted they ‘got out of jail’ on the first race for their third place but says the Botin design is going fast:
    “We got the first half of the first race very wrong but then got the second half very right and so it worked out. Then the second race was really awesome. The boat was going really fast and once we got the lead we managed to get away.”

    Dunn recalls,
    “There was a massive right shift at the top of the first beat of the first race and we got that wrong. We had just been looking for clear air to let the boat do its thing, but the second beat it came back to the left and we got into that and got back on race. The mood on board is great. After a comeback like that and then winning the second one you are pretty chipper. We are confident in each other, our crew work is good and we know that we have three very difficult, light airs days coming up and in this fleet that can be very tough yachting.”

    Unfortunately Ergin Imre’s Provezza team had to sit out both of today’s races after a forestay fitting failed on Tuesday but they are hopeful to be back racing Thursday.

    ABANCA 52 SUPER SERIES Baiona Sailing Week standings after four races
    1 PHOENIX (RSA) Hasso & Tina Plattner 1,3,3,1 8pts
    2 QUANTUM RACING (USA) Doug DeVos 4,5,1,2 12 pts
    3 PLATOON (GER) Harm M?ller Spreer 5,1,2,4 12 pts
    4 VAYU (THA) Whitworth family 2,2,8,5 17 pts
    5 INTERLODGE (USA) Austin & Gwen Fragomen 6,4,4,6 20 pts
    6 SLED (USA) Takashi Okura 3,6,5,7 21 pts
    7 ALEGRE (GBR) Andy Soriano 9,7,6,3 25 pts
    8 GLADIATOR (GBR) Tony Langley 7,8,7,8 30 pts
    9 PROVEZZA (TUR) Ergin Imre 8,10,10.10 38 pts

    Phoenix Lead But Dream 52 SUPER SERIES Start in Baiona For Amateur Vayu Team

    If the Plattner family’s Phoenix team, with man of the moment Tom Slingsby calling tactics, issued a clear statement of intent when they unrolled a truly comprehensive victory in the first race of the 2022 52 SUPER SERIES season, and with a 1.3 for the day lead the ABANCA 52 SUPER SERIES Baiona Sailing Week by the slimmest of margins, there was also a sharp reminder that the world’s leading grand prix monohull circuit is not all about stars of Sail GP, America’s Cup, Olympic and The Ocean Race when Thailand’s amateur, family Vayu crew pieced together two assured second places today to earn a share of the overall lead.

    They were the title challengers whose momentum was rudely halted by an exploding spinnaker on the last racing day in Palma last November and today Phoenix looked sharp and smooth leading all the way round the first race. With a margin of over 500 metres at the finish line they had visibly extended on each leg of the course.

    They were pursued all the way round by Thai brothers Kevin and Tom Whitcraft’s Vayu team - which has five family members on board including young Thai 49er Olympic campaigner Don steering - and British Olympic silver medallist Nick Rogers calling tactics. They held off the 2021 circuit champions Sled who took third and then did it again in the second race chasing Platoon through the finish with Phoenix taking third.

    “It was an amazing, amazing day, just great for the team. It proves that in anything under 12 knots I think we are in with a shout. But there is great credit to Kevin for setting up the team. We have sailed together for quite a while, seven years or so already, but this is a big step up.”

    said a smiling Rogers whose long time friend and past 470 crew Pom Green runs the project.

    Kevin Whitcraft added,
    “It was a pretty epic day, I am a bit shellshocked to be honest. I did not expect that when we went out this morning. The team sailed like a team and minimised mistakes. It was good fun sailing. I think we were solid on both the starts. We had clear air soon after the starts and thereafter we sailed like a team. Often with us as a fairly new team little mistakes become bigger issues and today there were not many mistakes. All we can say as an amateur team is we’d love to see more teams like us giving it a go.”

    Phoenix started on the right hand end of the line and worked the early right in the streaky 8-9kts breeze to gain a solid lead by the top mark. Vayu had clear air on the left and were never really challenged hard. With Rogers supported with a little local knowledge here and there from local Vigo pro ‘Neti’ Cuervas Mons, Team Vayu proved well able to make smart choices, especially in the second race when they were the only team among the tightly packed top four to hold right on the first run, a move which saw them pass through the leeward gate even with leaders Platoon and ahead of Phoenix.

    Even with the breeze puffing up to 13-14kts for the second race the beautiful ria de Vigo race track was hard to read, places in the middle of the pack changing all the time. Phoenix looked to have all the tools in place to win regattas this season again has project manager Tony Norris steering here and is one of the three Botin boats with new keel fins:

    South African mainsheet trimmer Paul Wilcox asserts,
    “I think we are kind of taking up where we left off last year which is nice. The boat is going well and this new keel fin seems to be doing what it was supposed to do. And we have some new sails which is nice. Today was about connecting the puffs, it was a super streaky breeze and Tom did a really good job. I think we have a bit of confidence. We know we can do a good job we have good boat speed. We have been practising manoeuvres, penalties, spinnaker changes. We have confidence in him and he has confidence in us. It goes a long way, people digging in and doing their job very well.”

    Platoon with a first and sixth are third overall, Sled fourth and Quantum Racing fifth.

    ABANCA 52 SUPER SERIES Baiona Sailing Week

    1 PHOENIX (RSA) Hasso & Tina Plattner 1,3 4 pts
    2 VAYU (THAI) Whitworth family 2,2. 4 pts
    3 PLATOON (GER) Harm M?ller Spreer 5,1 6 pts
    4 SLED (USA) Takashi Okura 3,6 9 pts
    5 QUANTUM RACING (USA) Doug DeVos 4,5 9 pts
    6 INTERLODGE (USA) Austin & Gwen Fragomen 6,4 10 pts
    7 GLADIATOR (GBR) Tony Langley 7,8 15 pts
    8 ALEGRE (GBR) Andy Soriano 9,7 16 pts
    9 PROVEZZA (TUR) Ergin Imre 8,10 18 pts
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


    • #3
      Quantum Racing Take Charge In Baiona

      Lighter winds prevailed on Galicia’s beautiful Ria de Vigo as the third day of racing at the ABANCA 52 SUPER SERIES Baiona Sailing Week produced two different race winners and saw Quantum Racing step clear at the top of the leaderboard.

      While Tony Langley’s British flagged Gladiator team, with Paul Goodison on tactics, read the first beat of the first race best – tacking off the signal boat right end of the line and going right – to earn a very comfortable win, victory in the second race for Doug DeVos’ USA crew was added to a third in the first race which means the 2018 52 SUPER SERIES Champions now lead the regatta by two points with two days of racing still to go.

      For the second successive day Quantum Racing were the top scoring boat. In contrast it proved a tough day for Phoenix which had led overall going out on the race course today. They were on the wrong side of the key shifts on both first beats on a demanding racing arena which did not present many opportunities for significant comebacks. The South African crew drop to third overall.
      Quantum’s tactician Terry Hutchinson in particular paid tribute to the team’s strategist, Argentine 470 Olympic medalist Lucas Calabrese and Italian navigator Michele Ivaldi

      “It was a tough day but I have to give high marks to Lucas and to Michele because it is a minefield out there We had good dialogue and discussion and Lucas in particular, his eyesight is very, very good and he is a champion up the rig at picking a side. We are fortunate to have him.”

      But Hutchinson cautioned:

      “We are only half way through and the Platoon guys sailed a great day too. You just know how quickly these things can turn around in the fleet. We need to keep our heads down and stay focused on the task at hand. To me I think Platoon sailed really well today because they passed boats all the time. They had to contend with us a little bit sailing tactically against them. And they kept asking the questions of us, so they sailed great today.”

      This Baiona race course area, which is protected by small islands to windward which channel and upset the breeze patterns, is really offering a great new challenge to the battle hardened afterguards as the circuit visits this beautiful new venue on the NW corner of the Iberian peninsula. On the first race the right side paid. The majority then set up for the right on the second start but in time it was the top left that paid enough to see Quantum step out into the lead after taking the pin end bias and making it work.

      British owner driver Tony Langley joked that in part their win was down to removing unlucky bananas from all areas of the Gladiator programme but in truth they executed nicely on the start gun in the key position and stuck to their game plan. It is their first race win since Zadar in 2018 but there is clear evidence that this fleet is so much more even, better trained, better coached, better and more closely optimised than ever before.

      Double Olympic medallist Xabi Fernandez said of the Gladiator win,

      “It was a nice win. It was a much better day for us and not just because of the win but the boat was going much better. We had a nice start got to the right and from there it was straightforward. It is so much easier when you are ahead.”

      After a 48 hour battle to source and replace a forestay fitting it was pleasing to see Provezza back on the race course.

      ABANCA 52 SUPER SERIES Baiona Sailing Week After 6 races
      1 QUANTUM RACING (USA) Doug DeVos 4,5,1,2,3,1 16pts
      2 PLATOON (GER) Harm M?ller Spreer 5,1,2,4,4,2 18 pts
      3 PHOENIX (RSA) Hasso & Tina Plattner 1,3,3,1,8,6 22 pts
      4 VAYU (THAI) K & D Whitcraft 2,2,8,5,5,7 29 pts
      5 INTERLODGE (USA) Austin & Gwen Fragomen 6,4,4,6,2,9 31 pts
      6 SLED (USA) Takashi Okura 3,6,5,7,7,4 32 pts
      7 ALEGRE (GBR) Andy Soriano 9,7,6,3,9,3 37 pts
      8 GLADIATOR (GBR) Tony Langley 7,8,7,8,1,8 39 pts
      9 PROVEZZA (TUR) Ergin Imre 8,10,10.10,6,5 49 pts
      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery