The TP52 Fleet is lined up in Porto Cervo ready for the Audi Sailing Week- 52 Super Series
Porto Cervo, June 20th, 2017. Northern Sardinia's granite rocks and the turquoise waters of the Costa Smeralda will provide the backdrop for the Audi Sailing Week - 52 Super Series that will be held in Porto Cervo from June 21st to 25th. The event is organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in collaboration with Title Sponsor Audi, a partnership that has been fast and solid since 2008.
The Audi Sailing Week is the fourth event in the 2017 52 Super Series, a highly competitive and professional series of regattas reserved for TP52s, the fastest mono hulls racing today. A fleet of eleven boats coming from eight different nations is docked in front of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, ready to start racing: today, June 20th we saw the Practice Race while the official start of the event is scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday June 21st at 1:00 PM (CEST). The forecast calls for light winds, never over 12 knots at least until Thursday.
Riccardo Bonadeo, YCCS Commodore had these words: "I would like to welcome the whole 52 Super Series family, we are very happy to have you here for the Audi Sailing Week in this, our 50th anniversary year. The fact that Azzurra, the TP52 that belongs to our friends and club members the Roemmers and that flies the YCCS burgee, is here in Porto Cervo together with the 52 Super Series, the most competitive mono hull circuit, is proof of the good work that the YCCS is doing, both on land and in the water. I also want to thank Audi for the enthusiastic support they offer to so many YCCS sport and social programs. This is sailing at its best; we'll see some top-level racing and I want to wish everyone fair winds."
Provisional results in the 52 Super Series after four events see the newly crowned World Champion Platoon, with her owner Hans Mueller-Spreer at the helm, in the lead. Also aboard are John Kostecki, tactician; the Olympic gold medallist Jordi Calafat as strategist and Dirk De Ridder on the mainsail. Azzurra, in her home waters in Porto Cervo, is just four points behind but has no intention of playing the polite hostess and letting her competition get ahead. Her owners and YCCS club members, Pablo and Alberto Roemmers, will be in Porto Cervo for the Audi Sailing Week. Azzurra's historic rival, Quantum Racing, is eleven points from the leader and currently third overall. She will be helmed by her American owner Doug DeVos.
Azzurra's Skipper-helmsman Guillermo Parada comments: "We need to improve our consistency a little bit. We sailed well at the beginning and at the end of the regatta in Scarlino, but we need to take some bad days out of the equation if we want to have a chance at the end of the season. We need to be sure in Porto Cervo that we are consistent every day. I think there are a couple of good boats to keep looking at now rather than just Quantum, so we have to keep working all the time. We really just need to focus on ourselves, on what we are doing rather than who is on what boat; we look to do the very best we can, and if we do that we should be in a position to win."
While the top three teams have a good lead on the rest of the fleet there are still boats that stand a good chance of recovering positions. Provezza, currently in fourth place, has Peter Holmberg at the helm and Tony Rey as tactician. Niklas Zennström's Ran Racing is currently in fifth place and has won the TP52 World Championship in the past. They have Adrian Stead as tactician. The Russian team Bronenosec Gazprom, has several Italian sailors aboard and has been sailing below her full potential so far this season. But starting from this event her team will be joined by Tommaso Chieffi who will put his experience and strategies to work for tactician Morgan Larson.
Chieffi has these words on his role as Bronenosec's strategist: "I am very happy to be sailing in the 52 Super Series aboard Bronenosec again. I started sailing with this Russian team in 2011 and have had great success with them in this and other Classes. In 2016 I participated in a few 52 Super Series events with the Italian team aboard Xio, and the Costa Smeralda is like a second home to me I've sailed and won so often here. I will take over Michele Ivaldi's role as strategist aboard Bronenosec which is not easy to do once the season has started. I will have to find my place in a team that has honed its skills after months on the water together and I'll have to give it my all, even more than ever."
Gladiator is the newest build in the fleet and has Ed Baird as tactician. Alegre missed a podium finish at the World Championship by a hair and the Brits aboard Sorcha could also be contenders. The French team aboard Paprec Recyclage will be back after missing two events because of a dismasting in early March during training in Miami. Her team will have a new entry at the headsails: Jonathan Lobert, bronze medallist at the London Olympics in the Finn Class.
There is a coastal race scheduled for Wednesday the 21st that will be followed by windward/leeward courses and another coastal race on Saturday, but the Race Committee will make its final decision depending on the weather. Commentary in English straight from the course can be followed on Virtual Eye on the www.52superseries.com website.
Garmin Marine is the Official Technical Partner of the event.