The Audi Settimana delle Bocche (The Week of the Straits) begins next week with home favourites Azzurra set to welcome the return of Francesco Bruni to their crew line up as they seek to halt Quantum Racing’s unbroken run of 52 Super Series trophy regatta wins at the season finale off Porto Cervo, Sardinia.
It will be a big week for the Azzurra team.
The 2012 52 Super Series champions will be centre stage in the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s celebrations of 30 years since the first Azzurra crew went to compete at the America’s Cup. The crew which is led by skipper Guillermo Parada (ARG) on the Roemmers family TP52 are keen to finish the 2013 52 Super Series with a trophy regatta victory.
In the overall 52 Super Series, which consists of the four European regattas – Barcelona, Ibiza, Palma and Costa Smeralda – the Ed Baird skippered Quantum Racing (USA) has built a comfortable overall lead of 34 points, whilst Azzurra actually have a job on their hands to hold on to second place overall, starting in Sardinia with only half a point of margin of Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing (SWE).
Going into the final race of the year, Quantum Racing skippered by Ed Baird has built a solid overall lead of 34 points.
Quantum Racing, winners of the MedCup title in 2008, are looking towards an unprecedented clean sweep. Tactician Terry Hutchinson believes that their best chance of closing out the season long 52 Super Series title will be to race to win the regatta:
'We know the best way to race is to sail to win the regatta and if we can do that then the season championship will look after itself,' said Hutchinson, 'We are just looking to keep it rolling in Porto Cervo. We did some really good work in Palma, winning the Copa del Rey, managing to extend our lead at the top of the 52 Super Series leaderboard. We plan to come out in Sardinia and apply the same things over the last ten races of the season that we did in the first ten. We aim to take all the opportunities that come our way, to sail aggressively and to sail smart.'
Quantum Racing makes one change in its team as Ian Moore (GBR/IRL) steps in as navigator for the final regatta. Juan Vila has an America’s Cup commitment in San Francisco. Ian Moore sailed on the 2008 Med Cup title winning crew and again for part of the 2009 season after he finished his Volvo Ocean Race commitments.
Quantum took first at the Copa del Rey Mapfre in Palma in July. Photo by Keith Brash
And while Quantum Racing is in the driving seat for the overall title, Tony Langley’s Gladiator is well set to take fourth overall but there is an exciting tussle for fifth set to play out with the USA’s Rio, fifth, and Interlodge, sixth, are only half a point apart, and in seventh Turkey’s Provezza are only one point further back
Taking full advantage of the beautiful surroundings there are two Coastal Races scheduled for the 52’s. The regatta also features a Soto 40 class.
Monday 9th: Official practice race(s) 52s,
Tuesday 10th: WL Races, 52s only.
Wednesday 11th: Coastal Race52s
Thursday 12th: WL Races both classes
Friday 13th: Coastal Race52s,
Saturday 14th: WL Races and prize giving ceremony
52 Super Series Standings
After four regattas, (pts = BCN, Ibiza, Palma and total)
1 Quantum Racing (USA) 18, 21, 20, – 59 pts
2 Azzurra (ITA) 22, 29 42 – 93 pts
3 Rán Racing (SWE) 21 43 29.5 – 93.5 pts
4 Gladiator (GBR) 35 28 59 – 122 pts
5 Rio (USA) 45 52 51 – 148 pts
6 Interlodge (USA) 35 51 62.5 – 148.5 pts
7 Provezza (TUR) 48 47 54.5 – 149.5 pts
8 Paprec (FRA) 64 53 81.5 – 198.5 pts
By 52 Super Series. Live coverage: http://www.52superseries.com