BP234 - Quantum Racing2014-01-25

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Winners - Key West Race Week 2014

From www.52superseries.com:

Winning five races from ten for the 52 SUPER SERIES at Quantum Key West Doug DeVos and the Quantum Racing team secured the first title of the new 2014 season. Starting Friday’s one final race of the series the 2013 season champions needed only a solid top four finish to win overall.

A steady third behind Azzurra and Rán Racing in the muscular 19-24kts NE’ly breeze and bouncy, short seas, ensured DeVos’ crew lift the Key West title by three points ahead of Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing team.

In the strongest breezes of the five day event, the task for Quantum Racing was made easier from the outset when both Sled and Hooligan were called over the start line early. DeVos crew elevated themselves to their strongest possible position as they lead around the top mark and down a fast, exciting downwind but Rán Racing came through at the leeward gate rounding, and were at the front on the second of three beats.

Sailing markedly better in the strong breezes in which they have historically always been at their best, Azzurra sustained their challenge down the second run. Sailing at least as fast and sometimes faster than Rán and Quantum that was a great platform from which to attack Rán Racing.

Working the right early they scored a better shift which saw them go bow to bow with the leaders for a matter of minutes upwind. The power of the right prevailed and by the finish line they had eased ahead to give the Italian flagged team – winners of the final regatta of 2013 – a confidence boost at the end of an event which has been too irregular for them. Strategist Francesco Bruni considers they were slowed badly in the first legs of the race, perhaps with a plastic bag or weed but when they hit their straps they were as fast as any 52 on the water:

“ We made some good calls tactically it was a really nice race to win. We got back to Rán Racing metre by metre, to pass Quantum Racing was good and then the last upwind against Rán Racing the boat was going very well. We managed to keep the right and then just before the last lay line we had a piece of them, using starboard advantage to win the race.”

Tactician on the winning Quantum Racing Terry Hutchinson praised the whole team effort, dedicating their win to the fantastic support of their owner-driver DeVos, a key driving force for the 52 SUPER SERIES. Having come close last year when they lead into the final day only to suffer a costly jib breakdown winning this team doubtless feels sweeter. But Hutchinson pointed out that converting a fourth to a first in the first light winds race of the regatta was as valuable a contribution to their win there as any of the races:

“Early on in the piece we jagged a few.” Hutchinson smiled, “If you say where was the regatta won it was probably won on the first race where we went from fourth to first up the second beat of the race. And today was a different day. Our plan was to stay close to Rán Racing and not give them any opportunities.”

Of the six boats racing, half the fleet won individual races. The two new teams to the 52 SUPER SERIES, Sled and Hooligan, had their moments of greatness and their really challenging times. But both teams finished with a better handle on their weaknesses and looking forward to the second regatta, in Miami in early March. In this fleet in the strong winds today any small error was heavily punished:

Hooligan’s Tony Rey, tactician and project manager summed up their enthusiasm:

“The results are not what we wanted, but I have just told the guys I have never felt so good about a team and yet finished so poorly. We made the most of the tools we had in the tool box. We managed to hit six crab pots, two in one race. We had a few kite shrimps at the leeward mark. We had a few tough moments but generally we improved enormously over the week. But the key thing is the owner is thrilled and can’t wait to get to Miami to improve the tools in the toolbox and we just can’t wait to get started against the best guys in the world.”

US 52 SUPER SERIES at Quantum Key West

Standings after ten of ten scheduled races:

1. Quantum Racing (USA) Doug DeVos (USA)1,1,1,6,3,4,1,2,1,3 Total 23pts

2. Rán Racing (SWE), Niklas Zennström (SWE) 2,2,3,4,1,2,4,1,5,2 Total 26

3. Azzurra (ITA), Guillermo Parada (ARG) 3,3,2,2,4,1,3,6,4,1 Total 29

4. Interlodge (USA), Austin Fragomen (USA) 4,5,6,1,2,3,2,3,3,4 Total 33

5. Sled (USA), Takashi Okura (USA 5,4,5,5,6,5,6,4,2,5 Total 46

6. Hooligan (USA), Gunther Buerman (USA) 6,6,4,3,5,6,5,5,6,6 Total 53‏

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