Porto Cervo, September 28, 2019 - With a second place finish in the event held in her home waters, the boat flying the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s burgee has won the most competitive keel boat racing series for the fourth time.
For the first time ever, the last day of racing at the Audi 52 Super Series Sailing Week in Porto Cervo saw the fleet of TP52s called to do three races on the final day of an event. Mistral winds were at 15 to 20 knots. The situation could have gone both ways for Azzurra, who was defending her leadership for the season overall from Platoon, more determined than ever to get a win after having won the World Championship at the previous event in Puerto Portals, Mallorca.
Azzurra’s entire team showed their steady nerves right from the first race, where they placed third and controlled Platoon, who came in fourth. The race was won by Sled, who kept up her winning streak with no less than three bullets today. Quantum was second.
The following race, the second of the day and the eighth at this event, was where the balance tipped in Azzurra’s favour. Azzurra and Platoon had a pre-start match race that Azzurra won getting the pin, the better side, and slowing down her rival. Azzurra herself was slowed down by another team upwind so she covered and controlled Platoon without trying to go for any specific end result: the important thing was to finish ahead of Platoon. The two teams rounded the mark at the back of the fleet, Azzurra ahead of her rival. If this situation lasted to the end of the race, it would have given Azzurra a sure win for the season. But at the gate, Platoon took advantage of her only chance to get free. She crossed in front of Azzurra and rounded the second mark in sixth place while Azzurra slipped back to eighth. On the last run Azzurra chose the left hand side of the course where she was free and in clean air. It was a risky choice that paid off: she finished fourth ahead of Platoon, who was fifth. At this point Azzurra had won the 52 Super Series 2019 a race before its finish. There was a big celebration aboard for a result that the team had been working hard for all through a season where Azzurra had missed winning single events by a hair no less than four times. An extra reason to celebrate was that it was Skipper Guillermo Parada’s birthday, 52 years celebrated aboard a winning TP52. Numerology aside, it was consistency that brought this mixed Italian and Argentinian team their hard fought win.
The third race if the day and the final race in the Audi 52 Super Series Sailing Week in Porto Cervo was held in winds at 20 knots. Sled was again unstoppable and won the race ahead of Quantum and Phoenix. Azzurra placed sixth, a good enough score to put her in second place at the event, ahead of Quantum Racing, in third.
Pablo Roemmers, Owner: “It was a long season where we never won any events but kept a good consistency. We ended four events in second place, usually really close in points to the first placed team and that consistency paid off in the end. We improved small things every day, sometimes the sails, sometimes the setup, sometimes the boat speed and I really think that the key to our success was constant work and consistency. I’m very happy to be celebrating today, especially since it’s here in my home yacht club. On top of that today is our skipper’s fifty-second birthday, so one more reason to celebrate winning the 52 Super Series. Sailing in our home waters put a lot of pressure on because on top of the world watching us we also knew that our friends from the YCCS were looking. We have to congratulate Sled for winning this event with so many first place finishes, maybe tomorrow we should go and see what they are doing that we aren’t!”
Skipper Guillermo Parada: “I told you in Palma that I’d be happy to be in second place as long as we won the Series, so I’m celebrating today. Luckily the points were on our side, plus the team did a wonderful job, so that’s two more reasons to be happy. We made some changes to our setup today, and we’re happy that we took that risk because we are now enjoying the results. We may not have been the fastest boat on any particular day or in any particular conditions, but we were consistently among the fastest teams and that’s all we need. So it’s good, and we’re happy. We had a strong mind set, we wanted to come back strong after last year’s disappointing third place finish and worked hard this winter. All during the season we stayed focused and motivated, so for one year at least, this victory belongs to us.”
Riccardo Bonadeo, YCCS Commodore: “It was a wonderful end to the season here in Azzurra’s home waters, I really don’t think I could ask for anything more. There was excellent racing and the only team that paced ahead of Azzurra in this event, Sled, was ultra performing this week. Azzurra’s team kept a cool head and really deserve this win that comes down to their consistency over the season. Our thanks to the team and to Azzurra’s owners, the Roemmers family, for their belief in and support of Azzurra and this whole circuit, the 52 Super Series is really a top international sailing league.”
Santiago Lange, tactician and gold medallist at the Rio Olympic Games, sums it up: “I’m really, incredibly happy. Happy for the team, happy for all of us. I want to thank Provezza with whom we have been sharing info on sails and who unfortunately dismasted at the World Championship. I’m so sad to be leaving this team next year to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics, but it’s what I have to do. It took me a while to get to sail the way I like to, it took us all a while to get used to each other but today we were calm and solid, even under pressure. I want to thank Azzurra for having had me as part of her team, it’s something I will always be proud of.”
The 52 Super Series will be back in March 2020 with two events in Cape Town, South Africa, a new venue for the Series, before coming back to the Med.