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52 Super Series: Azzurra claims victory in Cape Town season opener

52 Super Series

With no racing possible on the final day of the Odzala Discovery Camps 52 SUPER SERIES V&A Waterfront Cape Town regatta, the 2019 circuit champions Azzurra lift the first series title of the 2020 season.

Racing in South Africa for the first time ever represented something of a voyage of discovery for the 52 SUPER SERIES owners and crews, but the 10 teams from eight nations were rewarded with good racing in a variety of wind conditions, including a visit from the strong Cape Doctor wind, all set against the spectacular backdrop of Table Mountain and the Lion’s Head, whilst embracing the lively, colourful, friendly welcome at the city’s V&A Waterfront.

Victory for Azzurra was underpinned by a dream debut for new tactician Michele Paoletti, the Italian-Argentine team actually winning their first series regatta since September 2017. After finishing runners up at four of last year’s five regattas, the Azzurra team were delighted to prove they can win regattas as well as secure the season long championship, which they have won four times.

“This is something we have talked about a lot. It is a relief to know we can still do it and be consistent over the last couple of events. To win the season without winning an event is great, but the feeling of winning here is really enjoyable. We dedicate it to one of our crew members Ale Colla who could not join us here. He has a health issue that he is dealing with and I am sure he will be back for the next event here in Cape Town, so the win is for him and also for Pedro Rossi who did a great job replacing him.”

“It is always good to start on the right foot. We worked really, really hard thinking of ways to improve our boatspeed. It is hard to get more and more [boatspeed] after so many years, but we achieved something and have the speed. And when you have speed it lets you race in a different way. So thanks and congratulations to Michele who is new to the team but has done a fantastic job and I think this will help him with confidence going into the next regatta.”

And second overall was a dream result too, ahead of hopes and expectations for Hasso Plattner’s local Phoenix 11 crew, tied on points with Quantum Racing, also four-times circuit champions. Plattner’s team, which includes Peter Holmberg and Andy Horton in afterguard, which relied on local knowledge from Paul Willcox, Shane Elliot and Shaun Pammenter, lead until halfway through the second day before they were compromised by a series of small technical breakdowns.

Hasso Plattner, top owner driver for the event smiled broadly:

“It was a great regatta. I especially enjoyed yesterday, which was good for Cape Town and for the fleet. We had fun. We made it a little bit tight when we lost our spinnaker in the fifth race. Second is great. We did pretty well. We like to sail short tacking along the waterfront. We are up to that. It has been a great week, a great regatta and things played out very well.”

Horton added:

“It was a great week for us when everything really came together. It all clicked. We had no major breakdowns and did not make any big mistakes. We did a bit of two-boat testing and training down here, which helped us; it helped me learn the race course because I had not been here and did not even know what it looked like, and so that gave me ten days. And Hasso, top owner driver tying with a team like Quantum Racing is great.”

Quantum Racing’s navigator Michele Ivaldi concluded:

“It was an eventful event with a lot going on in the boat with the newcomers on the boat – me – having brought some different points of view. We have to improve on our communication and some systems, we had a couple of hiccups in a couple of races but we finish on a high note, we had some good racing. There are some regrets about points left on the table but that is also indicative of the level of the fleet.”

Odzala Discovery Camps 52 SUPER SERIES V&A Waterfront – Cape Town
Final Regatta Standings
1. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto/Pablo Roemmers) (4,2,2,2,5,2,7) 24 p.
2. Phoenix 11 (RSA) (Hasso Plattner) (1,3,1,7,8,7,4) 31 p.
3. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (5,8,4,5,1,6,2) 31 p.
4. Bronenosec (RUS) (Vladimir Liubomirov) (2,10,7,1,6,8,1) 35 p.
5. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (3,4,RDG6,RDG5.5, RDG5.5, RDG5.5, RDG5.5) 35 p.
6. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (9,7,8,3,2,1,6) 36 p.
7. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (7,1,DNF11+2,4,3,3,9) 40 p.
8. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (6,6,3,8,9,4,5) 41 p.
9. Phoenix 12 (RSA) (Tina Plattner) (8,5,5,9,7,5,3) 42 p.
10. Paprec (FRA) (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin) (10,9,6,6,4,9,8) 52 p.

The 2020 52 SUPER SERIES is a best of 6 events trophy:

Odzala Discovery Camps 52 SUPER SERIES V&A Waterfront – Cape Town – March 2-6, Cape Town, South Africa
Rolex TP52 World Championship Cape Town 2020 – March 31-4 April, Cape Town, South Africa
Royal Cup 52 SUPER SERIES Scarlino 2020 – May 12-16, Tuscany, Italy
Audi 52 SUPER SERIES Porto Cervo & TP52 20th Anniversary – June 17-21, Sardinia, Italy
52 SUPER SERIES Valencia Sailing Week – July 18-22, Valencia, Spain
Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week – September 15-19, Mallorca, Spain

Main image © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio

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