52 Super Series - Dramatic opening day

52 Super Series Royal Cup 2012
Xaume Olleros / 52 Super Series
In the 52 Super Series’ Royal Cup, defending champions Quantum Racing showed why they are the team to beat after winning a dramatic opening day’s racing in Palma, Mallorca where costly crew errors proved just how close the competition is.

Quantum Racing claimed a commanding victory in the opening race and second place in race two to finish on three points on the first day of the four-day regatta to extend their overall lead in the 52 Super Series from three points to five.

Rán Racing are second in the Royal Cup with four points, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team are third with five points, followed by Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One, Gladiator, Aquila, PowerPlay and Provezza.

Quantum skipper and double America’s Cup champion Ed Baird said it was a tough day’s racing that was packed with plenty of wind shifts that came out of nowhere and put his crew’s recent lessons to the test.

'It was one of those races where the rich get richer, as soon as you were a little bit ahead everything became a little more obvious,’’ Baird said.

'We worked awfully hard all of last year, and this year, at trying to improve every little thing.

'It sounds so basic but the tacks, the gybes, they are better than they were three or four months ago. So are the starts, the straight line speed, the sails, the understanding of the mast and the communications, they’re all improving.'

It was a much tougher day’s racing for crews on board newcomer Provezza and British boat Gladiator, who suffered at the hands of errors that placed them second last and last respectively in race two.

Provezza struggled to come back after being recalled for jumping the start and Gladiator dropped from second to last when they lost their spinnaker overboard halfway through the race.

Gladiator skipper Tony Langley said his team’s severe penance for one error was a testament to the caliber of the class.

PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN. 2012. Fleet of 52 Superseries in action during day one of Royal Cup of 52 Superseries on july 11, 2012 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain (photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries)
Xaume Olleros / 52 Super Series

'It was all in the drop, we lost the string-line system and that was it,' he said. 'At this level you cannot afford to make any mistakes.

'You make a small mistake and you’ll get spat out one place or two places, you make a medium mistake and you get spat out the back, but you make a mistake like this and you’re just completing the course for one point.'

Day two of the Royal Cup, hosted by Real Club Náutico de Palma, starts at 1300 local, 1100 UTC. Early predictions have teams expecting between 12 and 18 knots from the south-southwest.

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