Sardinia Cup Day 2 - Azzurra in close contention overall

Paprec Sailing Team, Rán Racing and Audi Azzurra Sailing Team - Audi Sardinia Cup 2012
Audi Sardinia Cup 2012 second day of racing got underway in light seabreeze conditions which allowed 52 Super Series crews to reap the benefits of their learning from the first racing day. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team were team to show marked improvements over the three races contested today, ensuring that the crew which represent the host club, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda scored best today.

Their second and fourth places were complemented by a gun-to-gun win in the third race which keep them in close contention overall, just two points behind Quantum Racing after five races.

Doug De Vos’ regatta leaders scored a 3,1,4, coming off second best to Azzurra off the start line of the day’s final race.

That left the world champions to fight hard, but ultimately unsuccessfully, to break down the French resistance of Paprec, who again proved they have the speed and skills to make a favourable impression in this white hot fleet.

As ever super sharp starting was a primary requisite for success. But in the first race it was excellent downwind legs which allowed Tony Langley’s Gladiator’s crew to leave Audi Azzurra in the shade. The blue and white Audi backed boat had lead for three of the four legs, but Langley’s crew stole the winning gun on the final third of the run.

In the second race Quantum Racing were able to dictate terms after a strong start, finishing ahead of Gladiator.

With the top two boats at the regatta pushing for the pin in the final race of the day, one was going to come off second best.

Azzurra just nailed it and were able to squeeze Quantum Racing off into the less favoured middle of the course, so building a good lead from half way up the beat that they were able to hold to the finish.

'As a group we feel like we are pretty quick in these conditions and not that risky, so we did not risk everything to win the starts.' Commented Andy Horton, Quantum Racing’s tactician. ' The first one was OK we were able to come back, the last one bit us.'

Gladiator sullied their 1-2 scoreline for the day with a sixth, but Langley and crew still lies third going into Saturday’s high points value coastal race which is planned.

The world champions lead by two points overall ahead of the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team who seemed quicker than Day 1: 'We were going better,' confirmed Francesco Bruni, Azzurra’s tactician, 'The small changes we made ensure we are going in the right direction, a little bit of work on the sails, the way we sail the boat, a little tune up. The boat was going better, but there is still a bit of a difference in boat speed between us and Quantum, they are a little quicker upwind and a small edge downwind, smaller than yesterday, so we are going in the right direction.'

Standings: 52 Super Series, Audi Sardinia Cup
1 Quantum Racing (USA) 1,1,3,1,4 10pts
2 Audi AZZURRA Sailing Team (ITA) 3,2,2,4,1 12pts
3 Gladiator (GBR) 2,3,1,2,6 14pts
4 RÁN (SWE) 4,4,4,3,2 17pts
5 Paprec Recyclage (FRA) 5,5,5,6,3 24pts
6 PowerPlay (CAY) 6,6,6,5,5, 28pts

Quotes
Francesco Bruni (ITA) tactician Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (ITA): ' It was an up and down kind of day and so it was good to finish on an ‘up’. As always the start is super-important. If you can cross Quantum early then obviously you have a lot more chance of being ahead at the end of the race. There is a still a bit of match racing with Quantum and that is the way it is. We were going better, the small changes we made ensure we are going in the right direction, a little bit of work on the sails, the way we sail the boat, a little tune up. The boat was going better, but there is still a bit of a difference in boat speed between us and Quantum, they are a little quicker upwind and a small edge downwind, smaller than yesterday, so we are going in the right direction.'

Andy Horton (USA), tactician Quantum Racing (USA): 'It was a little bit of a tough day, we did not really get what we wanted on two of the three starts. It was a fight to win the pin and that was down to what you were prepared to risk to win it, against the reward. As a group we feel like we are pretty quick in these conditions and not that risky, so we did not risk everything to win the start. The first one was OK we were able to come back, the last one bit us. We are going well and sailing OK, but you really do need to put everything together to win.'

Ado Stead (GBR) tactician RÁN (SWE): 'It was pretty tricky today but we are much happier with the way we sailed the boat than yesterday. Yesterday was the first day that we had sailed in such light stuff for a while and last night we just had a think about some things we were doing, made five or six subtle changes. I missed an opportunity in the first race and did not convert a reasonable start and got sucked into Azzurra. The second race we were over the start and got back to third, so we were pleased enough with that and the third race we got a good start and a second. We are happier than yesterday, we know there is still more to improve.'

Chris Larson (USA) tactician Gladiator (GBR): 'Today was a good day, the best we have ever sailed – since I have been with the boat for four regattas I have sailed with the boat. Tony and the trimmers did a really nice job trying to communicate and talk more about the angles we are trying to achieve upwind in this light stuff and so we talked about that last night and this morning, and so they did a really nice job of stepping up to the plate and that showed in the first two races. The third one we were on the line alright but were just a little bit slow and then got to the right side and it was not very good there, and so we kind of paid the price there with Quantum. It was a tough race.'

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