Saturday, March 8, 2014


We will be following here these series that with the RC44 series are probably the world's top racing in what regards monohull crewed regatta racing.

The championship will start in the US and then will pass to Europe. There are six series of races, two of them in the US. There are 15 teams racing the series but most of them don't make the US races. Most of the boats that make the US series are American with the exception of an Italian one (Azzurra) and a Swedish one (Ran).

After the first series in Key west (6 boats) the Americans of Quantum are leading, followed by the Swedish of Ran and the Italians of Azzurra.


After 3 days racing in the Miami series (7 teams), Quantum is leading followed very closely (only 2 points) by Azzurra. Last day, the third, the wind arrived and the races went with more than 20k. Great fun and great images ;-)

Only one more race to go and the Americans of Quantum lead by 8 points over the Italians of Azzurra.
Some great images from Quantum, back in 2012:

And Vesper with some problems:

Mr Pelicano:

By one of those interesting coincidences, a good sailing friend of mine from San Francisco, with whom I did the Melges 24 Worlds last year, was aboard Quantum Racing for the Miami TP52 Series event, these past few days. His son and Terry Hutchinson's son are in Junior Sailing together. :) I am awaiting a full report from him on his adventures and will be happy to share anything interesting he has to say. I am not ashamed to say that I love the TP52 class and how they sail those boats like big dinghies. Glad they were able to put together a series to replace the very successful (and well-covered) Audi MedCup series. Maybe Audi will come back and renew sponsorship for 2015 if the global economy improves.

As promised, here are some comments from my friend who was aboard Quantum racing for the two heavy air days of the recent TP52 Super Series regatta in Miami:

”Definitely not a slam dunk but it was pretty much a two-horse race until Azzurra fell apart on the the last day and all Quantum had to do was cover them. I was on the boat only for the two heavy air days, Thursday and Friday, when we saw TWS in the low 30s and downwind boat speed breaking through 25 knots, but unfortunately not on the very light air Saturday and Sunday. I stepped into Jordi Calafat’s gear (obviously physically but not intellectually) as he couldn’t make it, literally drinking from the water canteen labeled with his name. Indeed, the chase boat would come alongside in between races with personal water bottles and power snacks, then take everything away, including the water canteens, before the next race. You had the option to wear your spray top or pants, or hand it over to the chase boat, but if you chose to keep it you could not take it off and throw it down below. No excess weight literally means no excess weight.

Other than the occasional jump onto the coffee grinder, my role was largely confined to babysitting Roland, the class-imposed on-board guest from sponsor watchmaker Zenith, who had never before set foot on a sailboat; I was in charge of hoisting him across the 14 foot beam on the tacks and ensuring he wouldn’t get beheaded or otherwise mutilated by a running backstay on the gybes. I am proud to say that I succeeded, although there were a couple of close calls.

The atmosphere on the boat while racing is almost eerie. Everyone does their job like clockwork, barely uttering a word. Everyone on the boat has at least one AC campaign and Volvo/Whitbread cap, plus assorted world titles and Olympic medals. Some like Baird and Warwick Fleury have won the Cup more than once. The only chatter while racing is the back and forth between navigator Juan Vila (41-day round the world record on Banque Populaire) and Terry Hutchinson, with Juan constantly feeding information off his iPad on laylines and weather, and Terry looking for pressure and making the calls on the manouvres, always thinking two or three shifts ahead. I have not heard Ed Baird say a single word in two days while steering, he has blind faith in where Hutchinson tells him to go and just locks himself onto driving that beast as fast as humanly possible. The intensity level is unimaginable, you could cut the adrenaline with a knife. The stakes are so high and given the financial commitment made by the owners and sponsors, there’s tremendous pressure to perform on all of these guys.

Off the water it’s a bit more relaxed, and everyone was extremely gracious; I was struck by Ed’s effort to engage in conversation with a nobody like me at the crew dinners. I also had an opportunity to bond with my compatriot and idol Lorenzo Mazza, former downwind trimmer on Prada and Alinghi. But at the end of the day, these are professional athletes subject to massive physical and psychological demand, so the tension never dropped below a certain threshold and no one strayed off the short path between the crew house and the harbor. If these guys ever party, it is not during a regatta, which suited me just fine since I was only there for the sailing.”

Needless to say, I am terribly jealous of my friend. It was clearly an experience of a lifetime!!!:-)

Many thanks to you and your friend for the excellent "live" coverage of the event :-)
That was just great!!!!

The Italians of Azzurra put a big fight against the several American teams and only on the last day they were clearly beaten. So before coming to Europe Quantum leads with two victories on the two American series and Azzurra follows with 2 nds. It will be great to see how they will do on the 4 European series that will have a lot more teams racing.

From your friend's description results clear why I consider this one of the top two mono-hull crewed regatta series.

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