Cascais – With a lead of more than 60 points as they start the final regatta of the 2016 52 Super Series – the Egnos 52 Super Series Cascais Cup in Portugal – Quantum Racing seem set to have a straightforward task on their hands as they seek to reclaim the overall season title won last year by Azzurra.
But the series leaders promise no let up, no compromises in their approach to the 2016 finale as the five regatta circuit moves from the Mediterranean to the open waters of the Atlantic and a feisty, testing venue which has long since been a favourite with the TP52 Class. Quantum Racing are looking to seal their title with a flourish, running their sequence of regatta wins out to a magnificent seven in a row.
The season title seems to be a given. But the battle for the second and third steps on the 52 Super Series podium is wide open. Holding second as they head to Cascais are the 2015 champions, Azzurra, but the Roemmers’ family team are only 11 points up on Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing and 16 points ahead of Ergin Imre’s Turkish-flagged Provezza.
Fifth-placed Platoon have made a late season personnel change as they seek to surge on to the podium, Germany’s Harm Müller-Spreer bringing in John Kostecki (USA) as tactician for the last regatta of the season.
“We are all still nervous.” Ed Reynolds the Quantum Racing director asserts, “Cascais is a venue which over the years has proven not to offer too many tactical opportunities. Most of the fleet have Cascais well figured out and so it will be tight and close, as it has been through the season. Menorca’s conditions were quite similar with a difficult sea state. I don’t think it is any surprise that the pro drivers did well in Menorca and I think they will again in Cascais.”
Quantum Racing will fully integrate team owner Doug DeVos and son Dalton into the crew line up during the Egnos 52 Super Series Cascais Cup. It is planned that Doug DeVos will race a couple of days before business commitments require him to miss a few days. Dalton has been on an extended break from competitive sailing so it is not yet clear what role he will play and when.
Reynolds continues: “This has been a really epic season and we want to finish strong. And let’s be clear, our team does not sandbag. We respect our opposition way too much. If they beat us then we want to afford them the chance to beat us at our best. They expect nothing less and we expect nothing less. We expect between two and four days of hard, breeze on conditions as usual, and some of those mixed up days with lighter winds and big seas. The toughest thing in Cascais is usually the sea state.”
Azzurra confirm they are already looking to next season, seeking to redress the balance in their favour before Key West in January next year. Bearing in mind the boats will go on a ship to the USA within days of the end of Cascais, time is already pressing.
Guillermo Parada (ARG) the Azzurra skipper-helm points out: “We finished strongly at Menorca and we look forward to showing further improvements in Cascais. We would like to set a good base line there so we are ready for 2017. At the same time we are looking to have a good finish to the 2016 season“.
The final regatta of the season is supported by EGNOS, the European satellite/GPS augmentation system.
Agustín Zulueta, CEO of the 52 Super Series, comments: “We are excited to have the support of EGNOS at what promises to be a great finale to the season. Their partnership and interest adds real value to the regatta, a great endorsement of our circuit by a pan global operation which is fundamental to sailors worldwide“.