After triumphing with a consistent display in Key West in January, Azzurra seemed to have continued in their winning ways when they made the strongest opening to the Gaastra 52 World Championships in light and very challenging conditions off Miami Beach.
effervescent tactician Vasco Vascotto is on something of a winning run, backing up that 52 SUPER SERIES win in Key West with an overall world title win on Pisco Sour
in the Soto 40 class the following week in Chile and then a Melges 32 regatta win in the Caribbean.
His form held firm across two very difficult races today, contested in light SE'ly winds which saw big shifts in direction as well as pressure, especially in the second race.
Check out some highlights from the first day of racing on ISAF TV
In Race 1 Azzurra, with owner Alberto Roemmers Jr steering, were able to get the better of the close scrap with Tony Langley's Gladiator
on the second beat, holding on to take the first winning gun of the five day regatta. And while Gladiator
were clearly the best starters of the day, they were unfortunate to find a big hole in the light breeze early in the second race.
Vascotto was able to engineer an escape route from the same sticky light patch which had snared four unlucky 52's, only just allowing the Italian flagged team to give chase after Niklas Zennström's Rán Racing
which had built an early lead on the right side of the course. Rán Racing
went on to win the Race 2 with Azzurra
With what is forecast to be the lightest day now completed, Azzurra
holds a lead of four points ahead of the three times world champions Quantum Racing
. The American crew's starting was less than perfect today but their talent and determination showed as they ground out a couple of decent scores - 3,4 for the day - to keep themselves in contention. Ed Reynolds, the team's project manager rounded up their day, "We were incredibly average today but we came away with a third and fourth and that keeps us in the hunt. We will be able to get out of this. But it was really scary out there, big holes and puffs, really shifty. Azzurra did a great job today, their starting ability is good but the rest of us were all over the board."
In the second race Manouch Moshayedi's Rio
team sailed a great beat and were able to round second just ahead of Azzurra
and Quantum Racing
, but Azzurra's
gybe set into better wind pressure ensured they were able to pass before the leeward gate. Third place for Rio
in Race 2 gives the mainly semi-pro and amateur team a fillip at their first 52 World Championships, their second regatta with the boat which was formerly Synergy.
lie third overall but Zennström's team will be looking to more regular results through subsequent days after they opened with a seventh place before bouncing back with that win in Race 2.
Gaastra 52 World Championships, Results after 2 races.
1 Azzurra (ITA) 3 pts (1,2)
2 Quantum Racing (USA) 7pts (3,4)
3 Rán Racing (SWE) 8pts (7,1)
4 Gladiator (GBR) 8pts (2,6)
5 Vesper (USA) 10pts (5,5)
6 Rio (USA) 11pts (8, 3)
7 Interlodge (USA) 11pts (4,7)
8 Gaastra-Pro (NED) 14pts (6,8)