The one key move, in the final 20 seconds before the start of the one and only race today, shutting the door at the busy, sought after committee boat end of the start line, was typically assured by multiple world match race and America's Cup winning Baird and a crew which has been bolstered this season by several of Baird's past match racing teams, with a view to delivering in just such 'must win' situations.
On the very right sided course in a modest sea breeze there was, unfortunately, no way back for the iconic Azzurra team which started the final race with a lead of just one point over Quantum Racing.
Finishing fifth today Azzurra finish second in the regatta, three points behind Quantum Racing, ahead of Gladiator in third, RÁN fourth, Paprec Recyclage fifth and PowerPlay sixth overall. Quantum Racing's win contributed to Team USA winning the Audi Sardinia Cup, partnered by Iberdrola Soto40.
The French team on Paprec Recyclage, lead to the windward mark today ahead of Quantum, but acceded to the champions on the first downwind. But Stephan Neve and his team took great pleasure in their second place finish, atoning somewhat for their error on the coastal race.
But without doubt the French crew have proven conclusively that the IRC optimised boats with a largely amateur crew - some of whom have sailed together for more than 10 years - can be very competitive in this 52 SuperSeries fleet on a relatively modest budget on the boat which won the 2007 world championships in its launch year. They, and Peter Cunningham's PowerPlay were always in the mix.
Ed Reynolds (USA) Team director Quantum Racing (USA) said, "Today was good, over the last couple of years as a team, in situations when they have had to have their best race they have done it. Today was a day when we needed our driver to take control of the race from the very beginning and Ed did an amazing job. Fifteen seconds after the start I was thinking it looked good for us, it would be difficult for Azzurra to get back. It was a little bit of a one sided race track, you don't want to be in the position Ed put them in, but we'll take it. Every time we have sailed there you have to hit that right side. To me the hardest thing in sailing is to win the boat when you have to win the boat. It was a tough situation. Everybody wanted, it was pretty impressive, Ed just went in there and took it.
"We have won two regattas but we are still almost tied. It is going to be nerve racking all season long. The Azzurra guys are so good. In tight situations there was a couple times this week where we thought they're done, we've got them' they just got out of it and came back. Today they understood it too, they were fighting for the same spot that Ed was and Ed took control of it and that was the race."
Costa Smeralda has again proven a happy hunting ground for Gladiator, the British flagged crew of Tony Langley. They finished third overall for the regatta, only once scoring in the lower half of the fleet.
Finishing second overall at this Audi Sardinia Cup, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team lie only three points behind the 52 SuperSeries leaders Quantum Racing.
52 Super Series, Audi Sardinia Cup.
1. Quantum Racing (USA) 1,1,3,1,4,4.5, 1 15.5pts
2. Audi AZZURRA Sailing Team (ITA) 3,2,2,4,1,1.5,5 18.5pts
3. Gladiator (GBR) 2,3,1,2,6,3,3 20pts
4. RÁN (SWE) 4,4,4,3,2, 7.5.6 30.5 pts
5. Paprec Recyclage (FRA) 5,5,5,6,3, DSQ,2 36.5 pts
6. PowerPlay (CAY) 6,6,6,5,5, 6,4 38pts
52 Super Series
Standings after two regattas, Trofeo Conde de Godó and Audi Sardinia Cup
1. Quantum Racing 14, 15.5, 29.5pts
2. AZZURRA 14, 18.5 32.5pts
3. RÁN 16, 30.5 46.5pts
4. Gladiator 29,20 49pts
5. Paprec Recyclage DNC, 36.5pts 78.5pts
6. PowerPlay DNC, 38pts 80pts
7 Audi ALL4ONE 35, DNC 87.5pts