If you ain't first you're last rollercoasters in light winds Cascais
While Quantum Racing returned a second and a sixth to finish the day with a two points lead at the top of the Rolex TP52 World Championship on the waters off Cascais, Portugal one of the most impressive displays today was that of the Whitcraft family's Vayu team which now lies second only two points behind the USA's three times world champions.
The Thai flagged team which has Britain's double Olympic 470 medallist Nick Rogers calling tactics were fourth in the first race and then chased Alegre across the finish line of the second contest. They are sailing smart but also – again – have excellent boat speed in the light, 7-10kts wind conditions thanks to the 2015 Botin design.
Grinned Pom Green, project manager and mainsheet trimmer on the Vayu,
"We are sure we will get our comeuppance if and when the breeze comes in, we have not sailed that much in the breeze but we will just enjoy it while we can. We seemed to find some speed today. We had a stunning day. I is amazing racing and it just sort of clicked. Today it was really nice."
With six of the ten scheduled races sailed Vayu find themselves sandwiched between the fleet's three times world champions who lead and Harm Müller Spreer's two times champions Platoon.
Andy Soriano's Alegre crew are fourth. As if to underline how tough and competitive it is on this Cascais race course while they have now won three of the six races so far they are are overburdened by an eighth and a ninth, but show more than enough potential to finish on the podium as they did here in Cascais in 2018.
Tom Slingsby, Cameron Dunn and the Phoenix team atoned for being over the start line yesterday when they made the sharpest opening to Race 5. Holding left up the first beat they went on to win from Ergin Imré's Provezza. But in the second race they infringed Provezza at the bottom gate rounding. The required penalty dropped them to ninth and while they rallied to come of third best in a three way photo finish, the resulting eighth slid them from second overall to fifth.
Grimaced Phoenix's Dunn,
"It seemed like it was a bit of a Ricky Bobby Racing (*) kind of day, 'if you ain't first you're last'. In the second race - we got on the wrong side of the fleet up the first beat and weren't in a good position as it was, then had a tight one with Provezza at the bottom and got penalized. We had a good crack getting it back down the last run and we were probably within half a boat length of gaining two places at the finish. But we didn't quite get it. That would have made it more of an acceptable day but a one and an eight isn't so good, but hey, still four races to go!"
The breeze was more to the right on the second race and the right side paid. Alegre's Ado Stead and Nic Asher were quick to recognise this and Alegre then gybe set at the top to bank a useful gain. Vayu forced Sled to gybe away in the final stages of the second run to take a solid second behind Alegre. Quantum Racing hung on for a sixth, a bow ahead of the late surge to the line by Phoenix and Provezza.
Terry Hutchinson, the Quantum Racing tactician recalled,
"I would say that was probably as well earned a sixth place you could get given how one sided the course was. It really came down to the last exchange with Provezza and Phoenix. Overall we would welcome a bit more wind – this is not the typical Cascais - but what a great venue for the regatta. In some ways it's better that it's not the traditional Cascais as right now the race course is so open so it's really challenging. Hats off the Alegre for winning three of the six races so far - it's awesome sailing on their part and hats off to the Vayu guys for the racing that they're doing. We have a few races left and it always comes down to the last few to be successful in the event."
Rolex TP52 World Championship 2022 Classifica after six races
1 QUANTUM RACING (USA) Doug DeVos 2,2,2,3,3,6. 18pts
2 VAYU (THAI) Whitcraft family 3,6,3,2,4,2. 20pts
3 PLATOON (GER) Harm Müller Spreer 5,3,4,1,6,4. 23pts
4 ALEGRE (GBR) Andy Soriano 1,8,1,9,5,1. 25 pts
5 PHOENIX (RSA) Hasso & Tina Plattner 4,4,5,4,1,8. 26pts
6 SLED (USA) Takashi Okura 8,1,8,5,8,3. 33 pts
7 PROVEZZA (TUR) Ergin Imre 6,5,9,7,2,7. 36 pts
8 GLADIATOR (GBR) Tony Langley 9,7,6,6,9,5. 42 pts
9 INTERLODGE (USA) Austin & Gwen Fragomen 7,9,7,8,7,9. 47pts