Consistent Interlodge are leaders in Puerto Portals
A pair of third places to complement yesterday's fourth and a race win sees Austin and Gwen Fragomen's US flagged Interlodge taking over the leadership of the Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week. Since they returned to the circuit in 2021 after a five year break It is the first time that the New York couple's team have led a 52 Super Series regatta.
Stand-in tactician Cameron Appleton, deputising this week for usual tactician Ed Baird, is highly motivated and clearly working well with young Interlodge strategist American Magic's Michael Menninger, and navigator Juan Vila with whom Appleton previously sailed with on Quantum Racing. But owner-driver Austin Fragomen's broad smile this evening on the dock in Puerto Portals tells the whole story.
"I am very excited to be the prevailing boat today and to have held on with two third places. It shows the consistency of the team more than anything. I think a lot of work that we have been doing has come together and our tactician and strategist and navigator are all working well and the crew are sailing the boat well. I am the one who makes the errors"
With Sled in second place, boats flying the New York YC burgee hold the top two spots while Day 1 leaders Phoenix came momentarily unstuck after winning the first race of the day. They were pushed over the line in the final seconds of the Race 4 starting procedure. Re-crossing saw them down in ninth at the first windward mark. The ensuing eighth place means Phoenix drop to third but are still only one point behind Sled – who went 4,4 today – and two behind the leaders Interlodge which was formerly championship winning Azzurra.
And while the first race of the day was not good for either Quantum Racing or Platoon – eighth and seventh respectively – both rallied in the day's second contest with Harm Müller-Spreer's team starting well and working the favoured left to lead all the way round to the finish pursued by Quantum Racing who took second. Platoon move up to fourth on the regatta standings and Quantum to seventh.
Phoenix's strategist Cameron Dunn summed up their roller coaster day,
"The second race we were a bit unfortunate, we got a bit tied up with Gladiator and we found ourselves over and once you are over in this fleet it is tough to come back. We thought we were well set up in a good position and then Sled and Gladiator came from a slightly unusual place and they ended up tacking behind us, we had to defend against them and they ended up pushing us over. It is unfortunate."
" The first race was a glamour. The strategy was right the breeze did what we expected and once you are out in front on that left hand race course it is relatively simple to hold it. We are working really hard every day to keep refining and improving the set up. We have a really good training and tuning set up with Platoon and Interlodge before the races, both boats are gong well. Platoon are one of the quickest boats in this fleet in the light air. We are improving all the time and working hard and always realise that we are fighting for a metre here and there. A couple of metres and not a cross at the top mark and you can go from first to last."
Appleton, who was previously tactician on Quantum Racing, returns to the circuit after an eighteen month break and is clearly enjoying his cameo appearance, even if their consistency coincides with self inflicted bumps in the road for Quantum Racing and Platoon.
"We are over the moon. The team have sailed the boat brilliantly yesterday and today, Austin has trusted us and had the patience and we just held on when we needed to and we have made some good decisions. They guys have been sailing the boat really well, getting it dialled in and getting it set up well. It was quite a tough day in what is a very tough fleet and so coming away with two third places is pretty pleasing. We all come here hoping to win but it is not easy. For me it has been a while, a year and a half since I have been in this fleet, and so this is me with a new team although I have sailed with a lot of guys on the boat on different boats. And so these guys are well in tune with one another, they have a good bond. The balance with having sailed with Juan (Vila, navigator) these years with Quantum Racing means I just slot in with perfectly and Michael has been great to bounce things off and keep just the overall picture going as I am heads in the boat with Austin and the trimmers as well. We are probably exceeding what we expected to do but Austin is enjoying and doing all we are asking of him and we are pushing him hard."
Standings after four races,
1 INTERLODGE (USA), Austin & Gwen Fragomen, 4+1+3+3 = 11 pts.
2 SLED (USA), Takashi Okura, 2+2+4+4 = 12 pts.
3 PHOENIX (RSA), Hasso & Tina Plattner, 1+3+1+8 = 13 pts.
4 PLATOON (GER), Harm Müller-Spreer, 5+4+8+1 = 18 pts.
5 PROVEZZA (TUR), Ergin Imre, 3+8+5+5 = 21 pts.
6 ALEGRE (GBR), Andy Soriano, 6+7+2+7 = 22 pts.
7 QUANTUM RACING (USA), Doug DeVos, 8+6+7+2 = 23 pts.
8 GLADIATOR (GBR), Tony Langley, 7+5+6+9 = 27 pts.
9 VAYU (THAI), Familia Whitcraft, 9+9+9+6 = 33 pts.