Luna Rossa takes the 52 Super Series Zadar Royal Cup, Tina Plattner best owner driver!
At just their second regatta together on the 52 SUPER SERIES, the Italian team on Luna Rossa today lifted the Zadar Royal Cup proving that the genesis of their America’s Cup sailing team is already gelling into a strong, racing unit.
Luna Rossa were sixth on their debut in Šibenik last month, short on time with their freshly launched TP52 and evidently still learning the dynamics of their on board communication. But on the beautiful waters off Croatia’s Dalmatian coast they looked a much more clinical, composed team sailing their Botin partners design which had improved upwind speed in the light airs to complement their already strong downwind abilities.
With Vasco Vascotto as tactician, Francesco Bruni steering and double America’s Cup winner Jimmy Spithill as strategist, the only non native Italian on board, Luna Rossa showed composure under pressure today.
Starting the day with a three points margin and with a chance of becoming the first female helm to win a 52 SUPER SERIES Tina Plattners’ Phoenix faltered in the regatta’s penultimate race, slumping to an unfortunate 11th and so breaking a chain of solid, consistent results which already included two wins. At the same time Luna Rossa moved up from third at the first windward mark to pass Azzurra for second. That gave the emblematic Italian crew a relatively straightforward opportunity to convert a six points lead to their first piece of major silverware together as a team.
Effervescent tactician Vasco Vascotto, showing the benefit of the Luna Rossa physical conditioning programme, was delighted with their trophy win.
“I’m a lucky guy, I have Francesco Bruni as our driver, James Spithill as strategist, Pietro Sibello on mainsheet, I’m very lucky to have these kind of guys so close to me. They help me a lot to make the decisions, so I think the long term, if we are smart enough to keep going this direction, we will have a great future together!”
After moving from Azzurra to Luna Rossa, Vascotto wins the Royal Cup for the second year in a row. The Luna Rossa new generation programme has selected seven new young sailors on to their team, some on to the TP52 in the 52 SUPER SERIES. They are feeding off the experience of Bruni, Vascotto, Spithill and co., but in Zadar the triumphant team also included America’s Cup and Admiral’s Cup winning navigator Matteo Plazzi, who stepped in to the breech to replace injured Francesco Mongelli. Plazzi won this Royal Cup with the One Tonner Brava Q8 in 1995 in Denmark and again in 1996 in Greece. Meanwhile Spithill was last victorious in the TP52 class in Marseille ten years ago this month with Larry Ellison’s Reichel Pugh designed USA 17 on which they only every raced one regatta.
It was a bittersweet finale for Tina Plattner. To have come so close to a fairytale debut in the class may have left the Phoenix crew under Ed Baird smarting momentarily after crossing that finish line in 11th. But to their credit they immediately regrouped and recaptured their previous form. Not only did they finish with the huge satisfaction of second overall, holding off Sled on countback and crossing the last finish line ahead of rivals Luna Rossa, but helm Plattner made a text book lee bow tack on her rivals, racing neck and neck with Luna Rossa before they had to tack away.
“I made too many mistakes in the first race.” Acknowledged Baird, “But Tina did a fantastic job. And at that moment as Luna Rossa tacked away I reminded her they are an America’s Cup team and she smiled.”
Tina Plattner revealed: “When we came in on the boat today Ed said ‘Tina, when I saw you last Friday if I had told you you would have come second what would you have said?’ I said ‘I would have laughed or walked away or given you a little smack on the side and said ‘no way!’ It was definitely way beyond expectations. It’s been good fun it was an awesome fleet to sail in, there are some seriously good people out there.”
The final points table for the regatta shows a points tie between second placed Phoenix and Takashi Okura’s Sled, the USA flagged team which has Ray Davies as tactician taking third step on the podium for the second consecutive regatta, as well as fourth placed Platoon only one point ahead of fifth placed Quantum Racing and – in sixth Alegre end up just one point behind Quantum.
The Šibenik winners Quantum Racing still leave Croatia with their 2018 52 SUPER SERIES lead at four points but the Rolex TP52 World Championships next month in Cascais returns the fleet to the Atlantic and a different set of regatta winners may emerge.
Final 52 SUPER SERIES Zadar Royal Cup Standings:
1. Luna Rossa (ITA) (Patrizio Bertelli) (1,2,5,3,7,7,2,5) 32 puntos.
2. Phoenix (RSA) (Hasso/Tina Plattner) (3,7,1,6,4,1,11,3) 36 p.
3. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (6,4,7,1,5,5,6,2) 36 p.
4. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (5,5,2,2,8,4,7,10) 43 p.
5. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (9,6,3,7,3,2,5,7) (2 penalti) 44 p.
6. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (2,9,9,4,1,10,9,1) 45 p.
7. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto Roemmers) (4,10,10,9,9,3,3,4) 52 p.
8. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (11,3,4,5,10,9,1,11) 54 p.
9. Onda (BRA) (Eduardo de Souza Ramos) (10,11,6,8,6,6,4,6) 57 p.
10. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (7,1,11,11,2,DNF12,8,8) (2 penalti) 62 p.
11. Paprec Recyclage (FRA) (Jean Luc Petithuguenin) (8,8,8,10,11,8,10,9) 72 p.
2018 52 SUPER SERIES Overall Standings After Two Events:
1. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) 73 puntos.
2. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) 77 p.
3. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) 77 p.
4. Luna Rossa (ITA) (Patrizio Bertelli) 81 p.
5. Phoenix (RSA) (Hasso/Tina Plattner) 91 puntos.
6. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) 96 p.
7. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto Roemmers) 98 p.
8. Onda (BRA) (Eduardo de Souza Ramos) 103 p.
9. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) 110 p.
10. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) 128 p.
11. Paprec Recyclage (FRA) (Jean Luc Petithuguenin) 136 p.
Vasco Vascotto (ITA) tactician Luna Rossa (ITA): “First I’d like to say this result is well-deserved for the job the shore team did during the last month, we’re happy to thank all the designers that are still in Cagliari working hard, sending us messages of support. It’s very important that we are building our relationships, our crew, bigger and bigger, and this result gives us the power to go tomorrow to work even harder in Cagliari, if its possible.”
Adam Beashel (AUS) strategist Sled (USA): “It’s been a while, but it’s always a very nice easy game there we don’t take anything personally so we can say what we think and we can throw things back and forth and then consolidate when we need to. Mr. Okura is starting to pick up on a lot of our slang and our sign language that we use, and thats one of the key things with an owner just making sure that you paint the picture with him where you’re placing the boat against other boats as it’s very important. It’s still that cliche just trying to take it one regatta at a time and one day at a time but we know we move into quite different venues, Cascais can throw a lot more breeze and a lot more waves at you, so that’s going to be a whole new game for us there. It was nice for us to have the last two days here have a bit more breeze than we’ve had most of the season so far. We came away hoping to get some stuff in 14 knots and we have, and we’re pleasantly surprised at where we’re at. But throw the waves in there and it’ll all become a little bit different again.”
James Spithill (AUS) strategist Luna Rossa (ITA): On coming in to the team: “It is taking time. It is a different culture, coming in, I’ve had history with Luna Rossa but this is even a different breed of people now as well. It’s been good but it’s going to take time, and a lot of work, and in this boat we have a lot to learn as well. It was great though to come in under pressure today, in second place and we really had to perform. As a team, it’s a great thing to go through. It was great to see the guys perform when we needed to.
On Vasco: “Vasco is very successful in this type of racing, he’s got a great track record and Ceccho (Francesco Bruni) as well. It just takes time to fit in, but we’re getting better and better every race we do, to get the communication right. I certainly wasn’t expecting to put a harness on and go up the mast today, but you’ll play any role in the team and I’m enjoying it. It’s great racing, he’s a real fighter he’ll fight for every inch on the race course and that’s what I’m used to as well.”
On this as a training for the Cup: “It’s good for the team to be high level racing and going through design decisions, on this boat you’ve got to produce boat speed to win regattas and you’ve got to make good decisions on the water and that’s good to go through. Obviously the boats we’ll race in the America’s Cup will be vastly different than these, but it’s still good to go out under pressure and win regattas. This is the highest level right now of monohulls, we need to look at some sort of level of foiling class and get out there under pressure racing as well, but it’s good to go through.”
Tina Plattner (GER), helm Phoenix (RSA): “Every time you go out and every race you start is a new challenge and we try to really start every race from scratch again and say every race is a new race and it doesn’t matter where we just finished let’s try and race a new race. It’s been an awesome experience this last week. The teams’ been great, they’re excited about how we’re doing and its been good fun. For the rest of the summer, my dad and I share the boat, so he’ll do the Worlds in Cascais, then I’ll do Puerto Portals, then my dad finishes the season in Valencia, it’s going to be fun I hope!”