by Richard Crockett
Hasso Plattner’s ‘Phoenix’ team did not have the best of days yesterday as can be seen from their results, and despite being second overall on the leaderboard after 6 races, any more poor results will see Hasso Plattner relinquish a podium place.
The only ray of sunshine in what was a dull day, was that Tina Plattner beat her father in the second race after coming from the back of the fleet. Maybe some local knowledge helped here.
But the real story of the day was that last years favourites, who until yesterday, have not performed well in Cape Town, bounced back with ‘Quantum Racing’ winning the first race of the day, and ‘Platoon’ the second race. ‘Platoon’, the current world champions, was the most consistent boat on the day with a 2 & 1, resulting in her making a rapid climb up the leaderboard.
But in yacht racing it is always said that consistency is what wins regattas, so with four second places and a 5 & 4 to her credit, it’s not surprising that ‘Azzurra’ tops the leaderboard, and she could stay there if she simply continues to be consistent.
‘Azzurra’s’ consistency, posting a 3.5 point average for the day, is the result of patience, minimising risk and obviously good boat speed, while Platoon’s three-points aggregate for this third day of five planned racing days, moves them to within three points of second-placed Phoenix 11.
Cole Parada, ‘Azzurra’s’ strategist explains: “We have been consistent and playing it safe where we can; most of this season that is the plan. The boat is going very fast, especially downwind, so we are happy and feel like we have taken a step on from last year. We think we are better in the flat water, like here, which was our Achilles heel in the past. It is hard to make that assessment just now because all the boats are so even in this flat water. We are not taking any risks. Even if the left is favoured we are not pushing, we are trying to keep safe, clean lanes and letting the race develop.”
To date all of the races have been sailed in light to moderate breezes, often one-sided drag racing off the start line. All that is widely expected to change today (Thursday), as the brisk south-easterly ‘Cape Doctor’ is forecast to arrive, for one day only.
Today could prove a decisive day in terms of shaking up the leaderboard.
After an OCS in the first race of the regatta, then penalties on Tuesday, ‘Platoon’s’ trimmer Ross Halcrow was upbeat: “It felt pretty good out there today. In fact we have felt good all week so far, but we have just had these unfortunate incidents out there on the water, so it is good to get back to it today. We had a couple of good starts and then that makes life a lot easier. The first race had options, but the second course is very left favoured, but the weed (kelp) comes into play. If you go too far you get hooked up with weed. We stayed a little bit out. We saw ‘Bronenosec’ unfortunately get the weed. When you are behind then you have to push it and they did and had some losses.”