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Sled reset on cue with practise race win at Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week

by 52 Super Series 21 Jul 18:42 BST 22-26 July 2022
Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week practice race © 52 Super Series

Victors overall by one single point on these same Bay of Palma waters last August, Sled proved they have the capacity to triumph once more when they won today's official practice race, contested on the eve of Friday's first points races for Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week.

With Murray Jones and Francesco Bruni combining together on strategy and tactics Sled kept two-times world champions Platoon in second and 52 Super Series circuit leaders and Quantum Racing to third in a light sea breeze on a very hot and humid Bay of Palma today.

Sixth in Baiona, fifth in Cascais and lying fifth overall on the current 2022 leaderboard, the current circuit title holders Sled have a strong track record on this famous Mallorcan bay having also clinched the 2021 Rolex World Championship and the 2021 season title here last November.

"Today is a little confidence booster for the team today. The boat is going really well, we have been making some good improvements in the speed of the boat, we have some new sails and changed a little the way we set up the mast. In the last couple of days practise we have had a feeling of speed I think we were maybe lacking. But this counts for nothing today. Tomorrow is the important day. But it is good for me, good for the team. I feeling we have been struggling a little for speed upwind and downwind. I hope with these new sails it is a little bit of a reset for the season. There is such a fine line between strong and average in this fleet. Half a boat length is everything. On a beat for half a boat length you go from kings of the fleet to zero in half a boat length, it is that tight." Muses Sled's Italian tactician Bruni.

"Sled have always been good in this light-ish medium breeze and we like it a little bit funky, a little tricky. If we could choose that's what we would like." Concludes Bruni.

The afterguard re-shuffle on Quantum Racing, required as owner-driver Doug DeVos is absent, places a new, different pressure on Argentinian Olympic medallist Lucas Calabrese who moves from strategist to tactician with Terry Hutchinson steering.

Calabrese explains, "It looks like it will be a tricky Palma, today was a little more traditional but the training days have been tricky. It is interesting. Being in the tactician role? Well we did plenty of practice and I did a regatta with Terry in the J/70 in these roles, it is new -yes - but we are comfortable. But nothing is changed here. We go out every day with a certain points number as our goal - or better - and the goal is to try and win. There is a different kind of pressure on me here, I am happy with it, I would not be here if I did not like the pressure and the need to perform. And Terry is a very good driver who gets us off the start line pretty well in training, and he is actually good at switching off and focusing on driving the boat fast. Michele (Ivaldi, navigator) and I have the conversations about what we want to do and if we have the opportunity we will ask Terry too. He is a great tactician so its good to have his input."

Phoenix's shore team have a long night ahead of them seeking to repair damage to their port side quarter deck which was damaged in a leeward gate rounding accident.

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