|Rey emphasises that that detail, the “tweak-ability” remains a big attraction of the class and the box rule design, but ease of locking in to a lane is vital:
“We want to focus on racing hard, and not focus on why the boat feels like this and that. Last time the boats were a bit grumpy in certain conditions but we were faster than others. I just want a nice, easy, ‘boring’ boat and then it’s on us. We’re just refining the tools? It’s not a systems thing, and we are always going to tweak, it’s what we do. We are going to be refining the sail shapes and the crew weight on the boat, and all sorts of things like that, until we are kicked off the boat at night.”
The role of coach John Cutler, America’s Cup sailor and Finn bronze medallist is strengthened:
“He is taking on even more of the leadership of the team, which is great. He is a real voice of experience. He’s a much greater asset than people realise. He is not just sitting in the coach boat… it’s the conversations at breakfast, and it’s the conversations walking to the boat. It’s the little things. John is so good at the little things.”
In light of the success of the Quantum Racing three-boat programme, teams are pooling information and planning to work together.
“We are doing a little bit of a shared programme with Sled and Alegre before the start of the race, and then, not really data sharing, but a bit of ‘parking lot chat’ to sort of agree.
To me, my attitude is that we are an open boat. We’re just trying to learn and if we see what they’ve got, and they see what we’ve got, and it’s up to all of us to learn from there. That’s our attitude.”
The Provezza project manager is relishing the season ahead.
“A year ago, if you had told me there would be nine new boats this year I wouldn’t have believed you. That fact alone is a little daunting and intimidating but we have some great new sailors and programmes coming in. But we are the Provezza programme, and we have a certain way of doing things, and that’s not going to change. We are still going to have a good time and enjoy ourselves. We will be up late at night and up early in the morning and enjoying it, that is Ergin’s way and that is the way it will stay. He’s brilliant. He’s positive, he’s focussed on working for a winner. He extends his family out to his sailing team. We would shed blood for Ergin!”
But although Provezza had their share of successes now, so too they have been haunted by very disappointing ends to the season – in 2016 especially – and missing out on regatta wins at the very last second. Rey and the team have worked hard to deal with these dark clouds:
“You can’t let the bad finishes sit with you, you have to turn the page and learn from the mistakes you’ve made,” but he admits, “For sure you wake up at three in the morning in February and think ‘what if I’d just dipped that guy instead of…’, but that’s life, that’s yachting, that’s sport.”