European circuit favors coastal courses

Published on May 28th, 2014

With the America’s Cup on hiatus, the torch for ‘Most Glamorous Circuit’ is passed to the TP52 class and their 52 Super Series. After holding USA events in Key West (Jan. 20-24) and Miami (Mar. 5-9), the class has hopped a ship to compete in four events on the Mediterranean. American Terry Hutchinson, tactician onboard Quantum Racing, describes the scene…

The 52 Super Series has moved to Europe and in this transition the racing takes on a slightly different look. At the most recent event in Capri, Italy (Rolex Capri Sailing Week, May 20-24), we had a coastal race that was set to do a long triangle that started with a spectacular beat up around the massive cliffs of Capri. As we drifted along the backside, it was quite impressive to say the least …more so then the race which was later abandoned when the light breeze shut down.

However, the racing highlights a change on the European side of the circuit in which the last three events featured six coastal races out of the possible 30 starts. At the upcoming TP52 World Championship in Porto Cervo, Italy on June 10-14, the first and last day of the schedule has windward/leeward racing while the middle three days focus on coastal courses between 25 and 50 miles in length.

The uniqueness of this format somewhat changes our set-up on the boat. The shore team has sorted out some nifty outboard leads to help with the proper sheeting angle’s while headsail reaching and yet keeping the boat light. We also have a specialty A3 spinnaker that fits in and around the jib reaching and more traditional nylon offwind sails.

The big question that continually comes up though is why the format change. Why coastal races? Not sure I can answer that one but I can tell you that the races are full on the entire time. As an example in the last event of the 2013 season, we did a 35 mile coastal race in which we (Quantum Racing) sailed within 4 lengths of Azzurra for the better part of 34 miles. Full on all the time in 30 knots of TWS, with seven lead changes with the good guys (QR) coming out with the win. It was awesome!

Note: Fifteen teams are registered for the TP52 Worlds. Click here for additional details.

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