Wide open for start of 52 SUPER SERIES
Published on May 20th, 2019
Menorca, Spain (May 20, 2019) – When the highly competitive fleet of 11 TP52s representing eight different nations line up to start the first points races of the 2019 52 SUPER SERIES season tomorrow, it will be a wide open field that will contest the eighth season of this grand prix circuit.
But history has shown that it’s high-level consistency – maintained over the entire season – rather than brilliance that wins the coveted circuit title.
“Getting a good result on the 52 SUPER SERIES is always about taking every point you can, occupying your space and sticking to it,” shared Adrian Stead, a double TP52 World Championship winning tactician. “Look at last year’s tie break for second overall and it was down to one place, one point. You need to keep the same mind set all the way through. It is a 40 race series, no discards.”
Looking ahead to the five regattas of the 2019 season, May in Menorca, June in Puerto Sherry, Cadiz, July in Cascais, August’s Rolex TP52 World Championship in Puerto Portals and the season’s finale in Porto Cervo, Sardinia and it really is a daunting prospect.
Almost all of the teams have had an extended period of preparation after a winter of modifications, including a week in Valencia in March as well as Sail Racing PalmaVela on May 9-12, which included ten of the eleven crews who will race next week in Mahón.
The defending 52 SUPER SERIES champions Quantum Racing took the win at the warm-up regatta, which teams utilised as a full on dress rehearsal. Having made five changes to their line up from last year’s winning crew, Ed Baird re-joining as skipper-helm, Juan Vila back as navigator and Cameron Appleton taking over the tactician’s role from Terry Hutchinson, Quantum will likely only improve from where left off Sunday in Palma.
America’s Cup winner Baird is happy with the progress the team made in Palma, pointing out that the absence of the hard-driving stickler Hutchinson does not really add extra pressure to his role:
“My role does not change much,” notes Baird. “This group manages itself. That’s the wonderful thing about this team. Everyone does a great job looking after their own area. All these guys take responsibility for their own areas and we have the approach that each and every person is equally important.
“But there is so much talent in this fleet and now too there is a lot of history and knowledge. Everyone has been working so hard at getting better in a class that has now been around for a while. Everyone goes out and we have these amazing races and we come in having had such a good time.”
If there is a team that seems best set to challenge for Quantum Racing’s crown it is probably Harm Müller-Spreer’s über-consistent Platoon, also on Quantum Sails. Changes to their keel and rudder have delivered the more all-round performance sought by the crew that has now finished runner up twice in successive years. Platoon had two costly errors in Palma last week – one that resulted in a penalty and one that dropped them down the fleet – and but for them they might well have won the indicator regatta.
Azzurra were the strongest finishers in the second half of the PalmaVela event. Takashi Okura’s Sled led after the first day before they missed Day 2 due to a medical incident with one of their crew, which required them to return to shore. But Sled were quick in all conditions, especially comfortable in the breeze and could have been on the podium but for their missed races. Adam Beashel was ably assisted in Palma by six-time America’s Cup winner Murray Jones who will do some regattas this season but will miss Mahón.
The brand new Botin Partners designed Bronenosec, the only new build this season, debuted in Palma just days after launching but still proved a competitive weapon. Tactician Morgan Larson has Croatia’s 470 Olympic gold medallist and 49er world champion Sime Fantela as strategist on the Russian-flagged boat.
Probably no team has devoted more time to practise during this early season than Hasso and Tina Plattner’s Phoenix crews. In Mahón they will race both the 2014-launched Phoenix 12 (originally built as “Phoenix”), which Tina will steer, and Phoenix 11, which was their new boat launched last year, which Hasso will steer.
Ergin Imre’s Provezza showed glimpses of very competitive form with a new afterguard comprising tactician Hamish Pepper and helm John Cutler who admits he is still very much learning some of the subtleties of sailing the boat in particular downwind conditions.
The 52 SUPER SERIES is established as the world’s leading grand prix monohull yacht racing circuit. The 2019 season will mark the eighth season of the 52 SUPER SERIES which grew from the ashes of the TP52 MedCup which finished in 2011 when the principal sponsor withdrew.
52 SUPER SERIES 2019
May 21-25 – Menorca 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week – Menorca, Spain
June 18-22 – Puerto Sherry 52 SUPER SERIES Royal Cup – Cadiz, Spain
July 16-20 – Cascais 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week – Cascais, Portugal
Aug 25-29 – Rolex TP52 World Championship Puerto Portals – Mallorca, Spain
Sept 24-28 – Porto Cervo 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week – Sardinia, Italy
Source: 52 SUPER SERIES