Wanted: Owners interested in having fun

Published on January 27th, 2020

Since its launch in 2001, the TP52 Class Association strived for a Grand Prix sailboat that was fun, safe, and reliable. While its DNA is rooted in California, the box measurement rule set this exciting performer on a journey where it enjoys both elite level racing in the Mediterranean along with offshore success around the world.

An effort in 2017 to mimic the level racing in Europe sought to establish the Pac52 Class, but early traction in California lasted only two years, with these 52-footers again wandering for a purpose and a home.

As has happened over the years with racing keelboats, they’ve found that home in the Great Lakes where like-minded owners have now organized the Great Lakes 52 Season Series (GL52 Season Series).

“The 52s are the perfect boat for the Great Lakes,” notes Bob Hughes. “Their powerful and agile attributes are renowned for buoy racing yet fast enough to win line honors in distance racing as has been the case in the past few years in the Queens Cup, Bayview and Chicago to Mackinac events.”

2020 GL52 Season Series:
June 12-14 – Chicago NOOD
July 11 – Bayview Mackinac Race
July 18 – Chicago Race to Mackinac
July 24-26 – UGotta Regatta, Harbor Springs, MI
August 6-9 – Verve Cup, Chicago
September 11-13 – GL 52 Championship, Holland, MI

With critical mass in the Great Lake, their structure will ensure close handicap racing among boats of similar traits. This new series, in closely limited and handicapped boats with ORR time on time scoring, promises to bring close, exciting, near boat on boat racing to the Great Lakes’ most iconic inshore and offshore races.

Competing in 2020:
• Doug Devos’ Windquest
• Chis Duhon’s Mockingbird
• Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s Interlodge
• Laura and Bob Hughes’ Heartbreaker
• Jim Murray’s Callisto

Also, Phil and Sharon O’Niel have purchased Victor Wild’s 2015 Botin IRC 52 Fox that will be re-named Natalie J, while their previous Natalie J is for sale (click here). Victor Wild will be joining the fleet for the Verve and GL 52 Championship with his new 52 Fox.

Hughes is optimistic this group has the right people to succeed.

“One of the biggest differences here is the group of owners and their desire to keep it simple, encourage participation, and just have the closest racing possible. Our group isn’t preoccupied with drives as we all embrace competing against the best sailors in the world.

“While these big boat programs are more work than smaller one design classes, when you have the 52 dialed in, it’s hard to have more fun on the water. If we can share this with the next generation, we can get a lot of people excited about sailing.”

Series informationNotice of SeriesClass Facebook page

Editor’s note: The Notice of Series has been updated.

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