Locals lead at 52 Super Series Cape Town
Published on March 2nd, 2020
Cape Town, South Africa (March 2, 2020) – Racing on their own home waters, Hasso Plattner’s Phoenix 11 made a dream start to the first event of six that comprise the 2020 52 SUPER SERIES.
Local knowledge and a protracted spell of training late last year and before this season’s curtain raiser played its part as Phoenix completed a textbook first race that they won comfortably. Then, after a less than perfect start to the second contest, Phoenix battled from the bottom third of the fleet to deliver a valuable third place finish.
Plattner’s crew lead the regatta by two points from the 2019 champions Azzurra who returned a fourth and a second, a solid debut day for new tactician Michele Paoletti.
In the south westerly breeze, which picked up to 16 knots for the second start and averaged 10-13 knots for the day, conditions were not easy to read – consistency proving particularly elusive. Phoenix 11, the newer of the two Plattner family TP52s, were undoubtedly the class act delivering for the home support.
Along with veteran Plattner on the tiller, the day’s leading crew has a potent mix of local South African sailors on board such as main trimmer Paul Willcox, navigator Shane Elliott, and grinder Shaun Pammenter, working with America’s Cup winner Peter Holmberg, who joined the crew this season as tactician and the hugely experienced Andy Horton also adding to the afterguard strengths.
Phoenix 11 stuck to their pre-race strategy, starting smartly off the pin end of the start line to establish an early lead that allowed them to own the left, inshore side of the first upwind.
Building their margin to over 90 metres, they could keep Bronenosec and Sled in check to the finish line. Bronenosec, with double Olympic medalist Jonathan McKee calling tactics for helm Morgan Larson, finished second with winners Sled in third. Sled have Murray Jones steering. World Champions and 2019 runners up for the season Platoon were over the start line and had to re-cross and finished ninth.
While Quantum Racing had the best start to the second race they had to take a penalty on the first beat and then, as others did today, had to slow down to remove kelp from their foils, resulting in an eighth place.
Andy Soriano’s Alegre, which has Ado Stead and Nic Asher as afterguard, were able to capitalize from their own solid start to lead all the way round the second course, emulating the gun to gun win of Phoenix 11.
“You always have to go to the left, everybody knows it,” reports Plattner. “And so we had to fight for the shore. First race we had a perfect start and could squeeze out Provezza and that gave us the lead. Second race we were squeezed out and could not quite make it and so we had to fight back and we had to come from last to fourth on the beat and work hard for third. We had luck on the downwind to pass Sled for a good third. So the third was much more hard work than first!”
Main trimmer Paul Willcox admits the team had spent a lot of time recently trying to better understand the bay. “There is a fair amount of sailing goes on here but not at this intense level. There are a lot of smart people on these boats and so trying to outsmart them is not easy. So having a little bit of understanding of the place, a bit of local knowledge on board definitely helped.”
If it was a baptism of fire for Azzurra’s new tactician Michele Paoletti, the Italian 2000 Olympian did not let it show:
“It has been an unbelievable day for me. We have two really good races, one fourth and one second. It’s super to sail with this boat, and especially with this team. I think everybody has more or less the same strategy, the shore was the favorite, but the trouble is making the plan the reality. I was of course a little bit nervous this morning. It’s a different boat, I’m not an expert in the TP52, but the team keep me in my comfort zone, so in the end we had a good day.”
Racing is from March 2 to 6.
Day One Results (2 races)
1. Phoenix 11 (RSA) (Hasso Plattner) (1,3) 4 puntos.
2. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto/Pablo Roemmers) (4,2) 6 p.
3. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (3,4) 7 p.
4. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (7,1) 8 p.
5. Bronenosec (RUS) (Vladimir Liubomirov) (2,10) 12 p.
6. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (6,6) 12 p.
7. Phoenix 12 (RSA) (Tina Plattner) (8,5) 13 p.
8. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (5,8) 13 p.
9. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (9,7) 16 p.
10. Paprec (FRA) (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin) (10,9) 19 p.
The 2020 season marks the ninth edition of the 52 SUPER SERIES which is established as the world’s leading grand prix monohull yacht racing circuit.
March 2-6 – Cape Town 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week, Cape Town, South Africa
March 31-April 4 – Rolex TP52 World Championship Cape Town 2020, Cape Town, South Africa
May 12-16 – Royal Cup 52 SUPER SERIES Scarlino 2020, Scarlino, Italy
June 17-21 – Audi 52 SUPER SERIES Porto Cervo & TP52 20th Anniversary Invitational, Porto Cervo, Italy
July 18-22 – 52 SUPER SERIES Valencia Sailing Week, Valencia, Spain
September 15-19 – Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week, Puerto Portals, Spain
Alegre – Andy Soriano (USA/GBR), 2018 Botin
Azzurra – Roemmers Family (ARG/ITA), 2018 Botin
Bronenosec – Vladimir Liubomirov (RUS), 2019 Botin
Gladiator – Tony Langley (GBR), 2017 Botin
Paprec Recyclage – Jean-Luc Petithuguenin (FRA), 2015 Judel/Vrolijk
Phoenix 11 – Hasso/Tina Plattner (RSA), 2018 Botin
Phoenix 12 – Hasso/Tina Plattner (RSA), 2014 Botin
Platoon – Harm Müller-Spreer (GER), 2018 Judel/Vrolijk
Provezza – Ergin Imre (TUR), 2018 Judel/Vrolijk
Quantum Racing – Doug DeVos (USA), 2018 Botin
Sled – Takashi Okura (USA), 2018 Botin
Team Vision Future – Jean Jacques Chaubard (FRA), 2015 Botin
Source: 52 Super Series