52 SUPER SERIES returns to Palma
Published on August 18th, 2021
The pandemic has not been kind to the 52 SUPER SERIES, cancelling all events for the grand prix TP52 fleet for the past 15 months, but the class returns to competition on August 24-28 when 16 teams race on the popular Bay of Palma, Mallorca.
In the combined Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week and TP52 20th Anniversary Invitational Regatta, nine top level 52 SUPER SERIES teams finally return to the heat of battle since the last event held March 2020 in Cape Town. Additionally, seven invited TP52s of various generations will face off in a competitive fleet spanning much of the proud 20 year history of the global box rule class.
Doug DeVos’ four times overall champions Quantum Racing welcome the return of Terry Hutchinson who is among five crew members back after two years of America’s Cup duties. Owner-driver DeVos will steer Quantum Racing supported by an exciting new choice of strategist, Lucas Calabrese, Argentina’s 34 year old 2012 470 Olympic medalist.
“Nothing comes close to racing in this fleet,” said Ed Reynolds, longtime project director at Quantum Racing. “I am so excited to think of seeing this fleet back in action. I love nothing more than watching Terry at work, seeing top end tacticians like him and Vasco, Ado Stead and so on doing their work. The tactical chess game is stunning and after all this is still the sailboat racing that 98% of sailing fans participate in and enjoy most.”
Hutchinson’s enduring rivalry with Vasco Vascotto is back as the Italian joins Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec crew alongside Morgan Larson for the Russian flagged team.
With a ‘best of British’ afterguard on Gladiator, Tony Langley is gunning for his first podium since 2017 in Menorca. He brings on board Giles Scott who is fresh from a stunning defense of his Finn Olympic title in Tokyo. Scott, who made tactical calls for the British in the America’s Cup, will partner Paul Goodison in the Gladiator afterguard.
Olympic medalists, America’s Cup winners, and world champions feature all the way through the 52 SUPER SERIES fleet. In the line-up of the Plattner family’s Phoenix is Australian Tom Slingsby who sails as tactician, while Kiwi two-times Olympian and Finn Gold Cup winner Josh Junior brings youthful brains and considerable power to the heart of Takashi Okura’s Sled.
Slingsby, America’s Cup winner and Olympic gold medalist, has just triumphed as tactician on his debut in the ClubSwan 50 fleet on the Bay of Palma at the Copa del Rey. But maybe Andy Soriano’s Alegre team come to Puerto Portals as the most practiced? They ran two training camps in Valencia and have just warmed up by winning the IRC division at Copa del Rey, topping a competitive fleet after six days of racing.
Alegre’s British strategist Nic Asher finished the Copa del Rey concluding, “We are in good shape I think. We had not raced for such a long time together it is nice to have been back. It is good to have come here and validate a few things. And getting the win is always nice.”
Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s Interlodge return to the 52 SUPER SERIES with a strong team which includes Tony Rey, Rod Dawson, and Juan Vila in the afterguard, racing the former Azzurra, the well sorted 2019 champion boat.
Meanwhile, the successful afterguards remain entirely intact on Ergin Imre’s Provezza – where helm John Cutler has Hamish Pepper as tactician – and on the double world champions Platoon where Jordi Calafat and John Kostecki combine. Provezza may gain a speed advantage in certain conditions from having a brand new rig, the most modern in the fleet.
In the Invitational, seven teams have answered the call to race and celebrate the TP52s history in the Med. Perhaps the most successful global campaigners of recent years is Karl Kwok’s Beau Geste crew led by Gavin Brady but Italy’s Marco Serafini’s XIO were 2019 ORC World Champions triumphing in Sibenik ahead of Roberto Monti’s Air Is Blue.
Newcomers are the Thailand flagged former Team Vision Future. And from Saint Tropez, France is Gerard Logel’s well sailed Arobas, a team just as easy competing offshore in the Rolex Giraglia as inshore in the Copa del Rey.
The fleet is a fascinating mix of pros, semi-pros and amateur racers all looking to enjoy a good week of racing and some have already indicated they would like to dip a toe in the 52 SUPER SERIES waters in the future.
July 13-17 – Royal Cup 52 SUPER SERIES Valencia Mar (CANCELLED)
August 24-28 – Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week & TP52 20th Anniversary Invitational
September 28-October 2 – Menorca 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week
November 2-6 – Rolex TP52 World Championship RCNP
Following the cancellation of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, the abbreviated 2021 schedule will be the ninth edition of the 52 SUPER SERIES which was established as the world’s leading grand prix monohull yacht racing circuit.
Source: 52 Super Series