Back in the saddle at 52 SUPER SERIES
Published on September 25th, 2022
The fourth regatta of the five event 2022 52 SUPER SERIES season will be the Royal Cup 52 SUPER SERIES Scarlino on September 27-October 1 in Scarlino, Italy.
It is familiar grounds for the world’s leading grand prix monohull circuit, but the teams will need to flip back some distance into their notes back to 2016 when Quantum Racing won and then in 2017 when Platoon lifted the Rolex TP52 World Championship title.
But before racing starts the competing teams will be doubly focused on making the very best use of practice time. Several crews have changes – some by choice, others by necessity – which will need as much time and carefully optimized effort to get race ready. And even for others with no changes, after exactly two months away from 52 SUPER SERIES, racing a few drills and practice starts will surely not go amiss.
After winning the previous event in late July, the Plattner family’s Phoenix hold a narrow circuit lead of just two points, over Doug DeVos’ Quantum Racing which won the first two regattas of the season. The Phoenix team welcomes back owner-driver Hasso Plattner on board to steer Phoenix at his first 52 SUPER SERIES event since Cape Town in 2020.
“The team is excited and Hasso is super excited to be coming back,” said Tony Norris, project manager for the Phoenix team. “He had a last minute health hiccup but has been doing some sailing and we will make the most of the practice days. Hasso has sailed a lot of different boats to the highest level over the years…he will slip back into it.”
Tactician Tom Slingsby will have little time to shift his mindset from foiling F50 catamarans to TP52s.
“Personally I have never sailed in Scarlino but am looking forward to,” said Slingsby. “But I will be arriving late from the Cadiz SailGP event so will have to learn fast. I think we are confident that we can perform well as a team in all conditions but there are many teams who are also confident.”
Quantum Racing see talismanic owner-driver Doug DeVos return to the hot seat on Quantum Racing. After DeVos missed the previous event – where Quantum Racing finished fourth in Mallorca, 19 points behind Phoenix.
The American flagged team’s afterguard is back in their usual positions but the crew will be missing long time mainsheet trimmer, four times America’s Cup winning Kiwi Warwick Fleury. Fleury is recovering from a health problem and will be substituted in Scarlino by Chris Hosking.
“Of course we will be going out to win for Warwick and would love to see him back, but it will be a bit of a challenge for us,”:shared Quantum Racing’s Team Director Ed Reynolds. “Things won’t be as automatic as it has been over the years. We have time to work on it before the event, but I think the afterguard works really, really well together. And we like the set up of the boat. We are fundamentally fast enough to play the game.”
Harm Müller Spreer’s German flagged Platoon, lying third overall on the season standings, have made an afterguard alteration. They have replaced tactician John Kostecki with Italian ace Vasco Vascotto who will work with strategist Jordi Calafat and navigator Jules Salter.
“It will be great to sail with Jordi Calafat who as a kid I raced at regattas where he was a legend I looked up to,” shared Vascotto. “I am very happy to be coming back and to sail with guys like Victor Mariño who I spent many years with on the Farr 40 Nerone including winning a World Championship, he is a great sailor and a friend. And I’m happy to be back in the magical world of the 52 SUPER SERIES.”
Owner-driver Müller Spreer explains the change: “Sometimes you need to make changes and unfortunately the first three events of the season didn’t go as expected and we are not where we want to be on the season standings. Vasco is a tactician with a track record of winning in the TP52 class as well as many others and I think he will add some fresh air.”
And Andy Soriano’s Alegre bid farewell to hugely experienced British tactician Ado Stead – who has stepped down to spend more time with his family – and welcome Australian 470 double Olympic medalist Will Ryan who will sail as strategist as fellow past 470 World Champion Nic Asher moves to become tactician.
Scarlino 2016 was Asher’s first 52 SUPER SERIES regatta as strategist, Alegre finishing second. The two former 470 champions are looking forwards to working together.
“We have known each other more than ten years and get on well as friends, sailing other classes together,” explained Asher. “We have similar ideas and so Will was the first call. And it is good to have some younger blood coming into the class.
“I feel like I have a good track record in Scarlino where it looks changeable this week, we should get a little bit of everything.”
52 SUPER SERIES 2022 Series (after three of five regattas)
1. PHOENIX (RSA), Hasso & Tina Plattner, 27+42+25 = 94 pts
2. QUANTUM RACING (USA), Doug DeVos, 19+33+44 = 96 pts
3. PLATOON (GER), Harm Müller-Spreer, 26+40+51 = 117 pts
4. SLED (USA), Takashi Okura, 43.5+44+36 = 123.5 pts
5. ALEGRE (GBR), Andy Soriano, 43+41+52 = 136 pts
6. PROVEZZA (TUR), Ergin Imre, 61+54+42 = 157 pts
7. INTERLODGE (USA), Austin & Gwen Fragomen, 39+71+50 = 160 pts
8. VAYU (THAI), Whitcraft Family, 45+54+79 = 178 pts
9. GLADIATOR (GBR), Tony Langley, 60+73+71 = 204 pts
52 SUPER SERIES 2022 Schedule
May 23-28 – BAIONA 52 SUPER SERIES SAILING WEEK – Baiona, Spain
June 20-25 – ROLEX TP52 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CASCAIS – Cascais, Portugal
July 21-26 – PUERTO PORTALS 52 SUPER SERIES SAILING WEEK – Puerto Portals, Mallorca
September 26-October 1 – SCARLINO 52 SUPER SERIES SAILING WEEK – Scarlino, Italy
October 24-29 – BARCELONA 52 SUPER SERIES SAILING WEEK – Barcelona, Spain
Source: 52 Super Series