TP52 Worlds: Platoon clinches the title

Published on August 26th, 2023

Harm Müller Spreer’s German flagged Platoon team clinched the 2023 Rolex TP52 World Championship title with a thrilling comeback in the final minutes of the final race off Barcelona. From fourth at the last windward mark of the championship, they passed two boats in the closing moments of the downwind, one of them being outgoing 2022 champions Quantum Racing powered by American Magic, to finish second behind Provezza the team which had led the regatta since the end of the first day of competition.

While there was a measure of heartbreak for Ergin Imré’s Turkish flagged team which was on the verge of their first world championship title and their third regatta title of the season, there was a huge outburst of emotions for the hugely experienced Platoon team as they won the world title for the third time after triumphing in 2017 in Scarlino and 2019 in Puerto Portals.

The last pair of races contested for the first time in an easterly breeze of 7-10kts and nasty Barcelona choppy sea, proved to be a fitting, high octane climax to what has proven an especially high pressure, intense championship compacted to only three days of racing because of insufficient wind at the start of the event.

Starting the day with a three points lead over their German rivals, Provezza handed the advantage back to Platoon when they opened their final charge with a sixth place, their worst race of the regatta. At the same time, when they really needed it Platoon unfurled an impressive victory ahead of Gladiator which had ETNZ’s Ray Davies guesting as tactician.

Circuit leaders since winning the first event of the season in Saint-Tropez, Provezza then showed their mettle, delivering a clinically efficient, fast gun to gun win. All the way round the windward-leeward course they seemed to have the 2023 world title in the bag.

But on the last downwind Platoon stayed right whilst both Quantum. which has Terry Hutchinson calling tactics this week and Interlodge erred left. The windshift and pressure favored Müller Spreer’s team and they surged through to cross second, not far behind their red hulled rivals, wresting the title from under their noses.

It is also Platoon’s second regatta win of 2023, coming on the heels of lifting the Royal Cup in Mahon, Menorca last month. It is the second Rolex TP52 World Championship title for Platoon’s tactician Vasco Vascotto who again attributed some of the late gains to divine intervention from his recently passed dad.

“I think maybe my dad was up there encouraging Terry to go left and me to stay right,” said an emotional Vascotto who paid tribute to the while Platoon crew not least Spanish Olympic and America’s Cup hero Jordi Calafat. “Before the day started Jordi and I had agreed that we needed most of all to stay calm and patient and the opportunity would come, as it did.”

Platoon’s owner-driver Müller-Spreer was elated, and said, “For sure this world title was the hardest. We were up and down the whole week first of all waiting two days for wind. We struggled on the first day and in the third race we got two red flags and ended up with a ninth. We had a strong comeback and the performance of the team and the boat was really really good.”

Müller-Spreer added, “It feels great, it’s not something you can do easily. To achieve world titles in this class, it’s a big honor. But we have to point out that Provezza is doing such a good job. They are so consistent it’s really hard to beat them.”

After getting two red flag penalties in Race 3, the last of a long, hot, sweaty three race day, Platoon delivered a 2,2,3,1,2 finish but still head to Puerto Portals for the season finale still with the same 18 points deficit they have behind leaders Provezza.

Provezza’s helm John Cutler said, “It was tough to win the race and still not win the regatta but it’s the accumulated points that count and we just had a couple too many I guess. Now we have just got to focus now on the overall for the season and keep chipping away. If we keep sailing the way we have been doing hopefully that will be enough for Portals.

“But normally you should feel pretty pleased with a second at the worlds but we actually all feel a little bit like, aaaaaargh, because like everybody we left a few points on the table round the race track in the eight races we did so you always regret that. But once I’ve had a beer I’ll cheer up and it’ll be good.”

Rolex TP52 World Championship Final Standings
1. Platoon (GER), Harm Müller-Spreer, 1-5-9-2-2-3-1-2, 25
2. Provezza (TUR), Ergin Imre, 5-3-1-1-5 -4-6-1, 26
3. Gladiator (GBR), Tony Langley, 2-7-2-10-4-1-1-2-6, 34
4. Phoenix (RSA) Hasso Plattner 7-2-6-5-1-8-5-, 39
5. Quantum Racing (USA), Doug DeVos, 8-4-7-6-10-2-3-3, 43
6. Alegre (GBR), Andy Soriano, 3-6-3-7-3-5-10-7, 44
7. Sled (USA), Takashi Okura, 6-1-8-3-6-10-8-9, 51
8. Vayu (THA), Whitcraft Family, 4-9-4-9-9-7-4-8, 54
9. Interlodge (USA) Augustin – Gwen Fragomen – 9-8-10-4-7-9-7-4, 58
10. Alpha (HKG), Shawn and Tina Kang, 10-10-5-8-8-6-9-10, 66

Competition ran with the official practice races on August 21st with points counting through to August 26th.

Series informationRace detailsFacebook

52 SUPER SERIES 2023 Schedule
May 2-7 – 52 SUPER SERIES Saint Tropez Sailing Week – Saint Tropez, France
May 29-June 3 – 52 SUPER SERIES Scarlino Sailing Week – Scarlino, Italy
July 4-9 – Menorca 52 SUPER SERIES Royal Cup & tbc TP52 Invitational – Menorca, Spain
August 21-26 – Rolex TP52 World Championship Barcelona – Barcelona, Spain
September 18-23 – Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week – Puerto Portals, Spain

Source: 52 Super Series

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