Andy Soriano and his Alegre team are no strangers to success. They are the past winners of Mini Maxi World Championship in 2014 with the Mills-designed 72-footer, but the offshore and inshore wins go back to 2008 when Soriano first campaigned the original Alegre, a 68-footer. The crew won the Middle Sea Race – line honours and overall, were second in the Maxi worlds; and won the Giraglia line honours and overall. They are twice winners at the Copa del Rey.
They stepped into the Soto 40 class for a while too, sharpening up the boat-on-boat, close-quarters work and enjoying the bursts of speed the one-design was known for. It was three years ago, in 2015, when Soriano and his crew joined the 52 SUPER SERIES for the first time. They showed considerable promise and good, consistent periods interspersed with occasional bad days. Such is life in the TP52 Class. They finished sixth overall for the season but very close on points with third – just seven shy of Sled.
In 2015 Alegre’s best finish was their second in the opening regatta of the season, Ford Vignale Sailing Week in Valencia, the 52 SUPER SERIES debut for the Botin and Partners design, a mould sister to Quantum Racing, which was built at Longitude Cero in Burriana, Spain.
Some of the Alegre core group have been with Soriano since the beginning. Joe Cox, Will Best, Gerry Mitchell and North Sails’ Kevin George are among the longest serving crew members. Soriano is an accomplished and talented owner-driver.
In 2016 Alegre once again proved they have massive talent and commitment onboard, finishing second in Scarlino.
But 2017 was a difficult season for Alegre and there is no doubt that the team probably finished the season with a feeling of disappointment, ruing what could have been. Under owner-driver Soriano, this is a team rich in talent and experience, but they could not manage that high level of consistency needed to podium at regattas. Andy Horton signed on at the second regatta of the season as tactician and is complemented by Kelvin Harrap as strategist. They showed many bright spots over the season. Scarlino, for whatever reason, remains their special place – just missing out on their second successive Scarlino podium when they finished fourth. There’s no doubt that their confidence, their impetus, and their scoreline took a hit when they lost their new, 2017 rig overboard in Porto Cervo. But – away from the circuit – they enjoyed a big win at the Copa del Rey.