Back in the Groove
For Brazilian TP52 Phoenix owner Eduardo de Souza Ramos the wait has been too long and frustrating but the double Olympian today finally enjoyed his return to the TP52 fleet when Phoenix took second place in the official practice race for the TP52 World Championship on the Bay of Palma, hosted by Puerto Portals.
After Phoenix’s mast crashed down and broke on March 18th during the earliest stages of training, the Brazilian flagged team have had their season put on ice, waiting for a replacement rig to be manufactured and shipped to Spain. Despite the mast only arriving a matter of six days ago, the Botin Partners designed Phoenix which was launched last year, showed plenty of pace in the vanguard of the twelve boat TP52 fleet when racing in eight to 10 kts of sea breeze conditions today.
Phoenix lead off the start line and around the top mark of the 1.8 miles windward-leeward course. That they were passed by Andy Soriano’s Alegre mattered little as the race was just a warm up – an apposite description of the sweltering daytime temperatures in the 30s C on shore – but it certainly proved Phoenix can be competitive in a fleet containing nine newbuild 2015 boats.
Phoenix has had to miss both the May Valencia and June Puerto Cervo regattas of the 52 SUPER SERIES so far, but Eduardo de Souza Ramos, who is just north of 70 years old, has kept himself sailing sharp racing Soto 40s and has continued to enjoy his motorsport. The Phoenix crew is joined by a couple of successful names which are new to the team, tactician Francesco Bruni whose first racing day with the crew it was today and Spain’s double Olympic medal winning Xabi Fernandez. The Spanish sailing hero and bowman ‘Neti’ – Antonio Cuervas Mons join the class after racing round the world recently finished Volvo Ocean Race on MAPFRE.
Wearing a braod smile, De Souza Ramos commented:
It is great to be back in the class and on the water racing. I have missed it all for sure and it was nice to have a good day to come back to it. And it was nice to sail for the first time with Francesco for the first time. We sailed against each other in the Soto 40 in South America and he is a very good sailor and a very nice guy. I am going to learn a lot with him for sure.
Eduardo de Souza Ramos, owner, Phoenix
And Bruni’s smile matched that of his owner-driver, who represented Brazil in the 1980 and 1984 Olympics. He too has missed the class, but comes directly from winning a Melges 32 regatta beating his Azzurra friend and rival Vasco Vascotto who is also on winning form, collecting the 24th World Championship title of his career at the ORC World Championships in Barcelona.
It is so nice to see this class having reached such a high level with a nice group of owners.
Francesco Bruni, tactician, Phoenix
It makes the game so interesting with the boats so closely matched and to see the older boats still in the mix like the new boats is just great. Also the high level of competition is beautiful. When I left the class there was just eight boats racing now there are nine new boats. It was the first time I have sailed with Eduardo. He is incredibly calm and relaxed on board, a nice person, and I try to take the same approach as him and so we had a good day together, hopefully it will be the same again in the coming days.
Francesco Bruni, tactician, Phoenix
After a disappointing Settimana del Bocche in Sardinia last month, Alegre indicated they are back in the groove, passing Phoenix on the first run to take the practice race winning gun while Quantum Racing rose to third overall. The race proved open with many place changes in the middle of the fleet.
In terms of the 52 SUPER SERIES, the season will this week pass the theoretical ‘equator’ – the midpoint – this week. Taking on the pressure of being the hunted rather than the hunters Azzurra start the third 52 SUPER SERIES regatta of 2015 with an overall lead of nine points on the season long standings – ahead of Bronenosec. Quantum Racing, the reigning champions are 17 points off the lead.
The return to Puerto Portals for the world championship is a welcome one. The atmosphere is unique with the race fleet parked stern-to just metres from the award winning bars and restaurants. The marina hosts have pulled out all the stops to ensure a smooth operation on land while the race officer set the race course with a realtively neutral axis, too far to the left of the Bay of Palma and it becomes the traditional left side track, too far right and it is a right favoured area.
And on land the 52 SUPER SERIES step-up their policy of increased environmental awareness and a sustainability programme forged in partnership with 11th Hour Racing. In Puerto Portals the 52 SUPER SERIES are providing a drinking water filter system to provide teams with the ability to draw their own drinking water to take afloat in personalised multiple use bottles, seeking to eliminate entirely plastic bottles.
52 SUPER SERIES standings at the start of the TP52 World Championships Puerto Portals after Valencia and Porto Cervo
- Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) 74pts
- Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) 83pts
- Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) 86pts
- Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) 91pts
- Alegre, GBR (Andres Soriano USA) 99pts
- Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) 105pts
- Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) 115pts
- Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) 118pts
- Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) 138pts
- Interlodge, USA (Austin/Gwen Fragomen USA) 149pts
- Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) 153pts
- Xio/Hurakan, ITA (Guiseppe Parodi ITA) 173pts
- Phoenix, BRA, (Eduardo de Souza Ramos BRA) 213pts
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