Double bullet day is perfect start for Fragomens’ Interlodge team in Saint Tropez
Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s US flagged Interlodge which has Cameron Appleton as tactician and 2020 Olympian Stephanie Roble debuting as strategist made their best possible start to the 2023 52 SUPER SERIES season when they posted two wins from the first two races of the 52 SUPER SERIES Saint-Tropez Sailing Week.
The first ever visit to France of the 52 SUPER SERIES opened with light 6-10kt SSW’ly breezes on the Gulf of Saint Tropez. Interlodge were one of the first teams to recognise the advantage on the right side of the course and after making two useful starts they were able to lead both races from early on to win by a solid margin both times.
There was also a positive debut on the circuit for the Hong Kong team Alpha +. With Ian Walker calling tactics they were one of the three boats to benefit most on the right of the first upwind and sailed smoothly and confidently to hold third through the line, putting any first day nerves behind them.
Interlodge, who won only one race last season – in Puerto Portals, Mallorca – showed good speed around the course. In beautiful spring sunshine, veteran owner-driver Fragomen arrived back in the old port of Saint-Tropez wearing a huge smile.
“It was a really wonderful experience. It is so hard to win one race on this circuit but winning two is so special. We had a good strategy in both races. The afterguard worked so very well together and the crew executed very well. It was one of those moments when everything really works right. But now this leaves us with a high bar to follow up on now!”
“But overall it gives us a feeling of confidence to start off the season with, knowing we now link our performances together.”
Roble, a 49er FX World Championship bronze medallist and 2020 Olympian who arrived directly in Saint Tropez from the Semaine Olympique Francaise where she finished second in the 49er FX, has only had three days with the Interlodge team but raced previously with Gwen Fragomen and her crew on their 44 footer in Key West.
“It was such a fun day starting out with this team, you can’t get any better than this. Cameron, Ian and I were working hard all the way round the race course and the team kept us going fast and it was a big team effort. This was my first time up the rig spotting the breeze and that was a lot of fun. Things were increasingly light and unstable as the day went on and so we tried to just stay dynamic and keep looking out to see what was happening.”
The top three boats in Race 1 started off the right end of the line and had the advantage by the half way stage of the first upwind. Interlodge led Ergin Imré’s second placed Provezza with Alpha + third, all retaining a margin ahead of Andy Soriano’s Alegre which took fourth which they complemented with another fourth in the second contest.
Unfortunately Shawn and Tina Kang’s newcomers Alpha + – the former Prada Luna Rossa TP52 – could not match their first race success, but even with an 11th in the second race they lie sixth overall after Day 1. Their Asian counterparts, Thailand’s Whitcraft family on Văyu, took second in the second race and are fifth.
With a second and fifth Provezza managed a consistent opening to their season, contrasting with their technical problems a year ago in Baiona which affected the first half of their season. The team which has John Cutler steering with Hamish Pepper tactician and Nacho Postigo navigator have a new keel fin – like their Vrolik stablemates Platoon – and lie second on the general classification. Tony Langley’s Gladiator sailed to fifth and a third – taking places on the last beat – to lie third.
New helm Guille Parada, four times champion with Azzurra, observed,
“We are happy with a day like today, but the reality is that I am more focused on the process than the results. When the results come like today they are a bonus, but right now I’m more focused on making sure that we improve the daily routine, that the processes are going better, and that as a group we are working better. I’m convinced that gradually the results will come. It was a good day, but there is a lot to do, and we have to keep thinking about the routine, improving the small details, and trusting that the process of doing things well will lead us to better results.”
52 SUPER SERIES Saint-Tropez Sailing Week after two races
1- INTERLODGE (USA), Austin y Gwen Fragomen, 1+1 = 2
2- PROVEZZA (TUR), Ergin Imre, 2+5 = 7
3- GLADIATOR (GBR), Tony Langley, 5+3 = 8
4- ALEGRE (GBR), Andy Soriano, 4+4 = 8
5- VAYU (THA), Familia Whitcraft, 10+2 = 12
6- ALPHA+ (HKG), Shawn y Tina Kang, 3+11 = 14
7- QUANTUM RACING POWERED BY AMERICAN MAGIC (USA), Doug DeVos, 6+8 = 14
8- SLED (USA), Takashi Okura, 8+7 = 15
9- PLATOON (GER), Harm Müller Spreer, 7+9 = 16
10- PAPREC (FRA), Jean Luc Petithuguenin, 11+6 = 17
11- PHOENIX (RSA), Hasso y Tina Plattner, 9+10 = 19
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