How it Works
What is the 52 SUPER SERIES?
The 52 SUPER SERIES is established as the world’s leading grand prix monohull racing circuit. Starting on 2nd March 2020, up to twelve teams from eight nations will battle it out over a series of six week-long regattas between March and September this year.
The 52 SUPER SERIES is an in-shore, monohull, fleet racing circuit. It is based on a tightly controlled, carefully managed box rule. This measurement defines certain key speed producing dimensions – such as sail area, hull length, beam measurements, displacement, keel depth, rig height and weight, but leaves enough latitude for designers and teams to express their own ideas. It can be considered to be similar to the Formula 1 of monohull yacht racing because teams can design build and campaign their own boat to their own ideas, as long as it fits to the ‘horsepower’ and build rules. So every boat is different, even if the evolution of the rule means the current boats are very similar and sail at almost exactly the same speeds.
But, unlike handicap racing, the 52 SUPER SERIES races are on a simple first-past-the-post format, real time racing with no post-race time compensation. Owners and crews love the high speeds, the exceptional power to weight ratio, the dinghy-like feel on the helm and the need to pursue small incremental advantages to win races. It truly remains a unique proposition within the sport of sailing. The 52 SUPER SERIES is the best monohull racing in the world.
Each of the five regattas consists of around ten races, with a mixture of windward-leeward and coastal courses depending on the venue. Usually there might be four days of windward-leeward races and one day of coastal courses, but this may be more in a location where the coastal racing is special. Over the course of the season all results stand – there are no discards – and typically that means around 45 to 50 races in the season.
Each windward-leeward course usually consists of four legs of a ‘sausage’ shaped loop. The upwind-downwind axis will be 1.5 to 2.2 nautical miles according to the wind strength. The fleet starts upwind and usually finishes downwind. Duration of each windward-leeward is close to one hour, upwind legs slightly more than 15 minutes and the faster downwind legs a bit less.
Coastal courses should theoretically test different skills. They follow a course which takes in multiple marks, describing a route along a coastline, around islands or rocks for example. In total this course should test different points of sail, reaching as well as upwind and downwind sailing. They place a premium on navigation: pinpoint accuracy in picking a course to the next mark; selecting a route which makes best use of local geographical influences – hills, valleys and cliffs – which bend the wind direction; setting a course which deals with the transitions, the changes in the wind at headlands and bays; and which, of course, avoids rocks and takes best account of currents (if there are any). Coastal courses will usually be between 15 and 30 miles, and count for the same points as a windward-leeward.
How to Follow the Series
Now that you know how it works, here’s how to follow the series: