27th of June, 2023

Ready to rumble in Mahon, Menorca

To many observers it may seem like the 2023 52 SUPER SERIES season has only just started but in fact when the fleet convenes this coming weekend in the historic natural harbour of Mahon in Menorca, this third regatta of the year will take the very evenly matched, highly refined TP52 fleet past the season’s midpoint.

Ergin Imré’s Turkish flagged Provezza team, led by Kiwi helm John Cutler, arrive in Menorca after winning both events so far this season in Saint-Tropez, France and Scarlino, Italy. They hold a seven points margin at the top of the 2023 championship standings ahead of Doug DeVos’ Quantum Racing powered by American Magic whilst Harm Müller Spreer’s German flagged Platoon are third, some 20 points behind circuit leaders Provezza.

Menorca, with its open race area is especially liked by the teams. The littler Balearic island is too small to generate the dependable strong sea-breezes the like of, say, the Bay of Palma. But also there are no significant geographic features to affect the breeze. Ashore the beautiful old city and its waterfront bars and restaurants are popular with discerning summer tourists who enjoy a much quieter, gentler pace of life than other busier, bigger Spanish city destinations. And as hosts the Club Maritimo de Mahon pull out all the stops to deliver a great event every time.

Three peating?
This will be the fifth visit of the 52 SUPER SERIES to Menorca. While Provezza will be bidding to extend to a run of three back-to-back wins, Germany’s double world champions Platoon will also actually be looking to extend their record of winning in Mahon to three straight. Müller Spreer’s team won last time, in 2021, ahead of Alegre and Quantum Racing and in 2019 they triumphed ahead of Provezza and Quantum Racing. In 2017 Azzurra won and in 2016 Quantum Racing were crowned TP52 world champions.

The teams will be racing for the one of the class’s premier trophies, the Royal Cup. Known in full as the Royal Cup Challenge Trophy it was raced for by the IMS 50 class originally to which it was donated in 1995 by owners King Harald of Norway, Pasquale Landolfi, Willi Illbruck and Yannis Costopoulos. Current holders are Quantum Racing.

Circuit leaders Provezza won the Royal Cup in 2019, have a good record in Menorca and are enjoying a great run of form. Given their good all-round speed, good starting and quiet consistency of the first two regattas of the season there is every chance Provezza could win again.

“Would we be surprised to win again? Who would have said we would win in Scarlino?….but we did! Nothing, nothing at all can be expected in this class right now. It would be presumptuous to say we could, but we really just plan to keep doing what we have done well so far, keep sailing well, keep starting well and we have the boatspeed to stay out of trouble. And if we continue to do that we can win again, sure.”

Chuckles Provezza’s navigator Nacho Postigo.

Postigo underlines how much more open the Menorca track should be:

“Menorca really has to rely on the gradient breeze and so we can expect anything, we might get easterlies, we might get a strong Mistral, hopefully we get a bit of everything.”

And aside from their own prospects Postigo says he believes Platoon were showing signs getting back to their best after too many errors and penalties have held them back so far this season.

“I was watching them closely in Scarlino and they were actually sailing well. Vasco is starting to really get his brain into the racing and their comms is getting better all the time. They should do well.”

He adds.

Platoon poised?

“We’ve been close in both regattas this season but had poor last days at both and that has cost us. Things haven’t gone the way they should have at times. We are happy in whatever we are given in Menorca where we have done well before. We have also done well in both practice races at both regattas and so now we really just need to execute better.”

Says Platoon’s America’s Cup winning trimmer Ross Halcrow.

Quantum Racing powered by American Magic missed tactician John Kostecki in Scarlino after the America’s Cup and Ocean Race winner had to have a small, non critical emergency medical procedure on the eve of the regatta. Kostecki is recovering well but will again miss this Menorca 52 SUPER SERIES Royal Cup. Victor Diaz de Leon will this time be backed up by navigator Ian Moore, who has won the series and the world title in the past with the Quantum Racing team.

“I think we did a good solid job in Scarlino even without John who we miss. We went into the last day leading by one point and did not manage to execute which is a little bit down to lack of experience but we have a great speed team. Menorca is such a unique race course but I think, like others, we are not as comfortable there as we are at other venues so all bets are off. ”

Says Quantum Racing powered by American Magic’s team director Ed Reynolds.

Closing the deal on the last day…
Performing to the highest level and making no mistakes when it counts most, on the final races of the final day is absolutely key. Scarlino saw several teams falter in the critical stages. Putting this down to nerves or pressure would be too simplistic. Mostly it is the fact that the whole fleet is so close and pushing so hard there is simply neither the room nor opportunity for everyone to make perfect starts and gain the key positions on the first upwind. Sled and Alegre in particular got to within touching distance of overall victory in Tuscany.

“We struggled a little on the last day but we have debriefed and there were so many good things we did well. But you can’t make mistakes. We have done our homework and for sure we have everything we need to win and are so close. But I believe in the end you make your luck, you have to earn it.”

Says Alegre’s Sebastian Tenghange.

Racing starts Wednesday 5th July with the official practice races Tuesday. The Menorca 52 SUPER SERIES Royal Cup will feature three days of Live TV bringing all the action from the water Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Royal Cup winners history
1995 Brava Q8, P. Landolfi
1996 Brava Q8, P. Landolfi
1997 Mean Machine, P.B. de Ridder
2000 Innovision 7, H.J. Eekhof
2001 Brava Q8, P. Landolfi

Since 2012 the Royal Cup Challenge Trophy is awarded as an event trophy in the 52 SUPER SERIES.

Winners were:
2012 Rán Racing
2013 Quantum Racing
2014 Quantum Racing
2015 Quantum Racing
2016 Quantum Racing
2017 Azzurra
2018 Luna Rossa
2019 Provezza
2021 Platoon
2022 Quantum Racing

52 SUPER SERIES 2023 Provisional Standings after Scarlino
1- PROVEZZA (TUR), Ergin Imre, 34+42 = 76
3- PLATOON (GER), Harm Müller-Spreer, 45+51 = 96
4- SLED (USA), Takashi Okura, 45+52 = 97
5- INTERLODGE (USA), Austin and Gwen Fragomen, 45+54 = 99
6- VAYU (THA), Whitcraft Family, 58+48 = 106
7- GLADIATOR (GBR), Tony Langley, 40+66 = 106
8- ALEGRE (GBR), Andy Soriano, 43+64 = 107
9- PHOENIX (RSA), Hasso and Tina Plattner, 57+71 = 128
10- PAPREC (FRA), Jean Luc Petithuguenin, 56+81 = 137
11- ALPHA+ (HKG), Shawn and Tina Kang, 65+91 = 156

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