The 52 SUPER SERIES was established in 2012 and quickly became renowned as the world’s leading grand prix monohull yacht racing circuit. 2022 saw the tenth anniversary celebrations back in Barcelona where it all began at the Trofeo Conde de Godo regatta in May 2012.
And 2023 sees the circuit as strong as ever with an extremely high level of very evenly matched competition at the front of the fleet but new teams still joining up to challenge themselves as Thailand’s Team Vayu did from 2021 onwards and now Hong Kong’s Team Alpha Plus join for 2023.
Originally the circuit grew from the ashes of the TP52 MedCup which finished in 2011 when the principal sponsor withdrew.
The 52 SUPER SERIES was developed as an initiative by three key stakeholders, respectively the owners of Quantum Racing, Azzurra and Rán Racing who enjoyed their racing in the TP52 so much, and could see a future in which the owners dictated the direction of the 52 SUPER SERIES; embracing all that they had enjoyed about the class and making racing for like-minded individuals and crews available in locations and venues enjoyed by all. Now the circuit usually consists of five regattas per season in Europe with regular early year events in the USA.
The TP52 came to Europe in 2005 when it was adopted by a group of owners who were disillusioned by IMS racing and the type of grand prix boats which the measurement system encouraged. These fast, light, very powerful monohulls felt more like high performance dinghies, raced in real time – first past the post wins – and yet complied to a box rule design. The box rule bound the boats to a set of key dimensions but still left the design offices and the race teams with scope to exploit their own ideas and initiatives. The careful management of the Box Rule has encouraged steady evolution of the TP52 so that it has progressively become faster and more exciting to sail with fewer crew, and fewer sails thereby keeping costs down.
History of the series
The 52 SUPER SERIES is set up thanks to the initiative of the Roemmers Family (ARG, Azzurra/Matador), Doug DeVos (USA, Quantum Racing) and Niklas Zennström (Rán Racing) in collaboration with the TP52 Class Manager Rob Weiland (NED) and Lars Böcking (GER) of Jacaranda Marketing who put the concept together.
The ideal is to deliver a mix of venues and regatta styles that owners and crews enjoy sailing at and to pursue even, close, friendly grand prix racing. Four owners initially commit to the full season of five regattas in Spain and Sardinia, Azzurra, Quantum Racing and Rán and Tony Langley (GBR) of Gladiator The first event in this inaugural year is Barcelona’s Conde de Godó Trophy where the ‘core four’ are joined by Audi All4One. Quantum Racing win the top trophy. Quantum Racing win also in June at the Audi Sardinia Cup 2012, defeating the hosts’ Azzurra by three points after seven races. Six boats compete, the ‘core four’ have added competition from Paprec Recyclage (FRA, Jean Luc Petithuguenin) and Powerplay (BVI, Tony Cunningham).
The circuit travels to Palma for July’s Royal Cup back to back with the Copa del Rey. Eight boats race at the Royal Cup which is won by Rán Racing, newcomers are Aquila (AUT) and Ergin Imre’s Turkish team on Provezza.
Finally at the Audi Valencia Cup in September Audi Azzurra Sailing team win the last 2012 regatta. Quantum Racing in fourth clinch the first 52 SUPER SERIES overall title.
In 2013 the 52 SUPER SERIES goes global….In a bid to encourage the TP52 owners to travel, for Europeans to race early season in the USA and the American owners and crews to come race in Europe, the US 52 SUPER SERIES is set up. This spans two regattas – Key West Race Week and a 52 World Championship, in America in January and March.
Azzurra win the US 52 SUPER SERIES and are pipped in Miami on the last race by Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing which became 2013 World Champions.
The core of the European circuit is formed by the popular events at known venues. Barcelona is followed by the Royal Cup in Ibiza, Copa del Rey culminating in the Audi Week of the Straits in September at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda.
Quantum Racing win in Barcelona ahead of Gladiator with seven boats racing, including Interlodge and Rio from the USA. Ibiza is a new venue for the 52 SUPER SERIES and Quantum Racing make it back to back wins in the eight boat fleet at these events. Gladiator are second again. At the Copa del Rey Quantum Racing extend their unbeaten record to three regattas with Rán Racing second and Azzurra third. Rio take fourth from a spirited battle with Provezza.
At the Week of the Straits a win by Azzurra on their home waters was not enough to stop Quantum Racing from being crowned 2013 52 SUPER SERIES champions after winning three from four events. The bubbling interest in the class is reflected in a nine boat entry. Rán Racing are third overall and Gladiator fourth.
Barclays and Zenith join the 52 SUPER SERIES as partners. The successful formula for the US 52 SUPER SERIES remains and seven boats race at Quantum Key West and at the 52 US Championship. Quantum Racing win both American regattas and the mini-series.
The Barclays 52 SUPER SERIES starts in Capri in light winds, where the 52s visit for the first time, travels to Sardinia for the Audi TP52 World Championship in June, the MAPFRE Copa del Rey in August in Palma culminating in the ZENITH Royal Cup Marina Ibiza in September. Twelve different 52s race in Europe and Quantum Racing win overall.
Azzurra open with a win in Capri at Rolex Capri Sailing Week ahead of Vesper (USA), Newly launched Phoenix, the first of the new generation 2015 boats for Brazilian owner Eduardo de Souza Ramos, wins the first race of the season and finishes fifth at their first regatta. Quantum Racing only pip Rán Racing to third place by one single point.
From an exciting week in Sardinia Quantum Racing win the TP52 World Championship title ahead of Phoenix in second with nine boats racing.
At the Mediterranean showcase MAPFRE Copa del Rey Quantum Racing reign ahead of Rán Racing which won four races from the ten starts.
Finally in Ibiza Quantum Racing do enough to win the regatta ahead of Azzurra while Takashi Okura’s Sled – preparing for a full, new boat campaign in 2015 finish fourth.
With nine new boats launched for the start of the season, all faster and more exciting than ever, representing the very latest generation of designs to the carefully managed TP52 class rule, 2015 proved to be a landmark season in the history of the class and the 52 SUPER SERIES.
Five boats were built to Botin Partners’ designs – Alegre, Azzurra, Bronenosec, Quantum Racing and Sled and four to Vrolijk designs – Gladiator, Platoon, Provezza, Rán. They joined the 2014 Phoenix, XIO Hurakan which was formerly Quantum Racing and Paprec which was the previous Rán.
Because the new generation of boats were being built through the winter the 2015 season started not in the USA at Key West but instead was a conventional Europe only circuit comprising five regattas in Spain, Italy and Portugal.
Quantum Racing, the winners of the back to back titles in 2013 and 2014, made changes. They fulfilled a desire to have their enthusiastic and skilled DeVos family members – the team owners – steering their boat as much as possible.
Father Doug and son Dalton alternated at different regattas – and actually split the Copa del Rey helming role. The changes early in the season were not easy and added another layer of challenge to the requirement for continuity and consistency.
The first regattas were all about getting up to speed and familiar with small details of each new boat as fast as possible.
The season opened in Valencia at the Ford Vignale Sailing Week where Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing won ahead of Andy Soriano’s Alegre which made a remarkable debut in the class, taking second place at just two points behind after 11 races.
Azzurra hit their stride on their home waters and won the Audi Settimana delle Bocche with a three points cushion.
But it was at Puerto Portals and the TP52 World Championships where they built a real points lead. Azzurra won the world title and their second regatta on the bounce but they were 14pts ahead of second placed Platoon at the end of racing.
Quantum Racing found their mojo at the 34th Copa del Rey where Terry Hutchinson sailed as tactician with Dalton DeVos starting as helm and Doug DeVos finishing the deal. Azzurra led until the final day when Quantum Racing won the Copa del Rey with a double bullet final day.
At the Cascais Cup in Portugal Azzurra clinched the season title with a day to spare and Quantum Racing won the regatta. Quantum Racing took second for the season and Takashi Okura’s Sled secured third on the final leg of the final race of the season.
The 52 SUPER SERIES is in tip-top health. More boats, a visibly higher standard. Better, closer racing. Some well-known faces come home. Great new venues. A fantastic, friendly atmosphere ashore. Tension until the end of the season as competitive rivalries peak and trough all the way through the fleet. The 2016 52 SUPER SERIES season will be remembered for all of these reasons.
This was a long season. Points racing at the five regattas may have started in May in Scarlino and concluded in Cascais in October, but preparations started in Valencia in March when teams got together for some informal training. Gaastra Palma Vela in late April had a full TP52 entry as crews sought to ensure they were fully primed and ready to hit the straps straight away in Tuscany.
The fleet size grew for 2016. Twelve boats raced in Porto Cervo at the Audi Settimana delle Bocche and at the 52 World Championship in Menorca.
After something of a sabbatical in 2015, Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing returned for the full set of regattas. New teams to the circuit this season – Peter Harrison’s Sorcha (GBR) and Richard Cohen’s Phoenix (USA) – tested the temperature of the circuit at two events, enjoyed it, and sought to do more in 2017.
Doug DeVos’s Quantum Racing (USA) were convincing overall winners of the 2016 season title. Finishing second to Azzurra (ITA) in 2015 was a spur to raising the bar even higher. They made key crew changes – tough decisions, pre-season.
The hard-driving Terry Hutchinson marshalled the team throughout and profited from owner-driver DeVos steering three regattas. They came out of the blocks hard and fast. Winning in Scarlino, they proved furiously consistent. A run that saw them add three more regattas and the 52 World Championship to their belt.
Azzurra took second overall, winning the final regatta of the season, while the battle for third went to the wire, Rán Racing securing third overall on the last race of the last day.
It was long, it was tough, it was incredibly competitive, but most of all; 2017 was fun.
Perhaps for some teams, the highs were higher and the lows lower, but such is the nature of the 52 SUPER SERIES these days. Teams can take nothing for granted. When, even a year or two ago, there was a form book – a rough hierarchy. Now it is open season on podium places.
For the first time, the 52 SUPER SERIES championship title was decided over six regattas, two in the USA and four in Europe. The season started in January in Key West and finished in Mahón, Menorca in September. In theory, April and half of May should have been quiet and this year August was given over to a proper summer break, but for all, the season felt long and pretty relentless, a fine test of a true champion.
It proved to be a fascinating title race; one that really inspired interest and excitement from around the world. For the first time since the circuit started out with just four boats in 2012, there really were three teams fighting for the overall title, and it really did go to the wire.
Hindsight is 20/20 vision, but who on the dock in Key West would have put a sizeable bet on Platoon coming out as the most consistent team over the first half of the season? And who didn’t expect Quantum Racing to simply copy / paste their successes of 2016?
Five different boats won regattas. Only Azzurra won two events. Ponder that for a second. That is nearly half of the regular, core fleet proving they can win regattas. Beautiful self-contained Scarlino delivered a new World Champion in Platoon; Porto Cervo the most exciting, dramatic and unpredictable final day; Puerto Portals is always fun and good racing; and Mahón in Menorca brought the season to a fantastic finale on a suitably challenging race course, sailing from a popular location.
Rolex came onboard as sponsors. We delivered a great programme for guests from all over the world for XS Energy Drinks. We made sustainability entertaining, essential and informative, and live 52 SUPER SERIES TV was an outstanding success. Bring on 2018, sooner the better!!
The 2018 season proved to be a very strong year with nine new boats built, some on the strength of the announcement that the America’s Cup would be raced in monohulls. Quantum Racing worked as the core of the future American Magic team while the emblematic Prada team joined, cherry picking tactician Vasco Vascotto from the successful Azzurra team. Brazil’s Eduardo de Souza Ramos returned to the circuit with a new boat which he sailed with Brazil’s legendary Olympic medallist Robert Scheidt and a young crew. Hasso and Tina Plattner joined the circuit too, Ed Baird joining as tactician for Tina. The circuit visited Croatia, Zadar and Sibenik for the first time ever. Quantum Racing won in Sibenik at the first regatta of the season, Luna Rossa taking the honours in Zadar, narrowly beating Tina Plattner’s Phoenix who were in the match until the last races.
At the Rolex TP52 World Championship in Cascais Quantum Racing collected the title with Azzurra second and Alegre third.
In August Quantum Racing impose themselves in the sea breezes on the Bay of Palma racing out of Puerto Portals, winning again but only three points up on Azzurra.
The season finishes in the popular Spanish America’s Cup venue of Valencia where Luna Rossa sign off from the circuit with a win but in second place Quantum Racing win the 2018 circuit title, a winning swansong for the departing Terry Hutchinson.
The season started with a popular return to Menorca which served up an enjoyable variety of wind and sea conditions. Platoon served notice of the strength and depth of their title challenge by winning here in May from a close battle with Provezza, the Vrolijk designs taking first and second.
Puerto Sherry in Andalucia is a new venue to the circuit and the Atlantic waters prove challenging to read as the tidal currents play a part and the breezes are hard to decipher.
Provezza follow up their second place in Menorca by winning on the Bay of Cadiz, rising to the top on a highly charged, super close final day, final race where any one of three boats could have taken the title.
It was breezy with some big waves in Cascais where Cameron Appleton found his winning ways as he new tactician on Quantum Racing, narrowly pipping Azzurra by one single point.
As the Rolex TP52 World Championship moved to Puerto Portals on the Bay of Palma, Platoon proved a cut above the rest and won the world title for the second time in three years, establishing themselves as favourites to win the 2019 overall circuit title.
But at a climactic Costa Smeralda where Takashi Okura’s Sled were unstoppable winning six races from nine starts, it was Azzurra who clinched the 2019 52 SUPER SERIES title on home waters.
The 2020 season saw the 52 SUPER SERIES break a new territory as the circuit visited Cape Town, South Africa for the first time ever. To see the international fleet lined up ready for Odzala Discovery Camps 52 SUPER SERIES the at the dock on the V & A Waterfront with the iconic Table Mountain as a backdrop was a very special moment in the history of the world’s leading grand prix monohull circuit.
The regatta was partly facilitated by the Plattner family who had both the home town favourites Phoenix 11 and Phoenix 12 racing in the ten boat fleet which comprised teams from seven different nations.
The regatta delivered in every way. The legendary Cape Doctor breeze came in on cue. Hasso Plattner’s team gave home fans something to cheer about by opening with a 1,3,1 and leading the regatta but over the piece it was the consistency of the defending 2019 season champions Azzurra which was enough to see them win the Cape Town title with new tactician Michele Paoletti taking over from Vasco Vascotto in the afterguard of the Italian-Argentine team of the Roemmers family. Phoenix 11 took second and Quantum Racing third.
As the fleet left Cape Town all the talk was of the Rolex TP52 World Championship which was due to take place a month later. Little did anyone really know how the global pandemic would take hold……
The 2021 circuit was cut to just three regattas in the Balearics, confined to Menorca and the Bay of Palma. That in itself produced a very intense, compact high pressure season which went down to a thrilling last day which could not have been scripted better from the outset.
The class and circuit came back with a bang in July in Puerto Portals, Mallorca. Celebrating two decades of the TP52 a 20th Anniversary Invitational regatta was incorporated into the Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week.
This wonderful initiative was not just to highlight and share the success of the class over the years, mustering as many teams of different backgrounds racing on boats built to different design generations, but it gave them a chance to experience the 52 SUPER SERIES at its best, in the hope that some might be inspired to join in in the future.
Nine boats raced in the 52 SUPER SERIES fleet and seven enjoyed racing in the Invitational regatta. Terry Hutchinson returned to the Quantum Racing crew joined by 34 year old Argentinian 470 Olympic medallist Lucas Calabrese as new strategist. Vasco Vascotto is back in blue, at the back of Bronenosec partnering Morgan Larson. On Gladiator there is a Best of British as Giles Scott sails with Paul Goodison in the afterguard. Tom Slingsby debuts on Phoenix which is helmed by Tony Norris as Tina Plattner has a back problem and travel out of South Africa is also very problematic. And back in the fold with the championship winning ex-Azzurra are Austin and Gwen Fragomen after a five years hiatus. Their new Interlodge has Tony Rey, Rod Dawson and Juan Vila in the afterguard.
Seven teams answered the Invitation to race and celebrate the TP52s history in the Med. Perhaps the most successful global campaigners of recent years, Karl Kwok’s Beau Geste crew was led by Gavin Brady. Italy’s Marco Serafini’s XIO come as 2019 ORC World Champions triumphing in Sibenik ahead of Roberto Monti’s Air Is Blue which is also in the Portals fleet. Newcomers are the Thailand flagged Vayu on the former Team Vision Future. Finland’s Samuli Leisti leads an innovative programme which used their TP52 zer0emissions (formerly USA 17) as a billboard to spread sustainability messages as does Barclelona’s Tony Guillou on BlueCarbon.
The highlight of the week, of course, was a fabulous race Friday for the combined fleet of 16 boats all competing on the same race course. It was a truly stunning reminder of the fun of bigger fleet racing, a simple fun moment of celebration and reflection.
Sled set out their stall by taking the Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES regatta title. With Mr Okura unable to travel it was left to Murray Jones to steer with Francesco Bruni joining the crew fresh from the Luna Rossa America’s Cup.
After more than 17 months with no circuit races and no training there was some rust evident to start but overall the level was higher and more even than ever before and in light winds consistency was hard to maintain, scores were very up and down.
The foundations of the Sled win were a 1,1,2 in the middle of the tight, short, six race event but they collected some big scores too, notably a seventh in the last race. Nonetheless they won by a point over Quantum Racing whilst Phoenix marked themselves out as contenders with third.Karl Kwok’s Beau Geste won the Invitational by a comfortable margin.
To Menorca in August Phoenix have Ed Baird as tactician for a light winds week when only five races can be sailed. Andy Soriano’s Alegre team start super strong, winning three races on the bounce. Quantum Racing are over the start line and are not able to recover, their resulting 11th proves a heavy, heavy burden on such a short, sharp season. But nothing is easy, nothing can be taken for granted in this fleet on the Menorca track. Alegre go 7,10 on the last day leaving the door open for the well oiled German machine that is Platoon who win the Menorca title.
November sees the big finale, the Rolex TP 52 World Championship is at stake. Hosted by the RCNP the fleet find the Bay of Palma is nothing like we have known over the 10 years of the 52 SUPER SERIES. Tom Slingsby and the Phoenix throw down the gauntlet straight off with two stunning victories but they then falter a bit letting in Sled, who have a 5,1 middle of the week. With everything on the line Phoenix looked like they could steal both titles on the first race on the Friday when they were lying second, closing Quantum Racing fast but their kite blows up and they dropped from second to sixth. Sled finish with a race win Friday which gives them a lead of a single point going into the final day. But with 35 knots winds there can be no racing on the final day both titles go to Tak Okura’s jubilant Sled team.
They win the Rolex TP52 World Championship by a single point from Quantum and Platoon tied on the same points. And the season title goes to Sled, also by one point, becoming only the third team ever to win the overall, finally breaking the Azzurra, Quantum Racing duopoly.
After a truncated, short 2021 season which, though light on events, proved compact and exciting with the circuit and world titles going to the wire, the 2022 52 SUPER SERIES did not disappoint, not by a long shot.
Ten years on from the first regatta in Barcelona the curtain was lifted at a new venue, beautiful Baiona in Galicia where the welcome was among the warmest ever. The race course area was bordered by verdant, green spring colours and the race area was challenging, offering options and opportunities to all.
We returned to Cascais, Portugal where the conditions were slightly atypical but it blew up big, on cue on the last day. Puerto Portals in late July was text book Bay of Palma sea breezes. For many the welcome surprise of the year was a breezy, boisterous September regatta back in Tuscany for the first time since 2017 at Scarlino. Then the late Autumn breezes struggled to be turn up off the Catalan capital where preparations for the 37th America’s Cup were starting to take shape. But Barcelona hosted a fabulous ten year anniversary dinner and prize giving which, most of all, proved a great opportunity to look back at ten wonderful years.
And the fleet has emerged from the last couple of years in very good shape. The commitment of our group of owners is undimmed, a testament to the competitiveness of the class, the warm convivial atmosphere on the dock, and a menu of different venues which are mix of new and old favourites. Significantly every team won races this season and more teams finished on the podium at different regattas which is probably the biggest, ongoing motivation.
Thailand’s Whitcraft family and their Vayu programme proved you don’t need a brand new boat and a team of America’s Cup winners to do well, to have fun, to keep learning and improving and to challenge yourself against the best monohull sailors in the world.
And it is delightful to welcome back the Petithuguenins and the French Paprec team. They laid the foundations for their 2023 season by competing in Barcelona with a modern generation boat which is new to them. And in Barcelona they too had every reason to look back fondly at ten years on the 52 SUPER SERIES and to look forwards too.
Baiona was worth the wait. A big local investment brought grand prix racing back to this area of Galicia for the first time, to a proud historic club which has three times challenged for the America’s Cup. The racing arena is ringed by high hills and islands and although it is located in the Portuguese trade winds, it proved a light, shifty racecourse with flat waters. Owners and teams certainly loved being somewhere new and different, authentic and down to earth.
Vayu started with two back to back second places. The Plattners’ South African team on Phoenix, who came so close at the end of 2021, led after the first two days. But in the shifty conditions, which seemed not to maintain a pattern from one race to the next, they had a weighty mid regatta sequence whilst Doug DeVos and the Quantum Racing team strengthened their consistency. A win on the penultimate day, in part courtesy of intel from local knowledge ace Roberto ‘Chuny’ Bermudez, gave Quantum Racing the edge going into the last day. They took second behind behind Andy Soriano’s Alegre in what proved to be the final race on the Saturday, but endured a nervous period when a final race was started during which rivals Phoenix were initially leading and they were ninth. But the race was abandoned and the American flagged team won the ABANCA 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week, the first title of the season by seven points.
By design, the Rolex TP52 World Championship just down the coast in Cascais, followed hard on the heels of the Baiona opener.
There was a huge sense of anticipation as the fleet returned back to the Portuguese sailing capital, minds filled with memories of big winds and waves on the open Atlantic.
After missing out because of the health situation when they did the double in Palma in November 2021, the Sled crew were determined to do all they could to retain the world title with Mr Okura back on the helm. But with some measure of real continuity guaranteed by Doug DeVos steering all of Quantum Racing’s 2022 regattas – with the exception of Portals – the US team were also at full strength.
Nine teams mustered in Cascais, three of them with experience of having won the worlds Quantum Racing, Sled and Platoon. The last time the Rolex TP52 World Championship were sailed in Cascais, in 2018 in big breezes it was Quantum Racing which prevailed, after winning also in 2014 and 2016.
This time Cascais saved the big winds until the final Saturday showdown. Otherwise it was a light to moderate week. After the first four light winds races Quantum Racing had established a strong consistency with Platoon holding second. Vayu, as they did in Baiona, opened strongly and were third after the second day. The most obvious pattern over these first races was teams having one good result and matching it to a bad one.
But Quantum Racing carried a three points lead into the final day when the breeze really finally switched on and the surf rolled in. With a win and a sixth on the Saturday Quantum Racing improved their Cascais winning record, remaining unbeaten there on all three occasions the 52 SUPER SERIES has visited. But this was the first time that owner driver Doug DeVos was steering. Platoon took second, again seven points behind the winners whilst Andy Soriano’s Alegre maintained their good record in Portugal taking third.
To Puerto Portals in the height of summer and the Bay of Palma actually was unusually tricky. With exceptionally warm temperatures experienced over the previous month or so, the high sea temperatures affected the generation, and the mixing of the usually very reliable sea breeze. So whilst Mallorca for the 52 SUPER SERIES Puerto Portals Sailing Week might normally be considered the race area best known to the teams, it proved to be a much more challenging week than expected.
Arriving with a 12 points circuit lead over Platoon and back to back regatta titles, the impetus was very much with Quantum Racing. With DeVos absent, fulfilling his preferred annual commitment to compete on the Chicago Mac race, Tactician Terry Hutchinson spoke positively pre-regatta about how they had practiced pre-season in Valencia with him steering and Lucas Calabrese calling tactics and they had raced a J/70 class event at Charleston Race week to fine tune their comms.
But it was Tom Slingsby and the Phoenix team which proved unbeatable on the Bay of Palma where they had come so close at the end of the 2021 season. Day 1 shaped the week with the South African flagged team coming ashore with a first and a third whilst Quantum Racing languished in eighth, Sled matching Phoenix for points.
With Cameron Appleton calling tactics, Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s consistent Interlodge topped the table in the middle of the week, but on a breezy offshore final day, with the N’ly wind blowing to 25kts Phoenix’s two second places were enough to give them their first ever 52 SUPER SERIES regatta title. Their margin, 12 points, was the biggest of the season, finishing ahead of Sled and Provezza.
Returning to Tuscany in September for the Royal Cup for the first time in five years there was no clear feeling as to what the winds might do. And so it was something of a welcome surprise when the winds blew every day and the choppy seas added another testing dimension. Vasco Vascotto, three times winning tactician, joined Platoon as Harm Müller Spreer’s German flagged team sought to get their season title challenge back on track, whilst Australia’s young double Olympic medallist Will Ryan took over the strategist role on Andy Soriano’s Alegre after Ado Stead stepped down to spend more time with his family.
On the Quantum Racing Doug DeVos was back on the helm, but their long time mainsheet trimmer Warwick Fleury was absent due to a health problem which was to rule him out in Tuscany and in Barcelona. Chris Hosking took on the mainsheet job whilst pitman Rodney Ardern was called home with a family member accident and was replaced by Curtis Blewitt. And the odds were not as strong for the team which had won in Baiona and Cascais.
Takashi Okura’s Sled sailed an exceptional regatta, the afterguard mix of Francesco Bruni and Murray Jones, backed up by navigator Andrea Visintini seeming to read the breeze and see things other teams did not, Visintini calling it a ‘special magic’. The 2021 circuit champions led Quantum Racing into the final day by one point. But once again the four times 52 SUPER SERIES champions had the edge and won the Royal Cup bu five clear points and headed to the season’s finale in Barcelona with a five points margin over Phoenix. Sled took second overall whilst Platoon finished strongly with a second and a first on the final to steal third step on the podium.
The atmosphere in Barcelona was electric for the big finale. Quantum Racing had the inertia, Phoenix were desperate to win a second regatta title of the season and wrestle the title from rivals Quantum whilst other top teams like Sled, Platoon, Alegre, Provezza were all keen to finish the 2022 season with a regatta win.
Phoenix welcomed back owner-driver Tina Plattner to the helm for her first 52 SUPER SERIES regatta since February 2020 in Cape Town.
But while the scene was set for an historic showdown for at the tenth anniversary event, the winds did not really turn up to play their part as most had hoped. Slack, gentle breezes never really reach double figures over the three days racing was possible.
Quantum Racing won the one and only race on the opening day to extend their circuit lead. But a three race second day saw the Plattners team keep maximum pressure on Quantum with a first, second and third whilst the US crew amassed 14pts from the day.
But with the pressure on Doug DeVos and crew won the only race of what proved to be the final race of the season whilst Phoenix jumped the start gun and could do nothing in the very, very light conditions to recover from tenth.
With four regatta titles from five in 2022 Quantum Racing extend their 52 SUPER SERIES strong of season titles to five, an appropriate and popular result for a team which was forced to work harder than ever for this title. Phoenix finish runners up by 12pts with Platoon third overall.