Saturday, May 25, 2019

Platoon Wins Menorca - 52 Super Series Sailing Week

Saturday 25th May, Mahón – After a thrillingly close finish, Harm Müller-Spreer’s Platoon crew clinched the first regatta title of the 2019 52 Super Series season, winning the Menorca 52 Super Series Sailing Week by one single point this afternoon. Second placed Provezza, who led into the last race, missed out on the overall win by just four seconds.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Platoon finished strongly, super consistent tactician John Kostecki pushing the risk-reward equation more through the second half of the eight race series. Armed with excellent all-round speed across the event’s varied wind conditions – from six to 18 knots – Platoon delivered a 2,2,1 from the last three races to narrowly eclipse Ergin Imre’s Provezza. It is Platoon’s first regatta title since they won the Rolex TP52 World Championship in 2017 in Scarlino, Tuscany.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“The fleet is getting stronger every year, it is definitely harder than ever to win and so we are super happy to start the season like this,” smiled Platoon’s Spanish livewire Victor Mariño. “The week was not so good at the start for us, we started a bit slow and cold, but we got better day by day. There is a lot of pressure coming on us this year as everyone says ‘hey we need to win the season, we need to win the season,’ so at the moment we have won the first one, but we need to keep working hard.”
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Had Provezza only been able to close down Bronenosec in the final sprint to the finish line of the last race today, then it would have been a different story. But the Turkish-flagged team have to be content with their significant improvements on what was a barren 2018 season when compared to their 2017 season, when they were regular podium contenders and won the Puerto Portals regatta.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
It is a welcome one-two for designs from the Judel/Vrolijk design studio, the first time in the eight year history of the 52 Super Series that Judel/Vrolijk designs have taken both top spots. The defending champions Quantum Racing could not continue a 2,1,1 momentum over the previous two days, and with a seventh and sixth today, Doug DeVos’s crew finish third.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Müller-Spreer’s crew reap the benefit of a settled line-up. The majority have sailed together for five years and the only swap has been the addition of super chilled Briton Jules Salter in as navigator.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“It is really good for Jules to come in and win the first event. He is very calm, very quiet and a really nice person to have on the boat, and he passes that calmness on to all of us.” Mariño, the runner trimmer explained.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
At the core are Kostecki, Dirk De Ridder and Ross Halcrow, who together have won the America’s Cup and the Volvo Race, while Spanish Olympic hero and America’s Cup winner Jordi Calafat contributes as a free-thinking strategist as well as being sail designer for the Platoon team.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“We talked in some meetings about improving the communications on board. We made better starts when we took more risks. Last year we had a good boat in the light breeze and struggled in the stronger breeze, but now we have a more all-round boat. We felt fast and able to defend positions at will. We were strong. Now it is up to us,” Mariño added
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Winning skipper Müller-Spreer, three-time holder of the Dragon keelboat Gold Cup, highlighted Provezza as the most improved team since last year. As well as changes to the keel, rudder and rig, Provezza radically changed their afterguard, bringing in the vastly experienced John Cutler from the coach boat to the helm, and Kiwi compatriot Hamish Pepper as tactician.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“Last year we were in trouble in the strong breeze and here today in the breeze the boat was going really, really well. The changes we made – a new keel fin, new rudder and changes to the cockpit layout, all giving a different balance to the boat – have paid off. But as for the risk, the only way to win it is to press the risk a bit,” owner-helm Harm Müller-Spreer said.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“We are really excited. We had a bit of a tough build up at the preliminary events and training and were really not sure how we would go, but we just clicked along, we kept battling in every race. We did not worry too much about the big picture. Another boat length, four seconds more, in that race would have been nice, but that is the way it goes sometimes. The whole fleet is so close. We had a tough season last year without one good result at all so to start with a podium is great for Ergin and the team,” said John Cutler of Provezza.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“It was a tough finish for us. We had an off day, we did not pick the right places to be and just did not execute to a high enough level today. There are a lot of strong points with the team but I struggled in positioning us. It is not like we have to go in search of anything new. But it is incredibly close,” said Cameron Appleton, incoming tactician on third place Quantum Racing.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Menorca 52 Super Series Sailing Week Final regatta standings

1. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (5,2,6,3,7,2,2,1) 28 points.
2. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (6,3,3,1,8,3,1,4) 29 p.
3. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (8,5,4,2,1,1,7,6) 34 p.
4. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto/Pablo Roemmers) (2,1,1,7,10,7,8,2) 38 p.
5. Bronenosec (RUS) (Vladimir Liubomirov) (1,7,8,10,2,10,6,3) 47 p.
6. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (4,11,2,5,6,8,4,7) 47 p.
7. Phoenix 12 (RSA) (Tina Plattner) (7,4,7,8,9,4,3,8) 50 p.
8. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (9,8,5,9,4,5,9,5) 54 p.
9. Phoenix 11 (RSA) (Hasso Plattner) (3,10,11,6,5,6, DNF12,DNS12) 65 p.
10. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (11,9,10,11,3,9,5,10) 68 p.
11. Team Vision Future (FRA) (Jean Jacques Chaubard) (10,6,9,4,11,11,10.9) 70 p.

For full results, visit: http://bit.ly/2wkggTj

52 Super Series Media

Friday, May 24, 2019

Quantum Racing Lead Into Final Day - 52 Super Series Menorca - Day 4

Friday 24th May, Mahón – From a long day that finally yielded just one race, Quantum Racing emerged with an increased lead at the top of the leaderboard of the Menorca 52 Super Series Sailing Week.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
The 2018 defending circuit champions, who won the 2016 TP52 World Championship title on these same Balearic waters, profited on the second upwind to pass early leaders, Harm Müller-Spreer’s Platoon, and so scored their second race win in a row.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
While the new line up on Quantum Racing are gelling nicely and have sailed a strong 2,1,1 from the last three races of the regatta, their perennial rivals Azzurra – who lead after the first day – had another disappointing day. They fouled Alegre and had to take a penalty, which dropped them to 11th. A recovery to seventh only partially helps morale, but the Azzurra – who won here last time the circuit visited in 2017 – need to get back to regular top results.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
The winds took a long time to fill out on to the race arena. Race officer Maria Torrijo chose to hold the fleet ashore until mid afternoon. But it was only on the fourth attempt – after two general recalls and an AP’d start – that the race finally got away in eight to 10kts of breeze and flat water.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Platoon started off the pin end of the line and had Quantum Racing in their pockets off the line. The German team, training and race partners to Quantum – with whom they share data, briefings and debriefs – led around the course until the second beat. They moved left and let Quantum and Provezza profit.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Through the finish, Quantum scored the victory with Platoon second and Ergin Imre’s Provezza third. The Turkish-flagged team now lie second going into the final day, three points behind Doug DeVos’s crew, which has Ed Baird on the helm through this season. Azzurra dropped to fourth overall.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“That was a tough race. Everybody was fighting so hard on the line. It was good that we had the two hour delay, there was no waiting around half an hour at a time, and then everyone is right into it. We had a little bit of good fortune getting through Platoon, that is how the game works sometimes. But we should get three races tomorrow, nice breeze and big waves. It should be a great finale,” said Ed Baird, skipper-helm on Quantum Racing.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“Our start after the delay was a little bit of a mess and we ended up behind Quantum Racing on the the first cross, but then we were guilty of fouling Alegre. We made a decent recovery saving ourselves four points, but we need to sail better,” said Azzurra’s navigator Bruno Zirilli.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Menorca 52 Super Series Sailing Week
Regatta standings after Day 4
1. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (8,5,4,2,1,1) 21 punti.
2. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (6,3,3,1,8,3) 24 p.
3. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (5,2,6,3,7,2) 25 p.
4. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto/Pablo Roemmers) (2,1,1,7,10,7) 28 p.
5. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (4,11,2,5,6,8) 36 p.
6. Bronenosec (RUS) (Vladimir Liubomirov) (1,7,8,10,2,10) 38 p.
7. Phoenix 12 (RSA) (Tina Plattner) (7,4,7,8,9,4) 39 p.
8. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (9,8,5,9,4,5) 40 p
9. Phoenix 11 (RSA) (Hasso Plattner) (3,10,11,6,5,6) 41 p.
10. Team Vision Future (FRA) (Jean Jacques Chaubard) (10,6,9,4,11,11) 51 p.
11. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (11,9,10,11,3,9) 53 p.

For full results, visit: http://bit.ly/2wkggTj

52 Super Series Media

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Tight at the Top as One Point Separates Top Three in Menorca - 52 Super Series - Day 3

Thursday 23rd May, Mahón – On an uncompromising, very much one-sided race course off Mahón, Quantum Racing proved the top scoring boat at the Menorca 52 Super Series Sailing Week to take the overall lead at the first circuit regatta of 2019 by one single point.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
After missing Day 2’s scheduled races due to the lack of breeze, the third day was a gift with the bright spring sunshine and 10-15 knots of breeze. But with the race area located to the east of the entrance to Mahón’s expansive natural harbour – one of the world’s biggest – the topography upwind created a natural deflection in the wind, creating a one-sided course that placed a gilt-edged premium on starting perfectly and getting to the right as smartly as possible.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Regatta leaders Azzurra had made a dream start to their season. A second and a win on the first day was smartly followed by another victory in the first of today’s three races. A textbook start on the signal boat end of the line, a swift tack to the right and the team from the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda led all the way around the course, extending their lead to eight points at the top of the 11-boat fleet.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
But, as is nearly always the case, when there is such pressure on one side of the course and off the line, it is close to impossible to repeat the same plan time and again. Azzurra were held up by Sled at the start of the next race and their strategy was compromised.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Provezza got away to lead while Azzurra rounded fifth dropping places on each subsequent leg to finish seventh. A mainsheet winch problem just before the start of Race 5, the third contest of the day, left Azzurra flat footed and nearly last off the line. The dream, 2,1,1, was rudely awoken to a harsh 17pts reality, just as perennial rivals Quantum Racing hit their straps for a glamour 4,2,1 today.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“It is the third day of racing, we are almost tied on points and it is like starting all over again! But tomorrow we will be back fighting. That is our style. If we thought we were going to have a comfortable week… no way?,” said Guillermo Parada, the Azzurra skipper-helm
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Quantum Racing started well each race but lost places again in the first heat of the day, leaving Alegre and Provezza to gybe away to the left of the run and gain in better wind pressure. But thereafter the new team line up were firing on all cylinders, extending on the third race to be almost 300 metres ahead on the one sided, follow my leader course.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Provezza, Ergin Imre’s Turkish-flagged team show considerable podium potential, their 12pts for the day’s diet of three races, sees them tied on points with Azzurra, also just one point behind the regatta leaders. The new afterguard on Provezza, John Cutler steering with Kiwi compatriot Hamish Pepper, appear to have gelled with unflappable navigator Nacho Postigo and their Judel/Vrolijk design – which was updated through the winter – is proving quick enough.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“We made it hard on ourselves on the first race but after that it went well. There is a big geographical shift and the right was strong. We fought hard and we had really good strategy all day. Ed was able to execute really well and the rest was the guys just really working really hard and sailing the boat really well. The starts are a tricky part of the race especially when there is really only one place to start and Ed did a good job in races two and three,” said Cameron Appleton, tactician on Quantum Racing.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Menorca 52 Super Series Sailing Week
Regatta standings after Day 3

1. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (8,5,4,2,1) 20 p.
2. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto/Pablo Roemmers) (2,1,1,7,10) 21 p.
3. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (6,3,3,1,8) 21 p.
4. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (5,2,6,3,7) 23 p.
5. Bronenosec (RUS) (Vladimir Liubomirov) (1,7,8,10,2) 28 p.
6. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (4,11,2,5,6) 28 p.
7. Phoenix 11 (RSA) (Hasso Plattner) (3,10,11,6,5) 35 p.
8. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (9,8,5,9,4) 35 p.
9. Phoenix 12 (RSA) (Tina Plattner) (7,4,7,8,9) 35 p.
10. Team Vision Future (FRA) (Jean Jacques Chaubard) (10,6,9,4,11) 40 p.
11. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (11,9,10,11,3) 44 p.

For full results, visit: http://bit.ly/2wkggTj

52 Super Series Media

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Lack of Wind Cancels the Second Day of Racing in Menorca

Wednesday 22nd May, Mahón)

The forecast light sea breeze failed to materialise today for the 11-strong fleet of TP52s at the Menorca 52 Super Series Sailing Week, and so racing had to be cancelled for the day.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
The standings remain the same with Azzurra (Alberto & Pablo Roemmers) leading the results table by four points ahead of Platoon (Harm Müller-Spreer) after Tuesday’s two races.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“It is very frustrating that the sea breeze just did not come in. It is one of those things because of the shape of the smaller island here that it does not really generate the thermal breeze at this time of year, but it is looking more promising for Thursday and into the weekend,” commented Maria Torrijo, the Principal Race Officer.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
It may not have been a good day for competition but a new initiative to help clean up the seabed around the race docks in the host marinas recovered a significant amount of discarded debris and rubbish thanks to the team’s divers and local divers.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Menorca 52 Super Series Sailing Week
Regatta standings after two races

1. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto / Pablo Roemmers) (2,1) 3 p.
2. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (5,2) 7 p.
3. Bronenosec (RUS) (Vladimir Liubomirov) (1,7) 8 p.
4. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (6,3) 9 p
5. Phoenix 12 (RSA) (Tina Plattner) (7,4) 11 p.
6. Phoenix 11 (RSA) (Hasso Plattner) (3,10) 13 p.
7. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (8,5) 13 p.
8. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (4,11) 15 p.
9. Team Vision Future (FRA) (Jean Jacques Chaubbard) (10,6) 16 p.
10. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (9,8) 17 p.
11. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (11,9) 20 p.

For full results, visit: http://bit.ly/2wkggTj

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Azzurra Off to a Dream Start in Menorca - 52 Super Series - Day 1

Tuesday 21st May, Mahón – Menorca has been good to Azzurra when the 52 Super Series has visited in the past. In 2016 they turned a corner at the Menorca event to convert a bad season to a clear win the last event of the season in Cascais. And in 2017 the Italian-Argentine team clinched the season-long series title, partying long into the night in Mahón.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Today the Roemmers’ family team made a very strong start to the 2019 52 Super Series with a second and first from the first two races to jump out to a clear early lead at the Menorca 52 Super Series Sailing Week.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
In light winds, just six to 11 knots of patchy breezes, it was the brand-new, straight-from-the-wrapper Bronenosec that took first blood in Race 1, Day 1 of 2019, to give Russian owner Vladimir Liubomirov the best welcome back to the world’s leading grand prix mononhull circuit after a year out.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
With Croatian sailing hero Sime Fantela, the 470 Rio gold medal winner, promoted to the helm on what was his first ever 52 Super Series race, Bronenosec led all the way round the course to take the first winning gun of a highly anticipated season.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Azzurra started best in the second contest, nailing the pin end of the line to be sure that they – like Bronenosec in the first heat – could not be challenged at all after the windward mark.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
While the three-time circuit champions Azzurra had a standout day, the 2018 champions Quantum Racing made a modest start to their title defence with an eighth in the 11-boat fleet in the day’s first race followed by a fifth to lie seventh overall.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
Skipper helm of Azzurra Guillermo Parada smiled on the dock:
Azzurra crew Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
“We are happy with the start to the season but there is a certain relief after all the winter jobs, the testing and training that we have done to confirm that the boat is going well and we are able to fifth in conditions that were previously a weakness, light airs were not our strength and so we have focused our efforts in particular on this. So more than the results today, which after all is just one day in what we hope with be 25 days of racing, we feel that the boat is going well.”
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
The champions have five key crew changes to their title winning line up and, although they won the PalmaVela warm up regatta a week ago, today they twice came off second best as they sought key positions on the start line at both starts.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
During the second contest their return from the lower reaches of the fleet to earn fifth was more like the usual Quantum Racing, an improvement on Race 1. Quantum held an early second place at the first windward mark but dropped to finish eighth. They were forced to the unfavoured right of the second upwind and suffered badly.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
The new French team on the circuit, Team Vision Future who sail the 2015 former Sled, showed well in the second race only just losing their fifth to Quantum Racing on the finish line.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series
The obvious tension and excitement of the first day of a highly anticipated season has dissipated and it is down to business on what promises to be a long and challenging season.

Menorca 52 Super Series Sailing Week
Regatta standings after two races

1. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto / Pablo Roemmers) (2,1) 3 p.
2. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (5,2) 7 p.
3. Bronenosec (RUS) (Vladimir Liubomirov) (1,7) 8 p.
4. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (6,3) 9 p
5. Phoenix 12 (RSA) (Tina Plattner) (7,4) 11 p.
6. Phoenix 11 (RSA) (Hasso Plattner) (3,10) 13 p.
7. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (8,5) 13 p.
8. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (4,11) 15 p.
9. Team Vision Future (FRA) (Jean Jacques Chaubbard) (10,6) 16 p.
10. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (9,8) 17 p.
11. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (11,9) 20 p.

For full results, visit: http://bit.ly/2wkggTj

52 Super Series Media