The TP52 Southern Cross Cup Regatta 2013 is about to get underway with each boat owners setting their sight at the top prize in the first stop of the brand new class series.
TP52 Southern Cross Cup, Sandringham Yacht Club - Beau Geste and Hooligan training on Port Phillip Bay
'I say who, I say when, I say who,' is a memorable Julia Roberts’ quote from the 1990s movie hit Pretty Woman. Being at the first bout of the inaugural TP52 Southern Cross Regatta it’s very clear the owners here have set their own agenda and created a concept that is being watched closely by TP owners, sponsors and sailing administrators worldwide.
At the keelboat end of the spectrum, Australia’s experience is similar to overseas trends. The GFC has tipped sponsors and owners out at the upper end. Similarly, changing lifestyles mean committing to costly ocean races and long pointscores that run weekly over half the year is no longer a decision made by one family member.
Keeping owners happy, reducing costs and revitalising Australian grand prix sailing is the primary charter for a small army of Australian TP52 owners. Otherwise - as has been mentioned more than once before the first warning signal at the inaugural TP52 Southern Cross Cup has been fired - there are plenty of other sports to entice.
There’s a groundswell of chatter at Sandringham Yacht Club on the eastern shore of Port Phillip, Victoria. Owners, crew, sponsors and club members will today unveil a new model which takes the best, not just from the TP class’ experience overseas, their traditional stomping ground, but from other classes that are reinventing and surviving the downturn.
Some of the innovative aspects of the overall package on trial from today to Sunday include;
• Number of crew limited to 12
• Boats with an age date from 2007 to 2001 may add two additional crew members
• Number of ISAF Sailor’s Classification Code Group three crew members, in other words professional crew limited to six
• Crew must be nominated prior to the regatta and mustn’t change i.e. no putting crew off in light air
• Each boat is required to carry a sponsor or owner’s guest
• Due to the fact that it’s an IRC regatta, Rob Date’s RP52 Scarlet Runner, a derivative of a TP52, was invited to enter
• Prior to the first race of the championship, all boats shall submit to the regatta office a declaration of all the sails carried on board for the duration of the regatta
• No staysails
• A competing yacht shall have no contact with support boats unless in the instance of an emergency
• The class has adopted the host club (Sandringham Yacht Club) and appointed the PRO Denis Thompson
• Option of a downwind start and a centre gate that will squeeze the fleet together
• Two incredible viewing platforms, the SYC deck and breakwater wall (public access) where the public and SYC members will be able to follow every race and manoeuvre, a far cry from many regattas which are taken offshore and out of the public eye
TP52 Southern Cross Cup, Sandringham Yacht Club, Melbourne (AUS) - Rob Date placing the Brighton Jeep bow stickers onto Scarlet Runner.
Here’s the list of entries contesting the new Jeep Brighton and Coopers sponsored TP52 Southern Cross Cup, plus each TP’s prior namesake:
Calm II – Container
Calm – Stay Calm
Cougar II – Rush
Hooligan – Team NZ
Frantic – Strewth
Shogun V – Audi Azzura
Team Beau Geste – Bribon
Scarlet Runner – launched as Scarlet Runner (RP52) by the current owner Rob Date
It’s game time with PRO Denis Thompson likely to run three races today and tomorrow, and the final two on Sunday.
The low cloud hanging over Sandringham is expected to burn off over the morning and once the land heats up the sea breeze should fill in around lunchtime and build throughout the afternoon.
Hints Terry Wetton, crew boss for Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan and one of the primary series organisers, 'If we get this right, we could revitalise grand prix sailing in Australia.'