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Australian TP52 Southern Cross Cup - New breed of competition

'TP52 war is set to erupt on Port Philip with the start of the Australian TP52 Southern Cross Cup Regatta'    Teri Dodds

The Australian TP52 Southern Cross Cup will fire up this weekend on Port Phillip, Victoria, bringing the action of TP52 battles from the Mediterranean to Australian east coast with the launch of a new three-part class series.

From 8-10 February, eight TP52 owners from Tasmania to as far away as Hong Kong will come together for the first series skirmish off the host club, Sandringham Yacht Club.

Eight races over three days will kick start the inaugural Australian class series. The format will be windward/leeward racing close to SYC to allow beachgoers and other spectators the opportunity to witness these high performance 52 footers up close.

Jason Van Der Slot, co-owner of Calm and owner of Calm 2, along with Sydney based Terry Wetton, crewman on Hooligan, have been instrumental in bringing the first event of the TP series alive.

'This series is about the owners getting together in like-for-like boats and running a series to raise the profile of the class and show other boats owners how dynamic the TPs are,' said Van Der Slot this morning. 'No matter what age TP you have or what level of crew you have, there is room for all in the class.'

The age of the boats racing this weekend range from 2004 to those launched in 2011 so an age allowance will be applied to create a more level playing field for the earlier generation boats. Each hull launched has been an improvement on the last and the newer models are cutting-edge technically and blisteringly fast.

The grand prix class has traditionally attracted Olympians, America’s Cup and round the world sailors, and the Australian class is no different. A bevy of well-known international yachtsmen including Billy Merrington and New Zealand whizzes Stu Bannatyne and Gavin Brady, all with America’s Cup credentials, will garnish this weekend’s crew line-up.

Among the owners there are multiple business and sailing success stories; Hong Kong based Karl Kwok, chairman of Wing On International Limited, Blackmores chairman Marcus Blackmore and Van Der Slot, a Melbourne property developer.

The event this weekend flows off the success of Geelong’s Festival of Sails and Audi IRC Australian Championship a fortnight ago. The timing is deliberate to give owners, particularly from interstate, who contested that championship a short window before re-hoisting sails.

The TP52s revelled in the flat water, decent breezes and short course racing at the IRC Championship on Corio Bay, finishing one, two and three. Rob Hanna’s Shogun V was the ultimate victor, pipping Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan in the climactic final race. Van Der Slot’s Calm 2 took third.

A limit of 12 crew plus a cap on the number of pros on each TP has been set for this weekend’s inaugural Australian class showdown. Like the America’s Cup and other commercially minded classes, each may be required to carry a guest such as a sponsor or owner’s invited guest so there’s more engagement with the public and corporate.

Racing is due to get underway at midday each day and good crowds are expected Saturday and Sunday.

List of entries:

 

Boat name

Skipper’s name

Yacht club

Frantic

Michael Martin

LMYC / NCYC

Calm 2

Jason Van Der Slot

SYC

Team Beau Geste

Karl Kwok

RHKYC

Scarlet Runner

Rob Date

SYC

Shogun V

Rob Hanna

RGYV / RYCV

Calm

John Williams

SYC

Hooligan

Marcus Blackmore

RPAYC

Cougar II

Anthony Lyall

RYCT



New South Wales and Queensland will host the remaining two regattas of the TP52 Southern Cross Cup.

Australian TP52 Southern Cross Cup


by Lisa Ratcliff

  

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8:17 AM Mon 4 Feb 2013GMT


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