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Rolex TP52 World Championship on Bay of Palma - Day 1

by 52 Super Series 25 Aug 2019 12:23 PDT 25-29 August 2019

A pair of third places gained in light sea breeze conditions from the white-hot, 11-strong fleet gives Tina Plattner and the crew of Phoenix 12 the overall lead after the first two races at the Rolex TP52 World Championship on the Bay of Palma. Theirs was a very encouraging opening, and caps a good day for the Plattner family crews as father Hasso on Phoenix 11 finished second in the second race and lies fifth overall.

Phoenix 12, the older of the two Phoenix boats, put in the best performance of a first day that was not short on drama. At the start of the second beat on the first race, the mast on Ergin Imre's Provezza crumpled over the side with no warning and no obvious reason. It is a devastating blow for a crew that won the second regatta of the season and were among the top contenders for the world title as well as for the season-long 52 SUPER SERIES title. All of the 52 SUPER SERIES shore crews and sailors have rallied behind Provezza offering every help possible to get the popular Turkish-flagged team, which won here in 2017, back on the water as soon as possible.

It may be the first regatta this season on the Quantum Racing for charismatic owner Doug DeVos, but the defending world champions made the best possible start to the defence of the world title they memorably won in the big winds of Cascais last season. Although they did not have the very best start to Race 1, they worked right early and led arch-rivals Azzurra around the top mark first time up.

While the two lead boats stretched away, Bronenosec struggled at the turning mark, running out of momentum as they tried to shoot the windward buoy from a too tight position. They fouled Alegre and had to make turns, both dropping to tenth and eleventh. But Bronenosec staged a good recovery on the second beat climbing back to a very useful fifth place.

Sled slipped smartly off the second race start line, Adam Beashel and Murray Jones engineering a swift move to the favoured right to lead all the way round the track and register the first win of the season for Takashi Okura's crew, the battle for second and third playing out between the Plattner crews.

Phoenix 12 tactician Cameron Dunn enthused:
"We've got the two boats for two regattas this year. Phoenix 11, the newer boat, is doing all the regattas with Hasso and Tina swapping driving. It's a big bonus having the two boats at one event, even just for the pre-race training. We've had four fantastic training days here to do what we want to do."

The two teams run an open programme sharing data and coaching, Dunn explains:
"We're fully open, 100% trying to help each other, there's no holding back or hiding anything. It feels like we just finished four great days on a really good flow and we've learnt a lot. I think it showed out there today. Overall both Tina and Hasso are competitive of course and are competitive against each other, but aren't we all?! Out on the race course there's no love lost but we also debrief everything together, share all the data and chat together. [Adrian Stead - Phoenix 11 tactician] and I chat a lot, the afterguards chat about what we're thinking, we even chat between the races and before the races. We don't intend to start right next to each other, but we had definitely both wanted the right early, so that's just the way it panned out."

Speaking about owner-helm Tina Plattner, Dunn adds:
"Tina is unreal. She would be one of the best owner drivers I have ever sailed with. From execution and just consistency - all you ask for in a helmsman, whether they be professional, amateur, whatever - you just want them to do the same thing all the time. You want every manoeuvre to be the same, so you then can pick your position and have confidence in placing the boat. And she is incredible at that. I know she feels the pressure, and does tell me when she gets nervous, but you can't see it outwardly when she drives. It's awesome, I couldn't ask for anything more."

Rolex TP52 World Championship Puerto Portals 2019

Standings after Day 1:

1. Phoenix 12 (RSA) (Tina Plattner) (3,3) 6pts
2. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (1,7) 8pts
3. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (4,5) 9pts
4. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (9,1) 10pts
5. Phoenix 11 (RSA) (Hasso Plattner) (8,2) 10pts
6. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto Roemmers) (2,9) 11pts
7. Bronenosec (RUS) (Vladimir Liubomirov) (5,8) 13pts
8. Team Vision Future (FRA) (Jean Jacques Chaubbard) (7,6) 13pts
9. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (10,4) 14pts
10. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (6,10) 16pts
11. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (12 DNF, 12 DNC) 24pts

Full results here.

Racing at the Rolex TP52 World Championship Puerto Portals 2019 starts on Sunday 25th August and finishes on Thursday 29th August. You can enjoy live images of the racing supported by expert commentary and analysis every day. All shows will begin 15 minutes before racing is due to start and can be enjoyed at or via the app.

It's light and dark for Azzurra

Azzurra placed second in the first race at the TP52's World Championship at Puerto Portals, but came in ninth in the second race. The event's current leader is Phoenix 12 and racing will conclude on Thursday, July 29th.

It was an up and down day for Azzurra in the Palma Bay where the first two races in the Rolex TP52 World Championship were held today. The event is also the fourth in the 2019 52 Super Series, the most competitive professional keel boat racing circuit currently run.

Racing was held in the Palma Bay's usual light thermal breeze: 8 knots at the start of the first race that built to 11 and rotated to the right for the second. Phoenix 12 was the most consistent boat of the day with two third places and she is currently in the lead of this event, ahead of Quantum and Platoon. Provezza unfortunately dismasted and a team member was slightly injured. Her team is trying to organise the transfer of a spare mast from Valencia and hopes to be back racing soon.

Azzurra got off to a good start with a second place finish in the first race, right behind the defending champions Quantum Racing. Phoenix 12, helmed by her owner Tina Plattner, finished right behind Azzurra. The team flying the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda's burgee got a good start at the centre of the line, staying away from the crowd on the Committee Boat. Her tactic was to sail on the right hand side of the course in anticipation of a rotation of the wind to that side. Azzurra rounded the mark second behind Quantum and those positions stayed unchanged right to the end.

Azzurra chose a similar tactic in the second race, but this time she struggled to get her speed up after being covered by her adversaries and slipping behind along the first beat. She recovered very well up to fourth place by sailing to the left along the second beat, but dropped back again after an adversary, sailing ahead over the lay line, involuntarily helped the teams that Azzurra had already passed. The second race saw shifty breeze and sudden pressure drops and there were frequent changes in position behind the leading teams: Sled, at the head of the fleet right from the start, Phoenix 11 and Phoenix 12. Behind them it was a photo finish with Team Vision Future, Quantum, Bronenosec and Azzurra in a tightly packed group. Platoon had a particularly good race finishing fifth after a tough race. Azzurra is currently sixth overall at this event with 11 points.

Guillermo Parada, skipper: "The first race was cleaner and better for us but too bad about Provezza's dismasting, it's a pity for them and for the whole circuit. We wish the team both a speedy recovery for the injury and that we'll see them back racing soon. In the second race we didn't have the right set up for the change in wind and we also made a lot of mistakes so we were never going to get results like that. If nothing else, we know what we should work on. We'll analyse the reasons that we didn't get good boat speed along the first beat and then we'll be back with clearer ideas and ready to get a fresh start tomorrow."

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