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Rolex TP52 World Championship on Bay of Palma - Day 2

by 52 Super Series 26 Aug 2019 13:47 PDT 25-29 August 2019

Delivering a 1,1,2 from three of the four races sailed so far, Takashi Okura's Sled team now lead the Rolex TP52 World Championship just one point up ahead of the 2017 World Champions Platoon of German owner-driver Harm Müller-Spreer.

If the Bay of Palma has a reputation for consistent, steady seabreeze conditions, the second race of the day rather upset that notion. A 25 degree shift in wind direction complicated the first run, the prelude to a funky, challenging second half of the race, which was completed in a dying, very unsettled breeze. After winning the first race of the day, Race 3 of the world championship, Sled were able to hold fast through the tricky moments.

After missing the Cascais regatta last month due to other sailing commitments, the Sled crew are making up for lost time, but tactician Adam Beashel maintains that their approach here is no different to elsewhere with the 52 SUPER SERIES:
"There is not a lot changed between here and our normal approach to any other regatta. We are having a lot of fun together and have gelled well as a team. It is a lot of fun when you are out there at the front of the fleet, but this crew really sticks together the whole time through thick and thin. We have the boat going really nicely with a couple of new sails. Mr Okura is very locked into the boat and he loves the conditions at this venue."

Sled replicated the start that worked for them as the launch pad for their Sunday afternoon race win when today they started close to the committee boat, but then had the pace and early advantage to be able to cross to the beneficial left side. They led all the way round the first course, and on the second followed Andy Soriano's Alegre through the finish line for second.

Platoon, 2,3 for the day, remain pleasingly consistent even if owner-driver Müller-Spreer was frustrated that others among their rivals profited more when the wind became so changeable in the second race. But the past world champions are in a very strong position at six points ahead of a group of four boats, all on 20pts.

Ross Halcrow, the America's Cup winning trimmer on Platoon emphasised:
"We're right there in the money, so we're happy. We feel like we're sailing pretty fast and pretty well, so just see what tomorrow brings!"

He recalls:
"Yesterday we didn't start so well, and today we started better, so that's all good. Our strategy is to take each race as it comes, try and do as well as we can. We were a little bit unfortunate there on the second race when it turned inside out, but we're happy to take the third, it could very easily be a sixth or worse when it switched around."

Alegre, Andy Soriano's GBR-flagged team move up from eighth to third on the world championship standings, Welsh ace navigator Will Best explaining: "It's tough to keep it cool when a race gets as tricky like that. It does get a bit frantic and you just have to hit the reset button, so to speak, now and again, everyone stop, calm down, reassess, especially when it's so shifty with things changing so quickly. Kelvin [Harrap - strategist] did a really nice job with that."

After breaking their mast on Sunday, Provezza reported today that they have managed to step and dock tune their replacement and expect to race again Tuesday. A frontal system is due to move across the island of Mallorca Tuesday, which will bring some very different conditions and a new set of challenges for the Rolex TP52 World Championship fleet.

Standings after Day 2:

1. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (9,1,1,2) 13pts
2. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (4,5,2,3) 14pts
3. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (10,4,5,1) 20pts
4. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (1,7,8,4) 20pts
5. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto Roemmers) (2,9,4,5) 20pts
6. Phoenix 12 (RSA) (Tina Plattner) (3,3,7,7) 20pts
7. Bronenosec (RUS) (Vladimir Liubomirov) (5,8,3,6) 22pts
8. Phoenix 11 (RSA) (Hasso Plattner) (8,2,9,9) 28pts
9. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (6,10,6,8) 30pts
10. Team Vision Future (FRA) (Jean Jacques Chaubbard) (7,6,10,10) 33pts
11. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (12 DNF,12 DNC,12 DNC,12 DNC) 48pts

Azzurra is recovering ground (from Giuliano Luzzatto)

Azzurra has ended the second day of racing at the Rolex TP52 World Championship tied for points with three other teams, all of whom are effectively in third place behind the event's current leaders, Sled followed by Platoon.

The second day of racing at the World Championship began with a wait while the breeze from the south filled in and stabilized in the area where racing was going to be held. The first warning signal was at 1:20 PM. The wind was at 14 knots from the south and was predicted to be in rotation to the left, typical conditions for thermal breeze in the Bay of Palma.

Azzurra got a good start on the pin that she got after winning a spectacular battle with Quantum in the last minute before the start. But the pre-start match race between these two teams ended up giving Platoon an advantage as she started upwind from the battlers. From there she got half a length which she transformed into a small advantage over Azzurra. A compact trio composed of Sled, Platoon and Azzurra arrived together to the mark. Sled, after getting a clean start on the Committee Boat free from other teams' cover, was in the right position to balance out the advantage that teams sailing on the left side had. She captured the position at the head of the fleet and won the race followed by Platoon and Bronenosec. Azzurra finished fourth after getting a penalty for starboard/port cross with Bronenosec.

In the second race the wind tricked everyone. At first it was better on the left and Azzurra got a good start on the pin. But then it died down and rotated 40 degrees to the right along the first run. The Race Committee quickly adjusted the course, but the different and difficult to read changes in air pressure ended up favouring the teams that were sailing on the right along the second beat. Teams changed positions, both at the head of the fleet and behind. Azzurra finished fifth after having recovered positions up to third place along the first run. Alegre edged out Platoon for the win even though the German team had been in the lead for the first half of the race.

The event's provisional results now see Sled in the lead followed by Platoon in second place. There are no less than four teams tied for points for third place: Alegre, Quantum, Azzurra and Phoenix 12.

Guillermo Parada, skipper: "We had an OK day today, not very good but not very bad either. In both races we went for the pin and got it. In the first race the fight we had for it with Quantum slowed us down a little and we got to the mark third, then we got a penalty along the second beat which cost us a position. In the second race we got an excellent start on the pin, but a big wind shift to the right gave us all some problems. We recovered up to third place along the first run but then the wind died and we dropped back two places along the beat and were passed by teams that we had just passed. We have to keep on fighting and hope for better luck in the next three days."

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