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Rolex TP52 World Championship on Bay of Palma - Day 4

by 52 Super Series 28 Aug 2019 20:28 PDT 25-29 August 2019

A testing, northwesterly offshore wind of 12-17kts produced fantastic racing conditions today at the Rolex TP52 World Championship on the Bay of Palma out of Puerto Portals as Harm Müller-Spreer’s Platoon took control of the title race. They posted two first places and a fifth to lead the championship by seven points going into the final day, Thursday.

But for all that the 2017 world champions stepped clear of the pack today, sailing smart and fast, they did start each of the three races on the back foot, forced each time to climb through the fleet. After seven races their average points score per race remains three points.

They have retained the level of consistency that would normally lead to a regatta win. Unfortunately Takashi Okura’s Sled did not manage to capitalise from their position at the top of the world championship standings. Two penalties sent them to fifth overall, now 19 points distant from Azzurra, which lies second.

The north westerly breeze was something of a pleasant surprise for most of the teams that had expected to race in a light, standard, Bay of Palma sea breeze. The offshore breeze was pleasingly steady in mean direction but phased left and right to present plenty of opportunities for place changes. Platoon’s Olympic gold medallist and America’s Cup winner Jordi Calafat relished the chance to sail in a northwesterly breeze that is rarely seen in summer on his home waters, the Bay of Palma, where he trained and raced during his formative years.

Trimmer Ross Halcrow observed:

“These are Jordi’s home waters too, and it’s not very often like this (breeze direction) out there this time of year, so it was pretty good as Jordi does see a bit of this whereas others just come out here in the summer and only see the seabreeze,” but Halcrow observed; “Tomorrow is supposed to be another normal sea breeze day, 8-14 knots, so hopefully we’ll get out there and get two races off! It was good to mix it up for Palma to have a day like today. It’s been a little bit different all around here this summer all season, but it was good to have a shifty day. If we’d had those starts on a normal sea breeze day it would have been a lot more difficult to get back up there!”

And looking at the prospects of winning the season’s title, Halcrow refused to be drawn:

“We are just trying to take it one race at a time, minimise the mistakes and sail as well as we can every race.”

Azzurra are still very much in contention for the world title but need something to derail Platoon’s train of consistency. Azzurra’s Olympic champion Santi Lange reported:

“Today Platoon did really well to be patient to position themselves geometrically to get an advantage when the leading boats are going at each other, to protect their places. They are really smart in positioning themselves and they can catch up in critical situations, it was really good to watch. I suffer more with the offshore breeze, but I think we are better. You suffer more because you have the responsibility of the team, and some positions can be painful, but I enjoy more this racing than the typical sea breeze day. But tomorrow with the sea breeze. we have the potential to sail well, but my hat off to Platoon who are sailing so well at the moment.”

Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec sailed a 6 and 3 before winning the third race, which moved them to third on the regatta rankings.

Morgan Larson, their tactician, commented:

“We probably got a little too conservative in our starting and tactics today, though we managed to get it right in the last race. Even if it was maybe our worst position 5 minutes into the race, we chipped our way through it.

It was a tough track because everyone had the feeling that the right was good. So if you weren’t leading you had to get a lane a little bit left and then it seemed like the left was actually working pretty well. So that compressed the fleet.

I think our boat is probably modded a little bit more up-range; everyone else set themselves up for Palma, 8-12 knots of wind, and we thought we were right, but we’re realistically better in the 10-14, so today we had some legs, which was nice when the breeze came up.”

Standings after Day 4:

1. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (4,5,2,3,1,1,5) 21pts
2. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto Roemmers) (2,9,4,5,2,4,2) 28pts
3. Bronenosec (RUS) (Vladimir Liubomirov) (5,8,3,6,6,3,1) 32pts
4. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (10,4,5,1,8,2,6) 36pts
5. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (9,1,1,2,9,10,8) 40pts
6. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (1,7,8,4,4,7,9) 40pts
7. Phoenix 12 (RSA) (Tina Plattner) (3,3,7,7,5,5,11) 41pts
8. Phoenix 11 (RSA) (Hasso Plattner) (8,2,9,9,11,8,4) 51pts
9. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (6,10,6,8,7,9,11) 57pts
10. Team Vision Future (FRA) (Jean Jacques Chaubbard) (7,6,10,10,10,6,10) 59pts
11. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (12 DNF,12 DNC,12 DNC,12 DNC,3,7,3) 61pts

Find full results here.

Azzurra moves up to second place at the Rolex TP52 World Champonship (from Giuliano Luzzatto)

At just a day from the conclusion of this event, the boat flying the YCCS burgee has broken free from the crowd and has moved up to second place in the provisional overall scoreboard. Platoon is the new event leader after today's three races.

With two second place finishes and a fourth today Azzurra has moved up in the provisional results and is trailing the event's current leader, Platoon, who got two bullets and a fifth place today, by seven points. Thanks to breeze from a north westerly gradient that from 15 knots built up to 18 over the course of the first race, the Race Committee managed to run three races and recover at least one of the races that was abandoned yesterday due to stormy conditions.

Azzurra got steady results for a total of eight points. In fact, the only team who go a better score than she did today was the event's leader, Platoon, with seven points total for the day. The three races were all hard fought and Azzurra was always amongst the first teams at the start, with her adversaries always close on her heels. Especially in the first two races, Azzurra's team showed their skill in recovering positions up to second and fourth places after having slipped back to halfway in the fleet because of contemporary attacks by other teams.

Guillermo Parada, skipper, was happy when his team got back to the dock: "We got a good average today for sure, and we're happy about it. Too bad about the second race where at the offset mark at the end of the first beat we left a door open for Platoon who snuck in leeward. We couldn't do our gybe set but they did and that is how they won. We dropped back from second to seventh place then recovered up to fourth place, but we could have done better. It was my mistake. Today was an unusual day weather wise. Only one of the forecast models showed gradient winds for the whole day but that's what we had. The funny part is that it stayed strong, from 14 to 18 knots. The racing was great with lots of changes of positions because the wind was coming from the land. All in all we had a good day, but Platoon had an outstanding day with two bullets and a fifth place. Tomorrow we're hoping to get two races in to recover those seven points that put Platoon ahead of us. We have to do things right and sail smart to made life as hard as possible for them."

Alberto Roemmers, owner: "It was a good day for us, too bad about the mistake we made at the mark in the second race. There we ended up fourth instead of first, but other than that it was a good day. Two seconds and a fourth is nothing to complain about and tomorrow we are going to give it our all."

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