Provezza, winners on these Bay-of-Palma waters in 2017, served notice that they should be among the favourites to win the 2019 TP52 World Championship title as they held off Azzurra to win the Official Practice Race in a light sea breeze today.
The Turkish-flagged team, which has John Cutler steering and Hamish Pepper as tactician, has already tasted success on this incredibly close-fought 52 SUPER SERIES season, taking a slender victory in light-to-moderate airs in Puerto Sherry in June. With Bay of Palma ace navigator Nacho Postigo helping decode the subtleties of today’s course area, Provezza was one of the first to choose the right side, leading Azzurra and Quantum Racing to the top mark, building a lead of over 100 metres by the leeward gate. But the 2015 world champions Azzurra got back on terms on the second run, splitting gybes with the leaders, but fading to leave the win to Provezza.
“Today was good, but we are realistic. We are happy with the way the boat is going even if we had a couple of things go wrong, so we still have to learn from today, for tomorrow, when it counts,” recalled Provezza’s Hamish Pepper. “We ripped our kite and did not do a good job recovering when we needed to. Today we had a good day, but there are ten other teams here capable of doing what we did today, we got our noses in front this time. We have to be able to do it when it counts. Cascais [last month] was such a different regatta, we need to start afresh tomorrow.”
As a dress rehearsal for the first Rolex TP52 World Championship Puerto Portals 2019, the Official Practice Race is an essential warm up, not least for owner-helms getting their game back up to the very high level required. Doug DeVos made a solid start in the driving seat of Quantum Racing to cross third today, showing no obvious signs of ring rustiness, despite having been away from the circuit since last year.
After the strong breezes and big waves of Cascais, this Rolex TP52 World Championship is expected to see light-to-moderate, 8-13 knot sea breezes, through what should be a ten race series for the 11 boats from eight different nations.
“Some days we may need to be patient, some days we may need to move a little to chase down the best of the breeze, but this is the Bay of Palma and you can be pretty sure that at some stage there will be eight to 11kts. For us on Provezza though we just aim to take each leg, each race, at a time. So we need to make a good start, sail a good upwind, and make sure it is a good first race. We feel good in these conditions, the boat we asked Vrolijk for really was optimised for 11kts and it felt good in Cadiz. But look down the dock here and I am sure we are not the only boat that has the capacity to go well in 11 kts.”
Victor Mariño from Platoon commented:
“Now we are at the middle of the season everyone is now reaching a peak in terms of ability, and so it is really, really close. This will be a very competitive regatta everyone wants to win. We think that if we don’t make mistakes, we can be in the top four every race, and then we will have a good chance to win the World Championship, but it gets more difficult every year, more difficult than when we won.”
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 www.52superseries.com
Alegre – Andy Soriano (USA/GBR), 2018 Botin
Azzurra – Roemmers Family (ARG/ITA), 2018 Botin
Bronenosec – Vladimir Liubomirov (RUS), 2019 Botin
Gladiator – Tony Langley (GBR), 2017 Botin
Phoenix 11 – Hasso/Tina Plattner (RSA), 2018 Botin
Phoenix 12 – Hasso/Tina Plattner (RSA), 2014 Botin
Platoon – Harm Müller-Spreer (GER), 2018 Judel/Vrolijk
Provezza – Ergin Imre (TUR), 2018 Judel/Vrolijk
Quantum Racing – Doug DeVos (USA), 2018 Botin
Sled – Takashi Okura (USA), 2018 Botin
Team Vision Future – Jean Jacques Chaubard (FRA), 2015 Botin