Reflecting the ever increasing level of competition among the 52 SUPER SERIES fleet of TP52s, eight international teams are training over the coming days on the waters off Valencia all trying to ensure that they are in the best competitive shape when the first start gun for the 2019 season sounds in Mahón, Menorca on Tuesday May 21st.
Quantum Racing may have won the 2018 52 SUPER SERIES championship title, but unsailable light winds on the last day of the 52 SUPER SERIES Valencia Sailing Week denied them the chance to pitch for their fourth regatta win of the season. Luna Rossa, the Italian America’s Cup challengers of record, lift the Valencia regatta title, which they add to the Zadar Royal Cup, which they won in Croatia in June.
The Bay of Palma served up a week of mostly atypical, unsettled and changeable summer sea breeze conditions for the fourth regatta of the 2018 52 SUPER SERIES season, the Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week.
The 2017 regatta on the Bay of Palma enjoyed the closest of finishes, this 2018 edition is shaping up for a repeat performance. Though they had their worst day of the regatta so far, returning a sixth and an eighth, Quantum Racing go into the final day of the Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week with a lead of four points ahead of long-time adversaries, Azzurra.
It may have looked like a relatively straightforward summer sea breeze on the Bay of Palma, but today’s two races contested by the ten TP52s at the Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week proved particularly hard to read.
Ten years after their first world title together in the class’ formative years in Lanzarote, Quantum Racing today lifted the Rolex TP52 World Championship crown in Cascais, winning a spirited ding-dong battle with rivals Azzurra in the typically muscular Atlantic breezes that the Portuguese hotspot has long since been renowned for.
Holding high expectations after winning the Royal Cup in Zadar, Croatia last month, the opening day of the Rolex TP52 World Championship proved to be a big disappointment for the Luna Rossa team. A hydraulic failure less than one minute before the start of Race 1 doused their hopes immediately. And in the second breezy race – the windiest they have sailed as team – they struggled to find speed and balance to be competitive in the 20-28kts winds and waves.
If the first two regattas of the 52 SUPER SERIES season in Croatia were tactical, cerebral and subtle; about moving up and down the gears through small wind variations, choosing the right side of the course and remaining consistent despite big shifts in wind direction; as the Rolex TP52 World Championship started today, Cascais exerted a welcomed reminder of the flip-side of the racing coin – solid winds, surfing waves and big moves that require slick, accomplished crew work. Croatia was exacting.
The 2019 52 SUPER SERIES season promises two pivotal events on the open Atlantic as the world’s leading grand prix monohull circuit is hosted in June next year by Puerto Sherry on the increasingly popular Bay of Cadiz race area for the first time in the circuit’s eight-year history. The circuit then moves directly to Cascais, Portugal in the quest for an exciting Atlantic summer showdown.