Azzurra won the 2015 TP52 World Championship with a race to spare, finishing 14 points clear of second placed Platoon while only one point separated third from fifth, Provezza taking third step on the podium only by virtue of a tie break with both Alegre and Rán Racing.
As the final points table confirms racing was incredibly close and tight for the world title of the world’s top grand prix monohull class. Azzurra conclusively proved the most consistent, keeping their scoreline in single figures throughout the five days, seventh being their worst score across the 10 race series on the Bay of Palma.
52 SUPER SERIES champions and 2014 World Champions Quantum Racing slid off the podium with an unexpected 12th in the final race, biggest victims of a big, heading windshift down the final run to the finish line.
The American flagged team seemed to have improved progressively through the regatta which was the first time in four years that skipper-helm Ed Baird had raced with tactician Adrian Stead, and the first regatta of the three 52 SUPER SERIES regattas so far that Baird has steered. But the final leg of the final race provided a cruel blow. Quantum Racing may have finished sixth but –remarkably – were only two points shy of third.
In winning his first TP52 world title Azzurra’s tactician Vasco Vascotto clocked up his 25th major world sailing championship title. Charismatic Vascotto started with his first world title in the quarter ton class with Jonathan VI in Chioggia by Venice in 1992. Among his subsequent titles are the J24, Mumm 30, Melges 32, Farr 40 and the Maxis. Typically defensive about the milestone, he paid a rich tribute to the whole Azzurra family team and to their sail designer Juan Garay who missed the regatta because of a family bereavement. Skipper Guillermo Parada dedicated the world title to Garay who had to fly home suddenly.
Vasco Vascotto smiled:
“I am obviously proud of what I have done in the past but today it is right to focus on this team. I am happy to have somehow helped the boat this result. But this is what we are celebrating today. Not 25! Our team has worked so hard over the last two years, not just the sailing team but the shore crew, and thanks to the Roemmers family and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. We have been through some tough days together as a team in the last two years. We have worked hard this season to solve some of the mistakes we made these last two seasons.
We changed some things with the preparation of the boat. Me? I am still the same, a little older but as Pasquale Gondolfi said to become old is not a bad thing, it is also a good thing. I think about things more and the speed is helping. When the boat has good speed it makes the tactician a little better. Last year we were not so fast and so the tactician was not so good.”
The return of the TP52 Class to Puerto Portals for the first time in seven years proved a popular one. On shore the atmosphere was second to none, the infrastructure fantastic and the sailors enjoy the compact, chic, upmarket regatta site right at the heart of the marina. And the Bay of Palma delivered ten good races on a track which was usually perfectly set on a neutral axis between the two breezes, both sides of the course paying on different occasions. That Azzurra is based out of Portals marina only added to their feelings of comfort and confidence.
Indeed Provezza won the first race of the final day, battling nicely from the right side of the course in very light 5-7kts sea breeze, pipping Alegre on the finish line after leading early on. Azzurra made a key gain at the windward mark when skipper-helm Parada threaded Azzurra through the fast approaching line up of starboard tackers to round fifth. In so doing Quantum Racing, also approaching on port, had to duck four sterns. And although Baird and the Quantum Racing team recovered, finishing behind Azzurra ensured that the emblematic team of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda won the championship with a race to spare.
And on the final start Harm Müller-Spreer Platoon team made a facsimile of their first race start, off the pin end of the line and going left. They won the first race gun to gun and won the last race gun to gun, gaining their first podium of the season with three race wins in their scoreline, and one 12th. Harm Müller-Spreer won the Zenith watch as the top owner-driver.
Three wins – including two in one day – were the foundation of Provezza’s third but they, typical for most of the fleet, had a ten and 11 finish in their final tally.
In the end Ergin Imre’s Provezza (TUR), Andy Soriano’s Alegre (GBR) and Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing (SWE) all finished tied up on 56 points, tie breaks declaring them third, fourth and fifth respectively. But Quantum Racing landed up with 57 and Sled 58.
“This is just great racing, it is so incredibly close with any one of ten boats able to win races and regattas. This is the TP52 52 Class at its best yet.” Commented Zennström, the Class President.
In the overall 52 SUPER SERIES standings after three regattas Azzurra stand 34 points clear of Takashi Okura’s Sled now up to second place with Quantum Racing in third. Bronenosec slipped from second to fourth.
TP52 World Championships at Puerto Portals, Mallorca, Overall after ten races
1. Azzurra, ITA (Pablo & Alberto Roemmers ARG) (2,7,2,3,2,1,5,3,5,6) 36pts
2. Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (1,5,6,12,8,3,1,6,7,1) 50pts
3. Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (11,6,1,1,10,7,6,8,1,5) 56pts
4. Alegre, GBR (Andres Soriano USA) (7,2,7,10,1,6,3,10,2,8) 56pts
5. Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (5,4,5,6,11,10,2,1,10,2) 56pts
6. Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (3,11,3,9,3,4,4,2,6,12) 57pts
7. Sled, USA (Takashi Okura JPN) (6,1,12,7,7,8,7,4,3,3) 58pts
8. Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (9,3,10,2,5,2,10,5,11,11) 68pts
9. Phoenix, BRA, (Eduardo de Souza Ramos BRA) (4,12,4,4,4,12,9,9,9,4) 71pts
10. Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (10,9,11,8,9,5,12,12,4,9) 89pts
11. Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (DNF/13,10,9,5,6,11,8,11,12,7) 92pts
12. Xio/Hurakan, ITA (Guiseppe Parodi ITA) (8,8,8,11,12,9,11,7,8,10) 92pts
52 SUPER SERIES Season Rankings Overall after 3 Regattas
1. Azzurra, ITA 110pts
2. Sled, USA 144pts
3. Quantum Racing, USA 148pts
4. Bronenosec, RUS 151pts
5. Alegre, GBR 155pts
6. Provezza, TUR 161pts
7. Platoon, GER 168pts
8. Rán Racing, SWE 171pts
9. Gladiator, GBR 230pts
10. Paprec FRA 242pts
11. Xio/Hurakan, ITA 265pts
12.Interlodge, USA (Austin/Gwen Fragomen USA) 279pts
13. Phoenix, BRA 284pts