Platoon take tiny three points lead into 2023 title showdown Saturday on Bay of Palma
After two excellent races in a brisk cross-offshore breeze on the Bay of Palma, which saw honours shared almost equally between the two title protagonists, it is Harm Müller-Spreer’s German flagged world champions Platoon crew which leads into the final day of the 2023 52 SUPER SERIES season but by only three points over the long time circuit leaders Provezza.
While Provezza comfortably triumphed in the first race of the day and then finished third behind their second placed German rivals in the second contest, Platoon also benefited today from a subsequent application of average points redress which was granted for two races they missed on Thursday due to standing rigging damage caused in a collision with Gladiator on Wednesday.
Müller-Spreer’s crew in effect had eleven points deducted from their overnight tally over today, corresponding to the application of average points, 5.5pts each, for Races 4 and 5 of this regatta season.
With two races scheduled for Saturday, which is forecast to see light winds, the 2023 title is now poised on a knife edge and could go either way. On the water this week so far Platoon have never scored worse than fourth over the races they have sailed. But Provezza’s win in the first race today was inspirational. Under the extreme pressure of coming back out after the blackest day ever for their storied Turkish flagged TP52 program – having had to miss three races yesterday with rig damage – amassing a colossal 36 points – Provezza took the race to their rivals and came out on top by three clear places.
Platoon responded with a slightly better start and were largely able to sail their own lane upwind to then keep Provezza in check round the course. After a blustery, bumpy Thursday racing in winds of 19-23kts, today’s NNW’ly wind blowing off the beautiful city of Palma and the mountains behind, was riddled with shifts and gusts to be used to best effect.
Despite their lead being overturned at the final hurdle Provezza’s skipper-helm John Cutler is staying positive,
“We are three points behind and I don’t think we would win if it came to tie break, so we have to beat Platoon by four points over the next two races. That is easily possible. We showed that in the first race so we will give it everything tomorrow. We are going well, we got off the line well and were going in more or less the right direction. We will just let the cards play out as they do, but it was tricky, shifty conditions and we will see the same tomorrow.”
Since winning first regatta in May in Saint-Tropez, Imre’s crew have led the 2023 season standings all the way through until this evening, only to be overhauled on the penultimate day of the season by the team which has become their nemesis, one which last month stole the Rolex TP52 World Championship title from them on the last run of the last race.
Platoon’s Vasco Vascotto highlights how he feels their team have grown and improved over the season,
“I think to get to the last day of the season with an opportunity to win the circuit I think this is a huge achievement. I think we need to be proud of what we have done as we did not start well in the first event but then we grew up, we learned, we improved, everything that sport asks of you. And so we are already very happy with our season. We won a world championship and another regatta. And we are in the fight for the overall to win the season and are in third place to win the last regatta of the season too. I can’t ask for more.”
The third step on the 2023 season podium is still open to dispute with Quantum Racing Powered by American Magic are now two points ahead of tony Langley’s Gladiator whilst Sled are only six points behind in fifth.
Top boat of the day was Andy Soriano’s Alegre team were firing on all cylinders taking a second behind Provezza in the first race and then winning the second race. Their Italian navigator Francesco Mongelli smiled,
“Finally we had a full day with two very good races. I think we were very good at understanding the rhythm of the breeze. We spent a lot of time in phase which helps a lot, we are fast and sail better in flat water. Now we have to get better in waves. But it was a very, very good day for us on Alegre. We always go on the water always looking to win every single race, just like everyone else round here.”
And while the destination of the 2023 season championship is finely balanced, so too is the fifth and final regatta title of the season. Hasso and Tina Plattner’s Phoenix scored three back to back wins but were not as strong today with a pair of sixth places but they lead into the last day ahead of a hard charging Sled whilst Platoon are only one point behind Tak Okura’s team.
Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week after eight races
1. PHOENIX (RSA) Hasso and Tina Plattner, 5+3+1+1+1+5+6+6 = 28
2. SLED (USA), Takashi Okura, 6+5,5(RDG)+5,5(RDG)+3+2+4+3+4 = 33
3. PLATOON (GER), Harm Müller-Spreer, 3+5,5(RDG)+5,5(RDG)+5,5(RDG)+5,5(RDG)+3+4+2 = 34
4. ALEGRE (GBR), Andy Soriano, 2+7+6+9+4+8+2+1 = 39
5. QUANTUM RACING POWERED BY AMERICAN MAGIC (USA), Doug DeVos, 4+4+3+5+9+2+9+5 = 41
6. GLADIATOR (GBR), Tony Langley, 1+10(DNF)+7+2+5+1+5+7+4(PEN) = 42
7. INTERLODGE (USA), Austin y Gwen Fragomen, 8+2+8+4+3+6+8+8 = 47
8. PROVEZZA (TUR), Ergin Imre, 9+6+2+11(DNF)+11(DNS)+12(DNS)+1+3 = 55
9. VAYU (THA), Family Whitcraft, 11+5+5+7+6+10+7+9 = 60
10. ALPHA+ (HKG), Shawn and Tina Kang, 7+1+9+6+7+9+10+11+1(PEN)= 61
11. PAPREC (FRA), Jean-Luc Pethuguenin, 10+8+4+8+8+7+11+10+1(PEN) = 67
52 SUPER SERIES 2023 season standings after 8 races in Puerto Portals
1. PLATOON (GER), Harm Müller-Spreer, 45+51+34+25+34 = 189
2. PROVEZZA (TUR), Ergin Imre, 34+42+35+26+55 = 192
3. QUANTUM RACING POWERED BY AMERICAN MAGIC (USA), Doug DeVos, 40+43+54+43+41 = 221
4. GLADIATOR (GBR), Tony Langley, 40+66+41+34+42 = 223
5. SLED (USA), Takashi Okura, 45+52+46,5+51+33 = 227,5
6. ALEGRE (GBR), Andy Soriano, 43+64+46+44+39= 236
7. VAYU (THA), Familia Whitcraft, 58+48+65+54+60 = 285
8. PHOENIX (RSA) Hasso Plattner, 57+71+100+39+28 = 295
9. INTERLODGE (USA), Austin y Gwen Fragomen, 45+54+100+58+347 = 304
10. PAPREC (FRA), Jean-Luc Pethuguenin, 56+81+58+88+67 = 350
11. ALPHA+ (HKG), Shawn y Tina Kang, 65+91+72+66+61 = 355