52 Super Series – Alegre launches new boat

The first of the two new Botin Partners designed TP52s to be built for this 52 SUPER SERIES season, Andy Soriano’s Alegre, is on course to make its racing debut at 52 SUPER SERIES Palma Vela Sailing Week which is coming up fast on the horizon and starts on Sunday April 28th.

Soriano’s team have just completed a great week of training out of King Marine in Valencia, Spain – where the boat was built – working up against the Plattner family’s Phoenix and Ergin Imre’s Provezza, runners up for the 2023 season’s title.

Once more the Alegre owner was the first in the fleet to commit to building a new boat last year, followed by German flagged champions Harm Müller Spreer’s Platoon, a sistership which has been built from the same mould and which was sailed by the crew for the first time last week.

The Alegre team report that they are very pleased with the new boat. But as ever it will take time to get a new boat up to optimum speed in all conditions and the crew will still very much be in the learning phase when they race on the Bay of Palma at the first regatta.

Alegre’s Italian navigator Francesco Mongelli is very upbeat about the season ahead and pays tribute to the Alegre technical team and suppliers for getting the new boat ready on time and launched on schedule.

“We had a very productive week. It was a challenge to have the boat ready as this is a period where the suppliers are under pressure, probably with The Cup, but in the end the nautical market is busy right now, so they have had a lot of things to deliver. So the shore team have done well to make it all happen on time so all credit to them. They are heroes right now.”

He enthuses.

“We did a lot of training following our planned programme, no stops no hold ups.”

Mongelli says,

“So we sailed a lot of hours on the water and with Provezza and Phoenix. The training was good and the boat, I would say, is a bit more powerful than the previous Alegre. It feels very, very comfortable when it is choppy where we needed that extra power. We still need to understand how to best set up the boat to be good in light winds but I think that is the probably the nature of this boat. It will be about getting to know the behaviour of this different boat.”

And benchmarking against two of the quickest TP52s in the fleet was immediately useful,

“Looking from our side the boat seemed to be very consistent in the conditions we were struggling last year, when it was choppy and this boat felt balanced and easier. It is lovely. But when you have a boat which is good for the waves then you do have to fine tune to have a super good set up. Our weakness was light winds and choppy. We maybe saw that typically in second races in Palma when the sea breeze is in and it is choppy. This year maybe that will be true in Newport – depending on where we are going to sail in the current, when the stream is incoming or outgoing the chop is very variable. Newport can be good for the boat and obviously we are in Valencia too and that can be good for the boat.”

Nonetheless Mongelli highlights the quest for small gains in the very, very tight and highly optimised fleet of TP52s,

“The thing is with these boats we just cannot expect to gain one knot. It is a little more powerful, like I said, but it is about that little metre here or there which will allow you to cross on port tack. That is the evolution of the TP52 now where the class is so well optimised that it is really hard to get better.”

And he concludes,

“Having a new boat is a great motivation for that extra push. You always, always have to push in this fleet but this is an extra motivation.”

New faces
Alegre have made a couple of personnel changes. Flavia Tomiselli is more fully committed to her full time job as a sail designer with North Sails in Palma and has had to stand down from the team. In comes Spain’s 2021 470 World Champion and Tokyo Olympian Sylvia Mas who has been recruited to a line-up which is already laden with 470 Olympic dinghy talent and Britain’s Elliot Willis – formerly double 470 world champion winning crew with tactician Nic Asher – joins Alegre in a coaching position, complementing the work of Francesco de Angelis, taking a speed and performance role.

Mongelli observes,

“For me the 52 SUPER SERIES is absolutely the best in ‘traditional’ boats all the best guys are there and it is super tough racing every single day from the 360 point of view. So with three events in Spain and two in Newport it is going to be interesting not least as Provezza will only be in Palma and not the USA and so the dynamic changes. In Newport the conditions will be similar but between Palma in April and Palma (Puerto Portals) in late August it is likely to be very different, it is like sailing in two different places.”

But can Alegre be on the podium at the end of this challenging 2024 season?
The Alegre navigator Mongelli attests,

“We are aiming to, we are working towards that and it is up to us to learn the lessons from the past and keep growing and getting better all the time. I think that is what we maybe we did not do well enough in the past. The team is so talented with such highly skilled guys and the team management is great. So we are at the level. But if we are not getting on to the podium often then it is because something we do think we have been doing well and have not.”

Crewlist

Andy Soriano USA Helm
Matteo Auguadro ITA Bow
Joe Cox GBR Mid Bow
Jonathan Taylor GBR Pit
Sebastian Tenghage SWE Fwd grind/Boat Captain
Jon Gunderson NZL Upwind trim
Andy Hemmings GBR Downwind trim
Micky Gnutti ITA Main grinder
Noel Drennan AUS Mainsail trim
Kevin George GBR Runners
Nic Asher GBR Tactics
Will Ryan AUS Strategy
Francesco Mongelli ITA Navigator
Sylvia Mas ESP Float/bow team

Coaches Francesco De Angelis ITA, Elliot Wills GBR 

52 SUPER SERIES – Pure Performance
www.52superseries.com

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