52 Super Series: Sled leads by one point

Three good races on the Bay of Palma yielded three different winners at the 52 SUPER SERIES Puerto Portals Sailing Week and 20th Anniversary Invitational regatta, with Takashi Okura’s Sled team emerging with a one-point-lead over Doug DeVos’ Quantum Racing.

In the six boat Invitational regatta Karl Kwok’s Beau Geste is proving unbeatable with five wins from five starts.

The first two days of racing were contested in conditions which were different from the usual, ‘to-order’ Palma sea breeze, but today it was back to business as usual. The 11-13 knots thermal breeze came in early to get the 52 SUPER SERIES regatta back on schedule after a race was lost from the schedule on Wednesday.

Sled, with six times America’s Cup winner Murray Jones at the helm, won the first race of the day, adding to their win yesterday. Then a second place saw them take the overall lead from Quantum Racing by just one point.

Sled’s MurrayJones said, “We are really enjoying the racing. We haven’t done any racing in so long. It’s coming back to us, we were a little rusty on the first day. It’s great. It is so tight. It’s great to be on the helm, I’m really enjoying it. In some ways it’s a lot simpler than being the tactician, much less stressful – working on the numbers and doing what you can do.

“Yes it is my first time steering in a long time but I have done a lot back in the day, it’s a bit like riding a bike, you don’t forget how to do it, but the dynamic is changed, before it was Adam and I working together on tactics and strategy but really now we have Jeremy Lomas, Josh Junior and everyone is looking at the breeze and chipping in.”

Phoenix sailing upwind
Phoenix won the second race of the day. Pic – Nico Martinez

 With Australia’s Tom Slingsby calling tactics supported by strategist Cameron Dunn, Phoenix were the boat of the day scoring a fourth then winning the second race. As they took third in the final race of the day they were overtaken on the finish line by a charging Platoon.

As is often the case on the Bay of Palma, the pin (the left end of the start line) is often the key to winning. In the first race Andy Soriano’s Alegre led at the top mark after a good beat from the left end of the line but Sled came good from the right of the first downwind and then were able to hold their lead to take their second winning gun in a row. Phoenix and Interlodge were both over the line and had to recross.

After having to do penalty turns twice during the first two days of racing Phoenix took ownership of the pin and left side in the next race and were able to lead all the way round the track.

Provezza sailing upwind
Provezza won the final race of the day. Pic – Nico Martinez

And the third race saw 2018 winners, Ergin Imré’s Provezza team get the gun. After two bad finishes in a row, Harm Müller Spreer’s Platoon showed their class as the team that won the Rolex TP52 World Championship on these waters in 2019, sailing a great final run to steal second from Phoenix.

Provezza mainsail trimmer Chris Hosking said, “Well we got off the start line at the pin and could go in the direction that we wanted to go and the boat is going well in a little more breeze especially in that last race. We managed to get round the top mark in good shape and extend nicely. I wish they were all like that! They are a lot less testing for the blood pressure when they’re like that. So that was a good one.

In the middle race we got muddled up with the fleet a bit and a bit of melée at the top mark with the Platoon and we didn’t manage to fight back from that bad position in that race. The racing is closer than ever.”

Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week

  1. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (4,7,1,1,2,7)- 22
  2. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (2,1,2, 6,7,5)- 23
  3. Phoenix (RSA) (Toni Norris) (3,8,7,4,1,3)- 26
  4. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (7,3,4,3,9,1)- 27
  5. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (5,5,3,2,6,6)- 27
  6. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (1,4,9,8,4,2)- 28
  7. Bronenosec Gazprom (RUS) (Vladimir Liubomirov) (8,2,6,5,5,4)- 30
  8. Interlodge (USA) (Austin Fragomen) (6,6,5,9,3,8)- 37
  9. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (9,9,8,7,8,9)- 50

Invitational 

  1. Beau Geste (HK) (1,1,1,1,1)- 5
  2. THA72 (THA) (4,2,3,2,4)- 15
  3. Air is Blue (ITA) (2,3,4,5,3,)- 17
  4. XIO (ITA) (3,DNF8,2,3,2)- 18
  5. Zero Emission (FIN) (6,4.5,5,7,5,)- 27.5
  6. Arobas (FRA) (5,6, DNC 8,4,6)- 29
  7. Blue Carbon (ESP) (7,4.5,6,6,7)- 30.5

For full results, see: https://www.52superseries.com/events/2021/eu/puerto-portals-52-super-series-sailing-week-tp52-20th-anniversary-invitational/

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