Consistent Interlodge leads 52 Super Series in Puerto Portals

A pair of third places to complement yesterday’s fourth and a win has resulted in Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s US flagged Interlodge taking over the leadership of the Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week in Spain.

Since they returned to the circuit in 2021 after a five year break It is the first time that the New York couple’s team have led a 52 Super Series regatta.

Stand-in tactician, Cameron Appleton, is deputising this week for usual tactician Ed Baird. He is highly motivated and clearly working well with young Interlodge strategist, American Magic’s Michael Menninger and navigator Juan Vila, with whom Appleton previously sailed on Quantum Racing with. Owner-driver Austin Fragomen’s broad smile this evening on the dock in Puerto Portals told the whole story.

Start away – Martinez Studio pic

“I am very excited to be the prevailing boat today and to have held on with two third places. It shows the consistency of the team more than anything. I think a lot of work that we have been doing has come together and our tactician and strategist and navigator are all working well and the crew are sailing the boat well. I am the one who makes the errors,” Fragomen said.

With Sled in second place, boats flying the New York YC burgee hold the top two spots, while Day 1 leader, Phoenix, momentarily came unstuck after winning the first race of the day.

Phoenix was pushed over the line in the final seconds of the Race 4 starting procedure. Re-crossing left her down in ninth at the first windward mark. The ensuing eighth place means Phoenix drops to third, but is still only one point behind Sled. The latter went 4,4 today, two behind Interlodge, which was formerly the championship winning Azzurra.

The first race of the day was not good for either Quantum Racing or Platoon. They were eighth and seventh respectively, but both rallied in the day’s second contest with Harm Müller-Spreer’s team starting well and working the favoured left to lead all the way round to the finish. They were pursued by Quantum Racing, which took second. Platoon moved up to fourth on the standings and Quantum to seventh.

Phoenix’s strategist, Cameron Dunn, summed up their roller coaster day: “The second race we were a bit unfortunate, we got a bit tied up with Gladiator and found ourselves over the start. Once you are over in this fleet, it is tough to come back.

“We thought we were well set up in a good position and then Sled and Gladiator came from a slightly unusual place and they ended up tacking behind us, we had to defend against them and they ended up pushing us over. It is unfortunate.”

Down the run with no passing lanes in sight = Martinez Studio pi

Dunn recalled, “The first race was a glamour. The strategy was right, the breeze did what we expected. Once you are out in front on that left hand race course it is relatively simple to hold it.”

Appleton, who was previously tactician on Quantum Racing, returns to the circuit after an 18-month break. The New Zealander is clearly enjoying his cameo appearance, even if their consistency coincides with self-inflicted bumps in the road for Quantum Racing and Platoon.

“We are over the moon. The team sailed the boat brilliantly yesterday and today, Austin has trusted us and had the patience. We just held on when we needed to and we have made some good decisions. The guys have been sailing the boat really well, getting it dialled in and getting it set up well.

“It was quite a tough day in what is a very tough fleet, so coming away with two third places is pretty pleasing. We all come here hoping to win, but it is not easy. For me, it has been a while, a year and a half since I have been in this fleet. So, this is me with a new team although I have sailed with a lot of guys on the boat on different boats.

“These guys are well in tune with one another, they have a good bond. The balance with having sailed with Juan (Vila, navigator) these years with Quantum Racing means I just slot in perfectly.

“Michael has been great to bounce things off and keep the overall picture going. We are probably exceeding what we expected to do but Austin is enjoying and doing all we are asking of him and we are pushing him hard.”

Standings after four races,

  1. Interlodge (USA), Austin and Gwen Fragomen, 4+1+3+3 = 11 pts.
  2. Sled (USA), Takashi Okura, 2+2+4+4 = 12 pts.
  3. Phoenix (RSA), Hasso and Tina Plattner, 1+3+1+8 = 13 pts.
  4. Platoon (GER), Harm Müller-Spreer, 5+4+8+1 = 18 pts.
  5. Provezza (TUR), Ergin Imre, 3+8+5+5 = 21 pts.
  6. Alegre (GBR), Andy Soriano, 6+7+2+7 = 22 pts.
  7. Quantum Racing (USA), Doug DeVos, 8+6+7+2 = 23 pts.
  8. Gladiator (GBR), Tony Langley, 7+5+6+9 = 27 pts.
  9. Vayu (THAI), Familia Whitcraft, 9+9+9+6 = 33 pts.
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