A record entry of nine TP52s will compete over the coming days at Gaastra Palma Vela regatta as the fleet prepare for the start of the 52 SUPER SERIES later this month.
There was a time when this Mediterranean curtain raiser was considered purely a training regatta, an opportunity to check in against the opposition, to test setting and polish crew work in readiness for the five event 52 SUPER SERIES. But so close and tight will the racing be between the TP52s on the Bay of Palma in this high quality fleet that, come Sunday, this will very much be a regatta title worth winning.
Last year’s event proved to be a great litmus test for the coming season. Azzurra went from winning Gaastra Palma Vela to overall victory in the 52 SUPER SERIES and the TP52 World Championships, proving in Palma that they had an edge on the pack which they never really ceded during 2015.
Teams have been warming up on the Bay of Palma over recent days, stepping up their processes from speed testing and two boat tuning – double 52 SUPER SERIES champions Quantum Racing have been working in close harmony with new Quantum Sails stablemates Platoon, Harm Müller Spreer’s German flagged team – transitioning to informal training races as the practicing fleet grows.
Weather conditions over the four days of windward-leeward racing are expected to be changeable and unsettled. Normally were the reliable, set-your-clock-by-it Palma sea-breeze to blow each and every day then it would be universally welcomed, but in fact a range of different conditions for this early season event is of more practical value to the nine crews.
“This is the first time that the TP52s will race seriously this season and expectations are very high among the owners and crews. They are hoping to know that after three or four good days of racing here they will go to Scarlino, Italy in three weeks time full of confidence. The fleet is so very even that anyone could win here. At the moment the teams will be very much seizing each other up, looking at who is doing what and how, but come Sunday everyone will want to win the regatta overall. And if you win in this field of nine high quality boats you doing things right and are in good shape for the season,” commented TP52 Class Manager Rob Weiland in Palma, Mallorca today.