Mallorca, Spain (November 5, 2021) – Takashi Okura’s Sled team emerged from a dramatic penultimate day of the short, intense 2021 52 SUPER SERIES season carrying a lead of just one single point in the chase not only for the Rolex TP52 World Championship title but also the 2021 circuit title.
“We were one windshift away from the perfect day today,” said Sled’s tactician Francesco Bruni. “We could have been leading by three or four points more. We cannot have regrets about our day. It was good today, the team is good, we are in good shape.”
In the 18-25 knots shifty, gusty offshore breeze, there was no shortage of heart stopping drama.
The Plattner family’s Phoenix crew looked set to have sailed themselves into a strong position for both world and circuit titles, but in the opening race of the day the rug got pulled out while in second position two thirds of the way down the second run.
As they were closing in on Quantum Racing towards the finish line, their spinnaker tack suddenly exploded and the sail shredded in half. They had to finish with no spinnaker, dropping from second to sixth.
Then forced to push their risk harder on the start line in the next race, Phoenix were over the start line and had to recross. A valiant fightback from tenth, true to their name, got the South African flagged team back to fifth leaving them fourth overall on the world championship regatta standings but just two points adrift of Sled.
Quantum Racing were on impressive form in the strongest breeze of the circuit yet, and their scores today of 1-2 with owner Doug DeVos steering now has them breathing down the necks of the Sled team, one point behind, poised to attack tomorrow in search of their fifth 52 SUPER SERIES title and their seventh world title, their fourth since the start of the 52 SUPER SERIES in 2012.
After going 2,2 yesterday and then with a third in the first race today, Harm Muller Spreer’s Platoon stood on the top of both leader boards going into the second windy race. In fourth going up the second beat they looked to be on course to lead into the final day, but when both the left and the right of that upwind yielded positive wind shifts, being conservative and trying to play the percentages in the middle of the course cost them two places.
As the defending world champions from 2019, who have been runners up three times behind Quantum Racing and Azzurra, are also just one point behind the World Championship leaders and two points behind on the 2021 leaderboard.
The shoot out for the titles could not realistically have been scripted any more dramatically. All that is needed now is the wind to allow the full schedule of ten races to be completed. Weather modelling seems to suggest mean windspeeds in the Bay of Palma of under 30 knots and most of the teams want at least one more shot…..
“At the start of that last race when we were sailing round it was pretty solidly 25-26 knots and in that flat water that’s pretty comfortable,” noted Phoenix strategist Cameron Dunn. “It’s a bit hairy but good fun. I reckon we could be racing in the flat water up to 26-27 knots.
“It was an awesome day’s sailing but not quite what we were after. Overall we are sailing well, the boat’s going well, the crew work is phenomenal. It’s incredibly tight racing, a few things didn’t quite go our way today, we’re still there now we’re praying to the wind gods that we can go sailing tomorrow.”
Racing is planned for November 2-6.
Worlds – Day Four Results
1. Sled (7,2,5,1,6,1,7,1) 30 points
2. Quantum Racing (4,5,3,4,5,7,1,2) 31 pts,
3. Platoon (3,3,4,8,2,2,3,6) 31pts,
4. Phoenix (1,1,6,7,3,3,6,5) 32 pts
5. Alegre (5,9,1,10,1,5,8,3) 42 pts
6. Bronenosec Gazprom (2,8,9,2,4,8,2,8) 43 pts
7. Interlodge (9,4,7,5,8,6,5,9) 53 pts
8. Provezza (10,7,2,9,9,4,9,4) 54 pts,
9. Gladiator (8,10,8,3,10,9,4,7) 59 pts
10. Code Zero (6,6,10,6,7,10,10,dnf) 66 pts
2021 52 SUPER SERIES Results (after Day Four)
1. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) 74 points
4. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) 75 pts
2. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) 76 pts
3. Phoenix (RSA) (Toni Norris) 79 pts
5. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) 85 pts
6. Bronenosec Gazprom (RUS) (Vladimir Liubomirov) 94 pts
7. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) 110 pts
8. Interlodge (USA) (Austin Fragomen) 123 pts
9. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) 142 pts
July 13-17 – Royal Cup 52 SUPER SERIES Valencia Mar (CANCELLED)
August 24-28 – Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week & TP52 20th Anniversary Invitational
September 28-October 2 – Menorca 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week
November 2-6 – Rolex TP52 World Championship RCNP
Following the cancellation of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, the abbreviated 2021 schedule will be the ninth edition of the 52 SUPER SERIES which was established as the world’s leading grand prix monohull yacht racing circuit.
Source: 52 Super Series