The 52 Super Series celebrates 10th anniversary in Barcelona
The 52 Super Series celebrates its tenth anniversary in Barcelona this week, by returning to Real Club Náutico de Barcelona’s prestigious Trofeo Conde de Godo regatta.
The leading grand prix monohull circuit was started in May 2012 at the Trofeo Conde de Godo, when five TP52s took to the start lines, and four completed the full regatta.
And as Barcelona gears up to host the 37th America’s Cup in 2024, the 52 Super Series Barcelona Sailing Week looks set to be a fitting climax to the most competitive season of the circuit’s first decade.
Doug DeVos’ Quantum Racing leads the season standings by five points ahead of the Plattner family’s Phoenix. Takashi Okura’s 2021 champions Sled and Harm Müller Spreer’s Platoon are not far behind and both, especially, are looking to finish the season with a regatta title win.
All of the action through all five days of racing will be broadcast live from the race courses, for the first time ever. Commentary comes from four-time 52 Super Series champion Guille Parada.
DeVos’s US-flagged Quantum Racing have won three of the four regattas contested so far this season, although every event has gone to the wire.
Quantum Racing is pitching to make 52 Super Series history by becoming the only team to win five 52 Super Series season titles. As victors in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2018 they have never won any of their four circuit titles to date by less than 22 points. Their biggest margin was 59pts in 2016, and their most recent season win, back in 2018, was by 37pts.
Tom Slingsby, the tactician on Phoenix, has every faith that his team can beat Quantum Racing and win the circuit title, which narrowly eluded them last year.
“They can be beaten but it won’t be easy,” says Slingsby. “Quantum are a slick team and very fast, but this is yacht racing and I have a lot of faith in our team. The last event we started well but I didn’t do well enough on the first beats of each race. We need to round mark 1 in better shape if we want a shot.”
Rod Davis is Sled‘s renowned coach, who helped Azzurra overturn bigger deficits at the last regatta of the season when he was the Italian/Argentine’s coach.
“Even at 15 points or so they can be picked up,” says Davis. “I think with Azzurra we picked up a ten points deficit and then put on ten points in a final regatta. We were ten points down and went on to win the season. Remember we are really late in the season in Barcelona and if there is a land breeze it can be a roll of the dice.”
Jordi Calafat, Platoon‘s strategist believes Quantum Racing has the edge – in part due to a new keel fin this season – and that edge could carry the team to the 2022 title.
“The changes they have made and they are sailing very well, they don’t make mistakes and have the talent on board to do it,” says Calafat. “But the nature of the class just now is everyone has their ups and downs. Phoenix won in Portals and then were down in Scarlino recently. They are sailing well and obviously feel comfortable with their speed.”
Quantum Racing‘s team director Ed Reynolds is keen to avoid distractions. “Our approach is to just go out and sail our best race each time,” he says. “The big focus is to sail our own races and not be tunnel-visioned thinking about other boats.”
He adds: “But it would be really special to win in Barcelona, not just because it’s where we started with the 52 Super Series, but it is Quantum’s European headquarters where we have been here for 25 years.”
The official practice race is on Monday (24 October), and points racing runs from Tuesday to Saturday (25-29 October). The fleet are based at the Real Club Náutico de Barcelona.