Conditions at the TP52 World Championship bring breakages, disqualification and accidents
Spectators of the TP52 World Championships in Spain were treated to some exciting racing yesterday when Lanzarote’s breeze built to about 25 knots.
After yesterday’s short coastal race, the 14 strong TP52 fleet sailed the long one – approximately 53 miles long – in less that 5 hours under conditions that offered accidents, breakages and disqualifications. The northern breeze blew with an intensity of 20 to 25 knots throughout the race and gusts reaching 35 knots on the western coast of the island.
With 20 knots of northern breeze blowing off the course, the race committee didn’t waste a moment and fired the gun at 11am. Similar to the trend this week, the left side of the course was clearly the favored one and Quantum, Platoon, Synergy, Desafío (pictured) and AUDI Q8, opted for it and rounded the first offset mark in that order.
Vasco Vascotto’s Mutua Madrileña was over the line and obviously started the race with a handicap. The rounding was eventful as Synergy was involved in a port-starboard incident with Bribón and Desafío that resulted in the Russian boat’s bow hitting the stern of Platoon. As it was expected, all four boats raised the protest flags and the jury disqualified Bribón for not giving Synergy room.
Quantum stayed ahead of the fleet as they headed towards the next marks in front of the Puerto Calero marina. Sailing upwind Quantum, Platoon and Synergy, rounded the two marks and headed south towards the island of Lobos.
The reigning champion, Artemis had trouble recovering any positions, trailing the leaders in 9th place. On the other hand, the correct sail choices in the longest leg of the races, gave Platoon the leadership as they rounded the buoy north of Lobos.
The beat towards the San Jacinto buoy was to cause the first breakage in the fleet. Yachts had to head back north in order to avoid the shallow waters around the island and then tack towards the mark. It was then when Artemis hit a wave and completely broke their jib, forcing the Swedish boat to sail the rest of the leg with just their mainsail, closer to the Lanzarote coast while trying to repair the damage.
The leg saw the leaders go front to back and front again but Platoon was first to round the San Jacinto buoy, followed by Quantum and Desafío. In the run back to Lobos it was Quantum’s turn to break their spinnaker, giving Desafío the opportunity to grab the lead.
Paul Cayard helmed the Spanish boat to victory, managing to protect their position. Terry Hutchinson’s boat was neck and neck, crossing the finish line just 12 seconds behind Desafío.
After Bribón’s disqualification and the breakage on Artemis, Quantum and Mutua Madrileña seem to be the favorites but with 4 windward/leeward races scheduled it is still too early to call.
Paul Cayard commented: “It was a tough race, hard, rough conditions, we just sailed a little bit better than the rest of the fleet and got first place after also gaining a couple of positions. Under these conditions the key is to find the balance of sails and trim the boat properly. Most of the times we had a good trim and everybody else had difficulties because we didn’t always had the right jib on. On the last beat back home our jib was a little bit too big but we managed to protect our position. We sailed well, we had our boat balanced and we won in these very windy conditions. Tomorrow is just another day and we’ll have to sail well again.”
Overall positions after 7 races
1. Quantum (USA), Terry Hutchinson, 2-6-1-4-6-2.50-2.50, 24.00 points
2. Mutua Madrileña (CHI), Vasco Vascotto, 3-1-6-1-1-8.75-10, 32.00 points
3. Artemis (SWE), Torbjorn Tornqvist, 1-2-2-11-13-1.25-10, 40.25 points
4. Desafío (ESP), Paul Cayard, 5-7-11-12-2-5-1.25, 43.25 points
5. Platoon (GER), Jochen Schuemann, 8-9-12-3-3-6.25-3.75, 45.00 points
6. Matador (ARG), Alberto Roemmers, 6-4-57-11-8.75-7.50, 49.25 points
7. Synergy (RUS), Sergey Pichugin, 7-3-10-5-12-7.50-5, 49.50 points
8. Bribón (ESP), Dean Barker, 10-12-4-2-5-3.75-18.75, 55.50 points
9. Audi Q8 (ITA), Riccardo Simoneschi, 9-11-3-9-7-10-15, 64.00 points
10. TAU Andalucía (ESP), José María Torcida, 11-5-8-13-4-16.25-11.25, 68.50 points
11. Valars (RUS), Sergey Chetvtsov, 4-8-9-8-9-12.50-18.75, 69.25 points
12. Bigamist 6 (POR), Alfonso Domingos, 12-10-7-6-8-15-12.50, 70.50 points
13. Cristabella (GBR), Roberto Bermúdez de Castro, 13-13-14-10-10-13.75-6.25, 80.00 points
14. Fram XIV (NOR), Kell Arne Myrann, 14-14-13-14-14-17.50-13.75, 100.25 points