A day of double jeopardy sees 52 SUPER SERIES 2023 title battle closer than ever
An incredible turn of events at the start of the first race today at the 52 SUPER SERIES Puerto Portals Sailing Week saw both of the top two title challengers, circuit leaders Provezza and second placed Platoon launched on an emotional rollercoaster which concluded with the German flagged world champions finishing today poised now only six points behind Provezza with only four races of the 2023 season left.
After a collision with Gladiator on the start line of Wednesday’s second race, Platoon had to sit out the next two races. Their shore team worked into the night to effect composite and other repairs. But the German team did not even make it to the first start line today. Their D1 diagonal shroud parted in the first tack clearly as a result of that collision. Returning to the Puerto Portals Marina they effected a replacement and ran further checks. But they were finally only able to race in the third windward leeward, Race 6 of the series, finishing third.
All but simultaneously, only seconds after the first start gun Provezza suffered their own unexpected technical rig problem. They depowered the rig immediately and, as the fleet headed off up the first breezy windward leg of the day, the longtime circuit leaders had no choice but to make best speed back to Palma to assess their damage, have the rigging tested and finally make a repair.
Missing out on all three races today, they amass a hefty 36 points. What was a comfortable eighteen points lead at the start of the showdown event is slashed now to a much more precarious six points.
The good news for both protagonists is that they have completed repairs and secondary checks and should be on the start line Friday for what should be two races in much lighter breezes and a further two races Saturday.
It is an incredible, cruel twist of fate, especially for teams which have never won the circuit title before. Platoon have been on the podium five times, scoring seconds and thirds. In 2019 after finishing second in Menorca at the season opener and then winning in Porto Sherry Ergin Imre’s Provezza team had firmly established themselves as season title contenders. They were sixth at a breezy Cascais regatta before coming here to Puerto Portals where they broke their rig in the first race and had to score four DNC’s whilst they shipped a replacement spare mast from Valencia.
That effectively scuppered their title hopes. But the Bay of Palma does have special happy memories for Imre’s team as they won their first ever 52 SUPER SERIES regatta here in 2017.
Visibly shaken after their day, Provezza’s Argentinian strategist Cole Parada commented,
“Obviously, this was not what we were expecting. We were hoping for some more positive situations here, but we have to take it as it is. After this happens today this only proves how well we sailed this season that we were pulled apart by missing three races but we are still in the lead. So we need to be proud. We should be proud of that and sail according to that for the next three or four races.”
The recently crowned world champions Platoon scored two DNC’s for an aggregate of 24 points before a morale boosting third which, to a certain extent restores their impetus. Tactician Vasco Vascotto finished the day looking forwards,
“To go out and finish third shows the power of this crew and the reason why we want to fight in order to try to win this event if it’s possible. We can fight. That’s very good. Let’s hope we can sail at least a couple more races.”
The Plattner family’s Phoenix team are having their best regatta of the season. With Ed Baird calling tactics with strategist Cameron Dunn, between yesterday and today they strung together three straight wins which added to a sixth in the third race today sees them event leaders by 10 points over Takashi Okura’s Sled and 11 over Doug DeVos’ Quantum Racing powered by American Magic.
Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week provisional standings after six races
1. PHOENIX (RSA) Hasso Plattner, 5+3+1+1+1+5 = 16
2. SLED (USA), Takashi Okura, 6+5,5+5,5+3+2+4 = 26
3. QUANTUM RACING POWERED BY AMERICAN MAGIC (USA), Doug DeVos, 4+4+3+5+9+2 = 27
4. INTERLODGE (USA), Austin y Gwen Fragomen, 8+2+8+4+3+6 = 31
5. GLADIATOR (GBR), Tony Langley, 1+12+7+2+5+2(+4) = 32
6. ALEGRE (GBR), Andy Soriano, 2+7+6+9+4+8 = 36
7. ALPHA+ (HKG), Shawn y Tina Kang, 7+1+9+6+7+9 = 39
8. PLATOON (GER), Harm Müller-Spreer, 3+5,5+5,5+12+12+3 = 41
9. VAYU (THA), Familia Whitcraft, 11+5+5+7+6+10 = 44
10. PAPREC (FRA), Jean-Luc Pethuguenin, 10+8+4+8+8+7(+1) = 46
11. PROVEZZA (TUR), Ergin Imre, 9+6+2+12+12+12 = 53
52 SUPER SERIES 2023 standings after 6 races Puerto Portals
1. PROVEZZA (TUR), 34+42+35+26+53 = 190
2. PLATOON (GER), 45+51+34+25+41 = 196
3. QUANTUM RACING POWERED BY AMERICAN MAGIC (USA), 40+43+54+43+27 = 207
4. GLADIATOR (GBR), 40+66+41+34+32 = 213
5. SLED (USA), 45+52+46,5+51+26 = 220,5
6. ALEGRE (GBR), 43+64+46+44+36= 233
7. VAYU (THA), 58+48+65+54+44 = 269
8. PHOENIX (RSA) 57+71+100+39+16 = 283
9. INTERLODGE (USA), 45+54+100+58+31 = 288
10. PAPREC (FRA), 56+81+58+88+46 =329
11. ALPHA+ (HKG), 65+91+72+66+39 = 333