Home52 SUPER SERIES52 SUPER SERIES : NEW CHALLENGES IN NEWPORT

52 SUPER SERIES : NEW CHALLENGES IN NEWPORT

NEW CHALLENGES IN NEWPORT AS THE 52 SUPER SERIES RACES HEADS TO THE HISTORIC HOME OF US RACING

In the 13 year history of the 52 SUPER SERIES it is hard to remember a level of excitement shared so universally through the fleet ahead of next week’s first ever circuit regatta to be hosted by the New York Yacht Club on the historic racing waters off Newport, Rhode Island.  

Racing at the XS 52 SUPER SERIES Newport RI Trophy starts with an official practice race Monday, points racing from Tuesday. This second event of the 2024 season sits as a valuable showcase enjoying centre stage in the New York Yacht Club’s 150 boat 170th Annual Regatta and Race Week presented by Rolex. The 10 boat TP52 fleet from seven different nations race through until Sunday and on Friday have a chance to compete on the club’s prestigious Round the Island race.

Welcoming the circuit Commodore L. Jay Cross of the New York Yacht Club said :

“We are extremely proud to be hosting the first two 52 Super Series events in North America in more than seven years. This circuit represents the cutting edge of monohull racing, talent and technology, and we’re excited to see them take on the Newport scene as part of our 170th Annual Regatta and Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex.”

Swapping like for line, winners for winners….
Whilst the winners of the first regatta of the season, Ergin Imre’s team, are now ‘between boats’ awaiting the summer launch of their new Provezza, the strength and depth of the fleet is, however, maintained as the Plattner family’s South African flagged Phoenix – which has US favorite, America’s Cup winner Ed Baird as tactician – return to the circuit.

Indeed in a sense it’s a ‘like for like’ swap as the winners of the first 2024 regatta may now be missing but the returnees, Phoenix, took a handsome victory at the last event of 2023 out of Puerto Portals, Mallorca.

Welcome to Disneyland?
The visit to one of the world sailboat racing’s Meccas is long overdue and is highly anticipated all the way through the fleet, from Newport residents and regulars, to hardened pros who have been racing here for decades, to first timers like Shawn and Tina Kang’s Alpha + from Hong Kong China

“For most of us on board coming from Asia all the venues are new and exciting, it is part of the enjoyment of the circuit, but Newport is going to be really special. We are all looking forwards so much. We can’t quite believe we have rented a house on America’s Cup Avenue.”

Chuckles Steve Trebitcsh, program manager for Alpha +

Hometown heroes and high hopes

Actually the regatta will see the highest number of boats ever to sail under the burgee of a host club. Three of the ten TP52ss sail for the New York Yacht Club and all have a fighting chance of delivering the win. Doug De Vos’ Quantum Racing powered by American Magic are of course affiliated to the club’s New York Yacht Club American Magic America’s Cup challenge – providing a pathway for young US sailors – and can certainly be considered to be among the XS Trophy favorites.

Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s Interlodge are proud New York Yacht Club members and the couple and their team have worked hard to bring the regatta to their home waters. And Takashi Okura’s Sled crew race for the club and are 2022 circuit champions and Rolex TP52 World Champions. Mr Okura also owns the 12 Metre US 30 Freedom based in Newport on which most of the Sled crew also race. And Britain’s Tony Langley whose primary club is the Royal Thames Yacht Club is a longtime a club member who has loved racing out of Newport for more than five years and kept a second TP52 there.

Stars and stripes on the Palma podium, so……
Hopes of a home win are readily reinforced by the fact that the US trio took second to fourth at the 52 SUPER SERIES Palma Vela Sailing Week, the opening event of 2024. Quantum Racing powered by American Magic was second, Interlodge third and Sled fourth.

Interlodge’s Kiwi tactician Cameron Appleton has been settled in Newport for nearly two decades and reflects on the interest already shown by the passionate, knowledgeable sailing community.

“Coming here is long overdue. It has already been exciting to see how much attention the boats have drawn in the shipyard, and so it is going to be very special sailing these boats in Newport. Locally everybody is into it. Newport is of course a sailing town, like Cowes in the UK, people understand sailing and the long history here of the America’s Cup and it is so ingrained into the culture here. People pay attention and get excited.”

Enthuses Appleton who guides an Interlodge crew which has a number of Newport residents.

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