Winners in Menorca in 2019 and the last time the circuit visited in 2021, Harm Müller Spreer’s Platoon crew made the best start to the Menorca 52 SUPER SERIES Royal Cup today when they won the first race and took third in the second windward-leeward. They lead by two points ahead of Takashi Okura’s Sled and Andy Soriano’s Alegre which both aggregated six points apiece.
Racing in a moderate NE’ly wind on the race course to the NW of the entrance to Mahon conditions were challenging not just for the afterguard members who needed to stay in phase to use to the slowly oscillating breeze but also for the helms who had a nasty short, bouncy chop to contend with which made it difficult to sail the boat fast at all times.
The open race course has the advantage of there being no landmass on either flank but the proximity to the high cliffs to leeward adds to the choppy conditions.
Even with nine teams lining up today clean, fast starts were as important as ever. So, too was sailing clean and out of trouble. Neither have been Platoon’s strong suit this season so far but tactician Vasco Vascotto and strategist Jordi Calafat took their learnings from the first two regattas of the season to heart and delivered two solid races today.
Circuit leaders Provezza, Ergin Imré’s Turkish flagged team led the first race at the top mark but Platoon took the advantage up the second beat. Both Quantum Racing powered by American Magic and Gladiator had to take penalties from a very low speed, very overlapped first mark rounding when several teams found themselves fighting round the mark from tight lay-lines. The defending 2022 champions were third on the approach to the first windward mark but dropped to ninth but recovered to sixth which they paired to another sixth in the second race.
The 2021 champions Sled won the second race. They were only just ahead of Alegre until the final run when they managed to open out more distance to take a comfortable victory, whilst Alegre ended up finishing not far in front of the advancing Platoon.
Murray Jones (NZL, Sled):
“It was especially tricky to steer the boat and keep it moving well in the choppy conditions especially on starboard tack. For example on that last race going straight into the chop was quite challenging. We like it here. It is a beautiful place to visit and a very challenging place to sail. You have this seaway when you get some wind, this big chop, and there is quite a bit of current, wind driven current which varies, and the breeze is shifting about quite a bit – up to 20 degrees, oscillating, sometimes you have to be patient.”
“We could have done a little better at the first two regattas of the season but we are chipping away. It is going well generally and we are confident with our speed.”
Vasco Vascotto (ITA, Platoon):
“I like it here but it was a very difficult day. We had the forecast for the wind to go right but you had to stay patient to stay in phase. We did quite a good job although I made a mistake on the second race. We are happy, we can’t complain. The crew are sailing well and Harm is doing a great job. In this NE’ly wind we should get some waves which would be nice. First race we started well and we used this slow oscillation of the wind, and downwind I think that we are fast. The competition is so close but Provezza has been the best boat so far and that is why they are leading. I don’t think they have had one single penalty but we have had many and Quantum have had some, all these penalties at the end are making the difference, you need to sail clean and have good lanes. And sometimes you have to accept the results won’t be perfect, you have to work up from a sixth and not try to still win the race, you have to minimise the risks. That is the key for us now.”
Menorca 52 SUPER SERIES Royal Cup Provisional Standings after two races
1- PLATOON (GER), Harm Müller-Spreer, 1+3 = 4
2- SLED (USA), Takashi Okura, 5+1 = 6
3- ALEGRE (GBR), Andy Soriano, 4+2 = 6
4- PROVEZZA (TUR), Ergin Imre, 2+8 = 10
5- VAYU (THA), Whitcraft Family, 3+7 = 10
6- PAPREC (FRA), Jean Luc Petithuguenin, 7+5 = 12
7- QUANTUM RACING POWERED BY AMERICAN MAGIC (USA), Doug DeVos, 6+6 = 12
8- ALPHA+ (HKG), Shawn and Tina Kang, 9+4 = 13
9- GLADIATOR (GBR), Tony Langley, 8+9 = 17