Platoon Pile On The Pressure
Winners of the regatta when it was last held in 2019, Harm Müller Spreer’s Platoon crew took the lead at the Menorca 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week after a fourth place and a race win allowed them to overhaul Andy Soriano’s Alegre who faltered with a seventh and tenth which halted their opening run of three back-to-back winning guns.
While the day marked the return to form of Quantum Racing, Doug DeVos’s four times champions starting much more smartly after a difficult pair of opening days, so too Platoon hit their straps as also did Bronenosec, the Russian flagged team which has an all Italian afterguard, navigator Bruno Zirilli, tactician Vasco Vascotto and strategist Pietro Sibello.
The result was the best day of racing yet this season, even if the 14-17kts breeze was shifty, difficult to read and the seas state bumpy with an awkward chop at times.
In both races the early leaders were able to extend and win relatively comfortably. Victors last month in Puerto Portals, Mallorca Sled – racing with Francesco Bruni calling tactics – picked up the breeze shifting to the right and were able to lead the fleet around the top mark and extend from there.
Regatta leaders Alegre – who are missing key trimmer Andy Hemmings who suffered knee injury during Wednesday’s racing – started underneath Bronenosec and could nor break clear of them to get to the right shift until it was too late. They worked hard for a seventh but in the next race suffered early on too at the hands of Gladiator. From being able to dictate terms to the fleet Alegre were back in the heavy traffic today. Losing ninth position to Interlodge at the finish line cost them one more point and they go into the two final days two behind Platoon.
Platoon started well in the second race of the day and this time they were clear leaders by the first windward mark, Quantum Racing holding second all the way round the course to the finish line. A 2,2 day for the American flagged team sees them third overall five points behind their Quantum powered rivals with whom they share a two boat programme.
“It’s been a tough week so far so it was good to have a better day. It is very shifty out there, very puffy with big waves and so Harm really did a good job steering the boat, we were good downwind and had good strategy upwind.”
Commented Platoon’s British navigator Jules Salter,
“It is hard to realise we are leading now, it is all about a point here and there, and there is plenty more racing to come.”
Michele Ivaldi, the navigator on third placed Quantum Racing said:
“We set a goal for the day and we succeeded and everything has opened up again, but all the time it is about taking each race at a time and not thinking about the outcome Saturday.”
After five races Menorca 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week
1. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (4,3,6,4,1) 18p.
2. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (1,1,1,7,10) 20 p
3. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (11,4,4,2,2) 23 p
4. Bronenosec (RUS) (Vladimir Liubomirov) (2,dnf12,2, 3, 3 +2 ) 24 p.
5. Phoenix (RSA) (Tony Norris) (3,7,3,5,6) 24 p
6. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (5,8,7,1,4) 25 p
7. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (8,2,8,6,11) 35 p
8. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (6,9,9,10,5) 39 p.
9. Interlodge (USA) (Austin Fragomen) (7,10,5,8,9) 39 p
10. THA 72 Vāyu (THAI) Whitcraft (THAI) (10,5,10,11,7) 43 p
11. Paprec (FRA) Jean-Luc Petithuguenin (9,6,11,9,8) 43p