Two race wins – the first being an opportunistic victory grasped when the breeze suddenly shut off at the finish line, and the second, a showcase gun-to-gun win from a perfectly timed start – see Harm Müller Spreer’s German-flagged Platoon lead into the final day of the Menorca 52 SUPER SERIES Royal Cup regatta by two clear points.
Winners of the 52 SUPER SERIES Menorca regatta in both 2019 and 2021, Platoon yesterday looked to have killed off their chances of a consecutive Mahon hat-trick when they were over the start line and were penalised to amass 13 points for their day’s work, but today the past double TP52 world champions first had put themselves into position to take the lucky break when it came their way at the end of Race 7, before then winning Race 8 emphatically.
To find the best breeze on in the island today the race management team took the fleet south to compete off Binebeca and Punta Prima. The regatta’s reward was 12-14kts of breeze and a more orderly seaway than has afflicted the first three days.
Takashi Okura’s Sled looked for all the world like they had the Race 7 victory in the bag, one which would actually have made them the fourth team to lead this regatta overall. But in the final 250 metres to the finish line the breeze completely switched off from ahead. They took their kite down as they ran out of momentum and in so doing, drifted sideways to touch the finish buoy.
By the time they had managed to ghost round their penalty to exonerate themselves Sled had dropped to eighth and fifth on the regatta leaderboard.
Andy Soriano’s Alegre suffered a similar fate, running out of momentum, they were unable to keep clear of Provezza and they too were penalised, dropping from second to seventh.
To their credit the Platoon team saw what was happening and were able to point for the middle of the line and hold their kite almost to the line to steal the race 1.
“It’s the first time I have finished a TP52 race first and ended up in eighth place.”
Grimaced Sled’s very disappointed strategist Michele Ivaldi.
“It feels quite unfair.”
Platoon’s tactician Vasco Vascotto acknowledged their good fortune, and admitted he was pleased they then had the chance to win the subsequent race in a such a tidy fashion, from the start line.
“Today we were are lucky in that race.”
“The difference from hero to zero is luck. We need to realise that yesterday we had a bad day, today everything was on our side and we are happy for the last race. I think the last race there we did a very good job. This time we had to thank our bowman because Doogie did a fantastic job on the start line – he won the race – let’s say that. Then all the others did their job – it’s just a matter of confidence of cutting the line at zero (seconds to go) at the right speed and the right angle.”
Vascotto, who is on the verge of his first regatta win since joining the Platoon team in September last year, notes that the winds are forecast to be light for Sunday’s finale.
“For tomorrow we need to relax, no over thinking things and try to sail the boat nicely and see what happens. It will be light tomorrow, very challenging so anything could happen.”
Provezza lie second two points behind. Whilst Platoon will be pitching for their Menorca hat trick, Ergin Imré’s crew will be challenging for an arguably more significant three-in-a-row, looking to add the Menorca title to those two that they have already won in Scarlino and Saint-Tropez.
And the winning impetus on the last day very much rests with the Turkish-flagged team led by Kiwis John Cutler and Hamish Pepper.
Menorca 52 SUPER SERIES Royal Cup Provisional Standings after eight races
1- PLATOON (GER), Harm Müller-Spreer, 1+3+2+5+8+5+1+1 = 26
2- PROVEZZA (TUR), Ergin Imre, 2+8+6+2+4+1+2+3 = 28
3- GLADIATOR (GBR), Tony Langley, 8+9+1+1+1+6+4+4 = 34
4- ALEGRE (GBR), Andy Soriano, 4+2+5+3+3+7+7+5 = 36
5- SLED (USA), Takashi Okura, 5+1+4+4,5(RDG)+7+2+8+6 = 37,5
6- PAPREC (FRA), Jean Luc Petithuguenin, 7+5+7+7+2+4+9+2 = 43
7- QUANTUM RACING POWERED BY AMERICAN MAGIC (USA), Doug DeVos, 6+6+3+6+6+3+6+9 = 45
8- VAYU (THA), Whitcraft Family, 3+7+9+10(DNF)+5+8+3+7+3(PEN) = 55
9- ALPHA+ (HKG), Shawn and Tina Kang, 9+4+8+4+9+9+5+8 = 56