TP52 rule changes
The Portugal Trophy regatta in Portimao was the venue for the TP52 Class Association to agree a series of changes applicable to the 2010 season as part of the transition to the new Box Rule which is planned for 2011.
Last month owners and the TP52 Class Manager gathered in Cagliari, Italy, at the Region of Sardinia Trophy, the third event of the Audi MedCup Circuit.
There the agreement was reached to update the Box Rule which governs the design of the boats for 2011. The main objectives are to produce faster, easier to handle boats, to reduce campaign costs while respecting and maintaining the spectacle that characterises these 52 foot grand prix monohulls.
The key changes for the new Box Rule are designed to produce a faster, more powerful boat, the reduction in crew weight from 1,273 kilos to 1,100 kilos - in other words, reduction from 15 to 13 crew - and the removal of internal ballast, other than a small amount of correction to bring the displacement up to the required 7,400kg.
The Portugal Trophy gathered the principal parties of the TP52 Class who decided on the improvements which will be applied for 2010. The main objective is to reduce the costs and implement the modifications that will promote a streamlined transition of the current boats to adapt to the Box Rule for 2011. In economic terms, the aim is to reduce the campaign running costs by one third but not make it too expensive to modify the existing boats.
It was decided here in Portimao that the for 2010 the spinnaker pole will be replaced by a bowsprit (thus allowing for larger spinnakers and easier maneuverability), a square top mainsail, twin backstays, and a 150kg increase in weight of the bulb.
Nacho Postigo (ESP), Technical Director of the Audi MedCup Circuit believes that these modifications are positive for the fleet and therefore for the Circuit: “The consensus from all the owners has been very positive looking forward to next season but it is also going to be much more appealing to the newcomer who will be sailing with three less people than we are sailing with this season. Reducing costs whilst maintaining the philosophy of the Circuit is a good way of attracting new entries.”
“As Audi MedCup Circuit organisers we are working on a set of new rules for the 2010 season based upon these changes and our plan is to contain costs for the teams. We will be announcing the changes shortly which will surely encourage potential owners to come and join the Circuit,” continues Postigo.
Postigo, in his position as a sailor, also highly regards the changes positively: “I think from a sailing point of view the boats will be simpler and easier to sail, faster, and especially they are going to look much different. But there will still be a great challenge for crews. As soon as you lose the (spinnaker) pole, by virtue of the simple luxury of not having the pole you immediately start to push it harder and do different things. As the boat becomes simpler to maneuver it becomes easier to push harder. It will be interesting to see how the teams develop new techniques. For the coastal races you will now pretty much have to use the windward-leeward inventory. The gennaker will be 15 square metres bigger and so the boat will be much faster downwind, not perhaps in top speed, but in acceleration and speed after gybing. If you take the drawing of a TP52 2009 and a 2010 TP52 it will look like ten years of change but only with two changes, the bowsprit and the square top mainsail will make it look great.”
The programme for the 2010 Audi MedCup Circuit will broadly follow the same pattern as this year with the emphasis, where possible, with each venue hosting the fleet from the Saturday right through to the Sunday finish.
Ignasi Triay, the Audi MedCup Circuit Director confirms: ”This year has proven that the teams prefer a five events calendar. The format we suggest for 2010 is based on the idea of the fleet to be moored from Saturday, in order to the public to come and visit. On Sunday they start training, and on Tuesday is the Official Training for the TP52s, with five days of racing for this Series and four day for the GP42s. With this format, we offer to the public two full weekends of Audi MedCup show”.
The Audi MedCup 2010 schedule is:
Audi MedCup Event 1, 11 to 16 May
Audi MedCup Event 2, 15 to 20 June
Audi MedCup Event 3, 20 to 25 July
Audi MedCup Event 4, 24 to 29 August
Audi MedCup Event 5, 13 to 18 September
Only the final event of the season will finish on a Saturday, in the words of Triay, “to guarantee that the last party of the season happens on Saturday. ”