Golden wonder

Christophe Launay Photography /
Tim Powell gives us the broad update on Niklas Zennstrom's Rán and their new Audi MedCup TP52
It seems like only yesterday we were down at the high security superyacht dock in Palma, crawling around Niklas Zennström’s Rán 2 72ft Mini Maxi. Two years on and the Skype founder’s team is busy with the early throws of getting their new TP52 Rán 4 up and running ready to compete in next week’s Palmavela, used as a warm-up for the start of the Audi MedCup in Cascais next month. With the TP52 class having reached Europe in 2005, one might think there is nothing new to say about them, however over this last winter stage two of the TP52's turboing has come into effect with new rules introduced that in essence restrict bulb weight, the combined weight of fin and bulb, minimum boat weight, minimum rig weight and minimum rig vertical centre of gravity (VCG). For the teams the most brain power has been the new VCG rule for the boat itself, because under the old rule there was a limit to this, while now there is none. As the new Rán’s Project Manager Chris Hosking puts it: “In previous generation all of the boats were achieving the VCG limit so easily we were ending up with mountains of internal ballast and there was nothing to do to make the boats go any faster. Now it is a VCG limitless rule, so anything you can do to lower VCG has got to make your boat go faster.” With the weight and position of weight in the mast and keel now locked up, this means that objective for teams has been to lower the weight of anything in between and most noticeable on Rán 4 is that the deck/freeboard is lower (as presumably have all the other new TP52s) increasing her ‘sleekness’ compared to previous generation. Rán 4's talking point though is