TP52s on the 2011 Audi MedCup

Ian Roman Photography / Audi MedCup
Six brand new boats - we look at the latest trends on the Audi MedCup's big boat class
A year ago there were murmurings that the TP52 competition in the Audi MedCup might not survive what with the downturn in the global economy and the likely departure of the Cup teams that represented the majority in fleet racing’s most elite class. Thankfully this has not come to pass and the Audi MedCup season opener this week in Cascais features six brand new boats and one more, Bribon, that is a 2009 generation boat, modified to the latest iteration of the TP52 rule. Granted seven boats, with possibly two more due to join in later in the season, may not be the 24 strong fleet we saw in 2007, but the class is far from dead. Torbjorn Tornqvist’s Artemis Racing and Emirates Team New Zealand may have departed for the Cup, while Britain’s TeamOrigin is now defunct, but the move to catamarans or the inability of some teams to raise the money to campaign for the 34th America’s Cup in fact has benefitted the Audi MedCup with AC potential challengers Synergy and All4One all continuing in the TP52 class while the Yacht Club Costa Smerelda’s Azzurra team has also joined the party this year. Adding to the influx are also two more powerful teams, Niklas Zennström’s Rán and German Udo Schutz’ Container, both recruits from the Mini-Maxi class. Others have disappeared such as Cristabella, due to the illness of owner John Cook (touch wood, he intends to return next year, meanwhile Brendan Darrer is running the Rán 72 mini maxi) while the Portugese Bigamist team of Luis Martín Cabiedes and Pedro Mendonça has traded down to the new Soto 40 one design class. Alberto Roemmers’ Argentinian Matador team, that finished third overall last year, returns but in amalgamated form with Azzurra and a new sponsor in Audi. The crew remains