Eight new 52s confirmed for 2015
Eight newly built TP52s will compete on the 2015 52 Super Series circuit in a flieet expected to comprise 12 to 14 boats, including three teams who will be new to the series in Europe, over a five regatta circuit.
The high number of new boats for next season reflects the controlled evolution and success of the class and the 52 Super Series circuit in delivering fast, exciting, close racing at desirable venues, competing against like minded owners and teams.
Ten years after the TP52s were first adopted into Europe the class remains true to a box rule concept which has been well managed to racing remains tight but there are still sufficient design opportunities to develop and design performance differences.
The new 2015 generation boats will be faster still and more challenging to sail. Sail area increases – mainsails, jibs and gennakers all get bigger – overall displacement reduces but draft and hence righting moment or power increases – carbon rigging is adopted, bowsprits are longer, new generation carbon rigs will be stiffer and deflectors are allowed and cockpit volume is opened up.
The eight new boats include those for existing 52 Super Series teams - Quantum Racing (Doug DeVos USA), Azzurra (Roemmers family ARG), Sled (Takashi Okura, USA/JPN), Rán Racing (Niklas Zennström, SWE), Provezza (Ergin Imre, TUR), Gladiator (Tony Langley, GBR). Two teams are choosing to remain anonymous but have boats already commissioned.
Interestingly the new boats which have been ordered are split 50:50, four apiece between the two established design houses Botin Partners and Judel/Vrolijk.
While the performance of the new generation of TP52s is expected to step up significantly from the main crop of boats which compete currently on the Barclays 52 Super Series, what is especially exciting is that with fleet will converge back to a much closer design envelope. With such a high proportion of the fleet new, or much more recent designs, then the playing field for the 2015 season will be level. There will be no hiding place. There will be no excuse to lose.
“In a way that is terrifying,” says Tony Rey, Project Manager for Ergin Imre’s Provezza team. Imre is without question one of the circuit’s most experienced and enthusiastic owners, with his Provezza projects dating back 25 years through one design, IMS and IOR. A new Vrolijk designed Provezza is being built at Cooksons in New Zealand with Chris Hosking managing the construction for the team which is expecting the new boat to be ready around Christmas.
“ That is the thing I find most exciting,” Rey expands. “A new boat does not make us faster than the old boat. It highlights any weaknesses that we have compared to other teams. A new boat will shine a light on all aspects of our team, our maintenance, our organisation, our crew work, our communication, that is what a new boat does. We are on the level playing field and we can’t hide any more with ‘oh this old boat’”
Of the publically confirmed projects four will build in Europe, Provezza in New Zealand and one at Premier Composites Dubai facility.
And with a bigger fleet the critical design decisions are opened, taken or have been taken, how to mode the new boat to gain an edge upwind. Now it becomes key to design in the ability to be in the very top spots at the first upwind mark:
Guillermo Parada, skipper of Azzurra, explains: “It is very exciting for our team, for the Super Series and for the class that there will be eight new boats for next season. That means the competition will be really tough and also having 14 boats expected on the start line next season it is a very different challenge that we are facing as a team. The new boats need to be more upwind orientated because in a bigger fleet you need to make sure you get to the top mark in good shape and from there on you plan your race, otherwise in a small fleet you can have very good downwind boat that is not so good upwind. That will be the biggest change. And with all the changes in the rule, the carbon rigging, deflectors, more draft, lighter boats those are parameters which will make the boat even more challenging to sail.”
Ed Reynolds, Project Manager of TP52 World Champions and 52 Super Series champions Quantum Racing elaborates: “The new boats will be a lot faster, more manageable and I think they will level off the playing field quite a bit between the pro drivers and some of the owner drivers because they are going to be balanced a little better and they will be faster downwind. It’s exciting.”
But along with the design differences in design, Ed highlights the enduring appeal which keeps the TP52 popular with owners and crews: “I think we have been around 7000kgs on our headstay loads and the new boats will be around 7500kgs, we are going to carbon rigging, these boats get loaded up. But the really nice thing about the 52s is that we feel it is the biggest boat that you can really have that you are still racing it like a dinghy. Any bigger then some of the crew work, the kinetics, the things you can do with smaller boats that you can with the 52, you can’t do above this size. Racing these boats everybody loves it.
"For us they have done such a great job with the box rule it will be hard to come out and leapfrog the opposition. Our focus is on moding the boat. How high a drag do we want our fin? Where do we want to be against fleet downwind? Which wind range? I think that is the technological advantage you look for in this fleet. It is indisputable. This box rule has been as level and as well thought out as anything outside of one design boats I have ever seen.
“We are so excited about this. For the Class it means the total of TP52s built in 15 years is set to rise now above 70 boats which is quite an achievement if we recognise that these are large one-off racing yachts built to the highest standards at the time of construction.”
TP52 Class Manager Rob Weiland highlights: “In a way it is logical to see these bursts of construction activity such as we have now. We have seen them in the past as well. The TP52 owners are fans of level, real time racing and when so many start building it is represents a very good moment to jump on the train and have a realistic chance to be at par with the majority of boats for some years to come.”
CEO of the 52 Super Series Agustin Zulueta summarises: “The circuit is shaping up well for 2015 we are finalising the venues right now so that we reflect a genuine pan European spread of locations, five regattas over five months, exciting places and established favourites. The 52 SUPER SERIES is ever growing and exceeding expectations set out at the beginning of the year. There is no doubt that the formula we offer is a recipe for success. In 2014 we formed strong links with international companies such as Barclays, Zenith, Gaastra and in the last weeks Peters & May. Continued interest in the Barclays 52 Super Series and eight new boats for next year, confirms that the 52 Super Series is the place to be in the years to come."
Build Table for 2015 at 18th August 2014:
TBA (sistership Quantum)
Quantum Racing USA- Botin - Longitud Cero (ESP)
Azzurra ITA - Botin - King Marine (ESP)
Sled USA/JPN – Botin – Cookson (NZ)
Rán Racing SWE - Vrolijk – Persico (ITA)
Gladiator GBR (sistership Rán)
Provezza TUR - Vrolijk – Cookson (NZ)
TBA, Vrolijk - Premier (Dubai)
2015 52 Super Series dates (provisional)