As the 52 SUPER SERIES racing fleet of TP52 grand-prix racing yachts returned today from Cape Town, South Africa, aboard the cargo ship BBC Dolphin to Valencia, Spain, the circuit organisers have put plans in place to run the prestigious Rolex TP52 World Championship at the ever-popular Mallorcan venue of Puerto Portals from 15-19 September.
Time and circumstances have conspired against July’s Valencia regatta, which has had to be cancelled.
The return of the racing yachts to their usual home in the Mediterranean is a significant step forward, opening up the possibility that the Rolex TP52 World Championship can return to the chic, upmarket destination of Puerto Portals, which has hosted the world title event twice, in 2015 and last year – 2019. All teams are capable of winning events but defending world champions Platoon seem to have a special relationship with the worlds, Harm Müller-Spreer’s German-flagged team will be seeking to win the title for the third time in four years. No team has ever won the world championship twice in consecutive years.
“It would be good to run the Rolex TP52 World Championship in Puerto Portals in September. Obviously from a sporting point of view, but it would also be great for Mallorca, an island that relies so much on tourism, 40% of the population derive their income directly from tourism, and so it would indicate we would have moved forward in a positive direction,” says Platoon’s Mallorcan sailing hero, Olympic gold medal and America’s Cup winning Jordi Calafat.
“As to whether we can win the world championship again, who knows? We could. We could win any regatta, any time. But so can many other boats. You have to fight all the way and sail your very best.”
Mid-September on the Bay of Palma the weather can often already be different to high summer’s reliable sea breeze pattern. Might that offer an advantage to local hero Calafat who grew up training and racing on the Bay?
“I don’t think so. Not really but you never know. Weird things can happen in September, but everyone sails here so much. We’ll know at the end of the regatta. Ask me then!” smiles Calafat.
The Puerto Portals experience, with its excellent infrastructure and passion for the 52 SUPER SERIES has been key to them stepping in to host the world championship again after the competition had to be relocated following the cancellation of the second regatta in Cape Town.
“We are very much dependent on travel restrictions being lifted on time and the authorities allowing the event to go ahead, but as it stands right now we are confident this will be the case. Our owners and teams are eager to go racing. And our friends at Puerto Portals stepped up to the plate immediately when we asked if they would host the Rolex TP52 World Championship again. They know exactly what is required to host a good event and they always deliver,” Agustin Zulueta, CEO of the 52 SUPER SERIES commented.
“Puerto Portals is always open to a sporting event of this calibre. Even more so when we talk about a circuit at the level of the 52 SUPER SERIES, which, over many years has proven to be the best yacht racing circuit in the world, bringing with it the very elite of international sailors. The hosting of this event in Puerto Portals signifies the reactivation of the nautical sector in all its facets, as well as an economic boost to the tourist activity of Mallorca.
It will be a great challenge to host the Rolex TP52 World Championship again for the second consecutive year. After six years working hand-in-hand with the 52 SUPER SERIES team, it feels like a family,” says Corinna Graf, CEO of Puerto Portals.
Recently the directors, organisers and team owners of the 52 SUPER SERIES took the decision to cancel what was to have been the fifth event of the 2020 season, the 52 SUPER SERIES Valencia Sailing Week. While many of the pieces would be in place to run the regatta that was scheduled to take place from 18-22 July – and with a bubbling undercurrent of enthusiasm among owners and sailors to return racing at the highly popular Spanish America’s Cup city – there remains too much uncertainty about the ongoing medium-term global health situation, and international travel limitations are likely to remain problematic for a global circuit.
The 52 SUPER SERIES draws in the world’s leading sailors from New Zealand and Australia, South America, the USA, South Africa, as well as the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe, and travel restrictions in and out of most of these areas are certain to still be in place mid-July.
“We are only interested in running 52 SUPER SERIES regattas that are safe for everyone, not just those within our family ‘bubble’ but for the host area too. We pride ourselves in being the world’s leading grand prix monohull circuit and our owners and directors are of one accord in deciding we should not compromise our standards just to be able to run racing in July. Teams need to be able to compete at their usual high level with as close to their full, top drawer crew line up as possible,” outlines 52 SUPER SERIES CEO Agustin Zulueta.
“Of course, we are all concerned about the general health situation and the impact on society, as well as frustrated that we cannot sail in Valencia this July, even more so as the TP52 race boats return to Valencia. We continue to monitor the evolving situation and are poised to roll out the best solution when the time comes. We do remain positive we will be able to race as a fleet in the not too distant future and if so, the Rolex TP52 World Championship remains a top priority.”
2020 52 SUPER SERIES Calendar
March 2-6 – Odzala Discovery Camps 52 SUPER SERIES V&A Waterfront – Cape Town (Cape Town, South Africa)
March 31 – April 4 – [CANCELLED] Rolex TP52 World Championship Cape Town 2020 (Cape Town, South Africa)
May 12-16 – [CANCELLED] Royal Cup 52 SUPER SERIES Scarlino 2020 (Scarlino, Italy)
June 17-21 – [CANCELLED] Audi 52 SUPER SERIES Porto Cervo & TP52 20th Anniversary Invitational (Porto Cervo, Italy)
July 18-22 – [CANCELLED] 52 SUPER SERIES Valencia Sailing Week (Valencia, Spain)
September 15-19 – Rolex TP52 World Championship Puerto Portals 2020 (Puerto Portals, Spain)
Main image © Nico Martinez