A seemingly unerring consistency, – Platoon returning a pair of second places and Phoenix a pair of thirds – sees the German and South African TP52s locked in a three way tussle with the USA flagged Sled for the Rolex TP52 World Championship title.
After six races only one point separates the trio.
With just two days of the season left to sail, the overall circuit title for 2021 is equally finely poised. Circuit leaders are Takashi Okura’s Sled who only one point ahead of Platoon and two ahead of Phoenix. When they needed to at least be matching this top trio today Quantum Racing faltered slightly with a seventh in the second race which may prove costly to their hopes of a fifth 52 SUPER SERIES title.
The breeze was again blowing off the shore, carrying with it the influence of the high, undulating mountains at the back of the city itself. That meant more wind shifts, changes in pressure, to test to the nerves as well as the skills of the afterguards. The spotty wind was hard to read, to second guess what was happening in the next few seconds far less the next minutes, making the remarkable consistency of Platoon and Phoenix all the more impressive.
Both afterguards – Platoon’s Jordi Calafat and John Kostecki and Phoenix’s Tom Slingsby and Cam Dunn – risked when they needed to and were mostly rewarded by place gains. After a solid third and fourth from yesterday’s similar conditions Quantum Racing were nicely in the mix in the second race but lost positions on the second upwind to finish seventh for a 12 points day.
While there are two days of scheduled racing left, the forecast for gales in the Bay of Palma on Saturday see some teams altering their strategy for Friday, the penultimate day. Set to blow hard from the north there is a belief there might be enough protection from the land to allow racing, others are setting their stall for Friday to be the final showdown.
Andy Soriano’s Alegre team made a great start to the day winning the first race while Sled started off the pin on the second race and working the early left of the beat were clear at the top of the fleet at the windward mark with Alegre looking good in second. But once again it was the first half of the second beat which really shook up the middle order places, Alegre dropping to fifth across the line.
“My nerves are gone,” Phoenix’s Tom Slingsby admitted. “It was crazy racing out there. Any tactician who says they know what’s going on out there would be lying. It’s just insane racing, it’s crazy, it’s very hard to predict, we’re just riding the rollercoaster.
“And so I am really happy with two thirds today on a day like that. The wind was changing all the time. You are trying to tack on the shift but sometimes there was a persistent shift, sometimes there wasn’t, sometimes it was oscillating, it’s just so hard to know what the wind was doing out there.
“I don’t know how many times today I said to Cam Dunn, ‘I have no idea what’s going to happen here.’ But it was just one of those days where you had to sail in your own breeze and get round the course quickly. In these conditions it really helps having a strategist. Having a good set of eye to give me input on the course is invaluable.
And so yes we’re in the mix for the world title and the overall title. The points are so close heading into tomorrow, it’s anyone’s game but we’re happy to be in the hunt. Looking forward. There is a good chance tomorrow is the final day so we have to approach it that way.”
ROLEX TP52 World Championship RCNP 2021 after six races
Phoenix (1,1,6,7,3,3) 21 points
Platoon (3,3,4,8,2,2) 22 points
Sled (7,2,5,1,6,1) 22 points
Quantum Racing (4,5,3,4,5,7) 28 points
Alegre (5,9,1,10,1,5) 31 points
Bronenosec Gazprom (2,8,9,2,4,8) 33 points
Interlodge (9,4,7,5,8,6) 39 points
Provezza (10,7,2,9,9,4) 41 points
Code Zero (6,6,10,6,7.10) 45 points
Gladiator (8,10,8,3,10,9) 48 points
52 SUPER SERIES 2021 Overall standings
Sled 66, points
Platoon, 67 points.
Phoenix 68 points
Quantum Racing 72 points
Alegre 74 points
Bronenosec Gazprom 84 points
Provezza 97 points
Interlodge 109 points
Gladiator 131 points
Main image © Martinez Studio