Rolex TP52 World Championship to gather 10 teams for battle
Published: Thursday, 04 May 2017
The 2017 Rolex TP52 World Championship (May 15-20) in Scarlino, Italy, part of the 52 Super Series comprising six events in the US and the Mediterranean, will bring together 10 crews. This edition marks the first year of partnership in which Rolex acts as the Official Timepiece and the Title Sponsor.
(Photos: Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio)
Agustin Zuleta, CEO of the 52 Super Series, said: “The TP52 is the de-facto top monohull inshore race class in the world, appealing to the very best professional sailors, discerning owners and teams. These all carbon fibre boats, with a powerful sail area and deep slender keel, are incredibly close in performance. The purity of the competition comes from racing in real time, with the first-across-the-line-wins rule at the very heart of the 52 Super Series.”
On the partnership with Rolex, Zuleta said: “Rolex is a world-renowned, prestigious brand, synonymous with the very highest standards. We are very proud of our privileged new relationship.”
As well as being crowned World Champion, the winner of the 2017 Rolex TP52 Worlds will receive a Rolex timepiece, awarded to the winners of many of sailing’s most prestigious events, including the Rolex Fastnet Race, the Rolex Sydney Hobart and the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup.
The TP52 World Championship was first raced in 2008 in Lanzarote, where it was won by Quantum Racing. The American team has since won the championship four times including last year’s event in Mahón, Menorca.
Ed Reynolds, President of Quantum Sails and Director of Quantum Racing, commented: “It is going to be very difficult for us to repeat as World Champions. We have made crew changes in two of the most important positions on the boat. The guys that came in are great, but, you just can’t replace the best TP52 helmsman in the world [Ed Baird] or a guy like Sean Clarkson overnight. That said, we have every intention to defend our title, but it’s not going to be easy!”
The 10 participating teams represent Germany, Italy, Russia, Sweden, Turkey, UK and the USA, and include some powerhouse names in grand prix yachting. Niklas Zennström’s Ràn Racing team won numerous races, including the 2013 TP52 Worlds, three Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship titles (2010, 2011 and 2013), and Rolex Fastnet Race wins (2009 and 2011).
Azzurra is the sporting symbol of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS), credited for bringing the YCCS and its ideals to the international regatta circuit and introducing the America’s Cup to the Italian public. Azzurra is owned by longstanding YCCS member Alberto Roemmers, with the sailing team led by Guillermo Parada and Vasco Vascotto. Azzurra was the 2015 TP52 World Champion and has started the 2017 season in good form with victory at the Miami Royal Cup in March.
Quantum Racing won at the first TP52 Super Series event of the 2017 season – Key West Race Week: a closely-fought contest where six of the top seven boats were separated by a mere two points. With Germany’s Platoon finishing second at both of the series’ events to date and Turkey’s Provezza posting two top four places, Reynolds sees a keen battle ahead.
“The most important thing a team has to do to win the Rolex TP52 is to avoid a ‘big number’. Being consistent is kind of a sailing cliché, but it will be critical. There are at least five boats capable of winning this event. I would not be surprised if an average score of a fourth place will win. This is the most competitive Super Series fleet I can remember.”