When the 52 SUPER SERIES lines up on the waters off Scarlino, Tuscany for the first time on May 25th there will be 12 TP52 crews vying to win this first of the five regattas which form the 2016 52 SUPER SERIES season.
New venues mean a whole new set of exciting challenges, not least learning the wind and current patterns. So with two locations which are new to the circuit this season, Scarlino and Mahón, Menorca, there is no chance of 52 SUPER SERIES teams relying solely on knowledge accumulated over recent seasons.
In May the crews will set up camp in Scarlino, a beautiful medieval-walled town in the region of rural Tuscany. Some of the more seasoned campaigners may recall racing further up the coast at Punta Ala where conditions are said to be quite similar. And in September the 52 SUPER SERIES circuit heads to the holiday island of Menorca, to beautiful Mahón for the 2016 TP52 World Championships.
Eleven teams from last season will be joined by Peter Harrison’s 52 Super Series newcomers, Team Sorcha, in the battle for the 2016 title. The crew – which has been very successful in the Caribbean and which has signed Cameron Dunn as tactician – make the step up to the 52 Super Series with a view to escalating to a full season’s programme in 2017.
Reigning champions, Azzurra will be looking to continue their winning streak after completing the double in 2015, picking up the top trophies for the 52 Super Series and also the TP52 World Championships. But Quantum Racing, champions in 2013 and 2014, will have Terry Hutchinson back as tactician for the full season and will be looking to have smoother transitions between helms Doug DeVos and Ed Baird.
2013 World Champions and winners of the Ford Vignale Trophy regatta, the event that lifted the curtain on 2015, Rán Racing will be competing in all five regattas this season. External business commitments required owner-driver Niklas Zennström to miss three events. The Swedish team took consecutive third places in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and have the capacity to at least match these season’s end finishes in 2017.
Class Manager Rob Weiland explains, “We should see that the coast between Piombino and Grossetto with renowned sailing marinas like Scarlino and Punta Ala offers a regular sea breeze revving up in the afternoon as the wide inland plains rapidly heat up in the Mediterranean sun. For that we need sun, in general a welcome component to have. As it is early in the year the breeze will not be at its strongest, but we should see good sailing each day. Mahón, Menorca is much more like Porto Cervo, this is Mistral territory. Once out of the harbour of Mahón it is open sea, so once the breeze kicks in, there are more waves than for instance in the Bay of Palma. Mahon will be a true test.”
Agustin Zulueta, CEO of the Super Series is excited about the prospects of this season, “without any doubt this is shaping up to be will be a great year. The 52 Super Series has consolidated an impressive fleet and nine boats have already entered for the whole season.”
“Two new venues await us, one in Italy in Scarlino and the other one on the magic island of Menorca where The 2016 World Champion will be crowned. The season will finish on The Atlantic Coast in Cascais ready to head to the US in 2017.”
“Now entering its fifth year the Super Series is one of the best sailing circuits in the world and because of this we now have very prestigious sponsors supporting our project. Also, the 52 Super Series has become the favourite platform for professional sailors. Identical boats, close competition, attractive venues and a professional organisation make for the perfect recipe to achieving a successful future.”
In addition to the usual coverage of the 52 Super Series, the sailing community will be able to download and enjoy the new 52 Super Series app on both iOS and Android. The app will be the go-to source for live racing streaming and analysis, recent results and news articles directly as it happens.