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Sustaining the Series

A few enthusiastic TP52 owners breathe new life into their circuit after a high-profile sponsor leaves.

September 18, 2013
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Quantum Racing

Quantum Racing

Xaume Olleros/52Superseries.com

For seven years, sponsorship of the MedCup Circuit by Breitling (2004-’06) and Audi (2007–’11) fueled the success of the TP52 class. In 2007, the five-event series drew 24 TP52s from around the world to venues in Spain, Portugal, and France. But entries dwindled, and after only eight boats competed in 2011, Audi and event organizer World Sailing Management could not agree on how to continue. “The owners didn’t want it to die,” says Rob Weiland, who’s been the class manager since 2006. “They asked the people involved with the class for their support to continue racing in one way or another.”

With financial backing from the three owners of Azzurra, Quantum Racing, and Rán, the 52 Super Series was born from a concept proposal by Lars Böcking, of Jacaranda Marketing. Ed Reynolds, Quantum Racing’s managing director, said in a May 2012 post on 52superseries.com, “There has never been anything in fleet racing in monohulls that has ever matched [MedCup], and we were just not willing to let it go.”

The 2012 Super Series had five European events; this year two events have been sailed in the United States, while the remaining four will be Europe. “Everyone understands that if you want to race with 10 boats you have to combine forces, otherwise you race alone,” says Weiland. “It requires a healthy balancing act to satisfy both sides of the Atlantic.”

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That balancing act might shift in the near future. “In the next two years, there will have to be an expansion,” says Weiland. “We either get more owners on board and have a fully owner-driven circuit, or we use the momentum of what we’ve created and find a sponsor again.”

Either way, the class will keep pushing forward through regular updates and an eye for new ideas. “The boats are 300 kilos lighter than they were five years ago,” says Weiland. “It’s a fine balance between updating and outdating. We’re also looking into HPR; it could be that we see reason to modify our rule slightly to bring TP52 closer to HPR.”

Austin Fragomen, a newcomer to the Super Series, raced at Quantum Key West and the Gaastra 52 Worlds in Miami. He’d previously sailed Interlodge on the U.S. IRC circuit. “We’re going to sail the races in the Med this summer, which will be great fun,” says Fragomen. “We’re delighted to be a part of it.”

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