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Super Steady Platoon Win Rolex TP52 World Title

By TP52 Press Of­fi­ce
Pho­tos by ©mar­ti­nez stu­dio

Harm Müller-Spreer’s Pla­to­on crew got the bet­ter of the five-time ti­tle hol­ders Quan­tum Ra­cing du­ring an ex­ci­ting win­ner ta­kes all fi­nal day show­down to win the Ro­lex TP52 World Cham­pi­onship ti­tle for the first time.

Their se­e­min­gly uner­ring con­sis­tency across the chal­len­ging, hard-to-read con­di­ti­ons pro­ved tel­ling. Though they did not win a race, only once in eight con­tests did Pla­to­on fi­nish out of the top th­ree, coun­ting five se­cond pla­ces. Third in 2008, lo­sing out on the fi­nal day in Pu­er­to Por­tals to fi­nish third, this time the Pla­to­on crew stayed su­per fo­cu­sed and clo­sed out their first world ti­tle to­gether.

I’m de­ligh­ted. I don’t qui­te know what to say. I have been ra­cing for the best part of 40 ye­ars and this is a gre­at world ti­tle to win. It is the most com­pe­ti­ti­ve, toughest class the­re is with Olym­pic me­dal­lists, America’s Cup win­ners and so on all the way th­rough it so this is very, very spe­ci­al. To­day the worst thing we could have done was to beat our­sel­ves, but we stuck to what we have been doing all week. We had to stay cool and not get dis­trac­ted, and we did that.” said Mül­ler-Spre­er.

With the last day pro­gram­me on the wa­ters off Scar­li­no, Tus­cany cut to just one race as the WNW’ly bre­e­ze took time to build the re­gat­ta le­a­ders Pla­to­on star­ted the grand fi­na­le with a lead of two points over Quan­tum Ra­cing.

The de­fen­ding world cham­pi­ons made the bet­ter start, Pla­to­on fal­te­ring mo­men­ta­rily. But ice cool tac­ti­ci­an John Kos­tec­ki and stra­te­gist Jor­di Ca­la­fat stuck to Platoon’s game plan, in­ves­ting pro­gres­si­vely in the right side, staying out of the fray, sai­ling cle­an la­nes to al­low their spe­ed edge – par­ti­cu­larly downwind – to work.

Whi­le Az­zur­ra enhan­ced their early lead by get­ting to the paying, fa­vou­red right side of the first beat, Quan­tum Ra­cing found them­sel­ves sandwi­ched betwe­en two other bo­ats, una­ble to get the­re in time. In the 14 – 16kts bre­e­ze, Pla­to­on were quick upwind and roun­ded the first windward turn in third, al­re­ady se­e­min­gly with their hands on the world ti­tle.

As Az­zur­ra went on to win, Pla­to­on pas­sed Bro­ne­no­sec on the se­cond round to win the world cham­pi­onship ti­tle by se­ven points from Quan­tum Ra­cing, who won the ti­tle last year in Me­nor­ca.

Platoon’s con­sis­tency across the wind ran­ge – 5 – 18kts over their eight ra­ces sai­led – pro­ved con­vin­cing. Only in one heat did Müller-Spreer’s Ger­man-flag­ged team fi­nish out­si­de the top th­ree, a hard ear­ned sixth con­ver­ted from an early race tenth pla­ce roun­ding pro­ving its va­lue in the win­ning sco­re­li­ne.

The vas­tly ex­pe­ri­en­ced Ger­man ow­ner-dri­ver re­tur­ned to the TP52 class in 2015 joi­ning the 52 SUPER SERIES with a Vro­lijk de­sig­ned suc­ces­sor to his pre­vi­ous Pla­to­ons af­ter a se­ven year hi­a­tus fi­nishing fourth ove­rall.

Te­ch­ni­cal chan­ges to the boat last win­ter –bols­te­ring his team line up with America’s Cup win­ner John Kos­tec­ki as tac­ti­ci­an from the back end of last se­a­son, brin­ging on Dirk De Rid­der as mainshe­et trim­mer from the be­gin­ning 2017, and ha­ving Pepe Ri­bes as boat cap­tain and pit­man – have sta­bi­li­sed the team’s con­fi­den­ce, but more im­por­tan­tly im­pro­ved their spe­ed.

As part of the th­ree-boat Quan­tum Sails pro­gram­me, along with Gla­di­a­tor and Quan­tum Ra­cing, the free flow of kno­wled­ge and in­for­ma­ti­on betwe­en the trio and the em­pi­ri­cal, com­prehen­si­ve pac­ka­ge of data and per­for­man­ce analy­sis has been an im­por­tant com­po­nent in Platoon’s con­sis­tency this se­a­son. They were se­cond in Key West in Ja­nu­ary and se­cond in Mi­a­mi in Mar­ch – behind Quan­tum Ra­cing and Az­zur­ra res­pec­ti­vely – co­ming to Scar­li­no as the crew most li­kely to bre­ak the world ti­tle mo­no­poly of th­ree win­ners sin­ce 2007: Quan­tum Ra­cing in 2016, 2014, 2011, 2010 and 2008, Azzurra/​Matador in 2009 and 2015, and Rán Ra­cing in 2013.4

Ross Hal­crow, Platoon’s Kiwi trim­mer who won the TP52 glo­bal ti­tle with Ar­te­mis in 2007, sum­med up:

We have come a long way with the th­ree-boat pro­gram­me along with Quan­tum and Gla­di­a­tor. This week was our week. We were third row co­ming off the start line. But we wan­ted to tack off early and get right. We had con­trol of Quan­tum early on and then it was about let­ting the boat do its thing.

You always want to be sai­ling with John Kos­tec­ki, not against him. The game he plays is ne­ver hit­ting the cor­ners, playing it safe and con­sis­tency will win you the re­gat­ta.”

Vic­tor Ma­riño, the Pla­to­on run­ner smi­led:

This is a dre­am come true for me. I star­ted ten ye­ars ago with the Brí­bon and you always have the dre­am to win the world ti­tle. This is the highest le­vel mo­nohull cir­cuit in the world and so this a dre­am come true. It is an in­cre­di­ble re­sult. We sai­led re­ally, re­ally ste­ady and con­ser­va­ti­ve. We have a fast boat. We did not take too many risks and that was one of the keys to being on top of the world.”

It was a di­sap­poin­ting out­co­me for Quan­tum Ra­cing and for hard dri­ving tac­ti­ci­an Ter­ry Hut­chin­son.

The week is me­a­su­red on to­day, so our week wasn’t very good. You put in all that ef­fort to get to the op­por­tu­nity that we had and then you have the start that we did. So as always, we need to be as smart as we are fast. It’s bit­terswe­et be­cau­se we put in all that ef­fort to get to the op­por­tu­nity that we had, and then to not ca­pi­ta­li­se on it, that’ll stay with me for a bit, as it should. Cle­arly Pla­to­on have found another gear, and so it’s awe­so­me to see that. Harm’s put a lot of hard work into this pro­gram, he’s put a lot of swe­at equity into it, a lot of re­sour­ce into it. So if it wasn’t us I’m glad it is him; he de­ser­ves the suc­cess that he’s had.”

At the the­o­re­ti­cal mid­point of the se­a­son, with th­ree of the six re­gat­tas sai­led, Pla­to­on lead the 52 SUPER SERIES by four points going into next month’s Audi 52 SUPER SERIES Sai­ling Week in Por­to Cer­vo. Az­zur­ra lie se­cond and Quan­tum Ra­cing third, 14pts off the lead.

Fi­nal Stan­dings TP52 World Cham­pi­onship (af­ter eight ra­ces):
1. Pla­to­on (GER, Harm Mül­ler-Spre­er), (2,3,2,2,2,6,3,2) 22 pts.
2. Quan­tum Ra­cing (Doug De­Vos, USA), (1,2,8,1,1,7,2,7) 29
3. Az­zur­ra (Ro­em­mers Fa­mily ITA/​ARG), (3,1,6,8,6,4,4,1) 33
4. Ale­gre (An­drés So­ri­a­no GBR/​USA), (5,6,4,4,3,2,6,5) 35
5. Gla­di­a­tor (Tony Lan­gley, GBR) (6,10,1,3,8,10,1,6) 45
6. Rán Ra­cing (Ni­klas Zenns­tröm, SWE), (10,5,5,7,9,3,7,3) 49
7. Sled (Ta­kashi Oku­ra, USA), (4,9,7,9,7,1,8,8) 53
8. Pro­vez­za (Er­gin Imre, TUR) (RDG6.3,8,10,6,4,5,5,9) 53.3.
9. Bro­ne­no­sec (Vla­di­mir Liu­bo­mi­rov, RUS), (8,7,9,5,5,9,9,4) 56
10. Sor­cha (Pe­ter Har­ri­son, GBR), (7,4,3,10,10,8,10,10) 62

Ove­rall Stan­dings 52 SUPER SERIES af­ter th­ree re­gat­tas, Key West, Mi­a­mi, Scar­li­no
1. Pla­to­on (GER, Harm Mül­ler-Spre­er), 103 pts.
2. Az­zur­ra (Fa­mi­lia Ro­em­mers, ITA/​ARG), 107
3. Quan­tum Ra­cing (Doug De­Vos, USA), 114
4. Pro­vez­za (Er­gin Imre, TUR) 141.3
5. Rán Ra­cing (Ni­klas Zenns­tröm, SWE), 152 .
6. Bro­ne­no­sec (Vla­di­mir Liu­bo­mi­rov, RUS), 165
7. Sled (Ta­kashi Oku­ra, USA), 174
8. Gla­di­a­tor (Tony Lan­gley, GBR) 180.6
9. Ale­gre (An­drés So­ri­a­no GBR/​USA), 182
10. Sor­cha (Pe­ter Har­ri­son, GBR), 248

For full re­sults

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