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Super Steady Platoon Win Rolex TP52 World Title

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By Press Office
Pho­tos by ©mar­tinez stu­dio

Harm Müller-Spreer’s crew got the bet­ter of the five-time title hold­ers Rac­ing dur­ing an excit­ing win­ner takes all final day show­down to win the Rolex 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 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 crew stayed super focused and closed out their first 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 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 , Tus­cany cut to just one race as the WNW’ly breeze took time to build the regat­ta lead­ers start­ed the grand finale with a lead of two points over Rac­ing.

The defend­ing world cham­pi­ons made the bet­ter start, fal­ter­ing momen­tar­i­ly. But ice cool tac­ti­cian and strate­gist Jor­di Calafat stuck to ’s game plan, invest­ing pro­gres­sive­ly in the right side, stay­ing out of the fray, 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, Rac­ing found them­selves sand­wiched between two oth­er boats, unable to get there in time. In the 14–16kts breeze, were quick upwind and round­ed the first wind­ward turn in third, already seem­ing­ly with their hands on the .

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

’s con­sis­ten­cy across the wind range – 5–18kts over their eight races ed – 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 class in 2015 join­ing the 52 SUPER SERIES with a Vrolijk designed suc­ces­sor to his pre­vi­ous s 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 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 s pro­gramme, along with Glad­i­a­tor and 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 ’s con­sis­ten­cy this sea­son. They were sec­ond in Key West in Jan­u­ary and sec­ond in Mia­mi in March – behind Rac­ing and Azzur­ra respec­tive­ly – com­ing to as the crew most like­ly to break the monop­oly of three win­ners since 2007: Rac­ing in 2016, 2014, 2011, 2010 and 2008, Azzurra/Matador in 2009 and 2015, and Rán Rac­ing in 2013.4

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

We have come a long way with the three-boat pro­gramme along with 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 ear­ly on and then it was about let­ting the boat do its thing.

You always want to be with , 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 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 . This is the high­est lev­el mono­hull cir­cuit in the world and so this a dream come true. It is an incred­i­ble result. We ed 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 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 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 ed, lead the 52 SUPER SERIES by four points going into next month’s Audi 52 SUPER SERIES Week in Por­to Cer­vo. Azzur­ra lie sec­ond and Rac­ing third, 14pts off the lead.

Final Stand­ings (after eight races):
1. (GER, Harm Müller-Spreer), (2,3,2,2,2,6,3,2) 22 pts.
2. 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,
1. (GER, Harm Müller-Spreer), 103 pts.
2. Azzur­ra (Famil­ia Roem­mers, ITA/ARG), 107
3. 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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