Ronnie Simpson breaks down the start of the Super 52 series…
Staging their first-ever event in the southern hemisphere, the 52 Super Series has broken new ground in their debut regatta of the 2020 season. The premier monohull racing circuit on earth, the series is back for 2020 with an impressive line up of twelve teams, though only ten teams have made the long journey to the first event.
Hosted by former Morning Glory owner and now local TP 52 owner Hasso Plattner and his family, the Super Series fleet has made a pilgrimage from Europe to Cape Town, South Africa to kick off their year. The first of two events that will be held in Cape Town, Plattner and his crew on Phoenix 11 got their 2020 campaign off to a dream start with a 1-3 score card today in stunning conditions averaging 10-15 knots of southwesterly breeze; much better than the forecasted drifter that cancelled yesterday’s practice racing.
With a solid mix of local South African talent and a new tactician in Olympic medallist and America’s Cup winner Peter Holmberg, the team managed great starts and good tactical calls when it mattered most to get ahead early and own the left side along with Bronenosec and Sled, which allowed them to draw first blood and take the first bullet of the season.
Training as a team in Cape Town since before Christmas appears to have paid dividends for the early regatta leaders. With double-olympic medallist Jonathan McKee calling tactics for helmsman Morgan Larson, the Russian-flagged Bronenosec would claim second in the first race with Takashi Okura’s American-flagged Sled rounding out the podium, making for a strong American presence in the fleet outside of perennial contenders Quantum Racing.
In a shifty breeze that built to 16 knots for the second start, Quantum Racing managed a great start to claim an early lead in race two, but had to take a penalty after a port/ starboard crossing on the first beat, which dropped them further back in the fleet and they could only manage a 5-8 for the day to sit a disappointing eighth.
Consistency was hard to find on the opening day, as evidenced by race two’s eventual winner, Alegre, who netted a 7 before pulling out the win in race two, with the winner again owning the left side of the race course on the beat. Race two’s second-place boat, Bronenosec, found themselves DFL in race two to go 2-10 for the day. Azzurra would finish in second with Phoenix 11 rounding out the podium to secure their spot atop the leaderboard after the first day.
Behind Phoenix 11 who sits on four points, the four-time Super Series – and defending – champions Azzurra netted results of 4-2 to place second for the day while Sled went 3-4 to round out the podium after the first day of the season.
Conditions for the second day of racing again look gorgeous at about 8-10 knots and plenty of sunshine, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Cape Town ‘Doctor’ again begin to assert itself in the afternoon an build into the teens. Follow the 52 Super Series here, and on their excellent Instagram and Facebook feeds @52superseries