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Closing the deal: Puerto Portals and Bay of Palma ready for 52 SUPER SERIES title decider

by 52 Super Series 19 Sep 2023 03:51 NZST 18-23 September 2023
52 SUPER SERIES Puerto Portals Sailing Week © Martinez Studio / 52 Super Series

The final, showdown regatta of the season, the 52 SUPER SERIES Puerto Portals Sailing Week, starts points racing Tuesday with Ergin Imré's Turkish flagged Provezza carrying an 18 points lead over Harm Müller-Spreer's Platoon on the standings for the season.

Today's last two official warm up practice races, contested in a post frontal 13-15kts SW'ly breeze on the Bay of Palma, again highlighted Provezza's form as they won one race and Takashi Okura's Sled the other. Platoon's owner driver Müller-Spreer was happy with his team's second and third.

Provezza's local, Palma based navigator Nacho Postigo predicts a week of testing, variable winds which may still open up the game and mean a high scoring finale:

"The term that best defines the week is 'variable'. After last night's front, today we had a wave of a metre, metre and a half, and a maximum wind of 18-20 knots. Tomorrow will not be easy, six to twelve knots. Thursday looks like we will also have a similar situation, with a front passing overhead and a big swell."

The famous, reliable Palma sea breeze might not be a regular visitor this week, "This week there will be very few days of thermals, probably not seeing many days of typical bay conditions but instead many days of instability. This can happen at any time at the end of the summer. But that's OK, because these variable conditions open up the game a lot."

Guess who's back?

Sled welcome back Italian tactician Francesco Bruni as tactician this week, the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli sailor coming straight from the America's Cup Preliminary Regatta in Vilanova. A long time TP52 sailor and fan, whose participation in the class predates wins with Azzurra indeed it goes back to Matador days - winning the 2009 world title here on the Bay of Palma with Matador as well as in 2021 with Sled, Bruni said today, "It is so good to be back with the Sled team and the class. The TP52 has always been a great class and almost certainly always will be. It is great to see 11 boats on the starting line and the class still growing is something important. I hope we can do some better starts here than we did in Vilanova, faster and closer to the line! It is very easy with Murray as strategist. You cannot ask for a better strategist. The boat is going well and it felt like we had decent speed today."

And Quantum Racing powered by American Magic finally have tactician John Kostecki back. The American Ocean Race and double America's Cup winner has been out with an eye injury since just before Scarlino started. The Quantum Racing powered by American Magic 2023 afterguard (V 5.0?) sees Kostecki leading Harry Melges on the helm, Victor Diaz de Leon as strategist and young Italian navigator Nico Sanfelice crunching the numbers.

Kostecki is delighted to be back, "I missed this. The last few months have not been the greatest for me The whole eye surgery and recovery has taken a long time. I could not do very much for a long time. It took me a full month until I could drive a car with good vision. Now I have a corrective lens and the eye does not look to bad but the vision is not really too good. It is nice to be back. But this is a super strong team. The weakness this year has been so many changes in the afterguard every regatta, because of me. So that is our Achilles Heel this week, we have not had the time together that the other teams have had. So we were a little rusty but getting better each day. And I like it here, it is like a second home."

Racing starts Tuesday and can be followed on the 52 SUPER SERIES channels.

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