Tuesday new offshore wind Regime will decide Puerto Portals title
The Bay of Palma looks like it might deliver a whole new weather scenario for the final day title shoot out at the Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week.
After eight races have been sailed in light to moderate sea breeze conditions Phoenix carry a two points margin over second placed Sled into Tuesday, the last day of racing. But with a brisk Mistral northerly breeze due to spread across the Mediterranean from the north the finale looks set to be battled out in a shifty, puffy difficult offshore wind which present a whole new challenge for the fleet.
South African Phoenix, which has Tom Slingsby calling tactics supported by Cameron Dunn, and Sled which unites Francesco Bruni and six times America's Cup winner Murray Jones in their afterguard, have built a ten points cushion over the third placed Quantum Racing.
The welcome change of wind regime will see the race fleet head out for an earlier start, around 1100hrs, as the race committee seek to catch the best of the N'ly wind before it is diminished by the sea breeze.
Phoenix booked their position as final day title favourites with an excellent 1,2 scoreline today, out-sailing their American flagged rivals Sled in the second race to effectively double their margin. Sled, the current 52 SUPER SERIES overall champions made their worst score of the regtta, fifth, in the first race and actually led Phoenix in the second race.
The title decider is finely balanced. After a modest start to their 2022 season, sixth in Baiona and fifth two points behind Phoenix at last month's Rolex TP52 World Championship Sled are fired up and have the confidence of having won here last August. That was the launch pad to them then closing out the double – the world and the circuit titles – on the Bay of Palma in November. The Plattner family's Phoenix have been knocking on the door at nearly every regatta but have yet to win a regatta title.
Tom Slingsby, Phoenix's tactician said,
"We are heading into the last day in good shape with a small lead over Sled but we did the regatta here last November and we had a nice lead going into the final day and finished fourth, so we are not going to take anything for granted and we know it."
Of their solid, 1,2, day Slingsby recalled,
" It was not your typical Palma today, there were opportunities in the right but timing was everything, it was getting over there and getting back out again. Some boats did It well, some did not. We were fortunate the few times, we might have been forced there by speed or something not holding our lane but when we went right and we picked our times really well and the team sailed really well today. Speed was good, especially downwind. Last year it was a weakness but now we are improving all the time. We are coming good."
Sled's Italian navigator Andrea Visintini is relishing the showdown,
"It has been a big, big battle 'til now. This is a great sailing venue. We are enjoying the place. It is difficult but there is a big reward when you get it right. Our afterguard, Francesco and Murray are doing an amazing job. We are super happy and looking good for tomorrow. We will just do our best and sail our own races. Of course if we have a chance to slow down our opponents we will. Tomorrow will be a completely different type of day. We have the Mistral coming through tonight, which will block the sea breeze developing. So if we go out racing early enough we will be a good 16-17kts offshore breeze."
And although Quantum Racing started modestly they have pulled themselves up to third overall by amassing only 10pts over the last five races and, especially with the new changeable N'ly wind forecasted, stand a fighting chance of snatching their third back to back regatta title from under the noses of the two main protagonists.
Ergin Imre's Provezza won the first race today to move up to fifth.
Standings after Day 4, eight races sailed
1 PHOENIX (RSA), Hasso & Tina Plattner, 1+3+1+8+1+4+2+1 = 21 pts.
2 SLED (USA), Takashi Okura, 2+2+4+4+3+1+5+2 = 23 pts.
3 QUANTUM RACING (USA), Doug DeVos, 8+6+7+2+2+2+3+3 = 33 pts.
4 INTERLODGE (USA), Austin & Gwen Fragomen, 4+1+3+3+9+3+8+4 = 35 pts.
5 PROVEZZA (TUR), Ergin Imre, 3+8+5+5+4+5+1+7 = 38 pts.
6 PLATOON (GER), Harm Müller-Spreer, 5+4+8+1+5+7+4+5 = 39 pts.
7 ALEGRE (GBR), Andy Soriano, 6+7+2+7+7+8+7+4 = 48 pts.
8 GLADIATOR (GBR), Tony Langley, 7+5+6+9+6+9+9+9 = 60 ptss
9 VAYU (THAI), Familia Whitcraft, 9+9+9+6+8+6+6+8 = 61 pts.