The Plattner family’s South African flagged Phoenix clinched the third regatta title of the 2022 52 SUPER SERIES season, the Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week. We hear from helmsman Tony Norris and main trimmer Paul Willcox.
With a two-point lead over the 52 SUPER SERIES 2021 circuit title holders Sled, Phoenix completed their first regatta win with two assured second places to win by 12 points, the biggest winning margin of the 2022 season yet!
And with Quantum Racing returning a fourth place, 19 points behind the winners, Phoenix now tops the circuit season standings by two points.
A popular triumph
It could be said that this is an overdue win. At the world championships in November they led the penultimate race and were on course for the world title, and a potential overall 2021 season win when their spinnaker blew on the last run.
They also led after the first two days in Baiona before a bad day killed their challenge. And in Cascais they missed the podium by two points largely because of one mid-regatta eighth place.
A challenging regatta
This event did not start perfectly for the team. On the eve of the first points races they were speared by Provezza’s bowsprit during the official practice session causing minor structural damage to their port aft quarter.
On the same afternoon the Phoenix support RIB’s engines were damaged when it was hit by another team’s chase boat. But the shore teams worked into the night to ensure they were good to go in the morning. The Phoenix sailing team responded with a 1,3 to tie with Takashi Okura’s Sled, their final day rivals.
The crew includes Australian Sail GP champion and 2012 Laser Olympic champion, Tom Slingsby as tactician, supported by Kiwi Cameron Dunn. They have maintained top line consistency, scoring nothing worse than one 4th except for a sole 8th place.
“This feels amazing – not just winning but winning comfortably with this team. I have been saying for a long time that we are right on the edge and we have had a couple of podiums, thirds and fourths and just missed the regatta win. It feels great with such an amazing team we have here. And a special thank you to the Plattner family who kept the boat sailing through these tough times,” said Tom Slingsby who now adds a 52 SUPER SERIES regatta win to his long list of major sailing titles.
Helmsman and Phoenix Project Manager Tony Norris reports:
Flying the SA flag high
The Plattner family’s team has a strong core of South African sailors, not least project manager Tony Norris who steered last season and is steering this season. Others include Paul Willcox on main, Shane Elliot as navigator, Matt Whitehead in the pit and Shaun Pammenter as grinder and weather guru. Trimmers are Kiwi Morgan Trubovich and Italian Lorenzo Mazza.
See the full team list below.
Main trimmer Paul Willcox reports on the team’s performance:
Consistency is key. And it’s a very hard to do in this fleet. Looking for space on the start line and up the first beat helps you execute your plan which makes it a little easier to be be near the front of the fleet.
We will hopefully have the big boss back for that event. It will be great to have Hasso back on the tiller. So our aim, like always, will be to have fun and do as well as we can.
I think continuity makes a big difference. The same people sailing together build a good base of trust. The communication becomes easier in the tight situations and we know we can lean on each other and we will be okay. It takes a long time to get to the level we have. The teams we are racing against are of a very high standard and we know we are the same and aim to be better.
The Plattner family have been racing sailing boats for longer than I’ve been alive probably. One thing they do really well is supply the best possible tool. Their boats are immaculately prepared to the high standards. Then they help expose some young sailors to the international sailing world. What this does is teach them how sailing teams should be run. It beds in high standards. It’s an amazing environment to work in, and it puts you in strong standing for any other program that you might be involved in. For me personally it’s put me in another position on the boat. I wasn’t trimming the main on any boats before sailing with them. I’ve learnt a lot about boat set up and how to make a boat go fast”.
The circuit now moves to Scarlino, Italy for the fourth regatta September 26th – October 1st.
Provisional 52 SUPER SERIES 2022 overall ranking after three regattas:
1 PHOENIX (RSA), Hasso & Tina Plattner, 27+42+25 = 94 pts.
2 QUANTUM RACING (USA), Doug DeVos, 19+33+44 = 96 pts.
3 PLATOON (GER), Harm Müller-Spreer, 26+40+51 = 117 pts.
4 SLED (USA), Takashi Okura, 43,5+44+36 = 123,5 pts.
5 ALEGRE (GBR), Andy Soriano, 43+41+52 = 136 pts.
6 PROVEZZA (TUR), Ergin Imre, 61+54+42 = 157 pts.
7 INTERLODGE (USA), Austin & Gwen Fragomen, 39+71+50 = 160 pts.
8 VAYU (THAI), Whitcraft Family, 45+54+79 = 178 pts.
9 GLADIATOR (GBR), Tony Langley, 60+73+71 = 204 pts