Just finished racing my first TP 52 SuperSeries event, this one in Palma Majorca Spain at the Copa del Rey. This class is considered the leading edge of our sport in big boat racing and is closest to what the Americas Cup used to be before it switched to catamarans. All the teams are fully funded, loaded with the best talent in sailing, highly professional, and the racing is close and intense. I was racing on Spookie, a 2011 Botin design just purchased from the previous owners who sailed her as Interlodge. The newer 2015 designed boats have an edge in anything over 12 knots, but we could hold our own in everything under that.
The racing was great. Two windward-leeward races a day, with two mile legs, and a 30 mile/7 leg distance race midweek, for a total of nine races, with no discards. We were the rookies in the 11 boat fleet and came in fully expecting to get our butts kicked, but also to learn heaps from the best, and get up to speed as quickly as possible in this new boat. And that’s exactly what happened. We had moments of brilliance when we were leading races, but also moments of pain and frustration, when a system onboard didn’t work as hoped, or we failed to execute a maneuver well, or we didn’t have the right set up for the conditions, or just weren’t going as fast as the others. In theory we should have finished last, the newbies to the fleet, so we are quite pleased to have finished 8th, only one point out of 7th, and only 15 points out of 5th place. The plan for the boat was to do this one event and then take her back to race in the states and the Caribbean, but the owners had such a good time and learned so much that they have decided to do the next and final 2015 SuperSeries event in Cascais Portugal next month before shipping her over. Now that we have wet our feet and seen the level of play and just what is needed to win at this high level, it gives us a fantastic challenge to learn from our recent event and have another opportunity to learn the boat and improve our game against some fully developed teams.
And that’s what I love about sailing, because it is so complex, diverse and challenging, that there is always room to learn, grow, and improve.
From 30,000 feet somewhere over Europe on my way back to my little island for a few weeks to recharge my race batteries.