21 November 2018
The new Australian TP52 circuit will start this weekend, giving owners in the super-competitive class their own stalking ground.
The inaugural TP52 class regatta will coincide with Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s annual Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship, to be held over the weekend of 24-25 November. The circuit will also visit Sydney, Pittwater and Newcastle.
The TP52 owners group has appointed Terry Wetton to manage the class locally, including the new series of three regattas and a transparent rating system to deliver competitive racing for boats of varying ages.
“TP52s are a premier grand prix racing class worldwide, with thirteen boats currently being actively campaigned in Australia. The new series brings the best of the best together for some highly competitive racing on both short windward-leeward courses and coastal passages,” said Terry.
Each boat will be able to carry one pro sailor, any additional pros will attract a small penalty under an Event Handicap (EHC).
“It means we’re levelling the field in a class driven by owners,” explains Blackmore, owner and skipper of the TP52 Hooligan. “the boats must be owner driven. We’ll try the new handicap system and see how it goes. I hope we’ll see eight TP52s on the Harbour – it will look fantastic.
I’m pretty excited about it. The starts should be fantastic. It doesn’t make any difference to how old your boat is – we’re all generally going at the same speed.”
Hooligan, brought to Australia by Marcus Blackmore last year after being anointed TP52 Super Series champion, is proving her worth with a successful 2018. She has gotten some fantastic results since she hit the water for the Sydney Harbour Regatta earlier in the year, including a win in IRC Division 1 at Hamilton Island Race Week.
Celestial owned by Sam Haynes, newcomer Gweilo owned by Matt Donald and Chris Townsend, and Mick Martin’s Frantic from Newcastle are confirmed starters for this weekends race, while the TP52 that won the 2008 and 2012 Sydney Hobart will be sailed by Bob Steel as Quest. The earlier three will use the race to sharpen up crew work ahead of the Rolex Sydney Hobart. TP52s like Quest have been beefed up for offshore racing, diminishing their round the buoys capacity somewhat.
Principal Race Officer is Denis Thompson. One of the most highly qualified race manager’s in the sport, in October he was awarded with the President’s Award at the Australian Sailing Awards. Thompson’s team is comprised of MHYC and CYCA officials and volunteers.