Harm Müller-Spreer’s Platoon team won the 2019 Rolex TP52 World Championship title on the Bay of Palma today, but the German-flagged team, led by the Hamburg-based owner-driver did not make it easy for themselves as they had to contend with two additional penalty points that they were given for twice making contact with rival boats as well as two penalties for different infringements during a tense, nervy showdown with Azzurra.
But Platoon’s unerring consistency during yesterday’s three races, a fantastic showcase of speed and agility in a brisk offshore northwesterly wind, when they put together two wins and a fifth, was enough for Müller-Spreer’s super solid, tight-knit team to ride their luck much more than they should have needed to, to emerge with their second Rolex TP52 World Championship title in three years, winning over Azzurra by two points.
Relief was the emotion most evident on the face of Muller-Spreer as he stepped ashore on the dock in the Marina de Portals, Puerto Portals. The three-time Dragon Gold Cup winner admitted, “We shot ourselves in the feet a few too many times today but it feels great to win. Winning the title twice in three years say a lot about this team I think.”
Platoon followed up Wednesday’s hot streak with a decidedly disappointing 8,9. But Azzurra fared only a little better. On a day when Platoon all but gift-wrapped a third world title for them, Azzurra failed to capitalise, sailing to sixth in the day’s first race and then seemingly unable to shake off Platoon for eighth in the second race.
But the Roemmers’ family team, which sails under the burgee of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, heads to their home club in Sardinia, Italy for next month’s circuit finale carrying a healthy seven-point lead.
Müller-Spreer said, “On a day like this you absolutely have to keep your heads up that’s all, the race isn’t over until it’s over. You could see it today as well; so many windshifts; so everything could have happened in that race.”
Winning tactician John Kostecki added, “We have a great team, we’ve been sailing together now for three years, but we’ve never been in this position before – with a nice lead going into the last day – so we’re going to learn from this and we’re going to be an even better team now. I’m really looking forward to the next regatta in Porto Cervo.
“It’s different sailing in the lead, you do probably do things differently, but we’re really happy it’s turned out well. We have a great team, really good teamwork and energy on board and we’re gonna rely on our team and our teamwork to beat Azzurra in Porto Cervo.”
Helmsman on Azzurra, Guillermo Parada admitted, “It is a shame for us. It was a day full of opportunities and we failed to take advantage. We started ahead of them in both races. We put a penalty on them in the first one and we never positioned ourselves to take advantage of that. They made a lot of mistakes, but once more, here we are, second by two points.
“There are some times you might be happy with that result if you feel like you did your best, but we did not do our best. And that is a strange feeling because in reality we took a lot of points back, but in reality we gave a away a big opportunity to become world champions. We need to put our heads together now and make sure that when we finish in Porto Cervo we are at least one point ahead of second!”
Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec took third, their first podium finish at the Rolex TP52 World Championship, after competing in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019.
“It was a really hard day. We made some mistakes but we did enough in the second race to take third. We made some good calls downwind. But it is a great team effort. It is important for us but it is important to see how our team is working. We are pretty consistent on the race course and the results. We can still play in Porto Cervo.”
Final regatta standings, 9 races
1. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) (4,5,2,3,1,1,5,8,9,2 PEN) 40 p.
2. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto Roemmers) (2,9,4,5,2,4,2,6,8) 42 p.
3. Bronenosec (RUS) (Vladimir Liubomirov) (5,8,3,6,6,3,1,7,4) 43 p.
4. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) (9,1,1,2,9,10,8,4,1) 45 p.
5. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) (10,4,5,1,8,2,6,3,7) 46 p.
6. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) (1,7,8,4,4,7,9,2,5) 47 p.
7. Phoenix 12 (RSA) (Tina Plattner) (3,3,7,7,5,5,11,5,6) 52 p.
8. Phoenix 11 (RSA) (Hasso Plattner) (8,2,9,9,11,8,4,10,2) 63 p.
9. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) (12 DNF,12 DNC,12 DNC,12 DNC,3,7,3,1,3) 65 p.
10. Gladiator (GBR) (Tony Langley) (6,10,6,8,7,9,11,9,11) 77 p.
11. Team Vision Future (FRA) (Jean Jacques Chaubard) (7,6,10,10,10,6,10,11,10) 80 p.
Overall season standings after four events
1. Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto/Pablo Roemmers) 133 puntos.
2. Platoon (GER) (Harm Müller-Spreer) 139 p.
3. Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) 144 p.
4. Bronenosec (RUS) (Vladimir Liubomirov) 150 p.
5. Provezza (TUR) (Ergin Imre) 159 p.
6. Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) 175 p.
7. Sled (USA) (Takashi Okura) 202 p.
8. Phoenix 11 (RSA) (Tina Plattner) 203 p.
Racing at the 2019 Rolex TP52 World Championship Puerto Portals started on August 25 and finished on August 29.
Menorca 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week, May 21st – 25th, Menorca, Spain
Puerto Sherry 52 SUPER SERIES Royal Cup, June 18th – 22nd, Cadiz, Spain
Cascais 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week, July 16th – 20th, Cascais, Portugal
Rolex TP52 World Championship Puerto Portals 2019, August 25th – 29th, Mallorca, Spain
Audi 52 SUPER SERIES Porto Cervo Sailing Week, September 24th – 28th, Sardinia, Italy
Cape Town 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week, Cape Town, South Africa, March 2-6
Rolex TP52 World Championship Cape Town 2020, Cape Town, South Africa, March 31 – April 4
Royal Cup 52 SUPER SERIES Scarlino 2020, Scarlino, Italy, May 12-16
Audi 52 SUPER SERIES Porto Cervo & TP52 20th Anniversary Invitational, Porto Cervo, Italy, June 17-21
52 SUPER SERIES Valencia Sailing Week, Valencia, Spain, July 18-22
Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week, Puerto Portals, Spain, September 15-19
Source: 52 Super Series Press