The TP52 is generally seen as the ultimate Grand Prix Racer. For sure it is not the first yacht build to a boxrule, but the choices made when forming this particular box have proven to be lucky ones. This is underlined by quite a few classes following in our steps with similar choices. Because of its size, the number of crew and allowing the best of materials and building techniques this was never going to be a class for small budget campaigns.
TP52’s racing in the main events as the MedCup and the TP52 World Championship attract the best sailors of the globe and the teams are well supported on the shore and on the water. Luckily the exposure that these events get makes it possible to attract first class sponsors, money is around to fund these campaigns as soon as you can offer value in return. Around 2009 the balance between sponsored and private teams was about 50-50.
The TP52 is a simple racing machine. No moving parts under water other than a single centreline rudder, no complicated issues on deck or in the rig. Just high quality components allowing proper control of the boat and of a sails wardrobe build for optimum performence at every windangle and windspeed. The interior is the minimum required by the Safety Regulations and TP52 Rule, it is not truly aimed at offshore racing anymore, but is easy to update to the requirements of a TransPac for instance. In 2007 four TP52’s competed in that event. TP52’s are true Grand Prix Racers, so designed and build to withstand the abuse of yacht racing at the highest level, but not overbuilt and thus ensuring excellent performance. Once you get a chance to sail these magnificient machines and you join the game wherever it is played you will realise why so many before you choose for the TP52. By 2009 58 TP52’s have been constructed and they are all still racing. The main areas are the Med, USA, UK, Australia and Hong Kong.
From 2010 the TP52 will sport a bowsprit, twin backstays and a square head mainsail. The coachroof will be reduced further and the word simple in relation to the TP52 will get a new meaning. Crew will be reduced to 12 or 13, depending on their weight. Sailing displacement comes down several 100’s of kilo’s and the bulb will grow by over 600 kilo’s to keep the show on the road. New structural requirements and control on structural engineering by Germanischer Lloyd shall take care that it all stays together as well.
In 2011 the new TP52 Rule has kicked fully into action. The boats are now racing at reduced displacement (7300kg) and with more righting moment due to a deeper keel with a heavier bulb. Decks are even cleaner due to the latest ideas on equipment and reduced standing headroom requirements.
During 2013 another step towards the ultimate Fast & Fun boat has been set, the 2015 TP52 Rule is launched. The 2015 TP52 weighs 7000kg and sports more sailarea up and down wind. Draft is now 3.50 meter. The rig from 2015 on sports composite rigging and is build of UHM carbon for a whopping 60kg weight saving. It is all go, go, go… By May 2014 already five new builds were announced. Come October 2014 the total number of new builds stands at nine!! Bring on the 52 Super Series 2015, not for the faint hearted…
The 2015 Super Series has just finished and was a great success. As agreed by the members the box rule will not be changed on essential points between 2015 – 2017. For 2016 the only real change is that the displacement is lowered by 50kg.
Since September 2017 we know the boxrule will remain practically unchanged till 2021. Which does not mean you won’t see changes when looking at the new builds of 2018 compared with those of 2015. Expect subtal changes in cockpit layout and volume, expect most of the equipment to be seriously upgraded from what was top of the bill in 2015 and expect in general loads to go up in search for even better upwind performance. Expect the rigs to move slightly aft in the boats and foils to move with it and be optimized for this. The use of titanium from 2018 is free except that steel is still mandatory for metal parts in the rig in order not to obsolete the existing rigs. All new boats will sport a more environmentally friendly Yanmar engine, to go electric was one step too far when discussed but you never know, we might get there one day.
We are now in 2022 and the members have unanimously decided to continue with the current class rule till at least the end of 2025. In 2020, due to Covid, the boats only raced one event and in 2021 just three. So the latest generation TP52 going into 2023 have not raced more than 19 52 Super Series events during which most have been further optimized. In other words the fleet is better than new and easily has another three years of racing at the highest level in it.