The TP52 Class History can be found below and shows you where we come from. The key words “fast, fun, simple” indicate the original thoughts behind the TP52 Rule and Class. You have to read these words in contrast with designing and building one-off racing yachts for handicap rules such as IMS and IRC and in contrast with racing on handicap under whatever rule. It was felt at the time, and we firmly believe this is still the case, that especially in the larger sizes quite a few owners like to race one-off yachts but are willing to constrain themselves to fixed limits on the key dimensions and design options for the benefits of boat for boat racing. A boat designed and build to a boxrule as the happy medium between racing different concepts under a handicap rule and racing a one-design boat.
In the introductions to the TP52 Class and the TP52 yacht you will find where we stand today. The TP52 Class has grown from a non registered club of like minded yachtsmen inspired by the salesman- and leadership of Tom Pollack to a fully member controlled, registered and ISAF recognised Class with a proper set of Bylaws, an Annual Meeting, an Executive Committee made up out of the Members and a Class President who also has to be a Member. You can only be a TP52 Class Member if you own a TP52 or have one under construction.
The TP52 Class went rapidly to 20 – 25 members, which is a very good number for racing yachts of this size and competitive level. More than 10 nationalities distributed over 3 continents are represented in our Class. The main focus of TP52 racing has moved from the USA to the Med with the MedCup as the magnet for this move. The MedCup is undoubtedly the hottest ticket in town when considering yacht racing other than Americas Cup or long distance offshore racing. Ideally a similar circuit should exist in other quality sailing areas, like in the USA and possibly in the UK and Australia. In these areas a large number of TP52’s race under IRC, it seems a logic step to combine this with boat for boat racing again. For as we all know spending money on artificial changes for rating reasons and spending time at the bar on discussing handicaps can be replaced by far more interesting expenses on equipment that improve true performence and discussions on how the actual racing went and how to improve on that.
But also the TP52 Class did not escape the economic gloom and saw especially the fully sponsored teams collapsing. In 2009 the number of members was reduced to 12. For 2010 we aimed for a similar number, at the same time we took steps to modernise the boat. The Class Members decided to introduce a fully revamped TP52 Rule and so revamped TP52 for 2011.
That boat is as much as a dual purpose racer for racing on real time as well as be fully competitive in handicap racing. The 2011 TP52 has all the features that you know of the IRC converted TP52’s and IRC custom racers. Bowsprit, square head main, all ballast in the keel, even lighter displacement and more sailarea. Faster and so even more fun. At the same time keeping our position as best selling racer on the second hand market by a big margin to any other type of boat.
We hope and foresee this boat will be the vehicle that makes it possible to mix strict class racing with participation in IRC and ORC events to race together with the non class 52s and TP52s being used for international events like a revamped Admirals Cup or Sardinia Cup. With the economy we hope and expect to see the TP52 and 52 racing grow to a level never experienced before in the world of offshore yacht racing.
With the economics also the Audi MedCup collapsed. Three members, Doug DeVos, Alberto Roemmers and Niklas Zennström decided not to give up but to support a 52 sailing series based on a mix of existing IRC events and stand alone events. They asked Lars Böcking of Jacaranda Marketing to set up the new circuit and give it a “face” and a name. 52 Super Series, as it is known now, quickly established itself. Come 2014, a company is set up to give the series a lasting structure and a CEO (Agustin Zulueta) is appointed.
To attract more boats in 2012 the Wild Card Invitation was introduced. This enabled to get former TPs optimized for IRC to join without the need of bringing them back into the box. This introduced many owners to class racing and quite a few of them are still with us in 2015. It also was a ‘quick fix’ to get enough boats on the start for proper racing. In 2012 we saw 5 to 8 boats and in 2013 and 2014 6 to 9 boats at the start. Parallel the class worked on upgrading the box rule in order to produce a faster more modern looking TP52, culminating in the 2015 TP52 Rule. The first boat build to this rule was the 2014 launched Phoenix. She was instrumental in convincing the owners to build new for 2015. For that year nine new boats were launched and the first 2015 event in Valencia saw 12 boats at the start. One could say ‘mission accomplished’ but in fact it probably is just as much work to stay at this level as it was to get there. Whatever the future brings 2015 was a memorable year for the TP52 Class and the 52 Super Series.
In 2016 and 2017 the 52 Super Series attracted on average 10 to 11 TP52s at its events, from 9 to 12 boats at each start. A new Interlodge was launched in January 2017 and that boat showed progress was still possible and so from June 2017 owners started to think of building new for 2018. When the AC defender and challenger decided to return to a monohull the TP52 Class and 52 Super Series became the obvious choice for potential contenders to get ‘their show on the road’ resulting in added interest to build new for 2018 and at the time of writing this again nine new TP52s under construction, like in 2015!
It looks like 2018 will see not just many new boats but also quite a few new names joining the class as well as former members returning to the class. All in all probably not that much change in the number of boats competing but quite some changes in owners, teams and boats. Never a dull moment whether racing or watching!!
Indeed in 2018 Luna Rossa and Onda (Souza Ramos) joined only to leave again for 2019. Luna Rossa fully committing to their AC campaign. Hasso and his daughter Tina Plattner now fully committed to the 52 Super Series and the luxury of two TP52s to chose from, their 2018 boat committed to the full series. Paprec now racing the 2015 Ran and Niklas Zennström stepping aside as class president and Super Series board member to seek his sailing closer to his UK home in Hamble for the years to come. Super Series started off ‘light’ with 2 events in Croatia but the breeze certainly was on at the TP52 Worlds in Cascais. Great racing and Quantum a worthy World Champion! Quantum also taking the overall with Platoon and Azzurra tied in points but Platoon in 2nd on countback.
Over the winter seemingly all appendages came of the boats to be (partially) replaced and/or moved fine tuning from the 2018 configuration. 2019 started with 9 boats training a full week in Valencia and then on to a final test by racing the PalmaVela before the first 52 SuperSeries event in Menorca.
In 2019 11 teams raced the first 52 Super Series of which 8 all 5 events. Azzurra won the series, her final year in the TP52 Class. Platoon was 2nd and Quantum Racing 3rd. It was decided to start the 2020 series with two events in Cape Town, South Africa, but after the first event Covid struck the world and all racing was cancelled for the rest of 2020 as well as for the first half of 2021. All three events of 2021 then were raced in Spain, to keep logistics as simple as possible. Sled was the star of 2021, winning both the 52 Super Series as well as being crowned Rolex TP52 World Champion. In Puerto Portals we celebrated 20 years TP52 Class with inviting non-class members to join the event under the name TP52 20th Anniversary Invitational, which saw 7 boats joining the 9 in the 52 Super Series start, a true festival of sail: Air is Blue, Arobas, Beau Geste, Blue Carbin, THA72, XIO and Zero Emission. After 5 days of racing Beau Geste topped the Invitational results, 2nd Air is Blue and 3rd XIO. An initiative to be repeated!
Then in 2022 it was back to ‘normal’ with 9 boats racing all 5 events and Paprec returning to the series at the final event in Barcelona to make it 10 when celebrating the 10th anniversary of the 52 Super Series. Alberto Roemmers, one of the founders of the series passed away at the age of 96 earlier that year. This was Quantum Racing’s year to “do the double”, winning the series after a season long battle with Phoenix as well as the Rolex TP52 Worlds. Next year she will be renamed and restyled as Quantum Racing powered by American Magic, a mouthful but a great initiative aiming to combine upcoming American talent aged under 25 with a core of Quantum Racing’s experienced global talent. Phoenix took 2nd overall for the series and Platoon 3rd. The 10th anniversary was celebrated in great style later that evening and early the next morning….
Class Manager & Chief Measurer
Pablo Ferrer Puig