Takashi Okura’s TP52 Sled team has been crowned 2021 52 SUPER SERIES champions and Rolex TP52 World Champions in Palma, Mallorca. They join Azzurra and Quantum Racing as the only crews to have won the circuit.
Holding a lead of one point on both championships, the team won two of this season’s three regattas. The last race could not be celebrated because of gale force Mistral winds on the Bay of Palma.
The team represents the New York Yacht Club and it has a potent multicultural mix including America’s Cup veteran Don Cowie as mainsheet trimmer, five times America’s Cup winner Murray Jones as helmsman and New Zealand’s Finn Olympic athlete Josh Junior.
Their victory is more impressive as they had to deal with crew line-up changes imposed by travel restrictions. Their core Japanese sailors missed the second regatta, and they had to find substitutes.
Moreover, Australian Adam Beashell, who called tactics for the first regatta win in Puerto Portals, could not attend the second and third events, and Italian Francesco Bruni had to step in. Bruni was part of the challenging Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli America’s Cup team earlier on this year.
At the end, Sled’s crew ended up winning with a margin of just one point ahead four times 52 SUPER SERIES champions, Doug DeVos’ Quantum Racing. Third overall in the season was Harm Müller Spreer’s Platoon.
“We are just delighted. It was hard to sit around and wait when we really were keen to get out there and race. We like sailing in the breeze as a team.” -Murray Jones, Sled’s helmsman.
Sled has competed on the 52 SUPER SERIES since 2014 and has finished on the regatta podium eight times. They have finally ended the Azzurra-Quantum Racing duopoly which has reigned for eight years.
“This class is the pinnacle of the sport and it’s great to see the TP52 class with this strength again. I think it’s going to stay strong, and this year has been really incredible. It is impressive that the circuit has boats with such a high level.” -Francesco Bruni, tactician
52 SUPER SERIES 2021 Standings after two regattas and eight races in Palma
ROLEX TP52 World Championship RCNP 2021 after eight races