July 23, 2018: CASCAIS, PORTUGAL - The 2018 Rolex TP52 World Championship concluded with success for Quantum Racing. It was a decisive victory in many respects; with Quantum Racing leading from the outset of the five-day event; On the rare occasion the American team offered an opportunity to their closest pursuers to close or bridge the points difference, the next race would see the gap widen once more. The proximity of the second-placed Azzurra, four points behind, reflects her crew’s dogged determination to take the contest to the very end. All in all, this was a deserved sixth world championship win for a team that places a premium on the pursuit of excellence in the sport of sailing.
Understandably delighted with the result, Quantum Racing's tactician Terry Hutchinson, the leader of a crew littered with world-class talent, put the win firmly down to preparation and execution of a plan that encompassed all elements of the racing team: “Last year we sailed a pretty good world championship and things did not roll our way. This year a couple of things did roll for us and, while the differences were very small, the outcome is huge. The best thing about Quantum Racing is that from the shore team, through the sail-programme, through everything we do onboard, everyone is committed to the process of winning.”
The 2018 Rolex TP52 World Championship was blessed with sublime racing conditions. Consistent, strong breezes from the north and north-west built each day. Seven windward-leeward races were enhanced by a short coastal course of 12 nautical miles and a longer coastal race of 20nm. Four different crews won races and three more of the nine competing yachts featured on the podium at least once during the series. Alegre won the battle of the owner drivers, beating Takashi Okura’s Sled by one point after outwitting her in the final race of this fight within a fight.
To stand on the stage at the end of the Rolex TP52 World Championship and receive the rewards for victory – the championship trophy and a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master – requires an unremitting desire to succeed, a willingness to pursue perfection in all aspects of yacht-racing. It also requires a fitting opportunity to compete for the ultimate prize: a playing field that is fair and challenging, a host that is gracious and enthusiastic, an organization that is skilled and dedicated, and, a partner that is knowledgeable, respectful and appreciative. In effect, at this level, for the teams to deliver world championship competition, they require those behind the event to deliver a world class sporting environment.
Agustin Zulueta, CEO of the 52 SUPER SERIES since 2013, is responsible for the overall organization of the Rolex TP52 World Championship. A former grand prix sailor himself, he understands the myriad parts of a successful team, but importantly the elements required for a consumate world championship. “The whole fleet has done really well to manage some tough conditions this week. The teams on the podium deserve their success, particularly Quantum Racing, but also Azzurra and not forgetting Andrés Soriano who finished third with Alegre and was the first of the owner drivers,” said Zulueta.
“The Rolex TP52 World Championship and the 52 SUPER SERIES have the ambition to be the best sailing platforms in the world,” continues Zulueta. “Achieving that is a combination of many factors. You need the best teams, the best organization, the best venues, the best race-management and, I believe, the best partners. Having Rolex, with its 60 years of history in the sport, as a main partner and title sponsor is one of the milestones in achieving our aims.”
Zulueta is clear that, just as the sailing teams rely upon all parts to function supremely and in synchronization, so too does the framework of the event: “Just like a timepiece, everything has to be about precision and excellence.” It is no coincidence that the Principal Race Officer for the Rolex TP52 World Championship is the highly-respected Maria Torrijo. With over ten years’ experience running TP52 racing, and officiating at other championships and even the Olympics, she has a clear understanding of what she and her team need to deliver to satisfy the competitors’ stringent demands and to produce an event worthy of the world title at stake.
For Torrijo, she is only content that her part of the job has been well done if the competitors are content. “At every event, there is a lot of pressure. At this one there is always a little bit more; so much is at stake with everyone working to be world champion. The expectation in the fleet is very high, so it is always reassuring to hear the crew’s appreciation at the end of the regatta.” Torrijo felt the strong conditions had produced excellent racing, and aided her course management: “There is no doubt the boats were good enough to sail in the breeze we have had all week, but we were close to the edge sometimes. Especially, on the last day, when the winds were near to the 25-knot limit imposed by the class.”
With excellent racing conditions each day, Cascais, just north of Lisbon on the Atlantic coast of Portugual, delivered its part of the bargain too. Terry Hutchinson was effusive in his appreciation: “Cascais was the perfect spot for a Rolex TP52 World Championship. It was absolutely champagne conditions. It tested the crews, it tested the gear, it tested the sails, it tested every aspect of the programme.” It was not just on the water that Cascais met its obligations. The Clube Naval de Cascais (CNC) played its part as the host, providing infrastructure and facilities that matched the needs of the other component parts of the event.
Gonçalo Esteves, the CNC President and a former TP52 campaigner himself, explained why the club is so highly regarded: “Sailors love Cascais. It is known as the wind factory. For many years we have been a reference for youth and Olympic sailing. Our location and the conditions attract high level sailors from home and abroad who want fair, reliable and challenging sailing. This background has been combined with a professionalism of organization to enable us to attract first class events that pursue similar, high standards, just like the Rolex TP52 World Championship. We are honoured to have hosted this event and look forward to it coming back again.”
Leaders measure themselves against other leaders both inside and outside their field of operation. When putting on a world championship, the firmest foundations are set by bringing together partners that set high standards for themselves and recognize kindred organizations that pursue the same values. The 2018 Rolex TP52 World Championship was an example in this regard. From the competitors, through the organizers, the venue, the host, the race management, all the way to the title sponsor Rolex, every component contributed their own elevated touchstones. The result, a contest that met the expectations of the sailing and sporting world at large. Delivering excellence, precision and performance, building upon its tradition and respecting its heritage.
For the winners of the Rolex TP52 World Championship the rewards are clear and tangible. For the other competitors and the organizations behind the event the reward is the respect of the sailing world for delivering a competition worthy of its status.
2018 Rolex TP52 World Championship – Top 3 Overall:
- Quantum Racing (USA) (Doug DeVos) 2, 1, 3, 4, 1, 5, 1, 5, 1: 23
- Azzurra (ARG/ITA) (Alberto and Pablo Roemmers) 1, 2, 2, 7, 6, 1, 5, 1, 2:27
- Alegre (USA/GBR) (Andrés Soriano) 4, 4, 5, 1, 4, 7, 7, 2, 3: 37