Ten TP52's including the defending champions Quantum Racing and 2007 winners Artemis will compete for the TP52 World title starting in one week's time off Palma, Mallorca, racing from the famous Real Club Nautico de Palma.
In some senses it will be business as usual aboard eight of the ten which are regulars on the Audi MedCup Circuit, but the Worlds fleet will be welcoming two crews new to TP52 class racing in the shape of France's Paprec Recyclage (formerly the 2007 launch Judel/Vrolijk design Artemis and most recently Tau Ceramica Andalucia) and Great Britain's Henri- Lloyd Weapon of Choice (formerly the 2007 launched Judel/Vrolijk Matador).
And while neither team will arrive in Palma with serious hopes of lifting the overall title, they are both very experienced crews equipped with excellent boats.
Jean-Luc Petithuguenin's Paprec Recyclage Brittany based crew are mainly amateurs skippered by sailmaker Stephan Neve of Incidences Voiles. The owner is a very well known sailing enthusiast who is founder and chairman of Paprec who also support IMOCA Open 60 skipper Jean-Pierre Dick. Petithuguenin raced for the French team at the final Admiral's Cup in 2003 and then was part of the winning Commodore's Cup team in 2004 with Neve on the Sinergia 40 of the same name. Before buying the TP52 they successfully raced an A40RC under IRC.
"At the moment we are just hoping to race correctly and race well. Compared with all the other teams we will be at a different level I'm sure. All of the team are amateurs with jobs, we have physical education teacher, a doctor, a builder…we really are a group of friends who have been together for a long time." Explains Neve, "But we really want to be there for the experience to learn from these other teams as much as we can."
"The crew will really only have sailed together for between 10 and 15 days before we start in Palma, and so we can't expect too much. But we are coming to learn."
Henri-Lloyd Weapon of Choice will be steered by owner Tony Longley, a successful English sailor who also currently has a Farr 45 which he and his crew still campaign on the England's Solent. Since taking on the former Matador in the middle of August the crew have not yet sailed in anger, and will only get together on the boat at the end of this weekend.
But they have a composed a talented line up of British sailors including Round the World Race, 18 foot skiff and International 14 winner Rob Greenhalgh, tactician, Jonathan Taylor in the pit has TP52 experience on Cristabella and Stay Calm, Freddy Shanks, bowman sailed on Patches, while North Sails Dave Lenz is mainsail trimmer and Graeme Sunderland is navigator and project manager.
"We are just hoping not to disgrace ourselves." Laughs boat captain Tom Wilson (GBR), "Seriously, though we have put together a good crew and we are all fairly realistic in what we expect. It is a great opportunity for us to race at this level because the boat is already in Spain, and the owner has always wanted to race in the fleet."
Racing at the TP52 World Championships starts with the official practice race on Tuesday 6 October and finishes on Sunday 11 October. The regatta follows the same pattern as the typical Audi MedCup Circuit event with one coastal race set to run on the Friday.
Provisional Entry List
Team (Country), Owner, Helmsman
Quantum Racing (USA), Doug Devos/Fred Howe, Terry Hutchinson
Bribón (ESP), José Cusí, Gonzalo Araujo
Matador (ARG), Alberto Roemmers, Guillermo Parada
Cristabella (GBR), John Cook, John Cook
Artemis (SWE), Torbjorn Tornqvist, Torbjorn Tornqvist
Audi TP52 powered by Q8 (ITA), Riccardo Simoneschi, Riccardo Simoneschi
Valars III (RUS), Kirill Podolsky, Serguei Chevtsov
Paprec Recyclage (FRA), Jean-Luc Petithuguenin/PH Finance, Stephane Neve
Henri Lloyd-Weapon of Choice (GBR), Antony Langley, Tom Wilson
Synergy (RUS), Gateway Overseas Limiteds