[Source: 52 Super Series] The newest, latest generation TP52 which is set to bring new owner Mr Edward de Souza Ramos in to the 52 SUPER SERIES for the first time is taking shape at King Marine in Valencia, Spain and is on schedule to be launched in the middle of March 2014.
The new Botin Partners design, the first ever TP52 for the renowned Brazilian owner, is a development of the very successful 52 SUPER SERIES winners Azzurra, the Roemmers family’s 2012 championship winning boat, and Doug DeVos’ Quantum Racing which lifted the 52 SUPER SERIES title this year.
Mr de Souza Ramos’ new boat is set to make its debut at the Palma Vela regatta in April in Majorca, where the owner and his mainly South American crew will warm up for their first experience 52 SUPER SERIES season in Europe.
The construction of the new TP52, Phoenix, is well up to schedule at King Marine, the company which built Azzurra and eight previous TP52’s. The owners and crew of the 2012 winning boat are good friends with Mr de Souza Ramos and his crew and the two teams are expected to work closely together pre season.
Mr de Souza Ramos has enjoyed success in many different classes over the years, but he admits that the TP52 and the 52 SUPER SERIES has drawn him back into the heat of competitive sailing after he had effectively given up. He is very enthusiastic about his new project:
“I hope to test our new boat TP52/Phoenix in the last days of March in Valencia and the to participate at Palma Vela in April as training for the 52 Super Series Regattas. The TP52 and the 52 Super Series have always attracted a lot of my attention. It seems to be a boat of a good size and good technology, which means that sailing the boat is going to be a great pleasure. Despite it being a good sized boat , it brings with it the feeling of a small boat. I believe that the latest changes with increased spinnaker area, longer bowsprits and genoas will further enhance these qualities.”
He has a small core group of sailors who have been with Phoenix for years, but it will be an international group:
“Our group is new, only a few other sailors sailed with me for many years such as the Brazilians André Fonseca , Sergio Rocha and Ricardo Costa . The others sailors the we are looking for, well we first thought which language we wanted to talk on board and we chose Castilian and because of that our team has the Argentinian tactician Santiago Lange and we are now completing the other positions with some Spaniards, Brazilians and Argentines.”
Meantime reports from King Marine confirm that the new boat is on schedule and the company are enjoying the challenge presented by the precision build:
Gabriel Mariani of King Marine brings us up to date with how the build of Phoenix is going:
“The build is progressing well, it is on time and with no problems and that is very important for this kind of project. And so the build, commissioning and the test sailing program should be finished according to initial schedule.
Presently we are finishing the production of the different component parts, so the hull, the deck and structure and the custom deck gear and test sailing on March 20th 2014”
A development of 52 champions like Emirates Team New Zealand, Quantum Racing and Azzurra, Mariana explains the changes which represent progressions in the build:
“One of the biggest changes in this boat is the deck. The cockpit is bigger so the crew is more comfortable and can work more efficiently. The cabin top, and the design of the ‘piano’ – the pit area – is now much more efficient, removing a significant amount of weight. And of course with all the boats next season, we will see that the bowsprits are almost one metre longer to allow bigger and more powerful spinnakers to be set.”
And because the boat is being built towards the 2015 rule, the boat is being spec’d with carbon standing rigging but will sail with some corrector weights to be equalised with the existing boats in 2014m but it is about 200kgs lighter.”
The new Phoenix has seen all of the substantial resources of designers Botin Partners put to best effect, revisiting almost every possible area as they sought to find a range of performance improvements.
Botin Design Partners Adolfo Carrau explains some of the changes:
“ You will see some differences on the hull shape and more obviously on the deck layout with the new 2015 rule. Cockpit volume is not enforced anymore and we can be a bit more creative about winch placement and so on.”
“ I think we spent an awful lot of time with the structural engineers to find what is optimum because it really is very tempting to empty the cockpit completely. It has some structural disadvantages so we looked for the best trade offs. And we looked of course to just keep the boat as light as possible within the rules and as stiff as possible. But all in all we have made another big jump, a nice jump compared to previous boats compared to where we were. Amazingly after several generations we still make the boats faster and stiffer and also to comply with the ISO and GL scantlings. So a lot of refinement went into the deck and the structural layout.”
“ The other area of interest is the keel, it needs to be 200 kilos lighter. We did spend a lot of time working not just on the hydrodynamic shape but also the structure to see how we could make a keel which is lighter but we did not want to make it any smaller. And so now the keels are steel and composite so that was a big job. Another area of benefit is in the new mast, the high modulus carbon, the deflector and the composite rigging, that is a good decision by the class. The deflector especially is good but that in itself did create some issues for the internal structure as there is already a lot of rope running below and to run a system below decks has been a bit of a challenge, which we have just overcome recently.”
The 52 SUPER SERIES 2014 in Europe starts with Rolex Capri Sailing Week 18-24 May.