Bright and furious race of the most competitive fleet in the world – carbon fiber TP52 boats. This is a separate class of racing, the main rule of which is “first at the finish line – the first in the protocol.” Pure advantage. No handicaps, recalculations and disputes until the morning: welcome to the race in real time, where the most interesting takes place on the water, not in the judges' computers.
TP means Transpac. Initially, the 52-foot yachts were designed for the 2225-mile race in the Pacific Ocean, from Los Angeles to Honolulu. Then the owners bothered to deal with boats of different sizes, and they founded their own class. An opportunity to join it is to buy TP52 or to build a new boat.
Why so rigorous? Outwardly identical, TP52 are built on the “box rule”. It is set by the owners of boats, and to change the rules of building, two-thirds of TP52 owners votes are needed.
The box rule sets limitations within which engineers work. It spelled out the basic dimensions and characteristics of the boat, but the choice of equipment, cockpit design, the manufacturer of sails, winches, and electronics rests with the owner. So it turns out very similar, but still individual yachts – a good compromise between the boring mono-fleet and motley company of the boats of different sizes and designs.
Half of the fleet is sponsored by oil companies and banks, but 52 SUPER SERIES preserves the flair of individualism: captain is often not a professional sportsman, but the owner, and the occasional visitor can be carried on a board. This rivalry is phenomenal: every photo shows the overtaking boat`s bowsprit that is scratching the front running boat`s stern.
New TP52 are build all over the world: a tough, but a simple “box rule” attracts a big amount of talented athletes. It is now built about 60 boats – more than worthy for the class of this level. Twelve of them are involved in 52 SUPER SERIES and seven of them claim at prizewinners.
TP52 transoceanic distances are in the past. Today, these huge, but lightweight and maneuverable like a dinghy, boats spend all year in coastal races. Tuscany, Sardinia, Mallorca, Menorca, Cascais and several Rabelaisian towns – this is the route of the most spectacular racing series in Europe.
However, the next TP52 season will open in the United States. “We still have not been there”, one of the main arguments at the annual meeting of the club, and seven teams have already confirmed that they will arrive in Key West and Miami in winter.