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Pallas Capital TP52 Gold Cup to kick off this weekend

by Nic Douglass 15 Mar 05:30 UTC 16-17 March 2024
First Light to leeward of Highly Sprung © Wendell Teodoro for @sailorgirlhq

The Pallas Capital Gold Cup kicks off this weekend with 10 out of 11 boats on the start line for Act 1 of 4, the first out of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

The TP52's in Australia, and now the USA have adopted the TPR racing rule.

The TP Rating (TPR) rule was developed to address the biggest issue to making the TP's able to race against one another, the age of the boats. Technology moves incredibly quickly in the TP52 class due to the 52 Series, followed by the amount of professionals that teams are able to afford.

"With Greeny's help, we went through results from all of the previous races and came up with a system that would help to make racing more fair and bring the fleet closer together", said Class Captain Terry Wetton.

As a foundation it was decided that teams would be able to add two "clicks" per year of hull age. This season for the first time the teams will have three clicks bonus on their handicap per year of age.

The newer boats, for example, are working with string drops versus manual drops in regards to technological development, basically there is a difference from 6 seconds to 30 seconds in drops alone. The new Hooligan can get 9.5 tonnes on the forestay, whereas a boat like Quest struggles to get to 4 tonnes.

"As the regattas are scored and awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd on IRC and TPR, it made sense to use IRC as the base", explained Wetton.

"Thankfully, with Richard Slater's help we were granted permission to trial it. That opportunity has proved to be a huge success bringing the results to within seconds".

"Hence the fleet has now grown from 4 boats to 11 boats for this year", Wetton announced.

"Whilst TPR brings the boats closer together it is not a PHS, the results are just like in premier one design classes, your team need to sail at the highest level of perfection to win", he clarified.

Additionally, in regards to professional (pro) sailors, every team gets one pro for free. The next five cost one click against the handicap each. The seventh pro and onwards cost two clicks each. Youth sailors (under 25 years of age) provide a bonus, cancelling out a pro each. This is unique to TPR.

"Something really encouraging is that every sailor under 25, offsets a pro. So there are one or two on every single boat, Marcus (Blackmore) has three", said Wetton.

It is also a requirement that the boats have owner-drivers, or an amateur as a replacement helm if required for a regatta or during races.

"Marcus, has a youth sailor that helms sometimes. And what an awesome opportunity that is for Tom Dawson", said Wetton.

Essentially, what has resulted from the TPR rule being used at regattas is that the fleet has increased, and the teams have reduced their pros and increased their youth sailors, and some teams have added one pro with the free allowance, which ultimately improves their performance.

"All pros are also encouraged to share with the group to help the whole fleet improve", said Wetton. "First Light was a whole leg behind when he first started. Now he's in the mix".

The gap is being closed within the fleet which makes the racing more enjoyable for all.

Racing in Act 1 of the Pallas Capital Gold Cup will commence from 0955 hours on Saturday, joining the CYCA Short Ocean Pointscore, and three windward-leewards on Sunday. There are three more Pallas Capital Gold Cup events to come, including the IRC Nationals at SailFest Newcastle, the NSW IRC States at Sail Port Stephens, and the finale in Pittwater from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club in May.

Thanks to sponsors Pallas Capital and Zhik for their support.

Find the full list of events here.

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