The 52 Super Series ninth season kicks off between the 2nd of March and the 6th and will take place at the Grand Prix Monohull circuit in Cape Town’s Table Bay. It is expected to create a variety of challenges for races in what will be the first of six events this season.
This is the 20th anniversary of the circuit, and the first visit to Cape Town let alone the first time this class will arrive in the South African nation. The race will see ten teams participating from eight different nations on a track that is, for the most part, unknown by most of the drivers and teams.
The hopes that at the Odzala Discovery Camps 52 SUPER SERIES V&A Waterfront that the dry, strong, south easterly wind aptly named the “Cape Doctor” will not rear its head. However, most teams are preparing for higher winds and optimizing the cars sets up to reflect that, but one thing is certain, this regatta could see anything happen.
Much like the multiple variables to consider with the weather, the same is true while trying to predict who may stand on the podium once the checkered flag is waved. At the moment, there are no drivers standing out as favourites.
One variable that is a factor is the constant changes to the crews. In that respect, both Roemmers family’s Azzurra and Doug DeVos’s Quantum Racing, each of whom are defending champions have seen important changes to their lineup’s. However, it might be less challenging for Azzurra to integrate tactician Michele Paoletti into his new role, but not as much as it will for Quantum Racing who are welcoming back afterguard Michele Ivaldi.
Michele Paoletti, an Italian 2000 Olympian is now 44 and recently sailed the Maxi72 Cannonball under the Italian flag while being joined by many of the crew from Azzurra. That has seen him already integrating himself into the crew in a role that previously Santiago Lange held for eight years.
However, for Paoletti, who previously raced at Mascalzone Latino in the America’s Cup challenge with Vascotto has zero experience in the 52 SUPER SERIES and is now playing catch up to the rest of the crew after training with Azzurra during the Christmas break in Valencia.