Vascotto and Coutts on TP52 Box Rule Changes

There has been some talk of the TP52 box-rule changing. The TP52 has been a real success story for big boat racing in recent years, however there has always been a suspicion by some that the class would evaporate when wealthy owners got bored or upgraded to something bigger. No doubt a lot of people will have a lot to say about changes to the class.

Vasco Vascotto, an active racer in the TP52 class since its inception in 2005 has come out strongly against any changes:

“I personally think that changing the TP52 box-rule next year would be one of the biggest errors. I think it will be very difficult for the TP52 class to be eclipsed by better yachts because of the current extremely tough financial conditions, the fact that these yachts have reached such a high and close level but also the possibility of seeing different designs such as Botín’s with Emirates Team New Zealand. We have 20 TP52 yachts in the world and I’m convinced this is the correct formula for the present as well as the future. It’s my personal conviction but talking to many professional sailors I feel my view is shared by all of them. It has been proven that any single boat can win on the water and for all us professional sailors this is a very important factor.

There is absolutely no need to change the current TP52 box rule, for all the reasons I mentioned above: Financial, technical and number of yachts. If we want to be here next year with three new TP52 yachts, under the new rule, similar to what happened with the STP65’s, then go ahead and change it. If on the other hand we want to have 13, 18 or even 20 boats next year, if the economy picks up, then we must retain this rule.

I think that there are no better boats to race in IRC than the TP52’s. For exactly that reason the TP52’s have a flourishing market in IRC and even the modifications necessary to optimize them for IRC cost much less than what you would expect. For example, a Cuben Fiber sail to race in the coastal race costs 30,000 euros. With the same amount of money you can modify a TP52 and maker her competitive in IRC. So, if we have to spend an additional one or two million euros to make a new TP52 yacht, I can make all the modifications you want on my boat with that money.

For me, changing the TP52 rule is complete crap.”

Meanwhile, Russell Coutts talking to Valencia Sailing says that there could be changes made:

Russell Coutts: I think the sail plans are one of the things they could look at. It’s pretty clear the boats should have dual backstays and quite a lot more area on the mainsail.
Valencia Sailing: Should the boat become bigger, a TP55 or TP60?
Russell Coutts: No, not at all. The boat is fine, it only needs a little bit more power; in light winds quite more power. They could take some of internal ballast out and increasing the weight of the bulb could be a nice feature.
Valencia Sailing: Is it wise to change the boat under the difficult financial situation we are currently experiencing?
Russell Coutts: You could just make changes that make these boats more fun to sail, without compromising the existing boats that are here. You don’t want to make a change that turns all these yachts here obsolete and useless. You can always make very good changes.
Valencia Sailing: You wouldn’t make them catamarans or trimarans, for example?
Russell Coutts: [Laughs] No, definitely monohulls. It’s good racing too. There is nothing with the hull shape. They could get some improvements with the rig and maybe the distribution of weight on the boat.