2018 has seen an explosion in the 52’ foot grand prix fleets on both sides of the Atlantic. In the Mediterranean TP52 fleet, no fewer than 9 new build TP52’s have been launched in the run up to the 52 Super Series with a fleet of 13 lining up at the first event in Sibenik, Croatia, whilst in the US, on the West coast the younger Pac52 fleet continues to grow.
In both these fleets, the XXC Powerclutch remains the solution for high load rope holding and the Spinlock Special Projects Team has been in consultation with teams, project managers and the leading composite boat build facilities in the design and specifying of rope holding packages. The XXC Powerclutch features on all boats in both fleets, testament to the fact that no other clutch comes close to the performance demands of these boats, where no stone is left unturned in the quest for that extra fraction of a second of gain, during complex and critical manoeuvres.
To maximise boatspeed, riggers are constantly looking to reduce friction and weight aloft and on deck, by using exotic fibres and reducing the diameter of lines. Ongoing developments in rope fibres make this possible, putting even more pressure on the rope holding equipment to perform with changing diameters and materials. The XXC with its ceramic components, has evolved to keep up with this change with subtle changes made throughout the XX Powerclutch series to eek out every bit of performance and remove any surplus weight from the product. Most recently the bearing roller cage has seen a redesign and the jaw springs have been optimised. With several of the teams using the remote control version of the XXC to move the load holding closer to the load source or conceal hardware under decks, it remains to be seen where this option will be used, as the many systems below decks are often the key to those marginal gains, and as such are a closely guarded secret.
As well as the XXC high load clutch, our lightweight XCS GP clutches and PXR Cleats are also found used for controls such as code sail sheets whilst the versatile TSR high load organiser, embellished with titanium parts diverts many of the lines on the fleets decks. The iconic Spinlock EA tiller extension is found steering every boat in close quarter battle in these highly refined racing yachts, focused winning their respective events only, which in the TP52 fleet this means windward-lewards in a range of conditions and sea states, but little or no coastal racing.
Shore side, no team container is complete without a full complement from Spinlock load measuring devices – the Bluetooth Sense LWS load cell used as a rigging tool and for measuring real loads on board to make sure just the right amount of strength – but never too much for weights sake – is built into the systems and structure. The Spinlock Rig Sense is also a riggers favourite, for use on the rigging bench to proof load loops or splicing or on board to get a quick and immediate Kg or Lb on any rope, without the need for conversion charts or complex installation. Rounding off, Spinlock lifejackets feature on most of the teams support ribs along with Kneepads and the staple of the bowman, the Mast Pro harness.
So…. Who is going to win this years 52 Super Series? Azzurra have continued to show their 2017 Series winning form in the PalmaVela regatta which saw 7 of the 9 newly launched boats competing in a 10 boat fleet, but with the competition not far behind in the form of 3 time series winner Quantum Racing with Dean Barker steering. The rest of the fleet are no slouches either, America's Cup teams and the very elite of the professional sailing world competing for what is now well established as one of the top events in the sport, with the Pac52 fleet offering similar credentials. Fair winds to all competitors!