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Scuttlebutt News:

Immergence of SoCal 52 class
November 9, 2009

Valkyrie & SRM at '09 Hoag Cup.
Valkyrie & SRM at '09 Hoag Cup.
Seeking grand prix competitive racing in Southern California, a group of owners in San Diego and Newport Beach have gotten together to form the ‘SoCal 52’ class. The class is composed of current and former TP52s, most of which have been optimized under IRC for even better performance than the standard TP52.

Though the TP52 class was born in Southern California, by 2004 most of the class had moved to the Mediterranean. Interest there was facilitated through patronage of the King of Spain and his boat ‘Bribon’, and during this time over 50 boats have raced in the ‘Med Cup’ circuit. However, the past two years has seen the fleet sized decrease due to the challenging economic climate. That provided an opportunity to bring some of these fast boats back to Southern California.

In 2008, Ernie Pennell, the previous owner of the Tripp 50 ‘Falcon’, purchased the former ‘Rosebud,’ winner of the 2005 Transpac. Ernie brought the boat back to Southern California, installed a new rig, and made many other improvements. He now races her under the name ‘Cazador’. According to Pennell, his desire to race a TP52 was driven by a desire to race a fast high performance machine in a class environment. “Even though there are minor rating differences under IRC, any one of these boats are capable of winning any race with the boats usually finishing seconds apart. I have not had this much fun in 20 years!”

Shortly following Ernie, Andy Rasdal, previous owner of the DK46 ‘Valkyrie’ purchased the 2005 Quantum/Lexus raced by Russell Coutts. The boat was in the Med, and Andy transported her to Southern California and has been optimizing her under IRC. She is now raced under the name ‘Valkyrie’. According to Rasdal, racing these boats is exciting. "These are pure-bred racing machines optimized for speed and, when the wind comes up, they are very lively to sail."

Looking closely at what Ernie and Andy did and after meetings with each, Jim Madden purchased and imported two TP52s from the Med. One is the former ‘Pisco Sour’, winner of the 2005 Med Cup, and the other is the former ‘Mean Machine’, winner of the 2006 Med Cup. Both boats were transported to San Diego where they were upgraded and optimized for IRC. David Team, an experienced racer out of Newport Beach, purchased the ‘Pisco Sour’, and now races her under ‘Rebel Yell’ where his team won the 2009 inaugural SoCal 52 Championship series. Jim Madden, previous owner of the R/P 66 ‘Stark Raving Mad’ and other J/boats named ‘Stark Raving Mad’, races the original ‘Mean Machine’ as ‘Stark Raving Mad V’.

Recently, the owners have been joined by another TP52, ‘Mayhem’ from Canada, and there are plans are for several other TP52s to be racing in the class in 2010. The 2010 Championship series is scheduled with nine events over the year, beginning with the inaugural March 12 ‘Islands Race.’

Click here for SoCal 52 class website.

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