35th Copa del Rey Mapfre in Palma de Mallorca

 

screenshot-2016-09-20-15-52-35 The 35th Copa del Rey Mapfre served up near perfect conditions on the Bay of Palma with regular sea breezes building during the afternoons sometimes accompanied by a sloppy sea state. The exception was Friday when a front moved through blowing 25-30 knots all day keeping the club bars and terraces very busy.

 

It is always worth recalling that it is a six-day regatta which requires successful teams to pace themselves over the demanding race schedule, the proverbial ‘marathon not a sprint’. Hot sunshine, a few late nights and testing, tricky breezes required an element of stamina and strategic planning.

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The bay welcomed 116 boats racing in seven different classes and race courses offered plenty of variety and opportunity for the afterguards to really apply their brainpower to.

 

The GC32 catamaran class added some flavour to the regatta with the participation of ten super fast foiling 32 foot multis marking an historic step for the regatta as it was the first time such foiling boats have been included on the roster of classes racing. Ten teams race representing seven different nationalities.

 

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While Copa del Rey titles went down to the wire in the Montblanc Maxi 72 and MRW Swan 45 one design classes there was no such drama in BMW ORC 2 where the ‘king of the Copa del Rey’ Pedro Campos extended his extraordinary record of class victories to nine. Campos and his ‘Movistar’ crew, including Spain’s Olympic and Round the World race star Iker Martinez won the last race of their series on the modified Rodman 42, triumphing by nine clear points.
Campos added the 2016 title to wins in 1993 in a one tonner, 1995, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2013, 2014 and 2015. ‘Movistar’ is the yacht of the regatta for the Handicap classes.
“It is great to win the overall prize but it means more to win the class really because it has been so tough. And for us it always leaves a lasting taste to win the last race.” said Campos.
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Montblanc Maxi72 Class

 

A very competitive Montblanc Maxi72 class fully primed for their Maxi World Championships in Sardinia. All four boats were pretty much configured as they will race at the worlds and the prestige of winning the 35th Copa del Rey Mapfre was seen as great preparation.

 

The duel for the Montblanc Maxi 72 crown was finally won by Hap Fauth’s ‘Bella Mente’ crew but their closest rivals ‘Proteus’ – George Sakellaris’ team which had won the Copa del Rey twice before – had the title in their grasp during the final race of the six day regatta. But Terry Hutchinson and Adrian Stead, the ‘Bella Mente’ afterguard read a new change in the breeze earlier and were able to squeeze through to win the last race, and the regatta for their first time.

“It was a very rewarding day. We sailed hard and were mentally tough. We put the pedal down when we had to. This is one of the best regattas in terms of how it is run. The boats are absolutely even in our fleet. There is no question we wanted to win this regatta and now it is a great way to go to the Maxi worlds. This victory is something we can build on.” owner-helmsman Hap Fauth smiled.

When the discard was applied the top two Maxi 72s ‘Bella Mente’ and ‘Proteus’ were on even points. After a match racing skirmish pre-start Proteus escaped to lead at the top mark, first time up. With ‘Bella Mente’ third the regatta title was heading Sakellaris’ way. But as they closed up on the run Hutchinson and Stead engineered a dummy gybe which allowed them to break to the right corner to the beneficial wind shift. They took the lead at the gate and though they were pushed to the finish line, the 35 Copa del Rey Mapfre title went to the current Maxi72 World Champions by three points.
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Singular Kitchen IRC 1 Class

 

The Singular Kitchen IRC 1 class featured a mixture of 8 TP52’s of various generations including four of the teams from the 52 Super Series racing on individual IRC handicaps. Current 52 Super Series champions ‘Azzurra’ led the class from day 1 but had an up and down final day. The Roemmers family TP52 won the penultimate race and then finished sixth but won the class by four points from Andy Soriano’s ‘Alegre’. The TP52 world champions have worked long hours testing at this regatta trying to prepare for the 2016 TP52 Worlds in Mahon, Mallorca. The ‘Azzurra’ crew won for the third time, winning as “Matador” in 2007 and 2009.

Alberto Roemmers commented: “It is a great feeling to win here. The guys have been working so hard, testing after all the races. So it has been two or three weeks of hard work and I feel we are better. It was an enjoyable regatta but we had some problems breaking things but it is better to break them here than at the TP52 World Championships.”
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MRW Swan 45 Class

 

An error in the penultimate race of the 12 boat MRW Swan 45 one design class, requiring them to take a penalty turn at the leeward gate which relegated them to the nether regions of the fleet, did not unsettle the German crew of ‘Earlybird’ too much. But that meant that Hendrik Brandis and his team which includes three times Olympic champion Jochen Schümann had to finish two places in front of Rientz Willem Bol’s ‘Esthec’ – which had Bouwe Bekking calling tactics, and had to finish in front of German rival Christian Plump’s ‘Elena Nova’.  ‘Earlybird’ finished second while ‘Esthec’ won so ‘Earlybird’ just clinched the title on the final leg of the last race.

Brandis said:
“It is so good to win here. It is the second time we have won Copa del Rey after 2011, the first time in the one-design class. It is such close racing. And we are in good shape for the worlds. And so we were second in Palma Vela, win here and so hopefully the sequence does not repeat at the Worlds”
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Air Europa X-35 Class & Herbalife J80 Class

 

In the 9 boat Air Europa X-35 Class Javier Sanz won conclusively on ‘Red Eléctrica de España’ and in the Herbalife J80s ‘Team Marbella’ won comfortably also.

Sanz concluded: “We are very, very happy. We have had a very consistent week. We sailed very well. I think we’ve done well as a team and that is why we made this result. The key to success has been the crew; We have been together four or five years together and we know each other. The crew is very important in any one design boat.”
screenshot-2016-09-20-15-52-14GC32 Series

 

Standing in for Franck Cammas, Adam Minoprio and the crew of the French flagged ‘Norauto’ finished with a conclusive 2,1,1,2,3 on the final day to win the 35 Copa del Rey Mapfre prize, the first time the foiling catamaran series has joined the prestigious regatta.
Minoprio said:
“ I am very happy with how it went. We had a thrown together crew because of a few injuries, so to come together for a win was a great result. We came together as it went on. We have got the manoeuvres okay and are looking to refine the speed. Crew work in manoeuvres is so important that changing crew really does make it very different.”
 

NB: See separate full GC32 regatta summary

 

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After racing the usual assortment of ‘aprex sail’ activities meant the RNCP terraces were crammed to the gunwhales with copious amounts of beer, gin and ‘goodies’ marking the club as the social centre of Palma. The infamous owners ‘white party’ being one of the social events of the season on the island.

 

The King of Spain, H.M. the King Felipe VI who sailed the final day on the early generation TP52 ‘Aifos’ in the ORC handicap class, presented the prizes at the gala prizegiving held in Ses Voltes in front of the cathedral.

 

 

For full results visit: www.regatacopadelrey.com

 

 

Images via regatta website:www.regatacopadelrey.com

 

 

As edited by Jonny Fullerton, Grand Prix Sailing

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