Copa del Rey Mapfre 2023: The competitive sailing event of the year on Mallorca

Written by Anja Eckart

Written by Anja Eckart

Organized by the Real Club Nautico de Palma and the Royal Spanish Sailing Federation (RFEV), this regatta has been a prominent fixture in the sailing calendar for over 40 years. This year’s event took place from July 29th to August 5th, with H.M. King Felipe VI of Spain himself competing with the crew of the Spanish Navy on a TP52.

The Copa del Rey Mapfre Regatta was set to be one of the most anticipated sailing events of 2023 with nearly 100 teams, representing 16 different nations, lining up in eight different classes. Its high level of competition, constant good weather conditions, and festive atmosphere means the Copa always attracts top sailors from around the world. 

The regatta featured eight competition categories. Four classes were raced on corrected time under the ORC rating system and four one-design classes in real time: ClubSwan50, ClubSwan42, Herbalife J70, Sotheby’s Women’s Cup. The highly competitive ClubSwan

50 attracted nine top quality teams, which included Olympic medallists, America’s Cup and Round the World racers among their crew.

One of the highlights are the courses set by the regatta committee. In addition to the normal windward-leeward races in the Bay of Palma, all ORC classes raced a one day inshore coastal course of between 25 and 30 miles which saw King Felipe triumph in the showcase ORC 1 on the TP52 ‘Aifos’. The regatta committee did an extraordinary job to ensure a fair racing experience for all participants, constantly adapting according to the changing wind conditions. 

Beyond the thrilling races, the regatta offers a range of social and cultural events that add to the overall experience, such as the opening event in Castillo Son Vida, the owners ‘white party’, the post-race crew parties and the prize giving. The Ses Voltes venue, at the foot of Palma’s cathedral, hosted the final prize giving ceremony, in which the protagonists of the regatta received their trophies after six days of very intense racing, handed over by the King himself. 

The overall winner was the Italian team ‘Scugnizza’ by Vicenzo de Blasio with Portuguese tactician Diogo Cayolla aboard an Italia Yacht 11.98 in ORC 3, unbeaten during the series. Diogo Cayolla commented: “The boat is quite competitive, and our team is super. Racing ORC is very different to One Design, having to wait for the final results. Big thanks to the organization of the regatta. We are super happy!”

And no fewer than five of the coveted trophies went to Mallorcan teams. 

One of them was ‘Palibex-Elena Nova’ by Christian Plump and Javier Sanz, racing in ORC 1. Their SWAN 42 was the smallest boat of the fleet, even competing against two TP52s: ‘Aifos’ and Blue Carbon.  Javier Sanz said: “We are very happy to have won. I knew ‘Aifos’ would be the enemy to beat. This time we were better!”

The winners of their respective classes were:

‘Palibex-Elena Nova’ by Christian Plump and Javier Sanz in Majorica ORC1

‘Soho CaixaBank Theatre’ by Javier Banderas in Majorica ORC2

‘Scugnizza’ by Vicenzo de Blasio in Majorica ORC3 

‘Just The Job’ by Scott Beattie in Majorica ORC4 

‘Hatari’ Marcus Brennecke’s in ClubSwan 50

‘Nadir’ by Pedro Vaquer at ClubSwan 42

‘Patakín’ by Luis Albert Solana in Herbalife J70

‘Team RCNP Balearia’ by María Bover in Mallorca Sotheby’s Women’s Cup.

H.M. King Felipe VI of Spain finally handed the trophy to his ‘Aifos’ Team for achieving the second place in ORC 1, which was the first time he and his team made it to the top three since 1984. 

With its competitive races, breathtaking courses, and vibrant social events, this regatta continues to uphold its reputation as one of the premier sailing events in the world. Mark your calendars for this extraordinary event next year: the 42nd Edition of the Copa del Rey Mapfre will take place from the 27th of July to August 3rd 2024.

Side Note:

Team Estrella Damm loses her mast in strong weather conditions with gusts up the 25 knots.

At the start of the fourth day of competition, still on the way out to the racecourse Estrella Damm, owned by Nacho Montes, unfortunately suffered a broken mast. The crew watched helplessly as the mast of their DK46 collapsed for no apparent reason.

None of the crew were injured, the rig was recovered, and the boat was safely brought back to the RCNP under its own engine power. 

Side Note 2: 

Crash in the final race in ORC3 

Bad luck for Laplaza Assessors de Carles Rodriguez. Being second overall, on the final race of the regatta, they collided with Yellow Rose (YC Scheveningen) and had to abandon the race.


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