It is racing day. Only the GC32s, Melges 40 and the 6 Metres are still in practice mode because they don’t start until later in the week. But the 37 Copa del Rey MAPFRE hits its stride today with 127 boats on the water racing in ten classes on four different race areas. It will be windward-leeward courses for all of the fleets which race today on the Bay of Palma.
On the Alpha arena (the closest to Palma) the Herbalife Nutrition J/80 will compete; on Bravo (in front of the airport) there are the BMW ORC 2 and 3. On Charlie (middle of the bay) it is the ClubSwan 50, MRW Swan 45 and ClubSwan 42 which will contend with potentially the most confusing, open race arena. And on Echo (the farthest from the land and out to the east by Cabo Blanco), there will be IRC 0 and 1, and the BMW ORC 1.
The ClubSwan 50 fleet is at its most competitive ever with ten boats racing. Newcomers to the fleet are Utheka which is Russian flagged because it is a Saint Petersburg YC boat but it is on charter to an English businessman, owner of a Southern Wind 105 superyacht, who is dipping a toe in the water here with something more performance and race oriented. He is reported to havea new ClubSwan 50 coming for next season. "Utheka" sails with Ian Budgen as tactician and local ace Nacho Postigo as navigator. He explains the weather situation:
“ It will be so different across the Bay, the breeze behaves differently on the left side from the right. We, on the ClubSwan 50s, are on the Charlie race area and I expect the wind to be 9-11 in the first race and 11-13, possibly in the second race, maybe 14. What is really difficult to say right now is how and when the wind will change. It is hard to say if it will be what is called a typical Palma day, so ‘start on the Pin go left to the layline and tack’ I think it will be a little more open today. There is some E’ly gradientwhich if it becomes a NE’ly gradient should help the right side of the Bay to work. So we are waiting to see how and when the wind builds at first. If it builds from 220 deg to 230 deg it is very likely it will go to 200 but with some righty on the right. And if it builds from 190 it will go to 200 but it will be more left.”