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.
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 better 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.
“We had to put some points on them. Today was about us and them.” Recalled Terry Hutchison, Bella Mente’s tactician, “We got a second to their fourth in the first race. And so their (Proteus) only winning combination was if they won the last race.”
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 goes to the current Maxi72 World Champions, Bella Mente:
“ It was all on to the finish. We needed our absolute best and we got it. That is the best race I sailed these last two weeks. The measure of this team is the way we bounced back from the mistake the other day.”
“Bella Mente” win by three points.
In the GC32, standing in for Adam Minoprio and the crew of the French flagged “Norauto” finished with a conclusive 2,1,1,2,3 to win the 35 Copa del Rey MAPFRE prize, the first time the foiling catamaran series has joined the prestigious regatta.
“ I am very hapy 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.”
An error in the penultimate race of the 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 with “Earlybird” second.
“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”
“Azzurra” had an up and down final day but the Roemmers family TP52 won the penultimate race for Singular Kitchen IRC 1 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 next month’s 2016 TP52 Worlds in Mahon, Mallorca. The “Azzurra” crew win for the third time, winning as “Matador” in 2007 and 2009.
Alberto Roemmers commented: “It is a great feeling to win here. It is especially good because we have been working so hard trying to improve after last week at the 52 SUPER SERIES in Puerto Portals. 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.”
The battle for supremacy in BMW ORC 1 saw “Maserati” triumph in the biggest class at the regatta, 38 boats strong. Alvaro Irala's DK46 which has Olympic gold medallist Fernando Leon on board with round the world racer Guillermo Altadill, finished with a 2,3 today to and wins by 6.5 points overall. Irala commented:
“This morning we were second overall and so we had to really attack today but still to keep calm on board with cool heads. We could not be conservative.”
In the 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.”
The King of Spain, H.M. the King Felipe VI, sailed today on the “Aifos” and will present the prizes this evening at the gala prizegiving at 2100rs.