The record breaking, maximum capacity 36 Copa del Rey finished with a final flourish as the Bay of Palma uncorked a concluding race in the typical Embat sea breeze. In the full knowledge that entries had to be closed at 138 boats this time, such were the memorable conditions, the close competition on the water and the warm, the spirited post racing camaraderie on the docks in the blazing Mediterranean sunshine that potential 2018 entrants will need to ‘book early to avoid disappointment!’
Dieter Schön’s Momo crew celebrated winning the Maxi 72 on the RCNP’s race dock with beer and a bumper pile of pizzas. It is the German owner’s first Copa del Rey triumph as Momo becomes the third different Maxi 72 to win a fleet regatta this season after Cannonball won SailRacing Palma Vela in May and Proteus triumphed at the Corfu Challenge, but all eyes will be on this white hot fleet at the Maxi Worlds in Porto Cervo next month.
Cannonball won the first of the two races today to close Momo’s advantage to two points, but the German team under tactician Markus Wieser and strategist Murray Jones, inflicted a telling penalty on Cannonball by the pin end of the start line of the last race. They extended away to the preferred left side of the track, a sixth win from ten starts was theirs, and the class Copa del Ret title secured by four points over Dario Ferrari’s Palma Vela winning Cannonball.
Wieser smiled, revealing a certain measure of relief as well as satisfaction, “Dieter Schön our owner put in a lot of effort after a shocking year last year. We were not fast. We changed some of our sails, some of our trimmers and the whole set up. Now iIt is coming together. We are relieved as much as anything after the work we put in. This felt like it was our week. We are confident now and look forwards to the Maxi Worlds in Porto Cervo. There is more breeze there, and when there is the boat goes better in anything more than 11kts.”
If Schön was enjoying the new feeling of winning in Palma, success at the Copa del Rey may be familiar to Spanish veteran Pedro Campos, but even as the regatta’s most successful ever skipper extended his tally to ten wins, there was the added satisfaction of having to fight hard and to come from behind to win BMW ORC 2. Campos may have started modestly with his Rodman 42 Sum Innovation, but a 2,1,1,1 from the last four races secured his tenth title by 3.5pts.
“We won the first race but we didn’t know the position of our rivals. In the last race we had a match race, with a lot of tension, and we were sailing close all the time. It’s beautiful but I think this has been my hardest Copa and the one I’ve enjoyed the most because we started with problems, mistakes, bad luck… Three days ago wining seemed impossible, but here we are!”
Naofumi Kamei’s Mamma Aiuto! won the GC32 class, the first time the Japanese team has won an event on the GC32 Racing Tour since joining the flying catamaran circuit last year. In flat water and winds of up to 15 knots Mamma Aiuto! came out on top with a race to spare. Their success today followed victory at Copa del Rey MAPFRE 2015 aboard a TP52. Jason Carroll’s Argo was let down by an OCS today but managed to retain second place overall, while the Jêrome Clerc-skippered Realteam, winner of today’s second race, ended up tied up on points, but winning third place on tie break against Pierre Casiraghi’s Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco. In 14 races sailed over the last four days eight of the ten GC32 flying catamaran won races, showing the closeness of the competition in this circuit which now moves on to Calvi (Corsica) and Marseille (France.)
And in Mallorca Sotheby’s IRC class Andy Soriano secured a precious fleet win with a race to spare, achieving his goal of winning three times at ‘the’ regatta with three different Alegres, Soto 40 class in 2012 and IRC Class Zero in 2013. The Alegre crew triumphed in a mixed fleet which contained 10 good TP52s of which three others – Team Vision Future, Alizée and Caro – all won races. Soriano has long been a big fan of the Copa del Rey but victory today is especially sweet,
“Winning here this time means a great deal to me. This is the regatta and so to win it in three different boats, in the Soto 40, in the Maxi72 and in this is just great. The lRC rating here really did seem to work. It balances itself. We (as a class box rule compliant TP52 in 52 SUPER SERIES configuration) had the bigger main but the shorter mast, less keel so it seemed to work out well. The French team were right up there, they won the IRC European Championships in Marseille, Phoenix was sailing very well, Caro won today.”
Soriano added, “I think this regatta has great number of boats, a great mixture, the atmosphere and the nature of this Club which is so welcoming to sailors and to their families. The Club really embraces the presence here of families and as a crew we love that. This Club is so welcoming.
And yesterday was a bit special, to get three firsts made it one of our best days ever. The team worked well together.”
After Momo, Hendrik Brandis and Christian Plump maintained a certain success rate for German crews at this 36 Copa del Rey MAPFRE.
Brandis’ German flagged Earlybird won here last year in the MRW Swan 45 but had already clinched the inaugural ClubSwan 50 title with a day to spare at the end of the new one design class’s Copa del Rey debut with six boats. Earlybird was on imperious form with four times Olympic medallist Jochen Schümann on tactics. They won both of the last day’s races to leave Leonardo Ferragamo’s Cuordileone to second, 13 pts behind.
Brandis concluded, ”We had a perfect day to finish with, two bullets. These last two days really stood out. And today we started strongly and got out in front to control the fleet and that is always a good feeling. The first race was tricky. It is fun to win here. As long as we have fun then that is important and we know you cannot win all of the time, so we enjoy it while it lasts.”
And Plump’s Elena Nova finally secured the MRW Swan 45 title pressed hard by a visiting Ecuador crew in Negra. A sixth in the penultimate race made life the final challenge all the harder but winning the final race with Negra in fourth was only just enough for Elena Nova to scrape home by one point.
A jubilant Plump admitted “We made it a little hard for ourselves. The first race was not so good today but we got the one boat between us and the competition and to get through the finish was a big moment for us as a team. We have won Palma Vela, the Swan 45 Worlds in Porto Cervo. We won the ORC Worlds in 2010 and in 2007 the IMS worlds. But this has eluded until now and so it feels good, we really worked hard for it.”
Rafael Carbonell’s Swan 45 Rats on Fire finally prevailed in BMW ORC 1, the 35 strong biggest class in the regatta. It is the fifth class win for Rats on Fire which has recently crowned J80 world champion Rayco Tabares as tactician. In the Swan 42 class Jose Maria Meseguer’s Pez de Abril won while the Herbalife J80 class victory goes to Bribon Movistar. The only team to count a perfect scoreline is BMW ORC 3 winners Grupo Ceres, Javier Banderas Dufour 34 which won eight of their nine races.
Grupo Ceres and Bribon Movistar won the Trofeo Especial MAPFRE prizes for the best performances in the handicap and One Design classes respectively.
HM King Felipe to present the trophies to all winners tonight.