A class win at the famous Copa del Rey MAPFRE, the Mediterranean’s annual summer showcase regatta, can elude even some of sailing’s top teams for many years. Others seem able to impose themselves year on year in their chosen classes. The 132 boat 11 division 38 Copa del Rey MAPFRE closed today with the Copa del Rey two top trophies going to Italy’s Leonardo Ferragamo for winning the ClubSwan 50 class and to BMW ORC Class 1 winners Estrella Damm, the DK 46 of Ignacio Montes and Oscar Chaves
While Estrella Damm, the DK 46 of Ignacio Montes and Oscar Chaves, reprised their success of last year, lifting the Copa del Rey MAPFRE for the handicap divisions as winners of BMW ORC 1, there was considerable cause for celebration and a measure of relief for Leornado Ferragamo and the crew of his Cuordileone when they were awarded the Cope del Rey MAPFRE trophy as top performers of the One Design classes, as the Nautor Swan President took victory in the very competitive 14 strong ClubSwan 50.
For Ferragamo the class win, and the top trophy, comes at the tenth time of asking, having campaigned in the Club Swan 42, the Swan 45, one year in the Swan 601 and, now, three years in the flourishing ClubSwan 50.
For the Estrella Damm team, led by Luis Martínez Doreste, their top award repeats their success of last year when they celebrated the 20thanniversary of their crew’s first Copa del Rey win.
Having closed out their title by two points ahead Hendrik Brandis’ Earlybird, last year’s class winner a delighted Ferragamo smiled, “I feel extremely rewarded and very excited. There is a lot of relief, the tension of racing seven very intense days goes away. I think this will be my tenth Copa del Rey and to win it with the ClubSwan 50 which was one of the main classes here feels like a great achievement. I think we have taken this programme very seriously since the beginning. Now we are in the third year with the boat and we have trained properly and we have not missed a race this season.”
At their seventh attempt Jean Jacques Chaubard’s French team on the TP52 Team Vision Future lifted the BMW ORC Class 0 title. After winning every other major award in the Mediterranean and now having six podiums gained with their GP42 and two TP52s, today it was only when the result of the one final race was published on line that they realised they had finally won. Today’s showdown was so close between Howard Dyer’s second placed Rowdy Too – which won last year as Beau Geste – it was down to 15 seconds on corrected time which secured their win.
Project manager and helmsman Mikael Mergui could hardly contain himself, “ I am so happy and excited. For me this is as big as it comes. We had to wait for the result to be published, it was very tight, very very tight and we saw the result come out we were so excited.”
He admits, “The last two days I have been so tight, so stressed and I made bad starts. But the guys have been great with good tactics and very good speed and that has helped us out. It is awesome for us as a team to have come here so often – seven times now – and never won after having won everything else in the Med, we are so happy. For me this is as big as it comes. We had to wait for the result to be published, it was very tight, very very tight and we saw the result come out we were so excited.”
“ We improved because we sailed on the 52 SUPER SERIES, it made us a look at every little thing to improve and we did, in Mahon and at PalmaVela, we had so much data we improved the rig tune, the sail settings, the configuration. We started sailing the boat in February and have been working hard since then.”
In the Mallorca Sotheby’s IRC Class it was also a first time win at the Copa del Rey for Dario Ferrari’s Italian flagged Maxi72 Cannonball. To win the regatta they had to keep Hap Fauth’s new Bella Mente from winning today’s showdown. Although they suffered an hydraulics failure to the jib tack tensioning system Cannonball was able to hold their American rivals off the start line. America’s Cup winner Ed Baird calls tactics supported by Michele Ivaldi, the team proving they are in good shape after replacing their mast for this season and undergoing a substantial optimising programme as well as moving to Quantum Sails.
Baird said, “Thus is terrific. You come here worried when you have not seen another Maxi72 for eight months and so to win is great. Proteus did a great job winning today which was the best they could do to get second. Bella Mente is a brand new boat and the other two boats here are three years old and we are all here hoping we are competitive with the new boat. And so it is pretty much boat for boat, but when you do the right thing you win. All of us are most excited for Dario (Ferrari, owner) because last year he was not sure if it was the right thing was to do all this work to this boat and I think this is proving it was all worth it.”
The 38 Copa del Rey MAPFRE saw the first ever wins for teams flying the Omani and the Romanian flags. In the GC32 regatta, the third event of the GC32 Racing Tour, Adam Minoprio guided Oman Air to win on the Bay of Palma ahead of Ernesto Bertarelli’s recently crowned world champions on Alinghi. Oman Air finished with two wins to keep Alinghi to second, five points behind.
Nasser Al Mashari, Oman Air’s bowman said, "It has been great in Palma with very good conditions, and we won the event so we are happy. We are looking forward to the next event in Lake Garda and we will try and do even better. We have worked very hard at getting good communication and good boat handling on the water, and on teamwork as well, that was our goal and it worked and we won."
The ClubSwan 42 class has experienced a welcome renaissance with 11 boat competing this week. Romanian owner-driver Natalia Brailoiu ended her 10 year wait to win at the Copa del Rey. Remarkably she only started sailing 10 years ago when her husband bought her eponymous Natalia. Spanish Volvo ace Roberto ‘Chuny’ Bermudez has sailed with the Italian-Spanish team for two years. “It is a dream come true!” she enthused, “Completely a dream come true. This has been a good, strong class in which you have to fight for every place, every point. Thus time we were very concentrated and focused.”
The local team representing the Balearic Federation won the inaugural Purobeach Women’s Cup, raced in identical Viper 640 sports keelboats, skipper-helm Helena Alegre said,“We only met for the first time one week ago. It was all to play for today but when we won the first race then we could breathe a little easier. And to win this event for all female crews on our own home waters with a bunch of girls we all met up together is great. We have won the Cup and won friends.”
In the Swan 45 Class it was Luis Senis’ Valencia based double world champions Porrón IX who also finally won their class Copa del Rey title, tactician Nano Negrín said, “The most important thing is winning for the owner. We have been trying to win for three years and never made it. This time we were most consistent. It is the third year we have been together and that makes a difference. We don’t like the new points system.”
At the 38thedition of the Copa del Rey 132 entries from 26 nations competed in 11 classes (six One Design), on four different racing areas. This year there were no coastal races and the regatta pioneered a new scoring system with four days of qualification and two days of finals racing. In the ClubSwan 50 division HM King Felipe of Spain steered the Spanish Navy’s Aifos 500 to fifth place while HM King Harald of Norway helmed Fram XVIII to tenth place.
King Felipe presents the trophies tonight in Palma’s Ses Voltes.
The 2020 Copa del Rey will take place from July 31stto Aug 8th.