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Thread: Sublime Palma Euphoria

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    Sublime Palma Euphoria



    Jean Jacques Chaubard’s French crew which is racing Team Vision Future in BMW ORC Class Zero have competed at Copa del Rey MAPFRE seven times and, after finishing on the podium five times in two different divisions, are no strangers to success but a class win at the regatta continues to elude them.

    But with two more races sailed in today’s modest sea breezes on the Bay of Palma, Chaubard’s crew who recently became IRC European champions emerged as the best scoring team from a day when French TP52 teams monopolised proceedings. Their second and a first on their Botin designed Team Vision Futuresees them lead the class by three points from Rowdy Too, Howard Dyer’s IRC52 which won here last year as Beau Geste.

    There is a spirited but very friendly rivalry between today’s two winners in BMW ORC Class Zero, Team Vision Future from the Toulon Yacht Club and Jean Luc Petithiguenin’s largely Breton crew which features a host of young French talent straight from the Tour Voile as well as the hugely experienced youthful Loick Peyron.








    “We are all friends, me and some of their guys all used to race on the same team on the Tour Voille so we all go way back to when we were younger,” explains skipper-helm Mikael Mergui, “But it is always good to beat them.”

    “We had a very good starts in both races and that was the key, we got the first shift on the second race and got ahead. We love it here. It is such a well organised regatta and the race courses are always a bit tricky.”

    Team Vision Future were runners up to Alegre in 2017 with their former TP52 but are hopeful this may prove to be their year at the Copa del Rey MAPFRE which would a be a welcome confidence booster before they compete at the Rolex TP52 World Championship in Puerto Portals later next month.

    Dario Ferrari’s Cannonball bounced back today to win both races for the Maxi 72s which form the Mallorca Sotheby’s IRCClass. Proteus and Bella Mente shared a second and third apiece as Cannonball’s two victories today takes them to within one point of George Sakellaris Proteus.










    Cannonball’s Italian navigator Bruno Zirilli reported, “Today was good for us, better than yesterday. The boat was faster, set up very well and we managed to be a little more aggressive in the start against the competitors. We put a penalty on Bella Mente in the first half. Then we got the left side on the second one, that was good. The boat was going faster, the manoeuvres were perfect and all the course was good for us to stay in front. We are here and it’s a good opportunity to do that because the mast is new. We have been working for ten days now here and we keep on learning.In the breeze I think we are 95% there. In the light breeze I think maybe we can improve a bit more.”

    Leonardo Ferragamo’s Cuordileone stretched their leading margin in the ClubSwan 50 class thanks to a third and a first today while their counterparts on Andrea Larcorte’s Cetilar Vitamina sailed to a win and a third to ensure the Italian teams hold the top two spots in the highly competitive 14 boat division.

    Ross Warburton’s British crew on Perhonen, who dipped a toe on the water here last year with a chartered Swan 50, moved up to seventh today with a fourth and seventh after leading to the windward mark on both races. They had to take a penalty on the second race for a foul approaching the first windward mark on the port layline.

    “It is the little things which cost you in this class because it is so close, but we are going much better and learning all the time.” Said Perhonen’s tactician Ian Budgen.








    While Spain’s double Olympic medal winning Natalia Vía Dufresne yesterday looked like she and her crew might run away with the inaugural Purobeach Women’s Cup after posting three wins, today the local Mallorcan ace Helena Alegre responded by winning the first two races. But Vía Dufresne’s Dorsia Sailing Team are seven points clear at the top of the standings after their 3,4,1


    49er FX racer Patricia Suarez representing her native Galicia lies second, she commented, “ I think today has been a very close day overall, a very intense and interesting racing on the water. I think the key in this class is being consistent and trying to keep results within the top three or top four. So we are very happy with today's results (4-3-3) and looking forward to trying to repeat this performance during the rest of the week."

    Rafael Carbonell’s Swan 45 Rats on Fire leads BMW ORC Class 2 as all three top boats all landed four points averages today including last year’s winners. The GC32 Cup Palma leg starts Wednesday with Oman Air and Zoulou winning today’s official practice races.








    This is what they said today.



    Bruno Zirilli, navigator of Cannonball in Mallorca Sotheby's IRC class:
    “Today was good for us, better than yesterday. The boat was faster, set up very well and we managed to be a little more aggressive in the start against the competitors. We put a penalty on Bella Mente in the first half. Then we got the left side on the second one, that was good. The boat was going faster, the manoeuvres were perfect and all the course was good for us to stay in front. We are here and it’s a good opportunity to do that because the mast is new. We have been working for ten days now here and we keep on learning.In the breeze I think we are 95% there. In the light breeze I think maybe we can improve a bit more.”

    Jean Jacques Chaubard, owner of Team Vision Future in BMW ORC 0 class:
    “We had a very good starts in both races and that was the key, we got the first shift on the second race and got ahead. We love it here. It is such a well organised regatta and the race courses are always a bit tricky.”

    Patricia Suárez, skipper of Federación Gallega de Vela in Purobeach Women's Cup class:
    “ I think today has been a very close day overall, a very intense and interesting racing on the water. I think the key in this class is being consistent and trying to keep results within the top three or top four. So we are very happy with today's results (4-3-3) and looking forward to trying to repeat this performance during the rest of the week."


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    Windy Wednesday In The Med




    With a strong Mistral wind blowing on the Mediterranean to the north of Mallorca, the third day of the 38 Copa del Rey MAPFRE was the most challenging yet. Racing in gusty offshore NE’ly winds of 12-25 knots, the winning watchwords were keeping it safe and simple in many of the 11 divisions.








    Certainly that was the case for three Maxi 72s in the Mallorca Sotheby’s IRC Class where Dario Ferrari’s Cannonball sailed to a second and a first to maintain a one point margin over Hap Fauth’s newer Bella Mente which mirrored their scores going 2,1. Proteus suffered a technical breakdown in the first race and their DNF drops leaves the class’s early leaders in third. Previously this class has seen all three boats tied on points and the tie break deciding the title.

    “ The first rule today was not to break anything and we were successful on that front.” Smiled Cannonball’s Italian navigator Bruno Zirilli, “First race we were a bit conservative and were behind early on but managed to stay close and see if an opportunity came our way but there was nothing. Second race there was a massive split, a big scary split. We banged the right corner and the other two banged the left corner. At the end we had a tiny little right hander and we crossed by only two boat lengths.”







    Tomorrow’s races conclude the Preliminary Series. The class leaders then carry one point into Friday and Saturday’s Finals, second get two and so on in what is a new initiative for this edition.

    “ The scoring system is interesting but it will not make too much difference in this class. But in general this is the longest and hardest regatta of the year, and this way it all starts again near the end. Before, say in the TP52 it was nice if you got some points ahead you could be a little bit safer on the last day. Now? Well…let’s see…I will tell you Saturday.”Zirilli concludes.

    French sailing hero Loick Peyron has won many Transatlantic races and held the outright Trophée Jules Verne round the world sailing record but he is a newcomer to a TP52 and to the Copa del Rey MAPFRE, but is proving no rookie when it comes to inshore, windward leeward races calling the moves for Jean Luc Petithuguenin’s Paprec Reciclaje. They take over the BMW ORC Class 1 lead after a first and second today.

    “Sailing the TP52 for the first time and it is a new discovery. I am really impressed by the level, the way the boats are made and it is now nice to be back racing in ‘slow motion.” Said Peyron who has just completed La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro multi stage solo one design race in France and the Transpac on a Multi 70 trimaran.
    “I have been to Palma only two or three times, the first time 40 years ago. But I am not really a tourist kind of guy, but I am really enjoying sailing on the Paprec, there are a lot of very young kids who are very, very good. And the good thing here is that we are here speaking French which is nice.”


    all images © Nico Martinez/ StudioMartinez





    Paprec’s skipper Stéphane Neve grinned, “It looks like Loick does a good job, eh?
    “ I think we are better when it is windier. Our manoeuvres were good and we had good speed downwind. It was not so good on the second race because we expected the wind to get lighter and we changed from the J3 to J2 and it didn’t so we were not good upwind in the second race.”

    Paprec Reciclaje, which has twice finished runner up in this class but never won, now lead by one point over their compatriots on Team Vision Future. Neve is more objective about the change to the scoring system, not least because Beau Geste won with a day to spare in this division last year.
    “We think it is good because last year if you remember Beau Geste had won with a day to spare and that was not very fair but maybe if we had a big lead we would think something different…..maybe, but I do think it is good for the event.”

    One team which are not looking very favourably on the new scoring method are the Italians who lead the ClubSwan 50 class. Leornado Ferragamo’s Cuordileoneare six points clear after six races,

    “We hate it. It keeps it interesting to the end but for the guy who gets well ahead iIt can be very unfair but, hey, it is what it is. Let’s see.” Tomasso Chieffi, the tactician comments, “Otherwise we had a good day with a second and a fifth. You can’t expect to win them all.”

    Natalia Via Dufresne and her Dorsia Sailing Team also have built themselves a six points lead in the Viper640s racing for the Purobeach Womens Cup. But the points are tied in BMW ORC 2 between the Swan 45 Rats on Fireand the DK46 Estrella Damm, both previous class winners. So too in the GC32catamarans where Ernesto Bertarelli’s world champions Alinghi are equal with Oman Air skippered by Adam Minoprio. “It was really gusty,” said Alinghi’s helmsman Arnaud Psorafaghis. “We didn't sail the first three races really well, but then the last two were really good and we sailed clear of the pack, got some luck with the windshifts.”

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    Score One For 1st Carry Over Into The Finals




    The new scoring system being employed at the 38 Copa del Rey MAPFRE started to take effect today. As the 132 boat 11 division regatta moves from its Preliminary Series to two days of Finals racing, scores are allocated by the classification order after this opening series. The first placed boat carries one point to the Finals, the second two and the third three. King Felipe of Spain steered Aifos 500 in the ClubSwan 50 class for the first time of this regatta.








    The idea is that the counters are reset and the pressure and interest is kept up to the end of Saturday’s racing.

    And of course there are already teams who gain and some who are already hurting. But, ask many of the leading skippers what they think and the universal response is ‘Ask me again at the end of Saturday.’

    In what is probably the most competitive fleet with a sizeable entry, the ClubSwan 50s, Leonardo Ferragamo’s leading crew see their seven points margin gained over six races cut back to one point. Correspondingly today’s winners of the one and only race sailed today, Stefan Heidenreich’s OneGroup, go into the finals in sixth with their 19 points deficit behind first cut to five points.

    OneGroup’s four times Olympic medallist Jochen Schumann is one who relishes the change. Winners today they bounce back from a ‘black day’ yesterday when they had DSQ and a 12th,

    “Now it is all about the finals tomorrow and Saturday.”Smiles Schumann, “ For us as a good revenge on the black day we had yesterday. Yesterday to be quite honest with you, we started actually quite well but we struggled on the downwinds. And we had a protest which we lost. All in all nothing major but the scoreboard looks really ugly with 12th and DSQ so we dropped down a lot. So, the win today was good was a big lead. But the first place didn’t help us, we are still sixth which we were yesterday night. I think this is a normal situation now I think this is good.”







    Today was the first day that H.M. King Felipe of Spain steered Aifos 500, the Spanish Navy’s ClubSwan 50 meeting up again with long time friend and rival H.M. King Harald of Norway who is steering Fram XVIII. Today the Spanish monarch, who represented his country at the 1992 Olympics, had the upper hand in sixth, Fram finishing tenth.

    “ It’s wonderful to see both kings racing in this fleet.” Schumann remarked, “ I think it’s good that they have the time and the understanding of their people to come here to sail with us. I have a long friendship with Felipe. We sailed Solings together for four years, we practiced against each other every day for the Barcelona Games. For me he is Felipe, and this is how he comes to us sailors. To come down here and to be a sailor amongst sailors is great.”

    In the Mallorca Sotheby’s IRC fleet Dario Ferrari’s Cannonball won today, their fourth win in seven starts. Trimmer Federico Michetti reported, “We made a very good start and the boat was going very well, we had good tactics from Ed Baird and Michele Ivaldi who took us right and the breeze came up a little and we made an easy cross and then we could manage first place. We are very happy but the boat speeds are very similar so we cannot make any mistakes. It is very open and we are having fun.”

    Michetti added, “I like the new scoring system. It makes is challenging to the end and keeps the game open to the end. I will evaluate to see how it goes and might introduce it for our classes (Melges). The guys who are leading might not like it, but I think it is very cool and you need to keep pushing to the end.”

    In the GC32 class Oman Air won three of the six races sailed today and now lie four points ahead of the world champions Alinghi. The GC32s sail a normal series, Adam Minoprio the Oman Airs kipper said. “Today was a great day for Oman Air. We had three good races in good sea breeze, great foiling conditions with reaching starts and we managed to win all three races so we started off with a bang; from then the wind dropped off and got light and shifty and we moved to upwind starts and had good fights with the other teams and managed to secure a third and a second so on the whole it was a great day and we managed to extend our lead on the fleet”.








    It remains close in the BMW ORC 0 class where Jean Luc Petithuguenin’s TP52 Paprec Reciclaje won with Loick Peyron calling tactics, skipper Stephan Neve reported, “We had a difficult start, we did not start well and had to tack behind and wait for a few boats. Loick wanted to go to the right and that proved to be best and we rounded the top mark first and from there we extended a little bit, we could control Rowdy and we were quite lucky in that Team Vision Future had a bad start, they were OCS and had to go back.”

    The French skipper is objective about the new scoring, “Meantime everything goes back to the beginning, it is like a new regatta starting tomorrow. For sure it is better to be where we are, leading, rather than in the back. The others are a serious threat. Frecccia Rossa are sailing well and have a good rating. We have a really good mix of young guys on board, they bring a lot of energy and are very active on the boat. And Loick has done very little of this kind of racing but he has a great natural feel for the wind and where to go, he is not a head in the computer guy, he is looking at the water and at the other boats, what is going on the shore.”

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