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HRM King Felipe skippered “Aifos” in the second of the two races held today in the class Gaastra IRC 1. Three classes sailed today a coastal race and five sailed two windward/leeward races. The overall provisional leaders at the end of this third racing day received the Enlace trophies, as winners of the regatta halfway point.

 

Today was the midpoint of the 33rd Copa del Rey MAPFRE, which is being held until Saturday. The classes Gaastra IRC 0, Gazprom Swan 60 and Barclays 52Super Series sailed a 29 nautical miles coastal race around the bay of Palma. All other classes added two more races to their scoring boards. The rankings offer different scenarios: two classes have new leaders (one-designs Nespresso X-35 and Herbalife J80), four have ties between the second and third place, and only three seem to have a clear leader. The best teams of the week received an award today.

The wind was kind again to the fleet, blowing from the south-southwest and speed of between 10 and 13 knots, and peaks up to 15 knots.

Gaastra IRC 0 
The Gaastra IRC 0 fleet completed its coastal race in just over three hours. The fastest was Hap Fauth’s American “Bella Mente”, who fought an intense duel with Andres Soriano’s British “Alegre”. There was only a 36 seconds difference at the finish line. Third was George Sakellaris’ “Shockwave”, who maintains the overall lead in the class with 10 points. In the fight for second place, there is a tie between Roberto Tomasini’s “Robertissima III” (fourth today) and “Bella Mente”, both with 14 points. Tomorrow they will sail again a windward / leeward race.

Gaastra IRC 1
Giuseppe Parodi’s “Hurakan” continues to lead with iron fist the class Gaastra IRC 1. He won both races today and is already seven points ahead of “Team Vision Future” (3-3 today) and ten ahead of René Mangold’s “Aquila” (2-2). In the second race of the day, HRM King Felipe VI joined “Aifos” as skipper, which after three days is in fifth place overall. The King is expected to return tomorrow to skipper the Spanish Army’s TP52 in both races scheduled for the Class Gaastra IRC 1.

(Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com )

(Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com )

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Gazprom Swan 60 
In the battle for the Gazprom Swan 60 world championship, “Bronenosec” seems to be catching up and won today’s coastal race, his second consecutive win. Second was Boris Gusev’s “Spirit of Europe”, followed by Lorenzo Bortolotti’s “Windward”. Vladimir Liubomirov’s team leads the overall classification seven points ahead of “Petite Flamme” (fourth today), and 11 ahead of “Tsaar Peter” (sixth today).

Barclays 52 Super Series 
Swedish Niklas Zennström’s “Rán” is recovering today from an irregular start of the week, winning the coastal race 43 seconds ahead of Brazilian Eduardo de Souza’s “Phoenix”. Third was British Tony Langley’s “Gladiator”. “Rán” is the fifth winner out of five races in the Barclays 52 Super Series. Despite its discreet sixth place in today’s race, “Quantum Racing” retains its lead, now five points ahead of the tie between “Rán” and “Azzurra”.

BMW 1 ORC 
Double victory for Manuel Doreste’s “Rats on Fire” in the class BMW ORC 1, who has won five races out of six. Last year’s winner makes up for yesterday’s seventh place, and now leads 14 points ahead of the tie between Christian Plump’s “Elena Nova” (2-2 today) and Hendrik Brandis’ “Earlybird” (3-3). The category is dominated by the Swan 45 teams, which after six races have taken over the top four positions.

BMW ORC 2 
The class BMW ORC 2 seems a replica of the class BMW ORC 1: five out of six victories for the leader and tie on points in the second place. “Movistar” skippered by Pedro Campos is not slowing down, and won both races today. In the fight for the second places, Teo Matheu’s “Airlan Aermec” suffers from his results today (4-5) and is overtaken by Lluis Blanchar’s “Varador 2000” (2-2). Good day also for Felix Comas’ “Pinyol Vermell” (3-3).

Nespresso X-35
In the class Nespresso X-35 today’s victories went to Dani Cuevas’ “Puerto Deportivo Benalmádena” and Alessandro Solerio’s “Lelagain”. Today’s good results allow the Italian boat to stand as the new class leader, one point ahead of his rival. Javier Sanz’s “Red Eléctrica de España”, who docked out at the top of the scoring board, lost its lead due to the eight place in the first race today, but recovered well with a second on the next race and is third overall.

Herbalife J80 
Flawless day for José María Torcida’s “Noticia”. The Spaniard won both races today and snatches the lead to Javier Padrón’s “Herbalife”, who had a rough day (8-5). Third on the podium is the defending champion, Hugo Rocha’s “New Territories”, who finished fourth in both races today.

The social program continues
The Nespresso Brunch this morning received the visit of Spanish actor and top model Andres Velencoso. Former Irish cyclist Stephen Roche, winner of the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia, was also in the RCNP and sailed onboard TP52 “Gladiator” to sail the Barclays 52 Super Series coastal race.

The Sailor’s Tent hosted a new performance by Alex Caro and Sote de Lino, with their musical entertainment at the tastings offered to the sailors at the Real Club Náutico de Palma at the end of the day.

The Enlace Trophies in the midpoint 
Today the Enlace Trophies were awarded to the leaders of each class at the end of the first three days of racing. “Shockwave”, “Hurakan”, “Quantum Racing”, “Bronenosec”, “Rats on Fire”, “Movistar”, “Lelagain” and “Noticia” received the trophy for leading their classes in this halfway point of the regatta.
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Tomorrow’s racing schedule is a coastal race for the classes Gaastra IRC1, BMW ORC 1 and BMW ORC 2. All other classes will sail windward-leeward races. The one-design classes Nespresso X-35 and Herbalife J80 may discard their worst result if they sail their eighth race tomorrow. The first race of the day will start at 13h00.

The 33rd Copa del Rey MAPFRE is organized by the Real Club Náutico de Palma and will take place from August 2nd to the 9th, 2014.

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A Sea of Sails in Saint-Tropez (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

A Sea of Sails in Saint-Tropez (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

SANREMO, ITA – SAINT-TROPEZ, FRA – MONTE-CARLO, MON – June 13 – 21, 2014

The 2014 Giraglia Rolex Cup enters its final phase tomorrow, Wednesday, with the start of the 241-nm offshore race. Some 213 yachts are expected to take part – a new record fleet. The mythical course which, in a normal year, takes crews from France to Italy, via the Giraglia rock off the northern tip of Corsica, offers something exceptional this year: a finish in Monte-Carlo. The unique opportunity to combine the finish of this celebrated race with the inauguration of the new Yacht Club de Monaco clubhouse has been embraced by the organizing clubs, race sponsor Rolex and, most significantly, the competitors.

The 62nd Giraglia Rolex Cup fleet ranges in size from 100-feet down to 30-feet. If conditions permit, Esimit Europa 2 – the largest and fastest yacht – will seek to dent its record time of 14 hours, 56 minutes and 16 seconds set in 2012 over a similar distance albeit with a finish in Sanremo just up the coast from Monte-Carlo. The yacht’s owner, Igor Simcic, is a member of the Yacht Club de Monaco so there is particular significance in his yacht’s quest to add a fourth line honours to her victory roll.

RÁN 5 (SWE) close to the shore as she leaves Saint-Tropez RAN 5, Sail n: SWE72, Owner: NIKLAS ZENNSTROM,  (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

RÁN 5 (SWE) close to the shore as she leaves Saint-Tropez
RAN 5, Sail n: SWE72, Owner: NIKLAS ZENNSTROM, (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Cautious Optimism
Skipper Jochen Schümann understands the added importance of doing well, especially given the presence of a special crewmember onboard for the race: Pierre Casiraghi, younger son of Caroline, Princess of Hannover, and member of the YCM Management Committee. “The Giraglia Rolex Cup is one of the classic races in Europe alongside the Rolex Fastnet and Middle Sea Races,” he explains. “The start and finish are always spectacular. Saint-Tropez is one of the most scenic places in the Med, and this time we have a special finish in Monaco.”

 

Schümann is cautious when discussing prospects for the race record. According to the German Olympian the unsettled weather of the past few days looks set to continue with light airs across the racecourse: “If we get good steady breeze, there’s a chance for the record. Otherwise it will probably be slow.”

Intriguing Contest
Behind the Slovenian Maxi, an intriguing battle is shaping up among four highly competitive 72-ft Racing Mini Maxis. Andres Soriano, owner of Alegre and another member of the Yacht Club de Monaco, is excited by the prospect of finishing in Monte-Carlo. He has tasted success in this race before with a Line Honours victory in 2010 with his previous yacht. Soriano has enjoyed the competition of the Inshore Series over the past three days: “The Mini Maxis are very even, there is not much in it. Some are better in different conditions and a little luck with a wind shift can make the difference in getting one’s nose ahead.” He thinks this bodes well for a tight contest in the offshore race even if the larger yachts are not favoured by the forecast: “Ideally we’d be hoping for more wind at the beginning of the long race to take us down to the rock. The approach there early in the morning is always difficult.”

Another Olympian, this time Frenchman Thierry Peponnet, who has been coaching Niklas Zennström’s Ran 5 crew ahead of the offshore race, has also assessed the challenge this year: “It is special with the finish in Monaco. Normally the leg after the rock to Genoa is very smooth, dominated by light winds. This new course will make things a bit different, as the wind angles will change on the leg from the Giraglia to Monaco. We are waiting for the latest weather information to develop an appropriate strategy, but the team is very motivated; it is a race they want to win.”

Even though a professional yachtsman, Peponnet recognizes the Giraglia Rolex Cup delivers a distinctive flavour: “It is such a mythical race. Similar to the Rolex Sydney Hobart, enthusiastic and passionate amateurs come together and challenge themselves against the most professional of boats like Ran, Alegre etc… It unites sailors from all over the planet, Corinthians or professionals all together on the same starting line.” Peponnet has done the race a number of times and finds it an attractive challenge even if sometimes long. “You have to be patient,” he advises.

Saint-Tropez bids farewell to the 62nd Giraglia Rolex Cup fleet Gulf of Saint Tropez (Photo  by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Saint-Tropez bids farewell to the 62nd Giraglia Rolex Cup fleet Gulf of Saint Tropez (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Daring to Dream
Patience may be virtue further down the fleet. The current forecasts suggest a hole in the wind over Monaco on Thursday that may favour the smaller yachts if they bring the wind from the Giraglia. Last year’s winner Laurent Camprubi, the owner of French yacht Alizée, was thinking of only a class win in 2013. He ended up taking the overall trophy and the Rolex timepiece. What does he think about his prospects in 2014? “We came last year to win our division, we never imagined winning overall.  We are here again to win our division and funnily we have started thinking that we really could have a chance to win again.  It is a crazy dream but we have analysed the conditions and… yes, … may be.”

Camprubi would not be first to secure back-to-back victories, but he knows he needs favourable conditions, for his crew to work together, and good decision-making. That was achieved last year and: “It was really a perfect race.” If he had to give an advice to a crew doing the race for a first time it would be to never forget you are racing for fun: “You should come because of your passion for sailing and if the results go with you then of course it is magic. If you have given everything and the result is not so good, it should not be a drama.”

In encouraging those who have never done the race, Camprubi is a persuasive salesman summing up the virtues of an event that captures the imagination of all who participate: “For someone who has yet to discover the Giraglia Rolex Cup I would let them know that the race is just magic. The ambience here in Saint-Tropez, the small picturesque town, the huge numbers of competitors, the beautiful yachts, the quality of the crew, the course, the passage at the Giraglia Rock… the great welcome you get at the arrival, it is all quite extraordinary.”

ROBERTISSIMA III (ITA) leaving the Gulf of St Tropez after the start of the offshore race ROBERTISSIMA III, Sail n: GBR7236R, Owner: ROBERTO TOMASINI GRINOVER, Group 0 (IRC >18.05mt)  (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

ROBERTISSIMA III (ITA) leaving the Gulf of St Tropez after the start of the offshore race ROBERTISSIMA III, Sail n: GBR7236R, Owner: ROBERTO TOMASINI GRINOVER, Group 0 (IRC >18.05mt) (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Spirited Support
According to Carlo Croce, President of the International Sailing Federation, President of the Yacht Club Italiano and, therefore, another passionate advocate for the race the opportunity to finish the 62nd Giraglia Rolex Cup in Monte-Carlo was too great to be missed: “The arrival in Monte-Carlo was decided upon because the Yacht Club de Monaco opens its new base this year and the inauguration of this new clubhouse will be exactly the same day when the most of the boats are crossing the finish line.” Croce emphasizes that the decision was made easy on other grounds: “The participants liked the idea; they are really enthusiastic about joining the opening party on Friday night. Furthermore, the Yacht Club de Monaco is twinned with the Yacht Club Italiano and we are pleased to share this special moment, even more so since Rolex is a partner of both clubs and has been fully supportive of the idea.”

The 62nd Giraglia Rolex Cup race gets underway tomorrow at noon CEST. Rolex has been a partner of the event since 1997.

For more detailed information about the 2014 Giraglia Rolex Cup including results and race tracking please visit the Yacht Club Italiano website.

Big boat start of the offshore race in the Gulf of Saint-Tropez Race Start (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Big boat start of the offshore race in the Gulf of Saint-Tropez Race Start (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi) photo id: 30789 Photo By: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi Get Hi-Res related

 

 

 

Azzura leads in Porto Cervo by Max Ranchi

 

Azzurra made something close to the start they wanted at their home waters 52 SUPER SERIES regatta, the Audi Setteima del Boche, today.

They returned to the dock at Sardinia’s Yacht Club Costa Smeralda just as the drizzling rain started, wearing big smiles after they scored a comfortable win in the breezy first race of the regatta and then took a second place to lead the season’s final event by two clear points.

While the Azzurra team, which has yet to finish a 2013 European regatta better than third overall, could enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done, no one could mistake the frustration of Quantum Racing’s hard driven tactician Terry Hutchinson at their second and third place finishes today.

Quantum Racing in Porto Cervo (Photo by Max Ranchi)

The American crew, richly studded with America’s Cup winning talent, may be well ahead on the overall 52 SUPER SERIES standings but Hutchinson wants to finish their season unbeaten, winning all four trophy regattas, and with that perfect goal in mind, converting their two leading positions at both first windward marks into that second and third, was deeply frustrating for him.

“ I want to win the regatta.” Hutchinson emphasised, “ I want to put our stamp on the season.”

In the brisk Mistral conditions, the wind just north of west and between 14 and 25 kts, smooth, polished crew work was a premium asset. With rain showers moving through to the south of the island and dark clouds passing overhead, there were always changes in wind pressure and some bigger shifts to use to full effect.

In the first race, the breeziest of the two windward-leewards today, Quantum Racing made the best start and seemed to be cruising to a decent lead.

TP52 Super Series 2013 ( Photo by Max Ranchi)

But at the leeward gate second placed Azzurra picked the right hand gate mark and then worked the right side up the second upwind, earning a good lift to lead over Quantum Racing by the final windward mark which they held to the finish line.

Azzurra could not be faulted on their second start. Starting helmsman and strategist Francesco Bruni – racing his first 52 regatta this season – might this morning have claimed to be feeling a little ring rusty after his months in San Francisco on the Luna Rossa AC72, but Azzurra’s second start – on the pin with pace – was as sharp as any. But although they had a small early lead over Quantum Racing up the first minutes of the upwind, the circuit leaders did steadily ease out ahead to lead around the windward mark again.

This time it was on the second downwind that the big changes occurred, Rob Greenhalgh – tactician on Tony Langley’s Gladiator – chose to work left into better pressure and a nice shift. He admitted later that part of the reason was to stay clear of a cluster which had developed behind after Rán Racing blew up their gennaker, but they made a nice gain coming back with Azzurra to steal first and second across the line.

Gladiator at Porto Cervo (Photo by Max Ranchi)

Langley’s Gladiator – once more burying the perception that theirs is something of a light winds specialist – paired a useful fifth to their race win and so lie third overall only one point behind Quantum Racing.  The circuit leaders Quantum Racing did have to make a small reshuffle of their crew today, substituting for a sick bowman.

Wednesday sees the first of two coastal races planned this week.

52 SUPER SERIES

Audi Settimana del Bocche 2013, Porto Cervo, ITA.

Standings after two races:

1 Azzurra, ITA, (Alberto Roemmers) (1,2) 3pts

2 Quantum Racing, USA, (Doug DeVos) (2,3) 5pts

3 Gladiator, GBR, (Tony Langley) (5,1) 6pts

4 Rán Racing, SWE, (Niklas Zennström) (4,4) 8pts

5 Provezza, TUR, (Ergin Imre) (6,5) 11pts

6 Interlodge, USA, (Austin Fragomen) (3,9) 12pts

7 Rio, USA, (Manouch Moshayedi) (7,6) 13pts

8 B2, ITA, (Michele Galli) (8,8) 16pts

9 Paprec, FRA, (Jean Luc Petithugenin) (DNF, 7) 17pts

B2 in TP52 Super Series( Photo by Max Ranchi)

 

Terry Hutchinson (USA) tactician Quantum Racing (USA):

“We went 2,3 but I am pretty angry as we went 1,1 at the two top marks and we turned them into a 2,3 and that is not acceptable for me. I expect more from myself and out of the guys we are working with to not miss anything. So when you get passed it is like a file going up and down my back, like a big cheese grater. In saying that our bowman was down sick today and Matt Cassidy slipped forward in the boat. We have an awesome group of professional sailors and all credit to them for doing really good work in difficult conditions. The positives are that we executed the starts we wanted, but we have some meat on the bone that we have to get better tomorrow.”

Vasco Vascotto (ITA) tactician Azzurra (ITA):

“ It feels better than Palma. We sailed very well this time. It is nice to have Cecco back on board it makes a difference. He has such great experience. He was trying to get us foiling (laughs).

Francesco Bruni (ITA) strategist and starting helm Azzurra (ITA):

 It was great racing today. I am always amazed how close it is in the 52 SUPER SERIES, there are just metres in it between new boats and old boats. We picked some good shifts. Vasco did some good work. Upwind we were not so sure about the right, we picked the nice shift to the left on the downwind and when you do that in this fleet it is always a nice jump forwards.

It is a great feeling to be back. It is great to be sailing here, it is like sailing with my second family, racing on these waters in the Mistral.”

TP52 Super Series 2013 (Photo by Max Ranchi)

Trophy Conde de Godó TP52 Winners Quantum Racing (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

The last day of the Conde de Godo Sailing Trophy has been crammed full with nervousness. The prevailing light wind indicated the worst but finally the fleet was able to race in appropriate conditions. The 40th Conde de Godo Sailing Trophy already has its winners: QUANTUM RACING (TP52), EARLY BIRD (Soto 40), ZHIK / NOVASAIL (J-80), OPEN SEASON (Wally), XSPAIN (ORC 2) FANYTAS (ORC 3) and RATS ON FIRE (ORC 1)

 

Bowman at start of Conde de Godo (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

 

Doug de Vos’ QUANTUM RACING, with Ed Baird as skipper, started today’s races knowing that only two points separated him from the leader, Alberto Roemmers’ AZZURA. The American team sailed a smart race which took him to win the regatta, while the Italian-Argentinean team (until then leader) ended in last place in the race, as he was falling to third place overall. Niklas’ Zennstrom’s RAN climbed to the second place of the podium in the Conde de Godo’s Sailing Trophy.

Ran (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

In the Soto 40 Class, Pedro Mendoça’s BIGAMIST and Herrik and Christian Najel’s EARLY BIRD started the last day tied up in points. The start was controlled by the German team, while the Portuguese got cornered in an unsuccessful start. This way EARLY BIRD won a comfortable overall victory.

The large J-80 fleet, with 14 boats in the water, proved the tough fight there was within the favorites, which were lots. Spaniard Carlos Martinez’s ZHIK / NOVASAIL, leader since day one, confirmed its great form winning by a margin of 16 points. Following Martinez’s team there was Javier Chacartegui’s HM HOTELS, José María Van der Ploeg’s FACTOR ENERGÍA and Pablo Benjumeda’s PUERTO SHERRY, who fought until the end. Van der Ploeg’s FACTOR ENERGIA, who broke a rudder on the first day and was forced to retire, made an incredible comeback which led him to the second place overall, followed by Javier Chacartegui ‘s HM Hotels in the podium.

Conde de Godo (Photo by Max Ranchi)

In the ORC category two units stood out: Javier Banderas’ XP38 X-SPAIN, who has won all the races sailed in ORC2 (5 out of 5) and Miquel Banus’ Dufour 34 FANYTAS in ORC3, which has also won all his races.

In ORC 1, the overall standings had a turn over after Christian Plump’s ELENA NOVA was disqualified from all races sailed. Once on shore and with the result from the protest that the Race Committee raised against ELENA NOVA, the victory of the Conde de Godo Sailing Trophy in ORC 1 went to Rafael Carbonell’s RATS ON FIRE. In the Wally class victory went clearly to British Mike Atkinson’s OPEN SEASON.

Bowwave (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

 

For results for all classes see http://www.trofeocondegodo.com/resultados2013/resultados_en_2013.php

Photos Courtesy of Max Ranchi  www.maxranchi.com

 

TP52 fleet Conde do Godo (Photo by Max Ranchi)

 

PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN. 2012. Day four of Copa del Rey of 52 Superseries on july 19, 2012 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain (Photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries)

PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN. 2012. Day four of Copa del Rey of 52 Superseries on july 19, 2012 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain (Photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries)

The overall lead of the Copa del Rey IRC 1 division hangs in the hands of the International Jury on Thursday, after a collision between longstanding regatta leaders Audi Azzurra and provisional leaders Audi All4One resulted in counter protests. The pair protested each other after their boats collided during an incident that relates to buoy room during a crucial race on day four of the six-day regatta at Palma, Mallorca.

The pair was neck-and-neck on the approach to the mark when All4One narrowly passed on the inside of Azzurra and their yachts collided. The Italian/Argentinean team paid a penance, a 720 turn, and dropped from first to fifth.

At the race’s end each team notified race management of their intention to protest the other. The protest will be heard by the International Jury at the Real Club de Náutico later tonight.

The outcome could cause a major shakeup of the overall leaderboard on what was otherwise a victorious day for Audi All4One.

The team scored back-to-back wins thanks to the powerhouse partnership of America’s Cup and Olympic gold medallists Jochen Schüemann and Jordi Calafat, who proved invincible.

It is the third line honours win in two days for the on-form team, having won Wednesday’s coastal race.

The trifecta of victories provisionally moves the team to the top of the overall leaderboard on 19 points, edging them to a three point lead over longstanding leaders Audi Azzurra Racing Team with just two-days racing remaining.

But, with a protest pending and more racing to come All4One strategist Pascal Rambeau said it was too early to take too much confidence from the victories.

“There is still a long way, four races to go,’’ he said. “We have to take it one race at a time and stay focused and keep the momentum we have. It is competitive racing, today proves that.”

It should have been a day of celebration for Azzurra, as July 19 marks the 30th anniversary of the launch of the first Azzurra yacht. Instead the team were commiserating their worst results yet, sixth and fifth on corrected time.

The bad form could see Azzurra lose the lead they have held for two-days and slip from a 5.5 point lead, to three point deficit in second place.

Provisionally Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One are the Copa del Rey IRC 1 leaders on 19 points, followed by Audi Azzurra Sailing Team on 22, Gladiator, 24.5, PowerPlay, 27.5 and Paprec Recyclage, 29.

More than 1,100 sailors are competing on board about 119 yachts, across seven divisions in the 31st Copa del Rey.  A maximum of 12 races will be contested across the six-day regatta that concludes on Saturday July 21. Copa del Rey does not count towards the overall 52 Super Series.

The penultimate day of racing will begin on Friday at 1300 local, 1100 UTC.

PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN. 2012. Day four of Copa del Rey of 52 Superseries on july 19, 2012 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain (Photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries)

PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN. 2012. Day four of Copa del Rey of 52 Superseries on july 19, 2012 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain (Photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries)

 

Rán Racing claimed the Royal Cup and their first overall victory in the inaugural 52 Super Series in a testing day’s racing at Palma, Mallorca on Saturday that victorious skipper Niklas Zennström described as being “as good as it gets”.

Zennstroms’s team surged to victory in a 30-plus northeaster at speeds in excess of 24 knots, finishing second across the line in the final race of the day to clinch the overall win.

World champions Quantum Racing finished second in the cup after they were forced to retire from the first of two races on Saturday, when they broke their headstay ram, headfoil and jib in the near gale force conditions.

The team’s shore crew sent an urgent dispatch of supplies to effect on water repairs between the two races. The crew successfully raced the clock and returned Quantum to the second race, but it just wasn’t their day.

Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One rounded out the Royal Cup’s podium, a result that pleased four-time Olympic medallist and twice America’s Cup winner skipper Jochen Schümann despite having entered the final race with a one-point lead.

 

Having won the first race today, All4One entered the final race at the top of the leaderboard with a total of 20 points, while both Quantum and Rán were just one point behind on 21.

Each team had crunched the numbers and knew exactly where they needed to place to clinch the coveted Royal Cup Challenge Trophy, but only Rán were able to execute their plan with success.

Zennström said the conditions in Palma Bay were challenging but very rewarding.

“These conditions are fantastic, you’re going downwind doing 24 knots, you’re doing nine knots upwind and still you’re doing boat on boat racing,” he said.

“Crossing the finish line and seeing Quantum ahead of All4One was just awesome, it’s as good as it gets. Quantum are really the class act, beating them today was really, really awesome. They’re hard to beat and that makes winning even sweeter.”

It was more a bittersweet day for Quantum’s crew, having entered the final day’s racing with a six point buffer and a lead they had held since the four day regatta started on Wednesday.

Tactician Andy Horton said the crew knew that their chances of clinging to their lead was compromised the minute they heard a massive “bang” when their headstay ram broke and they saw their jib tear in the opening nine minutes of the day’s first race.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,’’ Horton said. “But this is a great group of guys, there wasn’t anything said, it was just a freak accident. This is tight racing. You have to be good enough to win despite something like this happening.”

There was a surprise of a different kind for the crew on board Audi All4One, who exceeded even their own expectations to score third in the Royal Cup.

Schümann said being the “underdogs” helped his crew race under the radar, uninfluenced by the other teams’ intentions.

“We’re quite happy, finishing third is more than we expected coming here, but that’s what we dreamed of,’’ he said. “This is our first regatta together as a team. We really enjoy racing together and I think when you see the results getting better and better that reflects it.”

Audi Azzurra Sailing Team finished fourth in the Royal Cup, followed by PowerPlay, Gladiator, Provezza and Aquila.

In the overall 52 Super Series Quantum Racing leads with 53.5 points, followed by Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, 59.5, Rán Racing, 69.5, Gladiator, 93, Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One, 111.5, PowerPlay, 121.2, Provezza, 131.5, Aquila, 140.5 and Paprec, 150.5.

The teams are now turning their sights on 31st Copa del Rey where eight 52 teams will have a chance to race their grand prix yachts in a highly competitive event that won’t count towards the 52 Super Series points.

The next 52 Super Series point scoring event is the Valencia Cup, from September 19-22.

Ranking

  1. Rán Racing 23pts
  2. Quantum Racing 24pts
  3. Audi All4One 24pts
  4. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team 27pts
  5. PowerPlay 41.4pts
  6. Gladiator 44pts
  7. Provezza 47pts
  8. Aquila 56pts